-- John Murray, Weymouth
Kicking off a new season
Page 6 of 15 --
Nick, Last year you offered an impressive positional analysis of where the Pats needed to upgrade through the draft and free agency. It differed from the conventional wisdom and I felt it was insightful. I thought you had listed offensive guard as the number one position to upgrade. Do I remember that correctly? What is your feeling on the current status of the offensive line? I realize Bill & Co. could not have known that Stephen Neal would still be injured.
-- Dave Pomerantz, Marshfield
A: I think guard is a key position because they have older players in Mike Compton, and Andruzzi who has had some injuries there. I like the veteran pickups of Bill Conaty and Brendan Stai, from the standpoint that they are serviceable veterans who can step in and play if need be. I think Neal was coming on to the point where he could have been special. I think he's a big loss.
Nick: What's the current status of Antwoine Womack? Do you think if they knew in April 2002 what they know now they'd still use that pick for him again? Is his knee OK? Can he cut on it? Did he take the conditioning test? pass it? Is he not practicing for medical reasons, conditioning reasons, or phsycological reasons? Rehab / PT? Maybe I'm too impatient but it seems like Robert Edwards came back faster from a worse injury.
-- Marc Stringer, Connersville, Ind.
Nick, Certainly the Pats have improved on defense. The real question is have they improved their offensive line enough to run the ball consistently. Any thoughts?
-- Tim Hurlburt, Cambridge
I don't see how the most glaring need from last season -- nose tackle -- has been addressed. Warren, Seymour, Green, Pleasant, and Hamilton are all optimal ends in the 3-4. Klecko and Kelley are true but longshot rookies. Clearly, with the massive upgrade in team speed and quickness on both sides of the ball there is some plan, but how can it make up for this hole in the middle of the D?
-- Timothy Cardozo, New York, N.Y.