Tom Brady looked an awful lot like the 37-year-old quarterback he actually is in his team’s first game of the 2014 season. This week, the superstar signal caller will get to face off against the man who once replaced him when the New England Patriots go up against the Minnesota Vikings and Matt Cassel. If Cassel can beat his former team, it would be the first time in more than 12 years the Patriots have actually started the year 0-2.
Some would say a winless start after two games would also signal the beginning of the end for Tom Brady. Once an unheralded late round draft pick who was destined for nothing more than backup duty in the NFL, the former Michigan Wolverine took advantage of an injury to then superstar passer Drew Bledsoe and has built a career that has included numerous Super Bowl titles.
After an opening week performance that included completing just over 51 percent of his passes and getting sacked four times while losing 33-20, there is talk the QB1 might be seeing the end of his career. If his team were to lose today, it would be the first time since he became the full-time starter the team had started 0-2. That number is embarrassing, it would likely be kicking a man while he is down if the feat were recorded against his former backup.
Matt Cassel has managed to make himself a career as a journeyman and sometimes starting quarterback thanks in large part to one season where he got to lead New England’s attack. In 2008, Tom Brady was injured in the first game of the season and was sidelined for the rest of the year. Cassel stepped in, threw for more than 3,600 yards and 21 touchdowns and looked like someone who could lead some other team for years to come once Tom Brady was back.
The following season, Cassel was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, and after four up and down seasons, he was cut and signed by the Minnesota Vikings. The former Patriot appeared in nine games a year ago and won the starting job this season over much-heralded rookie Teddy Bridgewater. In his team’s first game, he completed 17 of 25 passes for 170 yards two touchdowns.
The going will be much more difficult for Cassel this week as he will be without running back Adrian Peterson. The fact the Patriots get to take on a depleted Vikings team should be good news for Tom Brady, who would likely desire nothing more today than beating his former protege.
[Image Via usatoday.com]