To each his own
Page 7 of 19 -- A: You got me Richard. I didn't know there was a band called Bush.
What's up with Tedy Bruschi? Injured or not?
-- Ray Beattie, Boston
A: He's injured, but we don't know how badly. We'll get to see him for the first time Thursday, so maybe we'll have a clearer picture.
Keep up the great work, Nick. It is great to keep informed down in Connecticut. Especially since I grew up in Framingham and remain a Boston sports fan. My question: it is now obvious that we have done very well without Lawyer Milloy. If we had kept Lawyer, and the money he had coming to him on his contract, it probably would have meant cutting some other players that we were able to keep. Could you speculate on what player(s) might have been on the bubble and kept or who might have gotten the ax due to our keeping Lawyer Milloy and his contract? Thanks for answering this purely speculative question and keep up the good work. While I would wish for your mailbag to be year round, I will hope to see some special editions around draft time.
-- Paul Cook, Norwalk, Conn.
A: The only thing I can speculate on is that the money saved probably got them Ted Washington. I don't think they would have had to cut anyone other than minimum-salaried type guys. Don't forget, his contract is a burden on the team this offseason. They are paying some $4.2 million of his acceleration on next year's cap, and I'd venture to guess that will hinder them in signing a good free-agent.
Smith or Cloud? In Houston, against the Panther defense, it would seem like Cloud's, agility and speed might be better suited than Smith's hard driving, head on style? To make contributions all year and then be denied a uniform in the Super Bowl seems heartless to one of them. Any comments?
-- John Calkins, Ann Arbor, Mich.
A: Nothing would shock me, but Smith is running very well. Smith will be the man.
It's kinda difficult not to sound over-confident about the Patriots chances against the Carolina Panthers. (During the Super Bowl they'll look more like the Carolina Punters.) I never liked the Cowboys being referred to as "America's Team," but I understood it considering the whole romantic notion of the American Cowboy. I think the Patriots are on the verge of taking over that title -- after they win this next Super Bowl title! I just have one question, Nick. It's great to have an extremely hard hitting and intimidating defense, but after watching Eugene Wilson "launch" his shoulder into the head of that Colts receiver, I couldn't help but think about what happened to the great Darryl Stingley. Is it OK if the "assassin" is on our side? Or should we, the Patriot Nation, after suffering the reality of what that kind of brutal (and seemingly un-empathetic) type of hit can result in, ask that a line be drawn with our defensive coordinator's teachings? Don't get me wrong, I love the physical nature of football as much as anyone, but that receiver was not hit to dislodge the ball from his grasp, he was hit in a vicious way just for effect. I make this distinction because, as you know, Eugene was fined for that same exact hit in a game at the beginning of the season, but that hit was to separate the ball from the receiver. Wilson appealed that ruling, and won his appeal. This hit seemed different. And eerily reminiscent of sadder times. Your thoughts, Nick?
-- Paul DeSalvo, Derry, N.H. Continued...