Washington a good acquisition
PHILADELPHIA -- Here in Philly for the third Patriots preseason game. Lincoln Financial Stadium is a keeper. Quite a place. Again, let me thank all of you for a top quality mailbag once again and while we are back at full throttle, let me extend my weekly apology for not being able to answer every question. Many of the questions this week dealt with the Patriots running game and their acquisition of Ted Washington for a fourth-round draft pick. In my opinion it was a no-brainer -- you needed a run-stopper at the nose tackle spot and you didn't have to give up much for him. So why not take a chance on a guy who's 35 and probably not far from the end of his career to help you for this one year?
Good job by Scott Pioli for reacting quickly to the obvious need after watching the middle of the Patriots defense get run over against Washington. I'd been wondering since the draft, who on earth they hadn't addressed this especially after the Bills had strengthened their middle with Sam Adams and the Jets with DeWayne Robertson and Chester McGlockton. Let's see if Washington has something left.
On to some other thoughts:
There's been a lot of wishful thinking that Jets might have drafted and trade up for DeWayne Roberston, who might be a bust. Not so fast. One scout who has watched Robertson closely had this to say: "He hasn't shown anything spectacular yet and I think that's why people are thinking bust. I think the kid is just trying to feel his way out there before he has the confidence to show his speed and strength and really let loose. This kid is going to be thrown into the fire. He doesn't have the luxury of easing into it. He's probably not going to look so good at first, but don't be fooled by that. This kid can play."
Please stop me from making any prognostications based on the preseason. But from people I talk to New England, Buffalo, and New York look better than Miami. The Jets look OK. Their offense seems to be playing well with Chad Pennington able to use all of his weapons, including Santana Moss, Curtis Conway, and Wayne Chrebet, and, so far, the plan to use tight end Anthony Becht more in the passing game has worked. Buffalo's defense could be special when they get it together. New England also looks like a playoff team. I still see Miami being the best team in the end.
I think on any given Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, you're going to have to play the toughest game you've played all season. This team can really beat you down, using Jamal Lewis to wear out defenses and their extraordinary Ray Lewis-led defense to pound on offenses. Continued...