Let the real games begin
Page 16 of 19 -- A: They do take the preseason seriously. I think teams respect them for it. I don't think you'll see payback for that. The Eagles, for instance are a much better team than they showed in the third preseason game. I would guess McNabb, Vincent, Dawkins and now Staley, will turn it up a notch.
Do you know how the Ted Washington trade was initiatied? Meaning, did the Bears send out feelers to the NFL, or did the Pat's contact the Bear's first?
-- Eric Joniec, Barrington, NH
A: I get the feeling the Patriots always knew they might be able to get him from the Bears. Belichick and Bears GM Jerry Angelo are good friends and are always talking. I'm sure the topic came up long before the trade happened.
Hi, Nick. I'm a Dolphins fan living here in New England -- insert your December slide joke here -- and I follow the AFC East very closely. Right now I would rank Miami and New England evenly at the top of the division, but with Pennington out I think the Jets are a .500 team this year and I'm not sold on Buffalo's defense yet. Of course they're improved, but could they have gotten any worse? They're a 9-7 team this year. New England's running game and Miami's passing game are the 2 weaknesses for thsoe clubs? Which do you think is more significant?
Chris Roney, Grafton
A: I'll always pick a deficient running game as being a harder obstacle to overcome. In the Dolphins' case they have the best running back in the game, and that improves their chances of being able to keep the defense on its toes so they complete a pass. The Patriots have to be extremely efficient in the passing game without the threat of a run.
Nick, Have you heard anything about the Pats wanting to take a look at RB James Jackson from the Browns? In 3 preseason games he has carried the ball 25 times for 134 yards and a 5.36 average per carry. Right now he is buried beneath William Green and Jamel White on the depth chart and the team just drafted Lee Suggs, so I can't see where Jackson would fit in on that team. Its obvious he has talent or his college coach, Butch Davis, would never have invested a high third round pick in him. Granted, Davis quickly turned around and drafted Green the next year, so maybe there is an issue, but sometimes players just need a fresh start. Perhaps Jackson just chafed under the expectations of his college coach? I think the Pats would have to trade for him, I don't see him slipping past Parcells on the waiver wire with that dreadful RB situation in Dallas. Thanks for the response and your thoughts.
-- Joe Kilinski, Gaithersburg, MD Continued...