Look out, Tom Brady.
Just kidding. Not even I would suggest the New England Patriots should consider Matt Cassel to be their future starting quarterback, period. That would be dumb.
Tom Brady is, after all, Tom Brady. Enough Super Bowl rings for a jewelry franchise. All but unstoppable. The leader of his generation. The NFL’s Iceman. And a hot girlfriend. He’s, well, Tom Brady.
And Matt Cassel is just some guy. When he was thrust under center after Brady went down with a knee wreck in Week 1, he was as anonymous as the team trainer. He hadn’t started a football game since high school and suddenly here he was as starting QB of the mighty Patriots. Man, it was about to get ugly in Beantown.
Matt Cassel couldn’t even carry Tom Brady’s, uh, chinstrap. We don’t even know who his girlfriend is. Better for the Patriots than Tom Brady?
Please. I wouldn’t even say that.
I don’t care that Cassel has gone from zero to hero in Patriot Nation. I don’t care that he’s suddenly the (fill-in) man; that he can not only lead them into the playoffs, but that he could actually guide them back to the Super Bowl.
He’s playing some hellified ball, said teammate Randy Moss, after Cassel threw for 415 yards and three touchdowns Sunday in a 48-28 rout on the road against the rejuvenated Miami Dolphins. “And we’re behind him,” said Moss.
He’s also even done something Brady hasn’t. Only four others QBs have done what Cassel accomplished in achieving his second straight 400-plus yard passing game. Previously, in a loss against the New York Bretts, he also surpassed that plateau. In fact, Brady hasn’t even had two 400-plus passing yards game in his career.
And yet, I’d be insane to suggest the Pats might be better off next year with Cassel at QB than Brady.
Forget the fact that Brady’s coming off the kind of knee injury that typically requires more than a full season before the player begins to return to full form.
And that was before the infection that set Brady’s rehab back weeks, placing yet another cloud of uncertainty above a situation that was already rife with “what ifs?”
Cassel will be starting for somebody next season. A free agent at the end of the season, he’ll likely be coveted like the last pretty girl at the bar at last call.
He’ll no doubt earn a lucrative deal, one the Patriots aren’t likely to match for him to return to the bench, or be able to afford under salary-cap restrictions.
And they certainly wouldn’t consider keeping a healthy Cassel over a still-healing, still-uncertain Brady.
Who would be silly enough – hellified enough – to suggest that? Not me.
Photo courtesy of Associated Press