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Ask Shalise: Mixed 'bag debut

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  October 5, 2010 04:11 PM

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What happens to the 2011 NFL draft if there is a lockout in March of 2011?

Charlie Gaffney, Andover 

There would still be a draft, Charlie. Teams would secure rights to players, but if there isn't a Collective Bargaining Agreement in place, none of the players would be signed to contracts until there is. One of the things the owners are looking for at the bargaining table is a rookie wage scale, and while that is most needed for the top eight to 10 picks, owners aren't going to enter into a contract if they don't know the parameters of the CBA -- they're not going to overpay a player if they don't have to or agree to a contract without knowing all of the rules.

The 2009 New Orleans Saints had the 21st ranked defense in the league and they gave up 21 points per game but their offensive prowess meant that they were able to outscore their opponents by almost 10 points a game ... is the 2010 New England Patriots team trying to do the same thing this year to make up for their defensive deficiencies?

PJ, Phoenix

PJ sent this along before last night's game, which may change some people's thinking on this team. However, I agree with the premise: until the defense can prove otherwise, this team will go as far as Tom Brady and the offense (and maybe now special teams?) can take them. One thing I remember from the Saints' defense is that while they may have allowed a lot of points, they also made timely plays. That is something we're starting to see with this Pats defense -- Patrick Chung and Brandon Meriweather's picks against Buffalo, Rob Ninkovich's interceptions last night -- and it is easier to look favorably on a unit that might give up more points than you'd like if it has a knack for getting sacks or interceptions or forced fumbles at crucial times. While I do not at all take anything away from the win in Miami, it should be pointed out that the Dolphins had 400 yards of offense and converted two-thirds (10 of 15) of their third-down opportunities, so there's still work to be done.

I've enjoyed yours and Albert Breer's reporting and insights into all things Patriots, but was disappointed to read in yesterday's Globe that he won't be writing any more Sunday Columns.  Is he leaving?  If so, where is he going?  If so, I hope you keep up the good work.

Tom, Boston

Bert has moved on to the NFL Network, quite the platform as I'm sure many of you would agree. Last night was his last assignment for the Globe and he boarded a plane this morning for California and to start his time with NFLN. He did a tremendous job with the Sunday notes, and was very knowledgeable about the labor issues the league is dealing with now. Just before the Pats' Halloween game with the Vikings, we will welcome Massachusetts native and current Packers beat writer Greg Bedard to our team; in the meantime, Monique and I will be holding things down and yours truly will try to tackle the Sunday notes for a couple of weeks.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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