Cassel survived. Many fans do not believe it. But all you have to do is put on your Bill Belichick glasses to see why. Cassel is not a starter, but he did send Vinnie to the shadow roster last season. And Gutierrez to the PS. Off those experiences, Bill asked Cassel to be the sacrificial goat this preseason and do some specific things in preseason, for the good of the Team. First to test and act like a tackling dummy if necessary, as Bill experimented with various OL pickups, to try and replace Neal for half a season. He did that, without complaint, and Brady had times to heal, and most importantly not get hurt. Then Secondly, he asked Cassel to play with no receivers, except for a bunch of end-of-roster types, to see if any of them were worth keeping. Dutifully, Cassel did so without complaint, while maintaining his POISE despite wrong routes, dropped passes, mis-timings et cetera, and try to run the entire Patriots Offense, even if in vanilla form for the rookies, despite the breakdowns of the others. He did so and PASSED the test with calm and no finger-pointing. He accepted the fact that the QB would be blamed for failure, despite sending scrub receivers and OL candidates out against first string opponents by and large. Fans didn't see that, and only noticed raw rookie KOC going against 3rd and 4th string future UPS truck drivers, and NOT running the Offense, but merely scrambling around and improvising. That is what you expect from a rookie, who would get killed doing that against a first string. At the same time Gutierrez showed that he has a little more knowledge but still reverts to dumb raw rookie tendencies. He essentially eliminated himself, by his dangerous passes, many more of which would get picked against a first string. Through it all Cassel only threw one pick. That was when CJax did not read a blitz, and ran the wrong pattern. It was a horrible looking pick as the defender easily caught it, and Jackson was no where near the ball, but it wasn't Cassel that screwed up. Finally as a sop, to reward Cassel he gave him Randy Moss and company for an extended first period and Cassel promptly completed passes, marched the field, unlike the other two while executing the Offense, only to have Faulk fumble in the red zone. Another time a drive lead to a FG. He also scrambled showing he had not lost his mobility when necessary. It was a good scramble started only when the play had broken down; and he was flushed from the pocket, not an instant panic run. That small opportunity playing with most of the genuine first stringers, reassured Belichick that Cassel had not lost his POISE or ability, despite the short end of the stick job that he had been given, for so long. Bill even let Gutierrez have the first stringers in an early appearance against the Giants and it confimed that Gutz is not ready yet. That confirmed that the dangerous passes did indeed become picks. Maybe next year Gutz and KOC, will mature enough and will fight for th 2nd string job. Meanwhile... Vinny is still on the shadow roster, knows the Offense backward and forward, and is on Bill's speed dial.