New York state of mind
Page 8 of 19 -- -- Jake, Cambridge
A: Yeah, I believe it's way premature for dynasty talk. On Jackson, I have heard good things about him, and I know the Patriots scouts are taking a long look at him. Who knows which of the backs they'll select in April, right? But he will be one of the guys who seems to fit Belichick's style of back. No doubt.
This long snapper/holder/punter situation has me more concerned than all of the team's other personnel issues combined. The Pats only glaring weaknesses (I choose to label their running game as "below average") has been their inability to play ball control and manage field position during tight games as effectively as in recent yeas. Now we have a revolving door at punter, a new holder who can't devote all of his practice time to holding because he's a backup QB, and a long snapper pulled off the scrap heap. Also, in case you haven't noticed, Adam has had a poor year. Not a subpar year, a poor year. He's missed roughly 30 percent of his field goal attempts, had an extra extra point blocked. He just sent one FG over the top of the left post last Sunday (which ultimately was counted) and double-doinked an extra point off both uprights. It's only a matter of time before these weaknesses cost us a close one. That 20-17 SB victory was made possible with effective clock management, field positioning, and clutch place kicking, for example. Your thoughts?
-- Chuck Johnston, Concord, N.H.
A: Chuck. I share your concerns, but so far? Not a problem. Who ever is in there has been very efficient. Don't worry about Adam. This is his time of the year, if you know what I mean. He's a money kicker.
Hi, Nick. Everyone seems to blame the lack of a running game on the runners. I feel that the offensive line is just as much if not more at blame. No runner can be successful if the holes are not there. Even Martin in his last year with the Pats was not making great yardage. Perhaps we should be looking for offensive linemen skilled in blocking for the running game in the draft and not just running backs.
-- Neil Bernstein, Wayland
A: I'm glad you cut to the chase, Neil. You're absolutely right. This is a good pass blocking line but with the exception of Woody, they're suspect run blocking. Question is can they get away with it? I think the answer may be yes.
It was great to see you write this week that the Patriots are the best team in the NFL. Have you (or any other Boston sportswriters) ever been able to say that before?