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Ask PFW: Trading deadline fun

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Patriots LB Adalius Thomas.

Is not the issue with the contract renegotiations related to the trade deadline and waivers? My understanding was if you are cut after the trade deadline you would need to clear waivers before being re-signed by your club?
Tim L.

Tim you're absolutely correct. Any player who is released after today would need to clear waivers before becoming a free agent. That's why the Patriots took care of their bookkeeping moves with Tully Banta-Cain and Eric Alexander before the deadline. If they waited, the players would have been subjected to the waiver process and could have been claimed.
Paul Perillo

I think the Patriots recent exodus of staple players is a bit shocking. Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi retire, Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel and Ellis Hobbs traded, and now Adalius Thomas benched? I thought he was one of the most stable pieces we had in the midst of our defense, if perhaps not as exceptional as we'd hoped when he was such a large free agent signing. The phenomenal victory over the Titans not withstanding, should we be nervous that the bottom is dropping out of our defense as we go forward and soon have to face the Colts and Saints?
Peter Cole

I was very surprised by the decision to sit Thomas against Tennessee. I'm not sure if this was some sort of message being sent by Bill Belichick or what, but regardless it was quite surprising. I would be in the camp of those wondering where all the big plays are from Thomas, but that doesn't mean I think he doesn't deserve to be the lineup. I'd be curious to find out exactly why Belichick felt that was in the best interests of the team. In terms of the overall defense, I do have some concern that playing so many new/young players could have a detrimental effect in the future. But we knew this was a transition year for the defense coming in so I can understand where Belichick is coming from. Time will tell if the amount of moves is too drastic.
Paul Perillo

This is an indisputable fact that BB is one of the greatest coaches to ever coach the game. However, it seems that after three Super Bowls his own coaching genius came to his head. The personnel moves have been absolutely horrendous in the last four years - for example, why let go of Jabar Gaffney and Ellis Hobbs and replace them with average players? I don't think it is a money issue, it is just – "I don't care, I can coach anybody." He seems to treat role players like inanimate pawns that he can replace any time. This actually disrupts team chemistry - you need to build it each year from scratch. Maybe Hobbs and Gaffney are not elite, but they were moderately priced and made plays. I think Robert Kraft needs to do what Paul Allen did in Seattle -- hire a manager who can say no to BB, for BB's own and our good.
Gary Ark

I hate to break this to you, Gary, but Belichick has been in charge since the day he arrived in Foxborough back in 2000. He worked with Scott Pioli to make moves like the ones you're talking about, and now he works with Floyd Reese and Nick Caserio to make those moves. There's really been no change to the structure of the organization – just some different people coming and going at various times. But the final say has always been Belichick's. In terms of the specific examples you used, how anyone can honestly say bringing in Leigh Bodden, Shawn Springs and Darius Butler hasn't represented a monumental improvement over Ellis Hobbs is beyond me. Hobbs wasn't a a very good cornerback in his time here and many fans couldn't wait to get rid of him. Now the pass defense has improved dramatically and you're claiming the team is worse off because they lost a role player? I don't see it. In Gaffney's case, he left as a free agent. My guess is Belichick would have liked to have kept him but Denver got him first. He'd no doubt be contributing to the offense more than Julian Edelman, Sam Aiken and Joey Galloway have as the third receiver. Gaffney is a solid role player and he's been missed – I agree with you on that one. But Belichick's overall philosophy has been quite successful. He creates a core group of 8-10 players that he feels are the nucleus of the team and everyone around them are sort of moving parts. You can't fall in love with players or you wind up with cap problems and underachievers. Belichick keeps turning over the roster in an effort to keep everyone hungry and it's very difficult to argue with his success. As you put it, and I'd agree, he's one of the best who's ever coached.
Paul Perillo

Do you think if we got a struggling No. 1 receiver (Terrell Owens, Roy Williams) we could get them back on track again here in New England? That would give opposing secondarys nightmares. The only problem is the money those guys would want, but more importantly would Randy Moss mind giving up touches?
John Markum

Obviously Owens and Williams would be better players simply by catching passes from Tom Brady rather than Trent Edwards and Tony Romo. Just like Moss went wild when he joined Brady in 2007. I wouldn't worry as much about Moss' reaction as I would Owens'. TO is as volatile as they come, and playing second banana (or worse) in New England wouldn't seem like something he's be interested in. I actually like Williams but Dallas gave up so much to get him that I doubt the Cowboys would pull the plug after such a short time. You can keep TO as far as I'm concerned – not only is he not worth the baggage but he's also in decline as a player.
Paul Perillo

Have any of you seen WR Brandon Tate lately? Will he be ready to come off the PUP list in the next few weeks, or do you believe that he will be put on the IR for the rest of the season? Reportedly this kid had first-round talent.
Bryant Hopkins

Tate is eligible to start practicing this week so it will be interesting to see how the Patriots handle the situation. Tate is indeed a first-round talent when healthy and he might be able to add some depth to the receiver spot is he's 100 percent. He also could be a candidate to get some reps as a returner. We haven't seen Tate around the locker room much and Belichick hasn't tipped his hand with regard to the rookie. I guess it's a wait-and-see game at this point. The Patriots could wait as long as three weeks before having him start practicing and then three more weeks before they have to make a decision. So it could be as late as Week 12 before we know anything for certain.
Paul Perillo

After watching these first few games of the 2009 season, I have to admit that I am very concerned with Laurence Maroney and his lack of playing time and skills. When Maroney first came to the Patriots he teamed up with Corey Dillon and they were an outstanding duo. Now it appears that Maroney has very little playing time and when he does play the results are limited. He appears to have lost that fire that he started with. Is he hurt or just upset and wants out?
Robert Piotrowski

Maroney continues to work hard and shows flashes but seems to lack the overall consistency and durability to rely on week in and week out. He was solid against Tennessee (who wasn't?) with 123 yards. Now he has to show that he can do it again and again. That's always been his drawback from his rookie season. He's had some great games and then others when he doesn't look as good. He appears to be healthy as far as I know. He suffered a thigh injury a few weeks ago and left the game but he hasn't missed any practice time of games since. Hopefully his performance in the snow is a sign of better days to come.
Paul Perillo

Guys, you're doing a great job week in and week out on your coverage of all things Patriots. Given the expectations for Derrick Burgess and Adalius Thomas when they were brought in as well as their cap charges, do you think it is possible both could be let go after this season if they fail to start actually delivering on their alleged pass rushing prowess? I only ask because with Tyrone McKenzie and Shawn Crable expected to come off of IR next year and both being drafted on the basis of their pass rushing abilities, both would be inexpensive additions to our current stable of pass rushing linebackers.
Zack Barron

Clearly there's more than a fleeting chance that Burgess and Thomas will not be part of the long-term plans for the Patriots. Thomas was a healthy scratch for the Titans game and Burgess has done virtually nothing since arriving via trade during the summer. Burgess' contract is up after this season so he's unlikely to be re-signed based on his play. Crable could be a factor moving forward but after missing two full seasons it wouldn't be wise to count on him going forward. McKenzie is an interesting prospect but he's more of an inside guy and not really a true pass rusher. I like his potential and believe he will be back next year and factor into the team's plans. Thomas is the real interesting case here. He's been relatively quiet since arriving as a big money free agent in 2007 and now he's out of uniform while the likes of Pierre Woods, Rob Ninkovich and even Burgess are playing. Certainly that can't bode well for his future.
Paul Perillo

It seems to me that for the past couple of seasons the Pats and Colts have always played each other. I love watching these games, they are always close games that seem to come down to the last drive or two. It seems that for the past three or four years (including this year) the Pats always go and play in Indianapolis. This seems a tad unfair. Does it not?
Zach Strong

It would be if it were true. The Pats played in Indy in the last two years (2008, 2007), but the three previous regular-season meetings all took place in Foxborough (2004, 2005, 2006). So the Pats hosted the Colts for three straight seasons and now will travel to Indy three straight times. It's just the way the schedule worked out since the teams always seem to finish in the same position in the respective divisions, which matches them up to play against each other the following year.
Paul Perillo

I thought that Josh McDaniels' reaction to the Broncos victory over the Pats was way over the top and quite frankly a little disrespectful to the Pats. What do you think? More importantly, what did BB think? Are we headed to another BB-Mangini type relationship?
Gary Goldstein

I don't think it was over the top at all, and I really don't think Belichick felt that way either. Belichick and McDaniels talked quite a bit before the game and agreed not to meet on the field after the game. They did speak behind closed doors at Invesco Field, and McDaniels even came over to the Patriots buses before the team left to say hello to everyone and wish them well. McDaniels was excited after a huge overtime win. Actually, the emotion he showed on the sideline kind of reminded me of Belichick when the Patriots beat Miami in overtime back in 2003 on Troy Brown's long TD catch. Belichick tossed his headphones and threw his arms in the air after the game. Football is an emotional sport and when you win you deserve to show emotion.
Paul Perillo

Who was New England's QB in 1978?
Jeff Elder

Steve Grogan was the Patriots quarterback in 1978. Even though the team enjoyed tremendous success, going 11-5 and winning the AFC East title for the first time ever, it wasn't one of Grogan's better seasons. He threw 15 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He did rush for 539 yards and five touchdowns, and it was that toughness that made him one of the all-time fan favorites in Foxborough.
Paul Perillo

Guys what's it going to take for people around the league to realize that an offense's job is to score touchdowns? I mean so what if we're running up the score, it's professional sports. What are your thoughts on the matter?

My thoughts about the Titans game in particular is that the Patriots could have won 89-0 if they wanted to. The Titans didn't show up and the Patriots took many of their starters out of the game in third quarter. They scored no points in the fourth quarter. Had Belichick wished to, he could have continued throwing the ball and set pretty much every NFL scoring record imaginable. To be honest, I haven't really seen or heard too many complaints about the Patriots running up the score. Keith Bullock and Jeff Fisher both said that was not the case and insisted that it was the Titans fault for not being able to stop anyone.
Paul Perillo

Now I know that it was the Titans (or is it the Midgets?), but after the way the Pats, and in particular Brady, played on Sunday can we officially say that the Patriots are back?
Josh Strzeszkowski

I've heard this a lot this week. I have two questions, Where were they? And if you believe they had slipped, why would a blowout win over a winless team that barely got off the bus make you feel any different? Personally, I picked the Patriots to go 13-3 at the start of the season. Until they lose more than three games I'll stick with that. I believe they are a Super Bowl contenders and I believed that before they blew out a pathetic team. Nothing that happened in the snow against Tennessee affected my feelings about this team.
Paul Perillo

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