Monday, September 8, 2008

Thoughts on Tom Brady and "the injury"

I was at the game on Sunday and gasped with 60,000 other Pats fans when Brady was on the turf and wasn't getting up. Seeing him hobble off and not return for the rest of the game was a concern and I knew that he would be out maybe a week or two. Little did we know that the injury was far worse. You see, while at the game, you don't have the luxury of multiple replays so we couldn't tell what happened.

Now that I've seen it over and over again, I'm not going to get into whether or not it was a cheap hit. Simply put, injuries are part of the game. It's up to the coach to field a 53-man roster that is solid from top to bottom. Players have to play. Coaches have to coach. It's as simple as that. The team that executes the best wins.

With all that said, let me revisit my Patriots prediction now that the injury has happened.

I still think the Pats are a playoff team. They have a fairly weak schedule that looks a lot stronger now that Brady is not at the helm. Every team will look tougher because they are going to smell blood in the water and look to kick the Pats when they are down. With all that said, however, Cassel was trained within this offensive scheme. He's not a rookie by years in the leagues sake, but is an untested QB that has only thrown a handful of regular season passes. It's going to come down to his confidence and offensive plays that he feels comfortable with. Additionally, the team has to support Cassel just like the team did with Brady took over for Drew back in 2001. Confidence breeds winning.

People must not forget that the Pats strive off of being the underdog. They feed off being considered down and out. They rise above all the BS and somehow, someway, just win.

My confidence in the team under Cassel is very similar to what it was when Brady took over. I knew that we had a good team and that this young kid just needed a shot. Now, I'm not saying that Cassel is Brady, but as a fan, it's my job to have faith in the team, have faith in the coaching staff and have faith in the guys that line-up every week.

So what that said, I welcome the Matt Cassel era with an uneasy feeling in my stomach. At the same time however, I welcome in the Cassel era with a slight chip on my shoulder thinking that this is a great opportunity for the team to really shut everyone up, especially all the morons that were happy to see the league's MVP go down.

Go Pats.


Chad said...

I agree with your assessment. One of the more rational WEEI callers I heard this morning made the point that the 2001 Pats didn't have even half the collective talent that this team has. I'm convinced the Pats will find a way to win some games, and it'll be interesting to watch them in a different light now that we know every game will be a struggle.

Team aside, the thing I hate the most about this situation is Brady losing a year of his prime. Any true football fan would hate to see that happen to an opposing player.

Don Martelli said...

Yes, I agree about Brady and his prime. He's had a relatively healthy career to this point. Best bet is to rehab strong, do it right and come back in 2009 stronger than before. You think he's motivated to win? Wait until he comes back after the injury. The guy's going to light it up...of course, maybe at that point Cassel will be the stud and we trade Brady to the Lions or something. ;)

Anonymous said...

Both of you are right on... As a fan of the game, you HATE to see one of the best go down. Even if you are not a fan, you like to root against them at least.

You make great points about the team (UBER talented) and the schedule (toughest games are @SD and @Indy they have Pitt at the Razor) so sure the schedule is not as easy without Brady on but still, playoffs are a real possibility.

A team with this mental makeup of veterans will only take a blow like this as a challenge and rally around each other. If anything, they are probably more dangerous. If Cassel keeps his head and just lets the guys around him do what they do, the Pats will be MORE than fine.

Don Martelli said...

The one thing people aren't talking about is how huge the running game is going to HAVE to be in order for the Pats to get far this season. Morris, Maroney and Jordan are going to have to be the three headed monster. If those three can average 100+ yards every game, we'll control the clock and put points on the board. Secondly, the defense has GOTTA produce points this year. They need to get some picks and return them for big yards or for six as that'll help take the load off Cassel. Lastly, special teams needs to be big.

Is it me, or is this shaping up to be just like it was in 2001. All facets of the team have to run like a well-oiled machine in order for them to make waves in the playoffs. If one aspect of the team is under performing, it'll impact the others.

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