Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gregg Easterbrook: Not a fan of Tom Brady, Randy Moss, logic

Brady is a superb athlete, but right now he may be at some supermodel's Mediterranean seaside villa wincing, because Cassel is demonstrating that Brady was not essential for the Patriots to win. If New England had melted down without Brady, that would have cemented Tom's reputation as an all-time talent. If the Patriots end up having a great season without Brady, nobody will hold that against No. 12, but the focus will shift away from Brady and toward the New England team and system overall. Say what you like about Bill Belichick -- and there are many things not to like -- he runs the best ship in the NFL. And choose your nautical cliché: the ship has steered off the rocks, is back to flank speed, is headed to the blue water, etc.

I understand that the Pats have had more go wrong for them this season than just losing Brady and might account for their less than perfect record, but this talk about possibly ditching Tom Brady (regardless of his health when he returns) is bat-shit crazy.

First of all though, I think it's pretty abysmal that Gregg Easterbrook lavishes so much praise on "the system," but completely ignores one of the biggest reasons for Cassel's success: Randy Moss. Observe the following Quarterbacks who've posted 90+ QB Ratings over 2 games or more in a season when playing with Randy Moss:

Randal Cunningham (his 2nd and last time)
Jeff George (his 2nd and last time)
Daunte Culpepper (3/5 seasons with Moss, hasn't posted a 90+ since Moss's departure)
Todd Bouman (Over the course of 3 games with Moss; the only other time in his career he started 3 games in a season was with New Orleans where he put up a 54.7 rating)
Gus Frerotte (never broke the 90 QB Rating threshold before or after)
Tom Brady (held a 90+ QB rating in 2 seasons without Moss, never had a season below 85.9)
Matt Cassel (currently sporting a 90.5)

Furthermore, while Cassel and the Pats currently sport a 7-4 record, they haven't exactly been playing the stiffest competition. The 2007 Pats played (and beat) 6 playoff teams, the 9-7 Cleveland Browns, and the 8-8 Philadelphia Eagles. The 2008 Pats get to play against The AFC West and The NFC West, the two worst divisions in the NFL, with 2 "playoff teams" among them who probably wouldn't make the playoffs in any other division.

Finally, while Cassel might've lit up the opposing defenses in the past two games and currently hold that 90.5 QB rating, it doesn't come anywhere close to the 117.2 with 4,806 yds and 50 tds that Brady had in 2007. Easterbrook, et all. seem to have forgotten this, and that is really stupid.


Fred Trigger said...

You think Easterbrook is stupid. You should hear all the callers on New England sports radio who want to keep Cassell and trade Brady. One guy suggested trading Brady for 20 2nd round draft picks. Although, these are probably the same people who have suggested moving Youkilus to shortstop, catcher, outfield, pitcher, ect.. if they sign Texiera. (all of those were seriously suggested, with the exception of the pitcher, but they might as well have, it would be just as stupid).

Chris W said...

Don't you guys understand? This season has PROVEN that Cassel's as good as Brady because the Patriots are exactly as good this year as they were last year and Cassel's been exactly as good this year as Brady was last year.

Chris W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CitizenX said...

I don't know how one would go about trading one player for 20 picks, but that sounds so ridiculously awesome and wasteful that I want to see it happen.

Anonymous said...

where in there does he suggest that Matt Cassel is as good as Brady? He's simply, and accurately, pointing out that if the starter goes down and someone who has not started since high school comes in and plays far better than a typical backup, then that speaks more to the system being successful and does take away some from the success that the original starter had.

Chris W said...

my post was hyperbole. However, THIS:

"Cassel is demonstrating that Brady was not essential for the Patriots to win"

is just stupidity.

Cassel has been very solid, beyond most people's expectations. However, this Patriots team has 5 losses, is in second place, and is in serious danger of missing the postseason. If anything, this season is demonstrating that maybe it WASN'T just the system.