When the 2009 regular season kicks off, Tom Brady will be 32-years-old. Sure, compared to Brett Favre (39), Kurt Warner (37), and Kerry Collins (36 in December), that is pretty young. However, not all quarterbacks stay for 14-plus years. Especially ones who have already won three Super Bowl rings.
Matt Cassel, on the other hand, will be 27-years-old when the 2009 regular season starts. At first, Matt Cassel didn't look too good. However, in recent weeks, he is starting to show that even players who haven't started since high school can play at a good level when surrounded by a good team.
Which one do the Patriots go with next season though?
When Tom Brady first took over for the New England Patriots in 2001, he started 14 games while playing in 15 of them. During those 15 games, he compiled 2,843 yards, 18 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and had a completion percentage of 63.9 percent. He ended the year with a 86.5 QB Rating.
Matt Cassel, so far in his 11 games played and 10 games started has compiled 2,615 yards, 13 touchdowns, eight interceptions, and a completion percentage of 66.3 percentage. He has a QB Rating of 90.5 right now.
Tom Brady was never really a runner. He had two seasons where he ran barely over 100 yards. No, the face of the New England Patriots did not run much. Tom Brady's skill much like people are used to with a quarterback always comes to when and how to throw the football.
However, Matt Cassel, in just 11 games, is only one yard below the 200 mark. This kid scrambles all over the place. He seems to know how to work with what is given to him. If the pass rush is on, he is gone.
For the Record
In 2001, the Patriots went 11-5 and clinched the AFC East through a tiebreaker with the Miami Dolphins. Want to know something else? This is the year the Patriots won their first ever Super Bowl.
Now, in 2008, the Patriots are 7-4 and are in second place in the AFC East. Matt Cassel's fault? He helped, that is for sure. Especially when has done something not even Tom Brady has done. He threw for 400 plus yards two games in a row. Can history repeat itself?
Speaking of history, if it does repeat itself, will the Patriots do what they did last time? Will the coaching staff, managers, and the owner decide that Tom Brady is no longer needed in New England? After all, that is what they did to Drew Bledsoe, is it not?
Matt Cassel could in fact be the next Tom Brady. However if you were the one who had to make the decision, would you choose long-term, or short-term? Tom Brady has a good five years left in him at best. That is if this injury of his doesn't affect his game play at all.
Cassel, on the other hand, has many more years left in him. He will be in his fifth season in the NFL next year while Brady will be in his 10th. I would not rule out the idea that perhaps Matt Cassel is a safer bet than Tom Brady.
As you can see, the Patriots are not in danger without Tom Brady. They are still in the race for the AFC East. They lost to the Jets putting them one game behind the Jets, however, the Jets could screw up this Sunday, or next Sunday, or the Sunday after that.
The Jets lose two, then the Patriots are back on top.
So Matt Cassel still has the Patriots in it for at least a wild-card spot in the playoffs. So, once again, I ask you the same questions as before. Tom Brady or Matt Cassel? Long-term or short-term?