Twelve weeks. Apparently, that's how long it takes for lifetime backup Matt Cassel to make people forget about Tom Brady and the three Super Bowls he brought to New England. Cassel, you've no doubt heard, spent his college years on the USC sideline watching Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart win Heismans, and prior to Week 2, hadn't started a tackle football game since high school.
After a shaky start, Cassel, who was once affectionately nicknamed "Rusher McFumbles," has thrown for at least 400 yards in back-to-back games. He's playing with more confidence, actually completing passes that travel more than 10 yards downfield, and, unlike Brady, is a threat to make plays with his feet. And most importantly, perhaps, Randy Moss seems happy.
"You can't say enough about how good Matt's playing right now," Mankins said after Cassel was 30-for-43 for 415 yards and three touchdowns in the 48-28 win against Miami. "He's putting the ball on the money. Some of his best throws have been dropped. (The Dolphins) couldn't stop us. I'm not sure there's another quarterback in the league I'd rather have right now."
Logan had me up till that last sentence. Still, I take his point; Cassel has been impressive, and MDS says he's a believer. And while he's obviously improved, he's also benefited from having one of the league's best offenses, not to mention a unbelievably soft schedule. That said, as Bill Parcells loves to say, "you are what your record says you are." And right now, the Pats are 7-4, thanks, in large part, to Cassel's contributions.
And save this weekend's game against the Steelers, and the Week 16 matchup against the Cardinals, New England can sleepwalk their way to double-digit wins. Of course, Cassel could throw for 400 yards every week from here on out and lead the Pats to another Super Bowl victory. Come training camp, this is still Brady's team. I think.
Logan Mankins Hearts Matt Cassel, Says There's No Other QB He'd Want Right Now originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Wed, 26 Nov 2008 13:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.