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Can you please update me about Cedric Cobbs. What is the word from the team? Is he intended to play this season? PS - It is great to see you back with your Q/A column. I thoroughly enjoyed it last season.
Paul, Southport, England
A: Paul, they expect Cedric back. He's on the physically unable to perform list which means he has to be out for at least the first six games of the season. I believe they were impressed with him during the minicamps.
I have noticed that Adam Vinatieri's kickoff is much better this season than previous few years. This gives Pats much better field position. Do you know what happened to him during the offseason? Did he do any special training on that? Thank you.
A: I think Adam always works on it. He knows that's been a weakness in his game and a source of concern by the coaches. He works a lot on technique. We know he has a strong leg, so that's not a concern. He had a bad back most of the first half of last season, but now he doesn't appear to have any back problems.
Glad to see your column back. You've been following the Patriots for many years now. Who have been some of your favorite Patriots players on a personal level? Guys that you enjoyed talking with, were always available for a quote, didn't seem too full of themselves, etc.? And lastly, dare I ask, who have been some of your least favorite players (past or present)? Thanks.
Don, Bangor, Maine
A: There are so many I've enjoyed. Bledsoe, Brady, Troy Brown, Vinatieri, Coates, Gash, Glenn, Light, Woody, Wohlabaugh, Meggett, Curtis Martin, Bruschi, Harrison, Ted Johnson, Law, Milloy, McGinest, DeOssie, Grogan, Fox, Brock, Pleasant, Bryan Cox. I'm leaving out a thousand guys. As far as people I didn't enjoy -- not many -- Ted Washington comes to mind.
Welcome back Nick. Yet another sign that football season is into full swing. I'm sure you are getting a slew of questions so I'll keep mine simple: Do you think the Patriots will have any interest in signing Damon Huard now that he has been released. If not, what is the plan if (God forbid) Brady goes down for any period of time?
David, Burlington, Vt.
A: I'm surprised Huard doesn't appear to be in their plans. They must feel Rohan and Miller can do the job. I believe they would go with Rohan first if Brady went down.
The following quote is from you. "I don't think I've ever seen a team do so much to help a competing team within the division get so good so fast." This is obviously in reference to the Bills after the Milloy transaction. My question is how come I have never seen you write an article about how Belichick has consistently gotten every major move right while all the "experts" have gotten the majority of them wrong (I have read every article over the last 3 years and not one has been about this subject). Just last week you wrote Belichick may have cost NE an undefeated season last year because he cut Milloy right before the start of the season. When Belichick cut Milloy you wrote in a mailbag how you wish you could have your preseason prediction back because you would be shocked if they were any better than 8-8.
A: There's a whole archive at the Globe with positive stories about Belichick's moves. You must have missed a few. I'm certainly not going to write that this media guy wrote this or this TV guy said that. Who cares? We write about the athletes and the teams, not sportswriters and sportscasters. Sportswriters and sportscasters aren't the story and never will be. The quote you pulled out was timely then. The Patriots had come off a non-playoff season, decided to dump their top safety over a contract dispute and then he goes and leads a divisional rival to a 31-0 win. Things didn't look too well for the Patriots at that juncture. I also wrote at the time of the Milloy decision that we should give Belichick the benefit of the doubt on this move (that was also written in a mailbag that you can look up). I think after the 31-0 loss to Buffalo, it was a real low point here. I received 800 e-mails that week from all over the world, that I still keep in a file, and most of them were gloom and doom and very critical of Belichick. How could you not feel that way? Michael Holley's book gives a strong depiction of how down this team was after that move. I know they lost to Washington a couple of weeks later, but how can you not wonder whether this team would have been undefeated if that situation had not occurred? It's not as if Milloy was or is a bad player. After the Patriots' players decided to regroup and get themselves together, they never lost again.