It comes down to stopping the run
Page 3 of 6 -- A: Good hearing from you AJ. Do me a favor, don't wear No. 12. I was talking to Ty on the phone yesterday from Pittsburgh, where he's rehabbing from ligament surgery on his left foot. He honestly doesn't know how it's going to turn out. The way the Patriots operate, they'll make another attempt to rework his deal so the cap number of more than $12 million is more manageable, but even though he's missed so much of the season, I don't sense he's willing to take a paycut. As he told me, he broke his foot, not his ability. I think he really wants to stay here and finish his career as a Patriot, but he also understands there'll be a demand for him just as there was for Lawyer Milloy. I just did a talk show in Kansas City the other day, and they're talking up Law as a guy who could solve their defensive woes. There will be no shortage of suitors if the Patriots should release him. As well as Samuel and Gay have performed, Law is a special player, one of the few shutdown corners left in the NFL.
I enjoy the mailbag. It's a good information source since I live on the West Coast. Anyway ... I saw on Sportplus last week that you said that you didn't think the Patriots could beat Manning and the supposedly high-scoring Colts. You also said that Pittsburgh is the best team and will win it all. In fact, when you said that Tim Fox rolled his eyes in disbelief over the lack of faith in the hometown team. ... My question is how do you feel about the Patriots facing the Steelers in Pittsburgh now? Will Corey Dillon be a difference maker? And, do you have a renwed faith in the hometown team? That was a mighty impressive win Sunday night!
Cash, Los Angeles
A: Cash, I love your name. It beats Credit. Maybe you've heard that before. Well, I did expect Manning to do his thing, but in the end I did pick the Patriots. Tim always rolls his eyes at me. He used to roll his eyes back when he played and I'd ask him a question. He was actually the best interview of some of the old Patriots, which were a blast to cover. Great personalities and they didn't have watch every word they said. To get back on the subject, I don't understand how anyone could think this would be a slam-dunk for the Patriots. It might be, but going by the pregame facts of both teams, the Steelers are the best team in the league this year. Even the Patriots will tell you that. I really respect that Steelers team. I like Bill Cowher as a coach. He's been so consistent for so long. I don't think the home-field advantage will be huge in Pittsburgh's favor, but an advantage nonetheless, and now they have the underdog status to rally around since the Patriots are favored. The Patriots certainly know how to win games of this magnitude and the Steelers don't. I suppose the Steelers' streak of 15 straight has to end sometime. No doubt, I believe the Patriots and only the Patriots stand between them and a Super Bowl championship. Continued...