Why do you think Charlie Weiss calls 3 pass plays with 4 minutes to go in Indy? Shouldn't he have run as much time off the clock as possible? I think the Pats used like 9 seconds for a set of downs. It is maddening to me such poor clock management. Thank God for the defense and their goal line stance.
Andrew, your feelings were very common throughout the media. The answer from Bill Belichick was that the offense was essentially using the short passes as "glorified outside runs" that the staff felt were the team's "best chance to move the ball and pick up a couple of first downs." Had they worked, the clock certainly would have run down. But they didn't and it once again exposed the team's lack of a running game that creates an offensive inability to run out the clock in tight games. If there is one thing that could hurt this team down the stretch and into the playoffs it could be that inability to run when necessary in key spots.
You claim emphatically that the Patriots are not "lucky" and that they deserve more respect. From someone with a broader perspective and no agenda, I say you are wrong. They are lucky. Here's why: They barely beat Miami earlier this season, the ONLY reason they won was because of two missed field goals by Miami (I consider the block a miss, he kicked it low). NE is the only team in the league that can throw 2 interceptions and fumble the ball on their own 20 yd. line in the second half of a game, while squandering a 30 point lead and still win. Week in and week out they play poorly for most of the game and make critical mistakes, allowing their opponents plentiful opportunities like the two I just mentioned, they have no running game and yet nobody seems to be able to step up and knock them off. It seems that other teams lose to them because of mistakes, yet somehow NE never pays for their own mistakes. I call this lucky, and I've seen it before. Last year the Anaheim Mighty Ducks got lucky and rode their luck to the Stanley Cup Finals. I've also seen it in years past with the NY Yankees. I maintain this: it's NOT entertaining to watch a team that cannot lose no matter how poorly they play. It just isn't. Put the Pats in the Super Bowl, print the tickets. Sorry, they are more lucky than skilled. And when and if the day comes that they face a really good team, I think they will be exposed. I just don't know if there are any good teams out there.
Boy is somebody a little cranky since the old hometown team came back to NFL reality? All teams get breaks. All teams have breaks go against them. In the end, success is what you do with the breaks you get and how you overcome those that go against you. The Patriots are 11-2 with a nine-game winning streak. Overcoming your own mistakes doesn't make you lucky, it makes you good. In fact that is a big part of what separates winning teams from the rest of the pack. While you may be right that there aren't any truly dominant teams in the NFL, the Patriots are as talented as most teams and are simply playing better than just about anyone.
Here's the situation. QB drops back to pass, a LB is standing about 10 yards off the line of scrimmage intensely watching the QB during the play and barely moving - basically he's just standing there big as day. Next thing you know QB throws a perfect pass right between the numbers of the still standing there LB. What gives? The announcers are always like "He didn't see him". How is that? He's 10 yards away, right in front of the QB, and not moving. I see this all the time. Tom Brady did it twice in the Colts game and he's done it before. I see other QBs do it. BUT HOW DO YOU NOT SEE THE BIG LINEBACKER JUST STANDING THERE??? I don't get it. If you can't answer at least I got to vent. Go PATS!
Having never played quarterback at any level, I will try to answer based on observation more than experience. First of all a quarterback is trying to make his reads while looking at a number of different receiving options. Many times in the scenario you are talking about he is looking for a receiver who starts out on the outside and runs some sort crossing or drag pattern. While he is looking at the receiver he tries to lead his man and hit him in stride. In doing so he may not have a chance to look ahead of the receiver to locate the linebacker lurking in the middle of the field. Secondly, the quarterback is standing behind at least five of his own blockers as well as three-plus pass rushers. His vision to some areas of the field may be blocked a bit. When you take into account all the movement that is going on on both side of the ball with 21 other moving parts, it is actually rather impressive that quarterbacks are as proficient as they are in terms of reading the field and not throwing more interceptions. I know I certainly wouldn't want to try and focus on three or more receivers and their defenders while also avoiding numerous 300-pound defensive linemen who are trying to kill me.
I am only 20 years old but I am a long-time Patriots fan, and I wanted to ask you about my all-time favorite Patriots player...Ben Coates (I still wear his jersey every Sunday for the games). I wanted to ask what his chances are for getting his number retired. I mean, he was a tight end yet as I write this he has the second most receptions and second most touchdowns of anyone who has ever played for the Patriots. Also, he could run block, made a lot of Pro Bowls, had fantastic hands, and it always seemed to take 2 or 3 guys to bring him down. Thanks.
I am not sure Coates will have his number retired, but I would think he is a virtual lock to be entered into the Patriots Hall of Fame. I think the team is cutting back on retiring numbers since it makes it very difficult to outfit a 50-plus member team (80-plus in training camp) when you start eliminating various numbers. There is no question Coates was the most dominating true tight end in football during a few years in the 1990s. I am sure when the five-year waiting period that comes after a player retires is completed the team will officially recognize Coates as one of the franchise's best.
Why in God's name do people care why power rankings have the PATS at 2, 3, or 4? It makes no difference at all. What matters is (1. A productive season.) (2. A playoff bid). (3. A solid run through the playoffs.) (4. A Super Bowl victory.) I think the PATS will accomplish all of this and in the end be ranked #1. Then people can stop whining!
I've asked this question a number of time and you've never answered it....but I'm a pest and I'll ask every week till you do so....."What is the deal with the lighthouse? I thought it was suppose to beam into the sky welcoming fans to the game....Will it ever get lighted? I'm a season ticket holder and have always wondered since Gillette opened up last year.
At this point there are no plans to do anything different with the lighthouse. For the immediate future, Stadium people are focusing on improving other things that have more of a direct effect on fans but that does not mean something might not be done with the lighthouse during the offseason.
What happened to the Patriots in the 1968 season? In the history of the Pats it mentions them playing in Birmingham Alabama. In the Year by year history of the Pats, 1968 is "missing". Can you enlighten me? I would like to know about this to enhance my knowledge of this great club.
Adrian D. Duffen
Yes, the Patriots and Jets met in Birmingham, Ala. on Sept. 22, 1968. The Patriots home field that season was Fenway Park and a scheduling conflict with the Red Sox forced a change in venue. Birmingham was selected as the alternate location of the game in part due to the potential drawing power at the ticket gates of Jets quarterback and former University of Alabama star Joe Namath. The Jets won the game 47-31 in front of a crowd of 29,192.
I would like to know who would get home field if NE wins the rest of its games plus KC loses to Denver and then wins the rest of their games?
Larry your scenario (as much as Bill Belichick dislikes looking ahead past a single opponent) very well could happen (as the Chiefs did lose to Denver on Sunday) and the Patriots would be the number one seed in the playoffs and have home field throughout the postseason. New England would win the tiebreaker thanks to an 11-1 conference record compared to Kansas City's 10-2 mark.
It's safe to say that the Patriots can be mentioned with the ranks of mid 80's 49ers,early 90's Cowboys. We know how to seal a victory and not choke in the big dance.
Aren't you getting a little bit ahead of yourself? All of the sudden the Patriots have gone from getting no national respect to a dynasty? The team has won one Super Bowl. Last year it didn't even make the playoffs. Yes the team is on a roll this season, but comparing it to teams that won multiple Super Bowls is a tad premature. I respect your enthusiasm and dedication to the home team, but I have to look at it with a little more objectivity. But if Bill Belichick's team can go to and win its second Super Bowl in three seasons, especially within the current parity of the NFL, then you can start to talk about this team in a more grand light.
Hi guys,A couple of weeks ago you wrote that Ricky Williams prefers the dark eye shield for various reasons, but mostly because it hides his eyes. This way defenders don't know where he's looking. How can that be a legal device approved by the NFL? It doesn't seem to give defenders a fair chance at stopping an already powerful runner. I can see an amber shaded eye shield, but not something so close to opaque that it gives the runner an advantage. Any thoughts?
North Kingstown, R.I.
Just because you could see where Williams is looking either before a play or during one, doesn't mean you could stop him. Defenders are free to wear similar shields to protect/conceal their own eyes, so you are talking about a level playing field. I really don't think the shield has been much of a factor in Williams' success.
Last week Mike of Davenport, FL asked the meaning and significance of the phrase "unabated to the quarterback". Bryan's answer simply defined the word "unabated" but he did not explain the rule. I had the same question and researched it.Normally, when a defensive player jumps offside the play continues until the ball is whistled dead.However if the defending player reaches a spot parallel to the offensive line it is deemed by the official that he will get a "free shot" at the defenseless QB and therefore the play is immediately whistled dead, before it's completed. The call then becomes, "Offside, defense, number NN, unabated to the quarterback".
Paul, thanks for your help. Are you busy on Tuesdays? Maybe you could enter our little rotation answering the mailbag. Just kidding, but thanks for the information.
My brother and I always wondered why the Patriots didn't release Ken Walter before? Since he has been doing so bad, why didn't they release him before now? Tieing him to a tree in western MASS seemed reasonable after these terrible performances.
Alex, you finally got your wish and ran Walter out of town. Are you happy? Really though, I am not sure that the Patriots felt there was a punter available who was much better. I guess last week it just reached the point where the team felt that anyone they brought couldn't be much worse. Walter has struggled all season and now Brooks Barnard has the chance to prove his worth. He got off to a decent start last weekend in the snowy conditions at Gillette Stadium with 10 punts for a 36.5 avg. and 32.5 net avg. with four kicks downed inside the twenty, including two that he angled out of bounds. It will be interesting to watch his performance as the Patriots proceed toward and into the postseason.
A comment to all you Patriot fans up there. We are quite aware of your team and the general opinion is that the Patriots are going to be a huge handful to deal with come playoff time. You certainly have our respect. Signed Life long Chiefs fan
Kansas City, Mo.
I guess this means the Patriots at least have the respect of the fans of one of the other top NFL teams. So much for the "no respect" thing. Looks like as New England sports fans we will have to find something else to complain about. How about the Red Sox possibly trading Nomar, can we complain about that?
I'm an avid Pats fan with a simple question (I hope). Why does it take so long, if ever, sometimes to get written transcripts of press conferences posted? The Indy post game isn't up yet (Tues evening). Not able to get audio but love to read them.
John, the press conferences on Patriots.com come courtesy of the Patriots media relations department. They are very busy, especially with the growing numbers of media that are swarming around the hottest team in football, and sometimes it takes a little longer for the transcripts to get done. Rest assured, we post the always-entertaining and informative press conferences as soon as they become available. If you are looking for something to keep you busy while you wait for the tantalizing transcripts I heard that your neighbor just painted his fence and it is drying, wanna go watch? Just kidding, I realize that fans enjoy Bill Belichick's daily meetings with the press and I am glad you visit Patriots.com for your updated Patriots information.
What is Bethel Johnson's time in the 40? While I greatly appreciate the consistency and toughness that the Pats "skill" players bring to the table, it's nice to have a game breaking threat in the mix. P.S. Life is good for this lifetime Pats fan residing in Raiders country!! Go Pats!!!
Johnson ran a 4.27 in the 40 at the Combine last spring in Indianapolis. As his former college coach described it, Johnson is "scary fast."
I believe money has something to do with the Pats seemingly getting no respect.For the media, the money is in fantasy football and the Pats don't have any "hot" fantasy football players. The Patriots don't figure into their marketing strategy, like say... Michael Vick or Priest Holmes.Even with the naive view that the media isn't consciously pushing certain fantasy players, it may still distort their view of reality if they spend time looking at it.Look at the surprise in the media when Chad Pennington outplayed Steve McNair. It was no surprise. Chad has always been top notch. They just got caught up in their own hype.
Lee, you have an interesting take on the respect thing that has become such a bone of contention for Patriots fans. There is no question that New England's team-first, all-for-one-and-one-for-all approach doesn't translate into fantasy numbers. Few Patriots would be considered as the best at their individual positions in the NFL, but as a team they simply win games. Just like the old saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts. I couldn't have said it better myself.
I was wondering the chances of Rosevelt Colvin playing in the playoffs or is the offseason needed as well to recover from his injury.
Colvin is on injured reserved, and therefore cannot play for the Patriots again this season (including the postseason). He is recovering from surgery on his hip and according to all reports is doing quite well. He has been in the New England locker room recently walking around with just the slight aide of a single crutch. At this point though, the best Colvin and Patriots fans can hope for is a full recovery and return to the field for the 2004 season.
Here is an interesting question. Do you know if when Ben Coates was TE he did any running plays? I believe he did, and with some success. I think Christian Fauria would be great at this, due to the fact that he runs well after the catches he has. I am wondering why the Pats don't use their TE as much anymore since Coates left.
I hate to blow up your argument, but Coates only rushed the ball three times in his career with the Patriots for a total of minus-4 yards. Fauria has great hands and is a solid red zone target for Tom Brady and the offense, but even New England's struggling rushing attack has better options than using the tight ends to carry the ground load. Nice try though, I admire your creative problem-solving strategy.
How many teams have managed to have a 100 yard rusher against the Pats this year? Don't you feels this is an important statistic that points out one of the strengths of the Pats defense?
The Patriots have given up just a single 100-yard rusher this season, Denver's Clinton Portis. In fact the defense has allowed more than 100 yards to just four teams (Buffalo, Philadelphia, Washington and Denver). There is no question this is a primary key to the New England defensive success and success for the team in general. The Patriots couldn't stop anyone on the ground a year ago and the fact that the area is now a strength of this defense speaks loudly for the positive additions the team made defensively and the job the coaching staff has done.
I have the greatest respect for K Walter. No excuses, best son to his family, best husband and best father to his son. Yet he was always there for other punters needing a little help. He fell into a slump. We all love him in California. The Patriots have a good following and hated to see him released. He will persevere. Everyone has a little blip in life. Good luck to you Ken.
It is nice to see fans differentiate between a guy failing as a player and failing as a person. We all struggle at times in our work, it just doesn't necessarily take place in front of a national TV audience. Walter was a key member of the 2001 Patriots Super Bowl team and should be remembered as such. I never really got to know Walter personally, but I certainly have no reason to believe that he is anything but a good person. I second your good wishes for him and his future.
What is the Banner Policy? I can't find it anywhere.Thank you
The following was taken from the 2003 Patriots Fan Guide: "Banner Policy--To maintain our image of having the best fans in the NFL, stadium management reserves the right to approve all banners. In addition, stadium management reserves the right to prohibit banners due to space availability, banner size, interference with other fans, or message content." Joe, I know it is a little vague but I hope that helps you a little bit.
Isn't clear to see that The Patriots are the next DYNASTY in the NFL? Just look at the organization from afar...as it reminds us of how the 49ers and the Cowboys of old handled things. We have a solid Quarterback who is not only good and young, but he's getting better and has confidence in the system (hint: just like Montana and Bradshaw). Our low-maintenance players are skillful enough to not only share the wealth but improve year by year. Then we have the coaching staff...need I say more? Finally, the Pats have the best fans...and we could be better if we'd support our team through the tough times as well....
Boy, the snow must be beautiful when viewed through your rose-colored glasses. I wish I could see it. In reality though, the Patriots are a good team right now. As I said in a previous answer (see above) if the team can go to and win its second Super Bowl in three seasons, maybe then you can start to talk about it in the same sentence as previous multiple Super Bowl winners. But let's not jump to conclusions just yet.
I know we have a lack of running game and that we have Antowain Smith, Mike Cloud and Kevin Faulk. But tell me what ever happened to Antwoine Womack? I know he was pretty good in college but got hurt, is he going to be playing next year here? and do you think that the Patriots are going to let A. Smith go and pursue some one else from the draft or even through free agency?
First, Womack was cut at the end of training camp and to my knowledge has not signed anywhere else. He has no ties to the Patriots at this time and it would be a strange turn of events to see him return to New England. The question on Smith is an interesting one. He signed a five-year contract following the 2001 season, but the contract came in tiers. According to published reports he is due a $500,000 bonus this season that kicks in his 2004 salary of $2.4 million. If the team chooses not to pay the bonus Smith would become a free agent and the team would have a dead money cap hit of approximately $2 million (nearly $2 million less than if he remained on the roster) for Smith in 2004. Based on his production to date, and the fact that he was even inactive two weeks ago in Indianapolis, we could be witnessing the final games of Smith's career in New England.
What do you think it is harder for players, playing in 100 degree summer heat, or winter freezing temperatures?
I would say the heat is much harder to play in. In the cold you can wear extra clothing and you actually get warmer the more you play. When it is hot, there is very little you can do about it and can put yourself in risk of health complications as you play. Dehydration and heat stroke are just some of the complications that can arise in the sometimes-unbearable heat and sun of the summer.
Please help! What is that inspiring piece of music that they play with the highlight reel before the game ... right before they come out of the tunnel? Thanks.
Carmina Burana. Karl Orff is the composer.
Do you think that it was a good decision to bring in a rookie punter this late in the season, especially since the patriots are a playoff contender. Also he his going to have a lot of weight put on him to hold the snaps for Adam Vinatieri and to punt.
As we saw last week, Brooks Barnard got off to a solid start with the Patriots in some very difficult weather conditions. He certainly has room for improvement, but considering the circumstances I think he did OK. And since Damon Huard took care of the holding duties, Barnard should be able to focus for now on his job as a punter for a strong defensive-minded team. Field position could become a key factor in the postseason and whether Barnard feels the pressure or not, he will be expected to perform well. He is no longer the new guy making his NFL debut. Now he is another player expected to produce for the good of the team, a team that is battling for the top playoff seed in its conference. Boy I feel like I am using coach speak here. My bad, but as coaches like to say, "It is what it is."
CAN YOU TELL ME THE BEST RECORD THE PATRIOTS HAVE ENDED A SEASON WITH AND THE YEAR IT WAS DONE
The Patriots have now matched a franchise record for wins in a season with 11 (also done in 2001, 1996, 1986, 1985, 1978 and 1976). In terms of winning percentage, the franchises best season came in 1976 when the team went 11-3 for a .786 winning percentage on the old, 14-game schedule.
I would like to know who decides which games are to be broadcast. I live in Pennsylvania and NFL.com has the Patriots game listed as a nationally televised game, but my local CBS affiliate is airing the Bills-Jets game instead. They claim the NFL tell them which games to air and they have nothing to say about it. I would like to know if it's true or if I'm being fed a line of Lebanon bologna. My local CBS affiliate is WHPtv 21 out of Harrisburg, Pa.
* Ginette Prendergast
New Oxford, Pa.*
The decision as to which games are broadcast comes thanks to the NFL, the network and your local affiliate. The team has no power in decisions made in other markets. The only thing I can suggest to you is that you subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV so that you yourself can chose any NFL game you want to watch.
Could you please tell me who wore #28 on the first helmet in 1960. It was the white helmet with the 3 cornored hat with the number 28 below it.I have been trying to get this helmet and I was just able to get it on E-Bay.
I did a little research for you Gary, but I didn't come up with much. The team had more than 300 players in training camp for the inaugural season, meaning any number of players could have worn the number 28 at some time. But based on the Patriots all-time roster in the 2003 media guide no player ever wore the number during the 1960 regular season. It looks like you might just have to enjoy the rare piece of memorabilia you acquired without the benefit of knowing the specifics of what I am sure was an interesting past on some unnamed player's head.
Could you clarify why athletes wear black face paint (looks oil based), under their eyes? My best guess is something to do with light refraction properties of different mediums (air to paint) but exactly... ?
Janet Ann Saccoccio, M.D.
The short answer is, as you referred to so eloquently, to help avoid glare from the sun and stadium lights. I may try to sound like a smart guy in these answers, but it's just an act. I can't give you any scientific data to show if or how the eye black works. For all I know it could be a myth, but I do know that a lot of players wear it and believe in it. In the end I guess that is all that matters. Confucius say, "Man who wear black paint under eyes catch ball better."
I have a problem. I have a NFL Draft party every year. My fiancé' just qualified for the Boston Marathon which will be on 4/19. This sounds about when the draft is usually held. Can you tell me the date of the draft this year? I suspect I'll be up there instead of having my party.(At least we'll only have the 32nd pick in addition to the Ravens')
The 2004 NFL Draft will be held on the weekend of April 24/25. So you luck out. You can go support your fiancé and still have your party. I hope her training is going well and that she has a good run on race day. As a short, stocky, stubby fellow, I appreciate the determination, physical ability and mental toughness that goes along with running a marathon.
What happened to Adrian Klemm? Is he still on the team or on injured reserve or something?.
Coral Springs, Fla.
Klemm is on injured reserve.
What is the correct way to spell it, Foxboro or Foxborough?
There really is no answer to that question. I guess the official way would be Foxborough. But from the Patriots former stadium to highway signs and numerous other things, the Foxboro spelling is used. Both seem to be acceptable and correct. Personally I think Foxboro is easier, but it doesn't sound quite as impressive.
Is there a player named Brandon Harper on the roster? I believe he is, but I can't find his name anywhere on the team's website. Thanks.
* Shawn Adrienne
North Vancouver, BC*
To date, Mike Cloud's total TDs (5) more than double Faulk's or Smith's. Size is obviously a factor but is there any kind of plan as to Smith or Cloud getting the minutes from week to week? Last week, weather was given as the reason for a late decision to go with Smith. Explain!
Do you live near the courthouse? That would be pretty cool. As he has said all season, Bill Belichick continues to say that he expects all three players to contribute and be productive for the Patriots. When all three are healthy Faulk is the third-down, open-field, change-of-pace type back, although he has had more traditional carries this season. Smith is the more powerful, straight-ahead runner who has the size to take the pounding that comes with 20-30 carries, something he showed against the Dolphins. While Cloud had the impressive first game against the Titans, and also has taken advantage of a few goal-line carries, he has not established himself in any one role. He would appear to have the most unique all-around package of skills of the three players, but whether he can establish a larger role for himself remains to be seen. Right now Faulk is the explosive player and Smith is the workhorse. Cloud has yet to establish his role.
I just wanted to comment on Matt Light's awesome beard, it gives him such a cool look, like a Viking warrior of old. Any chance you guys could inquire as to how he maintains such a cool looking beard? I've often considering growing a beard, but have never had the guts to go through the scruffy phase when it doesn't look like much, nor would I know the best way to maintain it. Once again, cool dominating look for a dominating player.
I will pass along your comments Tom and see if I can get any tips for you.
During the Monday night Rams/Browns game St. Louis challenged an interception made by Cleveland. The interception was upheld, but the officials ruled that after the catch the player was down by contact and changed the spot of the ball. I thought that during a challenge, the officials can only rule on the issue being challenged, and even if they see something else during the review, they can't call it. Am I wrong?
The NFL's Director of Officiating Mike Pereira discusses NFL officiating questions every week on the NFL Network and he addressed this very issue earlier this season. He said that once the official is reviewing the video on a play he is looking not only at the specific review that was brought up by a coach, but also for "any aspect of the play that is reviewable." In a game earlier this season between Pittsburgh and Arizona, Arizona challenged a play as to whether a receiver caught the ball in the end zone for a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal play. The ruling on the field was that he was short of the end zone. The review showed that the player had indeed caught the ball in the end, but it also showed the fact that the receiver had been pushed out of bounds (with the quarterback outside of the pocket so there is no illegal contact) and then came back to catch the ball. So even though the review showed he caught the ball in the end zone, the officials called a penalty for illegal touching. Arizona had to take the five-yard penalty and try the play over again. That is just one example of a review going beyond the specific aspect of a play that was challenged, a practice that according to Pereira is well within the rights of the referee.
I remember reading recently on Ask PFW that Doug Flutie played for New England. I didn't know this! When was he a Pat, and for how long?
Flutie played quarterback for the Patriots from 1987-1989. And by the way, I guess you don't take it as a chauvinistic comment that you spend all your time in the Kitchen-er? OK, that was bad. But this has been a long mailbag this week and I am worn out.