A .500 Bill due in Foxborough
Page 3 of 18 -- The Patriots are second in the league in takeaways. It's been stressed big time this season. "We always watch film on the opposing team. Who's the guy we can kind of get the ball off?" Seymour said. "(Inside linebacker coach) Pepper Johnson is the guy that's in charge of ball disruption. We watch ball disruption on Saturday nights before we get ready to play on Sunday so it's kind of fresh in our minds. Who can we get the ball off of? How the quarterback holds the ball when he's running and scrambling around. We're conscious of our surroundings. There's definitely a conscious effort on trying to get the ball away."
Celebrity restaurant review: Grady Little, Red Sox manager: Capital Grille. Loves the steak.
Nick, a few questions 1. Of all the off-season acquisitions this year, no one is really talking about the contribution Tyrone Poole has made. He always seems wrapped around opposing receivers and has been rock solid thus far. How long has he been signed for, and what is his long-term commitment to the game still viewed as an issue with the team? (He always seems to be contemplating retirement.) Losing him would hurt in my opinion. 2. Is Daniel Graham really this injury prone? Or is the team listing him injured much like the Red Sox left reliever Kim off the ALCS roster for "injuries?" He seemed ready to have a breakout year, but will he ever be healthy or is he just not climbing the depth chart? Is this a major team concern? 3. I know everyone complains about the running game, but the Pats proved that controlling the line of scrimmage and staying with the run will always give you a good running game. We'll never get Priest Holmes stats, but enough to keep drives going and keep a defense on the field. Do you think that having Faulk, Smith, and Cloud poses great difficulty in planning against the Pats offense since an opponent cannot really be sure what they will get come game time? No single back is a superstar, but the combination does seem to cause mismatches. If Cloud does emerge as a reliable back, do you think they will keep him and elect not to draft a RB in 2004?
-- Chris Moore, Providence, R.I.
A: 1. I've been writing for a long time that Poole might be the most consistent player on the team (other than Seymour). Poole has been terrific in one-on one coverage. He has committed some penalties, but he's also made plays from one of the toughest positions on the field. I think his status will always go year to year because he's a devoted father and husband and it pains him to be away from his family. Poole's deal runs through the '06 season. He averages about $2.005 million per year and he does have six-figure roster bonuses due him in March of the next three seasons. 2. Daniel Graham is the mystery man. Wrote here in camp that he was on his way to a great season, so I don't get it, other than injuries have kept him from realizing his potential. 3. What this team needs from its running game is precisely what they've gotten: they get tough yards when they need them. They're able to extend drives. They're able to kill some clock. Continued...