Clint's Corner Archive

Clint's Corner Archive

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The source for back issues of Clint's Corner. Forget a trade? Were Clint's predictions correct? Here's every edition, verbatim.

For 3/20/96

Will Shawn Jefferson help the Patriots? Will Pat Harlow be Traded? How is Drew Bledsoe doing these days? Any new Free Agent signings? As we continue our Hot Stove football season, these are some of the questions most Patriots fans are asking these days.

Over the past two season, Jefferson has grabbed over 90 catches for the Chargers, with last year being his best with 48 catches for 621 yards and 2 TD's. This apparently warranted a 4 year, 6.4 million dollar contract. Bobby Beathard, San Diego's GM, had this to say about Jefferson (from the Boston Sunday Globe) "He is a good guy and a hard worker. He is not a problem. He has very good speed and is more comfortable running deep routes. That's where his strength is. But he has courage. He is not the kind of guy that is afraid to go into the middle of the field and catch the ball. He'll help the Patriots". Let's hope that Beathard, Grier, Parcells, and Kraft are right.

Recent WR busts such as Alvin Harper (Bucs), Andre Rison (Browns), and Michael Timpson (Bears) have made signing a free agent wideout to big money a somewhat risky decision. Keep this in mind: Last year, Jefferson's BEST as a pro, he had 5 more catches, 119 more yards, and 1 more TD than the Pat's Will Moore, who makes very little money and didn't even start during the last half ofthe season. Hmmmm.

Pat Harlow (6'6", 290lbs) was drafted in the first round by the Pats (along with Leonard "CFL" Russell, but that's another story), and is entering his 6th year as a Pro. Harlow was a rookie starter, and made an immediate impact on the line. Although Armstrong is considered the best lineman on the team, Harlow has been a very inspired player, and brought enthusiasm and a positive attitude to the group even during the 1 and 2 win seasons the Pats have suffered during his tenure. Harlow suffered through some problems in his lower back, but it was last year's ankle injury that kept him out of the starting lineup. He did return to the team late in the season, but saw only limited playing time as the 6'6" 295lb Max Lane, in his second year out of the Naval Academy, was doing a stellar job in Harlow's absence.

Harlow is a better tackle than Lane, but Lane makes very little money, and Harlow is entering the last year of a deal which will pay him 1.4 Million. His cap number is even higher than that. Pat will become and unrestricted Free Agent following the '96 season, and will likely sign with another team for big money. The Pats could not afford to resign Harlow along with all their other very pricey offensive talent. It would make sense to trade Harlow now, while New England could get something back for him in return. A veteran Inside Linebacker, Defensive End, or early second round/ late first round draft pick would be nice.

As much as a trade makes sense, I would hate to see Harlow go. He seemed so driven to win at all times, even if the Pats were 1-12, trailing by 3 TD's in the 4th quarter. I'll never forget the trash talking he gave the NY Jets in Foxborough when Zolak and the Pats pummeled them 24-3 (or something like that) for only their second win late in the season! Let's wish him good luck wherever he may end up.

Drew Bledsoe recently did a conference call interview, and had much to say. He is excited to have Chris Palmer working with him as a dedicated QB coach, and will be in Foxborough for much of the offseason working with Chris on some fundamentals. Drew sighted his balance in the pocket, throwing motion, and "patting" the ball before throwing it as a few of the things he needs to concentrate on. An AP article quoted Bledsoe as saying, "This is an important year for me and an important year for the team. I'm coming back off of a bad season. It's important for me to rebound from that to prove that last year was the exception and not the rule." Following a May marriage to his longtime girlfriend in Washington State, Bledsoe will return to Foxborough to resume his conditioning program. Both shoulders are "pain free", and he is already lifting weights with no problems.

In Free Agent news, the Pats signed punter Tom Tupa, who was 5th in the AFC in average last season while with the Browns. Tupa is 6'4" 230lbs, and also functions as a backup QB. He started 11 games for the Cardinals in 1991, throwing for over 2000 yards. Will the Pats trade Zolak to free up his 1million cap slot? That would leave Jay Barker as the second string QB, with Tupa as the third string. The other option would be to cut Barker, but that only frees a roster spot, not much cap money. A lot will probably depend on how Barker does in pre-season. If Jay performs like he did at Alabama, Zolak may get his chance to be a starter somewhere else in the NFL. Pittsburgh would be a great fit for Scott. This will be an interesting story as the pre-season schedule unfolds.

In the pre-season, the Pats will host the Redskins, and the Eagles on NBC national TV August 18th. They will travel to Green Bay and Dallas, where they will play the Cowboys in an ABC nationally televised game on August 11th. Green Bay and Dallas will travel to Foxborough as part of the '97 pre-season slate.