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Week 1 Rewind: Belichick was interested in veteran QBs

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by JoeSixPat, Dec 30, 2008.

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  1. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    I know there's multiple threads out there about fans who are hapilly eating crow regarding Cassel's performance this season. And he deserves all the compliments coming his way.

    But part of me feels like there's some revisionist history going on here. Cassel's pre-season performance was spotty at best - and I submit that NO ONE expected that he could truly do what he did this season. I think even the most die hard Cassel supporters would have to admit this.

    In fact, amid the "crow eatinig" contest going on, shouldn't Belichick himself be included in the mix?

    After all, at a time when he was expecting Brady to be the starter, prior to week one, Belichick admitted he had put the call out to not one, but two veteran QBs, Chris Simms and Tim Rattay.

    Bill Belichick of Patriots Confirms Chris Simms and Tim Rattay Were in Town - wbztv.com

    When asked about this following Brady's injury in Week 1, Belichick made a tactful attempt not to go into any detail about what prompted him to invite two veteran QBs in for interviews and presumably workouts prior to the beginning of the season.

    I think one can reasonably assume that it wasn't O'Connell who wasn't living up to the low expectations a rookie would have. That leaves Cassel's performance as the reason prompting Belichick's interest in a Veteran QB to come in and learn the system while Brady continued to start, with the hope and expection that they would NEVER be needed, but if they were, it was somewhere later in the season when they were integrated in the system.

    As of Week 1, when Brady was clearly out, Belichick wisely seems to have acknowledged that the situation had changed, and he was better off with Cassel, who knew the system, rather than a veteran who would have a very limited number of plays they could run if made the starter. Furthermore, one assumes, in an effort to bolster Cassel's confidence and reaffirm that the games were in Cassel's hands, Belichick cancelled the interviews and didn't bother working out Simms or Rattay. (A very wise choice as having a Veteran looking over his shoulder would really do Cassel no good.)

    My only reason for raising this is I think its largely been forgotten, but if we're to be accurate in the "Matt Cassel Story" it would appear that even Belichick had serious doubts about whether Cassel was ready for prime time, and that it wouldn't be accurate to suggest that Belichick truly thought all along that Cassel was capable of doing all that he did...

    Far from it, Belichick was actually interested in a veteran QB, and it is questionable whether he'd keep 4 QBs or risk letting O'Connell, a 3rd round pick, clear waivers and/or remain eligible to be picked up by another team by being placed on the Practice Squad roster. Hence - Cassel could very well have been right on the Bubble looking at being cut, if not for Brady's Week One injury.

    Any thoughts on my analysis? Surely Belichick's pre-Week 1 interest in a veteran can't be looked at as an endorsement of Cassel's ability as a starter?
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  2. DaBruinz

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    We don't know what that level of interest really was. With the injuries that had been occuring recently, knowing what's available for a viable back-up (be it the QB or another position) is always a good thing to do. This has been the first time BB has had players in..

    Though, I will say that it would seem to go against the grain not to do a full interview and see what they can do in the rare case that Cassel also got hurt. But, as the Panthers showed in 2007, you can never have enough QBs available.
  3. Patriot_in_NY

    Patriot_in_NY Rookie

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    No............ He was being a coach and doing the prudent thing such as evaluating available talent on an ongoing basis to determine if they are a better value/fit to the organization. It's not personal and doesn't necessarily mean he "lost faith" in a player. It's part of his job. Brady wasn't injured when the visits were scheduled so these guys were just "prospects" for a theoretical future anyway.

    The moment he knew that Brady was injured, he knew what he was gonna do and didn't bother to look at those mentioned players cuz he KNEW they could not come in "off the street" and run this system and learning it on the fly. Cassel could and it was clear that BB knew that from the start. Seems BB figured that O'Con and Gutz had enough of a handle to round out the depth chart too.

    That is altogether different then a bunch of blowhards :D pontificating that "Cassel sucks" or "Cassel needs to be cut" on an internet fan site.

    I for one don't think that BB needs to eat crow this season.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  4. richpats

    richpats Banned

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    Belichick can't be blamed for looking at vets to backup Brady. In August, Cassel was disappointing even by preseason standards. Back then I didn't care if he was on the roster or not. Then Brady went down and suddenly everyone has to look at Cassel differently. He was our best shot at making a postseason run and Belichick knew it.

    A vet wouldn't have been able to just walk right in and run this offense. Maybe if he had a couple months behind Brady and then Tom goes down, sure. Typically backups are just insurance policies, rarely do they have to carry an entire season. The Pats were the only team to have their Week 1 starter miss 15 games.
  5. alamo

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    It was never clear to me that it was Belichick's idea and not Pioli's to get them in. And that quote doesn't settle the matter any. It is your assumption that it was Belichick, unless there is other info I haven't seen.

    I think you are making assumptions, they may be true but may not. The Patriots have many possible replacements in during the season and most are left unsigned.

    To turn your argument around... Belichick's unhesitating endorsement of Cassel when Brady went down can't mean he was truly unhappy with what he had seen in Cassel.

    Unless three quarters against KC somehow convinced him otherwise, which is a possibility I suppose.
  6. Box_O_Rocks

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    No one knew, but one or two of us guessed right.
  7. Deus Irae

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    Wow, we're now writing treatises based upon the most fastidious team in the NFL bringing in players for workouts.

    Sadly, for this particular conspiracy theory, quarterbacks weren't the only players brought in for looks.
  8. SVN

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    Pats always bring in players for workout. It just so happens they were QB's. If he really didnt trust cassel then he wouldve gotten one of them.Maybe they were looking ahead with cassel being a Free Agent next yr so they wanted someone to come in and learn the system and maybe 'stash' O'connell.
  9. JMarr

    JMarr Rookie

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    BB seemed perfectly content with Cassel as a backup for four years. Sure Cassel looked bad in PS but so did alot of others.

    Another way to look at it is that either BB was prescient about Brady's injury :cool2:, or (more likely) that Brady's leg/foot injury from the prior season was still somewhat troublesome and BB was worried about him staying healthy in 1008.
  10. DocE

    DocE Rookie

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    I think it's safe to say that Matt Cassel's performance exceeded everyones expectations including those who worked closest with him.

    All you have to do to reach that conclusion is look at the fact that the Patriots did not sign Cassel to an extension prior to this season. If they thought they had the perfect backup to Brady on the roster, Cassel would have been signed to a reasonable extension following the '08 season. It's also unlikely, but not out of the real of possibility, that the Pats would have used a 3rd round pick on a QB if they felt like Cassel was their backup QB of the future.

    I don't blame anyone for having negative thoughts on Cassel. As fans, we can only go by what we see, and what we saw this preseason was some atrocious football. Mike Reiss, who has the benefit of seeing some of practice, was on record as saying he didn't think Cassel would make the squad. Even after some solid, if not spectacular, regular season outings by Cassel, Reiss mentioned that he thought O'Connel would take over the QB job before the end of the season.

    I think a lot of people deserve credit for Matt Cassel's success this year besides Matt Cassel (who's already been widely praised). Josh McDaniels put Cassel in a position to succeed by really featuring the short passing game. Wes Welker was the ultimate security blanket and put up a ton of yards after the catch. The offensive line vastly improved their run blocking as compared to '07. Randy Moss had to significantly change his game given that Cassel struggled with the deep ball, yet he still found a way to be productive by catching shorter passes.

    It will be very interesting to see what happens with Matt Cassel between now and the start of free agency. I hope he either remains a Patriot, or that the Patriots will be able to get something of value for him. To lose a guy who, at worst, could be described as an above average NFL starting QB for nothing (well a possible compensation pick dependent on other fa moves) would be a tough blow for a team that needs a talent infusion.
  11. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    What conspiracy theory?
  12. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    No - at that point the "situation had changed" - Brady was out and starting a veteran with no experience in the system was not an option (presumably - and indeed that would be the right football call).

    The question is, would a veteran have been brought in if Brady hadn't gotten hurt - and would that veteran have supplanted Cassel as the 2nd string QB, or even resulted in him being cut?
  13. TheGodInAGreyHoodie

    TheGodInAGreyHoodie Rookie

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    It is quite possible that BB was worried that if TB went down for a week or two late in the season MC would not be able to win us a home wild card game as his first start. But if he brought in a vet now they would (week 1) they would be ready to be a competent back up around week 8. Once Brady went down MC was either going to win in which case there would be no reason to bench him for the vet midseason, or lose but by the time the vet would be ready the season would be lost.
  14. Lampshade

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    I don't understand. Why would a Brady injury convince BB that all of a sudden a vet QB wasn't needed? If he wasn't convinced by Cassel before Brady was injured, doesn't it stand to reason he'd be less convinced after? Wouldn't he at that point sign a vet to learn the playbook?

    I guess I'm missing something.
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  15. ctpatsfan77

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    Devil's advocate view: The Patriots tried to sign him to an extension, but Cassel, after spending a third of his life as a backup, and seeing that the only way for him to start was an injury to Brady, declined, saying he'd prefer to take his chances with another team. (And given some of the QBs still floating around the league, don't try to argue that no one would have given a QB with four years in the Pats' system at least a chance. . . .) Similarly, the Patriots, knowing that Cassel was planning to leave at year's end, drafted a QB that could be their QB of the future.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  16. TheGodInAGreyHoodie

    TheGodInAGreyHoodie Rookie

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    Ya think that may have true of the scrawy kid out of Michigan too? Ya think if the Patriots organization though he would throw 50 TD in one season they would have waited until the 6th round? Should BB be eating crow for not realizing how good #12 would be?

    The whole premise of this thread is dumb.
  17. Rob0729

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    Are we going through this again. It was already explained. The Pats always have different players coming in from time to time during the season for their emergency list. That was the plan for Simms and Rattay. Once Brady went down, it was decided it would hinder Cassel's progress to not throw their support behind Cassel 100% and they sent both QBs packing.

    The Pats were not looking for a veteran to be in here as a back up before Brady went down. No there was no disconnect between Belichick and Pioli. No Sims and Rattay were not brought in

    BTW, Here are a list of the players who actually had workouts with the Pats on September 8th (the day Simms and Rattay showed up and were sent home):

    WR Patrick Carter (Louisville)
    WR Joel Filani (Texas Tech)
    WR Chris Francies (Texas-El Paso)
    P Tom Malone (Southern California)
    OT Will Svitek (Stanford)
    G Jeb Terry (North Carolina)
    WR Chandler Williams (Florida International)

    Patriots tryouts & visits - Reiss' Pieces - Boston.com

    As far as I know, none of these players were even added to the practice squad. It appears that the Simms and Rattay were just in for a look-see.
  18. TheGodInAGreyHoodie

    TheGodInAGreyHoodie Rookie

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    The OP might be onto something, the reason why Simms and Rattay was brought in was Belichicks utter lack of confidence in Cassel. And the reason the FOUR wider recievers were brought in was because BB was contemplating cutting Wes and Randy. He was particularly worried about Wes and his propensity for making snow angels.
  19. Gwedd

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    One other point is this: We do NOT know WHY those two QB's were brought in for a look. The team consistently is bringing in players from all sorts of positions for workouts, interviews, etc. It doesn't mean that the team is looking to upgrade at a certain position, or even to offer a contract to the player. Coach has said many times in the past that when a player is available and they want to know more about his worth, or just fill out their dossiers on him, they bring him in for a look.

    I would offer that Pioli or someone else had brought those players in, and coach saying they were sent away without even a look had more to do with his NOT having time to do anything with them than anything else. It may well be that coach needed all his time to deal with the QB situation and simply told those two to have a nice day.

    Unless or until Pioli or Coach or someone in the loop makes a statement, everything we are dealing with is hearsay and speculation. It's fun, it's interesting, but that's all it is: Speculation. :cool:

    Respects,
  20. AzPatsFan

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    None of this washes. Belichick was adamant about keeping Cassel as his QB as soon as Brady went down. Just as significant there, was no one on the Team who was bad mouthing Matt even when he was obviously just feeling his way around, in the early games. That could only happen if they were there in the film room as every one got criticized by the coaches, and saw who got criticized and who got praised.

    Cassel was pulling his weight in preseason, and many players on the Team were defending him to the hostile questions by press critics, even in the preseason.

    The only observation that he was not resigned in the preseason holds water. But they probably felt that MC would want to go somewhere else to try to play, and deserved it, and wouldn't sign for the money they had budgeted for him.

    Besides with a year to develop KOC and bring in a vet to learn the system that probably sounded optimal.

    However it would have been reasonable to tear up his deal after Brady went down, and ink him for more money and time, before they invested time with him. Perhaps they did, and Matt said no... We'll never know. :D:D
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