Pats Down, Not Out
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No football team can afford to lose an All-Pro quarterback and expect to perform as well without him. At the same time, no team will react as well to such a loss as Bill Belichick and his Patriots coaching staff.
I have had first hand experience with this kind of situation as coach of the St. Louis Rams. When Trent Green was lost for the 1999 season, after a pre-season knee injury, people thought we were done. I went with an Arena League football player named Kurt Warner. We ended up winning the Super Bowl, and Warner won the MVP.
As a coach you have to approach such an injury just like any other obstacle, and inspire an attitude in the locker room that fosters good football. If you study Bill Belichick's history you'll know that there is no one better at adapting than him. No coach is better prepared.
Of course it won't be easy. With the exception of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady is peerless in the NFL. The Patriots' wins won't come as easy this year. Scores will be tighter and they may lose a few more games than their fans are used to. At the same time Matt Cassel played well in his back-up roll yesterday.
Despite this adversity, the Patriots can still win. It will be an extreme test, and they will have to adjust, perhaps by relying more on their running backs and their defense. Will they win as many games? No, but they are still a playoff caliber team.
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