Official website of the New England Patriots

Ask PFW: The Road Warriors

Hey guys. So the Pats have now lost 3 at home. That stadium used to be rabid. Now fans are stilling on their hands, just waiting to see something good. Maybe this is part of the evolution of a champion team. With no home-field advantage, our guys seem to get more fired up on the road. So do we need a few losing seasons here or what?Mid Liddle

It pains me to ask this question to the writers of PFW but what is wrong with the fans of the New England Patriots! I flew out to Foxboro to watch my all time favorite team play in their home stadium for the first time in my entire life and I must say that I was extremely disappointed in the fans that were at the stadium. (The people in section 306 you know who you are) I know the weather was horrible during the Jets game but we were at a football stadium not a funeral! The Razor will no longer be a home field advantage if the fans continue to be so quiet. I know the Patriots play did not inspire a great deal of enthusiasm but when did Pats fans get so spoiled? We need a reality check because the 06' Pats need the fans support and a loud home field advantage more than ever. Now stop sitting on your hands and support the best franchise in the NFL!Mike Bingham

Mid, if I were at the game I would tell you to sit down as well. Do you know what my solution to that used to be? I stayed home and watched football from my couch. I just don't get it. People want to go out to a football game and sit there like they're in a morgue. If you have season tickets, you should show up to every home game ready to scream, yell and harass the opposing team. Perhaps Chiefs fans should go on a tour around the country and teach cheering-impaired fans like the ones in New England how to support a football team. If you want to relax and watch the game, that's fine. Do what I did. Stay at home and watch it in your living room instead of making Gillette Stadium a place where someone can study for the Bar exam.

As far as being spoiled goes, there may be something to that but people who have been here for years tell me Patriots fans have never been all that loud. For those of you that think I'm picking on Patriots fans, please do me a favor. Go watch a game in Kansas City, Denver, Pittsburgh or Carolina before you write in saying I'm being unfair. We say it all the time. We travel to a bunch of different stadiums all over the country and Gillette is as quiet as it gets. That's just a fact and if you don't believe me, ask Richard Seymour.
-Tom Casale

Hey, Andy, In lieu of a dome, what about the probability of installing a retractable roof for Gillette Stadium? I think a lot of Patriot fans, including myself would like to see that for 2007 season. It's too bad the Krafts won't consider it.Marc Mainville

Why would they consider it? The Vikings used to have the biggest home-field advantage in the NFL until they built that stupid dome. Now the fans can be comfortable but they lost all the advantage they once had when the elements were working in their favor. We already put in fake grass, isn't that enough? Let's at least continue to play in the cold and snow and not take all the fun out of it. I'll tell you one thing, I'm sure teams like the Dolphins and Jaguars wouldn't mind coming up here late in the season if Gillette Stadium had a roof over it. I just don't see the need for a roof. You said a lot of Patriots fans would like to see one put in. Why? So you don't have to bundle up in December? Once again, if that's the reason, do what I did and stay at home and watch the games in your sweatpants.
-Tom Casale

Guys first I want to say you guys are doing a great job in bringing the fans like myself the most accurate NE Patriots news. My question is why is the coaching staff not playing Chad Jackson more series during games? Most of the times he is not involved. Keep up the great work.Gino R

From what I can see, slowly but surely Jackson is starting to get into the game more. He still isn't on the field a lot, but he's doing more than just running fly routes like he was at the start of the season. I think his hamstring injury probably set him back. It's one thing to go to meetings and watch film but like David Thomas told me a couple of weeks ago, there's nothing like actually getting on the field and being a part of the offense. Practice and meetings are all important but I don't think a player can really improve until he gets on the field and plays. Jackson is starting to do that more so hopefully he'll continue to develop and be ready to make a big impact next season.
-Tom Casale

First of all let me just say that I am a true fan. Win, lose or draw I'm with the Pats. However the team is struggling on offense because of VERY BAD/STUPID management decisions. I just want to know why we could not just pay Deion Branch, Ty Law, Willie McGinest, and David Givens. Watson is good but he's no Deion I will say that Maroney was an excellent choice. I just want to know why yall let the offense go. Yeah Brady is great but he's just one man get him someone to throw to. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Illona Lane

No offense but the team is 7-3 and leading its division. I understand that you're frustrated because a lot of your favorite players went elsewhere but it's not like the Patriots are fighting for the top pick in the draft. Besides, the organization had to spend all of its money to keep Paul Perillo on board. I don't know if you know this but Paul is kind of a big deal. It was either Paul or Branch and I think most would agree that while Branch was a good receiver, he's much easier to replace than the fountain of information that is Paul Perillo.
-Tom Casale

Do you think that perhaps the Patriots signed Testaverde for the purpose of running scout team offense in practice. My thought is it might work better to have a more experienced quarterback than Cassel simulating offenses. What's your take on that? Thanks.Brendan Mahoney

I'm going to go ahead and agree with Bill on this one. I think they signed Testaverde to provide depth at the quarterback position and nothing more. It makes perfect sense if you think about it. Say in Week 14, Matt Cassel gets injured in practice. Now you're heading into the playoffs with one quarterback and you have to go out and scramble to bring someone in and teach them the system. By signing Testaverde now, if something should happen down the road, he'll be prepared to take on a bigger role if he needs to. Bill said Vinny was brought in for insurance and to be the emergency quarterback. I hate to sound like I'm just following the company line but I honestly believe that is the reason Testaverde was signed. I know it's not as exciting as saying Brady is hurt, but that's my opinion on the subject.
-Tom Casale

Could the Patriots hire Charlie Weis as a "Consultant" for the playoff run in January, after all the bowl games?Frank deJohn

No, my guess is Charlie is too busy with his day job. Besides, what is he going to do? Come in and start calling plays? Charlie Weiss is gone. I think it's time we move on. Romeo Crennel will be available in January as well. Maybe those two, Ty Law and Deion Branch can come back and help the Patriots win another Super Bowl. Can we move forward and not backwards please?
-Tom Casale

Somehow, the question about the receivers is not going away, especially when we face Bears. What's up with Gabriel and Jackson? We need their production!Tom K

I actually think the receivers are starting to play better, especially Reche Caldwell. I agree the Patriots are going to need more production out of that group against the Bears. However, Caldwell has really elevated his game in recent weeks. Like I said earlier, Jackson appears to be getting on the field a little more, so that's a good sign. Gabriel is another story. He didn't play again after his fumble against the Jets and was only on the field for a few plays in Green Bay. I'm not sure what the story is but I highly doubt his lack of playing time is all because of one fumble where he was trying to gain extra yardage. There has to be something more than that going on.
-Tom Casale

After all the supposed bad officiating of last season, would you call the officiating this year inconsistent? Two weeks ago there was a hit on a quarterback that was at thigh level that was called for a low hit on the QB that if it hadn't been called would have been a sack. This week on the hit on Brett Favre, the pats player was around the knees. While I am a Pats fan and am not looking to hurt the Pats, can you please explain why a flag wasn't thrown for the low hit? My point is what seem to be penalties or incomplete passes in some game aren't called the same in others.Ray Boucher

You are right on the money Ray. We all said the same thing in the press box after the play. The NFL is very inconsistent on this call. First let me say that I personally don't think what Banta-Cain did to Favre is a penalty because he wasn't going after his knees on purpose. However, if you follow the NFL guidelines, it probably should have been a penalty. Like I said, it's one of those calls that vary on a weekly basis. That same exact play will probably draw a flag and a fine two weeks from now. The irony of it all is that Favre didn't get hurt on that hit, it was Tedy Bruschi hitting his elbow from behind that put him put him out of the game. Again, my own personal opinion is Banta-Cain's hit shouldn't be a penalty in the NFL but like you said, very similar hits have been penalized in other games.
-Tom Casale

Ok so now we can really say that there is more to the variance in play between home games and road games than just fluke. Not only have the Patriots won all 5 road games as opposed to just 2 of 5 at home, they've absolutely dominated in all 5. They jumped out to a 24-0 lead over the Jets, destroyed the Bengals, the Bills, and The Vikings and just completely ravaged the Packers. In contrast, even the home wins were not impressive, with very shaky wins over the Bills and Dolphins. Can we just throw this off on the condition of the field and so assume it'll all be better next week, or is there something about this team that causes it to play so well on the road but so poorly at home?Robbie Mitchnick

We have received a lot of e-mails on this subject this week. No one can question the Patriots perfect record on the road. However, look at who they've beaten in those games. Their biggest road win came at Cincinnati and they have the same record as the San Francisco 49ers. The bottom line is the Patriots haven't beaten a team with a winning record on the road all year. Green Bay is horrible and the Vikings haven't won a game since losing to the Patriots. Don't get me wrong; I give the Pats credit for taking care of business against inferior teams. However, the reason they have three losses at home is because two of them came at the hands of the Broncos and Colts. The field conditions don't have a darn thing to do with anything. The Broncos, Colts and Jets were all playing on the same field as the Patriots. I think it's the quality of competition and unfortunately, the Patriots have struggled beating good teams the last two years, regardless of where the game is being played. Yes, they've dominated teams on the road but you probably wouldn't be able to say that if two of those games were played in Denver and Indianapolis instead of Foxborough. The thing that causes them to play better on the road are joke teams like the Packers and Vikings. Let's see how much trouble the Patriots have at home when Detroit comes calling.
-Tom Casale

Its sad you have isolated segragated and snubbed many many vistors to the Pats website Why do you have to register, fill out form and do 25 push ups to read the articles?Tony C

What in God's name are you talking about? Let me walk you through the difficult steps of reading an article on Patriots.com. Go to the web site, click on an article and read it. I know that kind of complicated stuff is snubbing a lot of people like you but that's the best we have to offer. And by the way, I bet you couldn't do 25 push-ups even if we asked you to.
-Tom Casale

I was just checking out the Pats' defensive stats for this year, and they're pretty impressive. They're near the top of the league in RUN DEFENSE (YPG and TD allowed) and they're also near the top in PASS DEFENSE in TD allowed. However, they're in the bottom third of the league in PASS DEFENSE YPG allowed. Wasn't that a big part of their formula for winning 3 Super Bowls? Studs against the run, and then "bend but don't break" in the passing game? I seem to remember Troy Aikman talking about HIS formula on how to rate a defense, and it had very little to do with YPG allowed. It's all about keeping them out the end zone. I wonder why Troy's defense rating system never caught on?Kevin Coskren

Well Kevin, Troy Aikman is a very wise man. I actually saw his formula and I don't only like it, I agree with it 100 percent. He's exactly right when he says rankings put too much of an emphasis on yards allowed. I don't give a rat's bottom how many yards the Patriots defense gives up, as long as they keep teams out of the end zone. Let me give you a perfect example. One of Tom Brady's best games in terms of yardage this year was against the Broncos. How did the offense look that week? They scored one touchdown and that was late in the fourth quarter. The Patriots can give up all the yards they want but if teams aren't scoring any points, they can't win. Bill always says the team that wins every week is the one that scores more points. It really is that simple. Belichick's defenses have always prided themselves on keeping offenses out of the end zone, not how many yards they give up and that's the way it should be.
-Tom Casale

Hi, I wanted to postpone this question for a weekend of resounding victory. Dating back to 2005 season, the following is the record of the Pats against "GOOD" teams (I know that the criteria is subjective, but there will be little debate on the quality of these teams) 4 WINS (2005 - Steelers, Falcons, Buccaneers; 2006 - Bengals) 7 LOSSES (2005 - Chargers, Broncos, Colts, Chiefs; 2005 PO - Broncos; 2006 - Broncos, Colts) This is in sharp contrast to the win record of the Pats against good teams in the 2003/04 seasons. While I don't want to sound negative, rotting of the empire starts un-noticed and I am not sure if the Pats are as "unbeatable" as they were in 2003 and 2004 seasons. I have no idea of what will fix the issue (there are multiple valid excuses for the Pats for these 2 seasons), but I can only quote one thing (source: 2003 championship DVD) "Losing players was unavoidable, but losing matches was not acceptable" I don't think the Pats can lay claims to that philosophy this year. Believe me, I still am a huge Pats fan and I am not looking for a scapegoat here.Kalyan Chatrathi

You're exactly right Kalyan, the Patriots have struggled against the better teams in the NFL over the past two seasons. Dating back to last year, New England is just 4-9 versus teams with winning records. Even more alarming is the Patriots are a dismal 0-6 the last two years against the Colts, Chargers and Broncos, with four of those losses coming at home. That's why I think this is a big week for them. It's great to beat up on the Packers and Bills but those aren't the teams they'll be facing in the postseason. If the Patriots lose to both the Bears and Jaguars, then in my opinion they would have lost to every good team they played this year and that's not a good sign for anyone who roots for the Pats.
-Tom Casale

Even when things are not going well for the PATS, you guys remain consistent and level-headed, and for that I thank you. However, not to sound negative, but let's not get too giddy over the walloping served up at Lambeau. Four fumbles, four encroachments, and a blatant pass interference that Ellis Hobbs got away with. Whether you attribute it to mental errors or sloppy play, similar lapses against the Bears will certainly tip the scale in the Bears' favor. So it seems we still have a 'work in process'. Your comments?Bob Robertson

I think the Patriots played pretty well in Green Bay. However, as you pointed out, it wasn't as dominating a performance as the score would indicate. While the team took a step forward they still need to play much better than that if they plan on beating the Bears this Sunday. It's nice to see the Patriots blow a team out but I agree that they are still a work in progress and we'll see how far they've come this week against a very physical Bears team.
-Tom Casale

It's a good week. We won, Colts and Jets lost. Speaking of Jets, they managed to stay close with the Bears, beat us on the road, and almost beat Colts. Their schedule looks like "W" possible in each game. I'd say, if we do not beat Chicago, they could be stealing the division as they did in 2002.Stan G

I think the Jets are having a heck of a season. They are well-coached and playing tough football. Three of their losses came against the Patriots, Colts and Bears. All three games were close losses that the Jets had a chance to win. Hey, those games were all played at home. Maybe the Jets should play on the road every week like the Patriots (See the point I made above about it's who you play, not where you play?). It's true the Jets have an easy schedule but so do the Patriots. New England only plays two more teams with winning records all year long. I know anything can happen in the NFL, although the Lions and Texans don't strike much fear into me. I think the Jets will win eight or nine games and that will be a very successful season for their new coach. However, I still believe this is the Patriots division to lose and it will take a couple of big upsets for them to give it up, considering they currently have a two-game lead on the Jets.
-Tom Casale

The Vinny signing was all about the depth in the defensive backfield and injuries therein. Troy Brown is the DB insurance and your emergency 3rd QB. When the DBs are thin, he just doesn't have enough practice time in the week to take reps at 4 different positions. Troy Brown is THE MAN and must be considered for team MVP. How come the genius sports writers can't figure this out?Lyle Johnson

Well genius, I hate to burst your bubble but Troy Brown doesn't take reps at quarterback during the week unless there is a play put in specifically for him. And just for the record, he had absolutely nothing to do with signing of Vinny Testaverde. Since you are so much smarter than us sports writers, why don't you go to one of Belichick's press conferences and float your theory by him. That should be good for a laugh. Troy Brown doesn't take snaps at quarterback. How come a genius like you can't figure this out?
-Tom Casale

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