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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Tue Feb 27 - 02:00 PM | Thu Feb 29 - 11:55 AM

Ask PFW: Watson, TBC and more

The Patriots own Ben Watson's rights for one year. That was one of the many questions in this week's Ask PFW.

Hey everybody. Thanks for your questions. The dog days of camp are here. Don't forget to call 1-800-494-PATS to subscribe to Patriots Football Weekly.

The Pats have lost a few players in the offseason such as Ted Washington but they drafted Vince Wilfork to fill up that spot. How good will Vince Wilfork be? Also, which team in the AFC has the best chance of preventing the Pats from making another Super Bowl run? Can the Patriots even make another run for the Super Bowl?

I think it will take Vince Wilfork some time to get acclimated to the new schemes and techniques, but he seems to be making good progress. If you expect him to step in and replace Ted, then I think you'll be disappointed because I don't think you replace Ted. But Belichick will ask Wilfork to play the position a little differently than Ted to try to accentuate the player's strengths. He has started to rotate with Keith Traylor taking snaps with the first team, which is a good sign for him. I would expect him to have a solid year, but his stats won't be gaudy.
I would say that Baltimore, Kansas City and Denver would be AFC teams to watch with Indy (defense a question), Tennessee and Jacksonville contending as well.

Since Paul Perillo was willing to ponder "silly questions," and since "silly" is my specialty, I offer the following to PFW: Which current Patriot can you most easily see in the following roles: (1) dual-sport athlete (let's say football and baseball); (2) Hollywood actor; (3) politician. Thanks in advance to whichever one of you gets stuck with this question.
Columbus, Ohio

That's a fun question and I would say that Paul's incredible versatility allows him to answer questions on many subjects. He has a ton of "useless" information at his disposal. The dual-sport athlete is tough one because there are so many possibilities. Tom Brady was drafted as a baseball catcher and Patrick Pass and Terrell Buckley both played professional baseball. I have to think that Bethel Johnson would be a world-class sprinter and possibly Michael Jennings as well. Don't you think Richard Seymour could bang in the paint and be a fierce NBA rebounder? Stephen Neal was a world-class wrestler. If I had to pick one, I take Bethel as a track star. Actor??? Hmmmm. There are a few, but I'll go with Ty Law. I think he is entertaining. The politician question is one to ponder because you don't want to insult anyone with the negative connotation "politician" has, but I could definitely see Brady with a successful political career after football. Quarterbacks deal with the media so much that they are polished in the public realm when their career is over. I also could see Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Don Davis, Tom Ashworth, David Givens, Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison, Adam Vinatieri, and Rosevelt Colvin in politics, but Brady is my overall top pick for that one.

Hey guys -- how much do players make for playing in playoff games? Is there any way that a free agent would consider the potential increase in income by signing on with a winning team (like the Pats, of course!) Or is it all just about the Lombardi trophy?
L. Spaeth
Lincoln, Mass.

Players are compensated by how far they go in the playoffs. The Super Bowl winner received $68,000 and the loser $36,500. The teams competing in the AFC or NFC championship earned $36,500. The teams competing in the Divisional round earned $18,000. In the Wild Card round, the winners received $18,000 while the loser earned just $15,000. I don't think that income as much impact on where a player signs. The guaranteed money is what lures a player.

What are your thoughts on Corey Dillon's work at training camp? I went to the night session at Gillette on 8/3 and to be honest I was not impressed with him. I won't say he dogged it but he did not seem to be going full out. Kevin Faulk clearly gave more effort and had more energy. Also, what is this new rule change on a scrimmage kick (punt or FG)? "Untouched by the receiving team will become dead as soon as it touches the ground" Does that mean a 40 yard punt with a 15 yard roll is now spotted where it landed not where it rolled to? I don't like that. Thanks.
*Ward Kirkwood
Taunton, Mass. *

I know what you mean about Dillon. I think he's looked good running the football and is an upgrade at the position, but it seems like he takes it easy in some of the drills. Overall, though, I would say he has had a solid camp. While he has dropped a pass here and there, he offers more versatility than Antowain, who wasn't much of a receiver out of the backfield. Dillon gives the offense more personnel/play calling flexibility.
The new rule on the scrimmage kick pertains to punts that bounce into the end zone. They are now dead as soon as they land in the end zone. In the past, the receiving team could pick up the ball and run with it if the ball had not come to a stop. If you remember back to 1998 in New Orleans, the Patriots had a play where they touched a punt, but couldn't keep it out of the end zone. It would have been a touchback, but the Saints player picked it up and advanced it with no risk. When the kicking teams touches a punt first, it is illegal touching and the ball is spotted at the touch, but if it is left on the ground and hasn't stopped moving, the receiving team can advance it without risk. In that Saints game, only Tom Tupa prevented a touchdown and the defense held New Orleans to a game-tying field goal with about 2:00 to go. The Patriots won it in regulation on a Vinatieri field goal. But because the Patriots had "illegally touched" the ball, the receiving team could advance it and if it fumbled it away, it would still get the ball at the spot of the illegal touch. They changed this rule because when the ball is the end zone like that, players from both teams are running on and off the field and confusion ensues. Now when the ball touches the end zone, it will be dead and the receiving team will take over on its 20.

There has been a lot of talk in Coach Belichick's press conferences this week about the player turnover rate among teams in the NFL; Belichick thinks the average turnover rate over five seasons is probably about 75 percent (he mentioned that figure twice). Since I'm too lazy to figure it out myself and I know everyone there at PFW is a math wizard, what is the percentage of Patriot players still with the team that were here five years ago (during training camp 1999)?
North Andover, Mass.

The Patriots have only seven holders from 1999 – Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson, Adam Vinatieri, Willie McGinest, Kevin Faulk and Ty Law. That's an 87 percent turnover rate when calculated based on a 53-man roster.

I have two questions for you. First off is PFW going to do the contest again this year for Patriots season tickets? Secondly, has anyone not found it strange that Mike Martz and Tony Dungy are on the NFL competition/rules committee and both got the snot knocked out of them by Patriots defenses, and they have focused on rules to help their teams? Just wondering, I mean if you can't beat 'em change or focus on rules that will help you beat them? Thanks!
Roger E. Densmore III
South Portland, Maine

That's a conspiracy theory, but I don't think it should be blindly dismissed. However, if you lost a playoff game or a Super Bowl and thought that blatant uncalled fouls or rules violations were not enforced, you would want to do something about that. Don't forget that Mike Holmgren also is on the committee and his team along with Dungy's and Martz's all play the Patriots this season. But that said, the game should be played within the rules as they are written.

Do you think PK Sam gone get any playing time this year?
Theo Brown
Buford, Ga.

The Patriots have a deep receiving corps and I think P.K., if he makes the team, will see very few opportunities barring injury. I believe he signed a five-year deal so I imagine he'll make the club, but I would look for him to play minimally this season and expand his role next year. He's hurt right now after pulling up lame Sunday night running a go route.

Is Ty Law really going to be a Patriot "for Life" or is this just a calm in the waves until next offseason??? He has always been a favorite of mine and obviously he is one of the best in the league but I have to admit I lost a little for him when he pulled his crybaby antics in the offseason. What are your thoughts???
Corning, N.Y.

P.J., we've covered this one pretty well already. I think Ty is here as long as he plays to the level of his astronomical salary. If the team doesn't think he is worth $12 million or whatever his salary is next season, then he will be gone. He understands the business very well and his offseason antics were, I believe, part of a negotiating ploy that didn't really work out. He was upset, but he also understands that he is well paid. It remains to be seen of he will finish his career in New England, but my guess is no.

In the latest PFW it said that David Givens had a passing attempt, can you tell me what game it was in and/or do you have any pics of it?Also it said that Givens was a FA at the end of the season, but that's taken care with, right?

Abington, Mass.

David threw a pass in the Jets game at New York last season and it was intercepted. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2004 season.

With Bailey being put on IR is there any possibility Klecko may play more end now then LB? or do you think we will just stick with Green backing up followed by Hill? Also if Green doesn't beat out Warren for the other starting spot, do you think he will be in on passing situations for Warren, if he is able to play at the level he did in the AFC Championship game?
Mansfield, Mass. *

I think Green will play plenty and will be an interior rusher on passing downs. Klecko will not play end and since this question was sent before Dan Stubblefield signed, I presume you have your answer as to who, presumably, will replace Bailey. Klecko is playing linebacker and will get some rushing opportunities as a nickel down lineman. Even with Bailey out, the Patriots had Green, Seymour, Hill and Warren as ends before signing Stubblefield.

I know we are not supposed to ask however, how is MIKE CLOUD doing in training camp. we see and hear very little. We are interested in his progress and there are still some of us that think he did not get the looks he should of . thanks
Ralph Phelps
Lunenburg, Mass.

Cloud has been O.K. It will be interesting to see how he does in the preseason games, but I think he faces an uphill battle to make the roster. That's probably not what you want to hear. As a Rhode Islander, I'm rooting for him to make it, but I think the roster will have an interesting mix and Belichick might be looking for spots to keep one less guy in order to keep an extra player at another position. That process could victimize cloud.

I can't remember a training camp featuring so many injured - non-practicing players. With the season only a month away, do you think it may be time for a little concern? 12+ guys not participating is more than what's typical.....isn't it? Thanks,
Concerned in RI

A lot of players have missed time, but I wouldn't be concerned yet. Many of the players who missed practices had pre-existing injuries that should be fine by September. A bunch of players have returned to practice and then there have been the requisite pulls and strains. Other than Rodney Bailey and Zeron Flemister (both ruptured their Achilles), everything appears to be on the minor side. Don't worry about it.

Hey guys, I was reading the ESPN website about the Kellen Winslow holdout and I was wondering if a team cannot make a deal with a rookie pick, what are the options for the team and the rookie. Before you ask, this question is not directed towards Ben Watson, but I read the Browns are 15 million dollars apart from what the Poston brothers are saying Winslow is worth. Can the Browns "dump" the rookie letting some other team pick him up or can the Postons officially just say "no" and shop elsewhere for the client?
Rochester, N.Y.

The options are limited. The team could denounce the player's rights as the Patriots did a few years back with troubled pick Christian Peter, but that would not make any sense to throw away a first round pick. A team could also trade the player's rights to another club. So for example, let's say that Cleveland though Orlando Pace was worth his asking price and agreed to trade Winslow's rights to the Rams for Pace. Both teams could offer permission for the other to negotiate a contract before the trade is consummated and then when the deal is finalized, both players would sign. The player can sit out the entire season, and the team that drafted him only holds his rights for one calendar year. So if the player sat out, he would go back into next year's draft. That's probably the player's best leverage because then the team would lose a first round pick, but the player loses a year of his career and a year of earning potential as well an accredited season toward free agency. If Ben Watson sat out the season and was picked in the first round again next year, he would likely agree to a five-year deal with his new team. Then he would still be 30 when hitting free agency, so his holdout would be wasteful and after a year away, he might slip out of the first round and out of the signing bonus money that goes with that. He was, after all, the last pick of the round.

How long do you think Ben Watson can hold out before Belichick/Pioli deem he will not be ready for the start of the season and what are the Patriots alternatives? Can they place him on some Reserved - Did Not Sign Contract list (there seems to be a reserve list for almost everything else)and still retain his rights into the 2005 season or if he doesn't sign in 2004 does he become a Free Agent? Can the Pats fine him even though he hasn't signed a contract? Can they dock him a paycheck for every game he doesn't suit up should he sign too late to be ready for the season?Seems he is looking for a killing based on ridiculous numbers given to other first round draft choices and as we all know, the Pats are a team that spreads the wealth with no one player (Law being the current exception) making "Respect" money that puts a burden on the cap.

Otis Hill
Boston, Mass.

Otis my man. I explained the possibilities above, but you can bet that Belichick will not offer some ultimatum that paints him into a corner. It will get done when it gets done and the player will play when he proves himself ready. If he misses much more time, it's hard to imagine him ready for the start of the season. Rookies who miss camp often struggle in their first year if not longer.

Life-long Patriot fan and University Of Florida alumni here.Did you know that in last year's Florida State/Florida game, PK Sam burned Guss Scott for a long bomb at the back of the end zone to seal the victory for the Seminoles (I was VERY upset with Guss)? Somewhat ironic, especially for me, that both of them are now Patriots.My question is, on the topic of the Gators, do you know what ever happened to former Gator/Patriot Tony George? Was he let go (and possibly out of football now) due to his asthma? I'd like to read an update on him. Keep up the great work.

Go Pats!
Brad Lackey
Dallas, Texas

Tony was released by the Patriots and signed with someone for a brief time before being cut again. I believe it was diabetes that as his health issue and not asthma. He is out of football.

This isn't a question, but I wanted to thank the Patriots organization for a wonderful camp experience on Wednesday, August 4th. I brought my 85-year-old father to camp, and he has trouble walking around. I called ahead of time, and they assured me that there were golf carts available for disabled people. When we got there, a nice college student from Valparaiso College who is an intern immediately contacted the security personnel and had a golf cart come and pick us up. Mike from security (77 years old and going strong!) took us down to the bleachers where the rest of the security people were very attentive and helped get us a good seat and picked us up with a golf cart when we were ready to go. Everyone was terrific, and it made our first training camp experience very special. I just wanted to thank everyone who helped us out yesterday, I'm very grateful and pleased with how smoothly things went! I'd love it if their bosses could get this email to know how much they helped us out.
Danuta Forbes
Arlington, Mass.

Everybody reads Ask PFW so they now have it. It's nice to hear about someone's positive experience.

OK I really don't get the opinion on Cedric Cobbs. How is he a potential back of the future? Is he really that good? The last I heard about him really was that he might have trouble adjusting to the Patriots system.
Conor Devine
Fairfield, Conn.

I'm certainly not ready to declare him the back of the future. He hasn't even been on the field. He has a long way to go to be ready to play. We should hold off on tagging him with any label.

3 things... First of all, what's up with all the Bryan jokes? I don't get it. Secondly, there was a typo in the write up of the Belichick press conference, "It might be today. I might be tomorrow. It might be Sunday, I don't know". Thirdly, and most importantly, what ever happened to Andy Katzenmoyer??? He was a great player so young, and would have been one of the best in his prime. But then he just dissapeared. Where'd he go?
Marlborough, Mass.

3 answers. First off, my co-workers think they are funny. Their Bryan jokes are lame. OK some of them are funny, but only to us here at the stadium. OK maybe their funny to anyone who knows me. But since most of you don't, they're not funny. They're bad guys. Secondly, if you want to point out typos, that's fine. We all make mistakes, don't we? But if you are going to edit the transcript and point out the errors of others then you should re-read your email to make sure you don't have any. You misspelled "dissapeared". Remember that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Thirdly, Andy Katzenmoyer is out of football and the last I heard, he was back living in Westerville, Ohio. A neck injury all but ended his career. By the way, feel free to point out our mistakes. We are not immune and accept all criticism.

I think we may have found a good backup for Tom Brady. Big Tuna released Quincy Carter and I hope the Patriots sign him. I think he was pretty decent in his first year as a starter and doesn't Parcells have a similar system as Belichick? And I think Rosey's making a huge hit on our cap room so do u think the pats are gonna restructure his contract to save some room? he may not be able to play this year.
Boston, Mass.

I don't share your opinion of Carter. I don't think he was a good college quarterback and I don't think he was a good pro quarterback. So, needless to say, I don't think the Patriots should sign him. I also think that Rosey will play this year.

What Patriot players do you think will make solid Fantasy Football picks?
Andrew Grigg
Hamden, Conn.

I think Tom Brady, Corey Dillon and Adam Vinatieri would be the only potential big individual scorers, but I'm not much of a fantasy guy. Brady will spread it around and so none of the receivers will rack up points. If you are in a league that subtracts for interceptions, which all leagues should, then Brady is even better. The Pats defense is a good choice as well.

Well this is my third question this week, lol and i know they all won't be easy but I've gone to watch practice a couple of times and each time i leave with more questions. Anyways my question is, is the fact that ethan kelly is getting the snaps with the #1s when traylor isn't in a sign that Wilfork is struggling in camp or is Ethan just looking good? I try to watch the D-line when they practice, but they are on the opposite side of the field from the bleachers so it is tough. But during team segments it never seems that Wilfork can get off the blocks. In short i just want to know if you guys think Wilfork is struggling.
Mansfield, Mass. *

I think Wilfork is doing OK, but still has a long way to go. Kelley did work in front of him for a few days and I think that was more to get a better look at Kelley against the better players to make a more accurate evaluation of where he is. Since Sunday, Wilfork has been ahead of him and getting some reps with the first unit.

You told me not to panic about getting all the rookies signed in time for camp and now look... (Watson still waiting in Georgia for the phone to ring). I guess now I'm afraid to ask if I should worry about your boy Banta-Cain making the final cut. ;-)Bring on that Horse Faced Manning and his wanna-be superstars and Let's Play Some Ball!!!

The Coach
Merrimack, N.H.

Coach, you are fired up. I still don't think you should panic about Watson. So he's not here … big deal. They lost a million guys last year and kept on going. When he gets here, he should help, but while he's not, he's on the pay-no-mind list. Isn't that the way it works around here? Don't worry about TBC. He'll be all right. Blocked a field goal in Tuesday's practice.

With all the talk about Rohan Davey taking the number 2 spot at QB I was doing some reading on him. One article stated that during halftime in the World Bowl, he threw a 70-yard pass from his knees. Is this true? Is there any video of him doing this?
Tucson, Ariz.

I believe that's true. I think that was shown during the telecast. I'm not positive on that, but he has a cannon for an arm. He throws the deep ball effortlessly. I'll have to check with our Europe correspondent, Mike Preston, on this one.

Hey guys! I have another Givens question! I noticed that David hasn't been suited up for practices lately? Is he injured? Also do you think that will affect is starting position?
Boston, Mass.

He is injured although I don't know his injury. It's a secret. But I'm not sure he has a starting position to lose. I think he is in the mix and will be fine by the start of the season. He will play plenty whether he starts in two-receiver sets or not. I'm sure there will be two receiver sets with him on the field and some without him.

Hey guys, first of all, I'd like to say great job on your training camp coverage. The news blitz feature is tremendous, good research guys. Now, onto my question. The Patriots have Rodney Bailey signed for a one-year contract and have recently placed him on injured reserve for this season. Now, his contract expires at the end of this season. Why did they not release him and free up some cap room to sign some more players?
Mike "Starchild" Nerix
Cranston, R.I.

They cannot release an injured player like that. It's a CBA violation. The could do it if they reached an injury settlement, but why would the player give up salary because he got hurt on the job? And if he didn't agree to take less in an injury settlement/release situation, then his cap charge would remain unchanged.

From what I have read about the Ben Watson dispute, the wannabe prima donna rookie and his agent are being completely unreasonable. Management should not buckle -- it sets a very bad precedent. Let this arrogant, pretentious and spoiled rookie go back to Georgia. Lets focus on the positive team-minded players. Daniel Graham has worked hard on his consistency and the consummate team player -- Mike Vrabel is always a fan favorite when he is in at tight end. A long lead into my question but I had to get it off my chest -- when is Christian due back from his injury?
Mobile, Ala.

Tell us how you really feel George. Wow. I'm not sure that is an accurate depiction of Benjamin Watson. I think, from meeting him briefly, that he is a well-mannered, mature, polite young man. This is business and his agent is paid to do what is best for the client and his financial future. Is his agent doing that? I don't know. He obviously thinks so. Not being here doesn't help his career, but I don't think this is about greed for him. It's more the length of the deal that has held it up, not the money. The team and the player don't always have the same agenda when it comes to a contract, especially one that will keep him locked up for six years. He needs to get in camp for sure, but this is a two-sided dispute. Christian is now back at practice.

Hey Guys, great job. We hear all the time about how great drafters Bill and Scott are. But I am curious, what draftees haven't worked out for them? Have any draftees went on to sign and start with other teams? With such a huge crop of young talent, do you think any of this year's draftees will not make the cut.
Marc Roy
Pennsville, N.J.

There have been plenty of picks that didn't work out. Brock Williams, Kenyatta Jones, Jabari Holloway, Hakim Akbar, Arther Love, Dave Stachelski, Jeff Marriott and Casey Tisdale to name a few. They have had some solid picks and seemed to have done a good job at the top of the drafts, especially lately. I think as they have implemented their scouting system and their scouts as opposed to the one that was in place when they arrived that things have worked out better because they are now doing a better job identifying their type of player, which was harder to do as they started out and changed the way the scouting was done. I don't think any of their misses have gone on to do much elsewhere.

Hopefully, the third time's the charm. I'll now try blatant attempts at flattery. While the editorial staff at PFW is admirably competent, David Silverman carries PFW. Any reader who asks if a player is still on the team should be force-fed a roster typed on sand paper. I'd give up Bethel Johnson's spleen to get back to the Super Bowl. For the final time: If Andy Katzenmoyer un-retires, do the Patriots control his rights?
Chris Jackson
Worcester, Mass.

I would say they do hold his rights, but would renounce them. It probably hasn't been answered before because Big Kat isn't coming back. He quit because of a neck injury. I also don't think the Patriots would want him back. You are right about David Silverman. He's the man.

I want to thank you for giving me something to read while bored to death at my internship. Remember last summer when Parcells was at his first training camp with the Cowboys and the media talked about him looking for "Parcell's guys". Basically gritty, tough guys that make very little mistakes. Well I would say that a "Belichick guys" are smart, versatile players who have a great deal of humility (ie Kevin Faulk, Dan Klecko, Eugene Wilson). Would you agree?
Reading, Mass.

I would agree. Don't forget durable and tough.

Guys, I'm sure most Patriot fans aren't really sure of what to expect from Ty Warren this year and years to come. What kind of contribution do you see him making this year? Also, what kind of stats do you think he will put up when he reaches his potential ceiling? I know you can never really predict a player's stats but what is your opinion?
Westboro, Mass.

I think you can expect a strong season from Ty Warren. He seems to have separated himself from some of the other guys. I don't know if he'll ever have big sack totals, but I think you'll see his tackles total increase steadily over the next few seasons. Don't expect Richard Seymour now because those guys only come around once in a while. Richard is exceptional.

I am sensing that Tully Banta-Cain has really been solid at camp this year and can make a nice sophomore impact! This guy was believed to be at solid 2nd Rd, potentially low 1st Rd pick in 2003 and we ended up nabbing him in the 7th!! Could this be the guy that really steps it up this season and shows off the Pats draft machine!! Interested in your insight on TBC during pre-season!!
Brooklyn, N.Y.

He will be the man. Tully is having a good camp and I think he will emerge as the surprise of 2004. My colleagues make fun of me for this prediction, but I stand by it.

Here's what I think is gonna happen for some key players on the Patriots, and the Patriots themselves, tell me what you guys think about my predictions and what yours are.Tom Brady - 3770 yards, 64.5% completion, 24 TD, 8 int., 7.2 yds./att.Corey Dillon - 275 carries, 1265 yards, 4.6 yds./car. 11 rush TD., 3 rec. TDDeon Branch - 63 rec., 895 yds., 14.2 yds./rec., 6 TD.Tedy Bruschi - 148 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 int.Rodney Harrison - 118 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 4 int.Patriots - 13-3, Win Superbowl 31-21 against Eagles.

*Colin MacDonnell
Belchertown, Mass. *

I think those are ridiculous predictions. Here are mine:
Tom Brady - 3775 yards, 62.5% completion, 23 TD, 9 int., 7.1 yds./att.
Corey Dillon - 276 carries, 1268 yards, 4.59 yds./car. 10 rush TD., 4 rec. TD
Deion Branch - 64 rec., 896 yds., 14.2 yds./rec., 5 TD.
Tedy Bruschi - 146 tackles, 2 sacks, 5 int.
Rodney Harrison - 120 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 int.
Patriots - 12-4, Win Super Bowl 30-20 against Eagles.
That's more like it.

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