Answer Man VII

<b>JW: </b>OK, my man, let's get right to the point. In a nutshell, what makes New England so good? <br><b>Answer Man:</b> In a nutshell, they don't make mistakes and they capitalize on your mistakes.

JW: But they seem so unimpressive.
AM: They just do what they do, do it well, play close to the vest and they make plays when they need to. They're like an old-school Penn State. They're not flashy. They just make plays when they need to and wait for you to make a mistake.
JW: How many Hall of Famers are on that team?
AM: I'd say two with Tom Brady and Ty Law.
JW: Law's that good?
AM: Yeah, he's that good. He's in the top two or three in the league. He's not as good as he used to be but he's still pretty good. Other than that they've got a lot of guys who play their position and know the scheme. It's a good scheme and they know it and play it well. I just think it's one of those things where everybody believes in the team concept and when they have a chance to make a big play, they step up and make it. Confidence goes into that, too. You start winning a lot, believing in yourself and things start happening for you.
JW: Will greed wreck that?
AM: Well, they've won it two of three years and they're still going. The way (coach Bill) Belichick is, he's got a good handle on that. But it would be ego more than greed that would lead to a downfall. And after this year (offensive coordinator) Charlie Weis is gone. Before the season, his agent said they're not talking anymore because he's gone.
JW: How does the defense revolve around Ty Law?
AM: Their scheme is hard to figure out. They have so many different formations. They'll go one down linemen, four linebackers. They do a lot of different things. I just know Ty Law can cover. If he is locked up, he does a good job. Sometimes he gets overaggressive but he's always around the ball and makes plays. Their safeties are good. Rodney Harrison is a head-hunter and Eugene Wilson is a converted corner so he's got some ball skills, man coverage ability and some speed. The other corner, Tyrone Pools, has been out. Asante Samuel has some skill but he's young. Their linebacker corps is made up of guys who just do their job. No one really stands out. Ted Johnson is stout in the box without much range; Tedy Bruschi is an instinctive guy who tries to slip blocks instead of taking them on; Mike Vrabel's decent, nothing great; Willie McGinest is showing his age but he can still get to the quarterback. On their line, (Vince) Wilfork's going to be good. He's like a Casey Hampton but he doesn't have Hampton's range. (Richard) Seymour's playing well. He's probably their best D-lineman. Ty Warren is adequate, nothing special. They just play well together.
JW: What about their offense?
AM: Their offensive line is like a Denver-type line. No one really stands out but they work well together, and with the quick passes they don't have to hold their blocks that long. In the backfield, Corey Dillon's playing well. I mean, he's Corey Dillon. He'll break the big one for you and he'll run out the clock in the fourth quarter. Receiver-wise, they're all cut from the same mold. They're small guys who can get open and make catches and are tough. (David) Patten's got some speed, but nobody really scares you.
JW: Do you agree that wide receivers are easy to find since they're coming out of college so much better prepared these days, and also because of the enforced contact rules in the NFL?
AM: You can make a serious argument with that. Still, give me Randy Moss any day. Randy Moss, you've got to scheme against him. Every time he touches the ball he's got a chance to go to the house. We don't have a guy like that. New England doesn't have a guy like that. Just the threat of it opens up a lot of other things, too.
JW: What about the threat of Dillon attacking the Steelers without Hampton?
AM: I'm not so worried because (fullback) Patrick Pass is out and (Dan) Klecko got hurt. At the end of the last game they were doing a lot of stretch plays and stuff. They weren't running straight downhill. Really, you've got to have a lead blocker to fully exploit our middle.
JW: Can you tell me about Tyrone Carter, your new safety?
AM: We always liked him. When he was at Minnesota he hurt his MCL and they released him with an injury settlement. He's a jack-of-all trades. He's even played a little corner in his career and he's been a good special-teams guy. The only thing with him was just his size (5-8, 190). With (Mike) Logan going down, we thought he could give us veteran depth and with the bye week he had some time to get more healthy and learn the system.
JW: What about Dexter Jackson?
AM: Well, you'd have to check his back. And where are you going to put him? We signed Carter already. Who else would you cut? The coaches like Russell (Stuvaints). He just has to learn how to catch. If you cut Russ, then you bring Dexter in and he'd have to learn the system, and things are going right now. In my opinion, you don't make a move to make a move just because someone's out there, especially when you've got some chemistry going and everything's going good. You want to make your guys happy and let them know you believe in them. That carries over.

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