Monday, November 24, 2008

Cassel Fever

This from my good buddy McBlog! about a month ago:

Seriously, Matt Cassel sucks. I’m tired of this back and forth Pats fans are having, where one week he’s good enough and the next he’s a train wreck. He’s not good and if he was on any other team, he’d get killed. He is an absolute moron in the pocket and I don’t understand why he thinks he can run all the time.

Fast forward to yesterday, as Matt Cassel picked apart a Dolphins team team that had dominated the Patriots a few short months ago. Adding on Cassel's performance a week and a half ago against the Jets and Cassel is 60 of 93 for 815 yards, 6 TD's and 1 Int. After last week's performance as the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for 400 yards and rush for 60 more, Cassel can now join the ranks of one of only 5 quarterbacks to ever pass for 400 yards in consecutive weeks.

But it's not the numbers that matter as much as the fact that Matt Cassel looked awesome. Not just passable or decent, but awesome. He was poised in the face of a consistent Dolphin pass rush and consistently delivered the ball on target all over the field. Obviously, Moss had the huge day yesterday, but emblematic of Cassel's development would be the production of Jabar Gafney. Againast the Jets, Gafney caught 7 balls for 86 yards and a touchdown and againast the Dolphins yesterday, he caught 5 for 85. Wes Welker has been catching zillions of balls all year and any quarterback in capable of getting the ball to Randy Moss, but the ability to work a mediocre receiver like Gafney into the game on a consistent basis is a big sign that Cassel's two-game stretch here is not a flash in the pan.

But enough about Cassel for a minute while I try and articulate the level of excitement I feel about this Patriots team at this moment in time. Matt Cassel is not Tom Brady and could never be Tom Brady, but that doesn't change the fact that these last two weeks were the most exciting Patriots games I've watched since some time early in the Drew Bledsoe era. The NFC East gets all the credit as football's best division this season, but the AFC East is certainly close behind, and more importantly, may be playing more fantastically awesome football. Last week we saw the Pats and Jets going blow for blow, touchdown for touchdown, neither team backing down, and this AFC East style action continued in Miami this week.

Clearly, this Patriots team has flaws. But clearly, most of the teams in the league this year are flawed, as evidenced by the Jets walloping of the Titans in Tennessee yesterday. The Giants are clearly the class of the league, which sets up an intriguing proposition. How amazing would a Patriots-Giants Super Bowl rematch be? I can't ever think of a time where a Super Bowl rematch would involve the tables being turned in this way- the Giants as the dominating favorite with the veteran quarterback, the Patriots as the underdog with the untested quarterback. For the first time since Tom Brady hurt is knee, let me say publicly that I'm hoping for it. It's a long road, but crazier things have happened.

Matt Cassel's play the last few weeks has given Patriots fans something that none of us thought we'd have this year- Hope.


Blogger McMc said...

Well Matt Cassel has obviously improved leaps and bounds over the past few weeks, but don't forget you're the same person that keeps saying the Vikings or Lions will throw too much money at him this off-season.

By the way, I think the Patriots should just use a new quarterback every few weeks and see how quickly they start to look like a superstar. Imagine all of these crappy QBs like Brian Griese, J.T. O'Sullivan, Brad Johnson and others joining the Pats and becoming pro-bowlers three weeks later? I'd love to see that happen over and over.

7:54 PM  

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