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Hey, Nick, fess up: is Bill Belichick the worst interview on earth? I've heard earth worms with more to say. I admit the medication is working and I hear them (the worms) less often but...come on! I've never heard a quote for Bill worth hearing. I want to go on the record as an overall Bill supporter (the guy is brilliant and entertaining on the field) but is he as bad as he seems in an interview? A:
-- Scotty Shannon, Calgary, Ga.
I think every occupation has obstacles. The sports journalism business is all about information. And sometimes that information is hard to get. Bill is a very popular coach and I don't think the average fan cares whether he speaks to the media or not. If I were a season-ticket holder spending huge amounts of money, I would want more information about the team, but there's no human outcry about the lack of information from the fans that I can see. It seems to me if they win a Super Bowl the team can falter for a few years before there's an outcry.
I know Otis Smith is very experienced, but doesn't anyone else out there want some speed on our defense? Also don't you think Deion Branch is a better option at No. 2 than Patten? And when do you think the right time is to let Daniel Graham start? A:
-- Andrew Johnson, Groton, Conn.
I think speed is a very important issue in the NFL today. I think the teams that have it, especially on defense - the Bucs, the Eagles, the Ravens, and now the Bills -- seem to have a good chance of dominating. But there's something to do be said for the experience of an Otis Smith. The Patriots, who have improved their speed, won the Super Bowl with a shutdown defense. They weren't the fastest, but they were the toughest. As for Deion Branch, I would say the Patriots would love to see Branch overtake Patten as the No. 2 guy, but that remains to be seen. Graham should probably start, if not right away, then sometime during the season. He could be a special player if he stays healthy.
What are your thoughts about putting Damien Woody at guard and having Daniel Koppen, the draft pick from BC, at center? A:
-- Bill Perry, Dudley
I don't think Koppen is ready for that. I think he'll be a good player, but give him a season to get his feet wet. Woodey is a terrific center, and he's been doing some successful shotgun snapping so perhaps they will allow him to stay at center this season.
Nick, wow, another exciting year to look forward to! I've been a big fan and this is my first time writing to you so here goes: the Patriots first four games are against some pretty tough defenses. Do you think we'll actually be able to put a running game together in time for our season opener at Buffalo? A:
-- Mike Maccini, Santa Monica, Calif.
The one good thing about playing Buffalo off the bat is that you're going to have two guys who are going to be motivated to beat their old teams in Antowain Smith and Larry Centers. Smith always seems to have good games against the Bills, and I know Centers is upset at the way the Bills let him go this off-season. Continued...