Tom Brady's Injury as Serious as It Seems?

Ryan BurnsAnalyst ISeptember 10, 2008

I'll admit it.  I was sick to my stomach on Sunday afternoon.  I was watching the first quarter of the Patriots' game when Tom Brady threw a bomb down field to Randy Moss. Once the ball was in the air, I watched as Chiefs Safety Bernard Pollard lunged at Brady's leg. No big deal, I thought. Brady has been hurt before and walked away unscathed.  

Not this time. As a hush fell over the crowd, my Dad, Uncle, and myself sat there speechless. This isn't supposed to happen, I thought. This season was supposed to be about revenge. Instead, with one play, goals of hoisting a fourth Lombardi Trophy come February seemed to fade away.

The Quarterback is without a doubt the most important position in all of team sports, especially if your starting signal caller is the best player in the game and reigning league MVP. Some say that a starting pitcher is more valuable, but if one goes down, there is a rotation of four others who can pick up the slack.
The Quarterback controls everything on the football field when the offense has the ball. He reads the defense pre-snap, alerts the line and skill position players to change the play when appropriate. Finally, he takes the game into his hands and attempts to make the best play possible.

Tom Brady excels at all facets of the game, which makes his loss that much harder to bear. He is physically capable of putting the ball exactly where it needs to be on the field. He is perceptive and knows what to do when facing any kind of defense. Finally, he has the intelligence to read the defense once the play unfolds.  

Not every Quarterback has these qualities. Which brings me to my next point. The 2008 New England Patriots will win the AFC East. Yes, Tom Brady is the biggest piece of the puzzle for the Pats, but let us not forget that Matt Cassel has been with the team for four years now and knows the system better than any shot in the dark free agent could ever hope.

Cassel did have a rough preseason, but in years past has shown us a great deal of upside whenever he gets a chance to play. The guy has been in the shadows of great quarterbacks his entire career, which I'm sure will pay dividends once he gets on the field.  

Matt Cassel is also inheriting the best offense of all time, minus Dante' Stallworth.  The running game is showing tremendous promise, and the Patriots have a kind of depth at that position that they have never had before.  Matt Cassel will not, and doesn't have to be, Brady-esque in order for the 2008 Patriots to win football games.  

Simply managing the game and minimizing mistakes will be his objective every week.  Now we get to find out what Bill Belichick and the Patriots' coaching staff is truly made of, as their role in preparing Cassel for a starting role is no easy task.  

While the Patriots' playbook will certainly not be as expansive with Cassel as it was with Brady, this injury by no means hurts the Patriots' playoff chances.  

Are they Super Bowl favorites?  It is too early to say.  Heck, the 2001 Patriots weren't even Super Bowl favorites until they beat the Steelers in the AFC Championship game.  

Maybe I've drank too much Belichick Kool-Aid in the past seven years, but if I know this team, this provides them with enough motivation to prove everyone wrong, which was the staple of the old-school pre-Spy gate Patriots.