Thursday, September 11, 2008
You know what?
Being a Pats fan, I've come to realize something the past few days...the season isn't over yet! There is still stuff to cheer for! There's a reason to live! (my fantasy team on the other hand...ya...that season is over...)
But, when you rationally think about it, this Pats team can still compete for the playoffs. The style of getting there will drastically change but there are reasons to think that it can be done.
1. The D. The defense is going to look at this as their opportunity to shine. They have the best front 7 in football with their D-line as healthy and dominating as ever. Their first round pick, LB Jerod Mayo, was the only defensive player for the Pats to play every down against the Chiefs. For a rookie that's rare and he has chance to be special this year.
2. The running game. Even though it may not be as consistent and dominating as last year, the offensive line is still one of the better ones in the league. The team now has 4 legit NFL running backs capable of positive production for this team. Including a guy (Maroney) who has star potential.
3. Even without Brady I can confirm that the Pats are still allowed to pass the football. While we won't see as many down field strikes from Cassel, we will see the team revert back to when Brady was a first year starter. This means a lot of quick slants and wide receiver screens which will help counter all the blitzes that Cassel is likely to see. Even though they probably won't be throwing deep as much, teams will still need to respect the ability of Randy Moss to get open down field and be about to out leap defensive backs for balls. Wes Welker is a perfect security blanket for a guy like Cassel as well. He does a great job of getting open underneath the coverage for short to medium yard gains.
4. Hey, no one knew about Brady when he started! Cassel could be good. We don't know. The rest of season we will definitely find out though. He's in the best possible position a quarterback could be in to succeed. He knows the offense, he has a ton of weapons, he has a good D to take off some of the pressure to score and he'll be playing against one the weakest schedules in the league. If there was a situation to develop a quarterback in, this would be it.
While losing Brady is a horrible blow, the Pats can still compete and there are tons of reasons to keep watching from a Pats perspective. There are also tons of reasons for other teams to worry about them.