Page 17 of 17 -- A: The national media is reluctantly coming around. You have to understand, if you're looking at the Patriots from a different vantage point than we are, there's nothing that strikes you as being "outstanding" about this team. They rank No. 1 in intangibles and intangibles can't be measured. The national audience doesn't see their ability to win games against all the odds. They don't see the little clock inside their heads which tells them, 'OK, it's time to make a play and win the game.' We see it, but don't blame the national audience for not knowing what we know. As for Lawyer, I doubt very much he's unhappy. He knew his time was up here. He knew the coach felt that his skills were diminishing and no longer fit the direction the Patriots were going in. Milloy has won a Super Bowl and also been in the losing end of one. He's made three Pro Bowls. He's had a very fulfilling career. So this year the Bills were lousy. How do we know they'll be lousy next year? The Bills certainly have a very good defense. This offseason, they have to address the offense and possible the coaching staff.
Hi, Nick. I believe that Antowain Smith will be a factor down the stretch here. I look for him to have a big game against Miami this week. He hasn't done much up to this point but in the cold weather and late in the year are when it seems he does his best. Do you think that Charlie plans to use him more than just short yardage situations this week?
Rich Premerlani, Boston
A: I don't think the backs, any of them, ever have a big role. I mean, there have ben games where Faulk has been excellent and a game or two when Cloud has had some big runs, but this team doesn't feature its backs. Smith may be useful on a slow field like Gillette in bad weather because he knows how to play in that stuff.
If the Pats clinch the division by beating Miami on Sunday, would you expect that Belichick will start resting the nicked up starters and playing more second and third string players to give the team a better chance in the playoffs? Or even perhaps use the remaining games to concentrate on parts of the Pats' play that isn't working well such as the running game?
Chris Smith, Worcester
A: I don't think Bill would do that, probably not the extent that you're talking about.