“I’m not trying to be Tom Brady. I’m just trying to be Matt Cassel. I don’t know where that’s going to take us.”
The press conference is going to be at 3 o’clock today, or so the reports say. I’m going to withhold any condemnations or statements of hope until then. And even at 3, I’ll probably still refrain because, in truth, no one knows what’s going to happen from here on out in Foxboro. In the fall of 2001, Mo Lewis caved in Drew Bledsoe’s chest and the keys to the Patriots war wagon were handed to a sixth rounder out of Ann Arbor. Folks cried out in anguish before the first of three Super Bowls rolled in later that year.
And now here were are, a few hours before news of what will become of the face (and arm) of the franchise. Everything that anyone has said so far about whether or not Brady will play again is pure speculation. All the analysis done so far is worth as much as the Word Document that they were written on. As of right now, all we know are that the Patriots are 1-0 and the back-up came in and played well.
But such is the nature of football. The quarterback position is the most important on the field by a decent margin during the game and the most important position by a massive margin in the media. Teams rise and fall with the signal caller, so when the signal caller falls, people start checking the life boats. That’s the nature of the game and the coverage of the game, and it’s nothing new. Unless the defense is setting records, all eyes are on the QB.
Three and a half hours away from the coach taking the podium, so I’m going to kill time by making a prediction. I write and my words appear on the internet, so I have as impressive a list of credentials as any other yahoo that is making a prediction. Here’s mine:
Matt Cassel is going to play superb football for the season and will take the Patriots deep into the playoffs. By Week 4, we’ll be thoroughly relieved and, while we’ll look forward to Brady returning next year (assuming, of course, he’s out for the season), we’re not going to start burning season tickets in Boston. The Patriots are a 10-6 team, and Matt Cassel completes 60% of his passes and has more TDs than INTs. You heard it here first. The Quarterback Position in New England will be fine.