The League

Dick Vermeil
Former Head Coach

Dick Vermeil

Has won the Super Bowl, the Rose Bowl and multiple coaching accolades.

Pats Down, Not Out


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.

By Dick Vermeil  |  September 8, 2008; 9:22 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Mr. Vermeil:

As a Patriots fan, I want to thank you for your words this morning. No one knows what will happen with the rest of the season, how Matt Cassel will perform or what the the future holds for Tom Brady. At a time when most media sources can hardly hold in their glee at seeing the Patriots down, its nice that some one will show a touch of decency.

Thank you.

Posted by: Justin Dangel | September 8, 2008 10:17 AM

The Patriots get what they deserve. As long as people have a love-fest for Brady and talk him up like he is the face of the NFL, they will reap what they sow. I do not wish career ending injuries on anyone because that is just wrong, however, I'm glad people see that Brady is just another player that got hurt. So Pat's fans, suck it up and move on.

Posted by: Ken | September 8, 2008 11:05 AM

"touch of decency"...The Pats (best 18-1 team ever) need to disclose injuries, and stop spying. "touch of decency"...yeah right.

Posted by: Busdriver | September 8, 2008 11:10 AM

Hey Busdriver/Ken,

Who's your team? Why don't you worry about them instead of celebrating a player's injury.

Posted by: Justin G | September 8, 2008 12:39 PM

Sometimes you get to be careful to what you are doing to other people or other teams. There is an old saying-be humble when you are winning and be pride when you are in difficulty. Patriots is a not a humble team and I dont love them. I wish they fell and wont go to the playoff this year.

Posted by: Sean | September 8, 2008 3:09 PM

Some have been sore at the patriots/brady for a number of years because of their uncanny ability to get the job done when it counts. They have done whatever it takes....including taping signals to gain an advantage.

Deep down, losing Brady is a disappointment to the NFL and fans included. With that being said...I don't have anything bad to say about those that are not weeping for Brady. Remember, they did cheat and have been know for taking questionable shots at their opponents. There are a number of Pats haters because of this.

All super bowl contending teams have had some bad breaks over the years, and this is one of the few for the Pats. I respect Dick for his accomplishments, but he is way off to think the Pats will be in the playoffs.

Good luck Pats fans, I'll be dropping Brady and will not pick up Cassel for my fantasy team.

Posted by: Mark | September 8, 2008 3:29 PM

So we're all supposed to have some decency and courtesy and feel badly for Brady? That would be much easier to do if he and his team had shown the rest of the league the same last year, rather than running up the score to boost his ego in long-decided games. Couldn't have happened to a better person.

And to all those Pats fans who will say I'm just jealous of their success, yes, I am jealous. I'm jealous of every team better than mine, but I still respect them, and wouldn't enjoy hearing their players were injured. That's a special feeling reserved for the special few who've earned it...Tom Brady, Michael Irvin and.....that's about it.

Best wishes for a slow, painful and unsuccessful recovery!

Posted by: Me | September 8, 2008 6:34 PM

Pats haters are the most classless, biased group of meat-heads on the planet, to be cheering Brady's injury.

Before you start talking about running up the score, take a quick look at history, like Peyton Manning's 49td season, or any number of NFL games dating back the past 70 years.

Also, way to exaggerate the 'cheating' claims, to videotape something the entire stadium and TV audience an see for their own eyes. Compare that to the Dolphins stealing audio calls or the Colts piping in fake crowd noise.

Pats haters are weak-minded people who cannot get past their own bias.

Posted by: Dave | September 8, 2008 9:19 PM

backup _____ the word is "role" not "roll"

Posted by: joe | September 8, 2008 9:24 PM

Tom Brady and Michael Irvin? First time those two were ever mentioned in the same sentence,and the last.

Posted by: Me Hater | September 8, 2008 10:31 PM

So I came here to read "Smart takes from ... people in the know about the NFL." It should also have said, "Plus commentary from some of the league's dumbest, most mean-spirited fans."

The remarks from "Me" and "Ken" were way too stupid and crass to deserve a response, but I did want to comment on something posted by Mark (sorry to even mention you in the same sentence as the other two, Mark):

"Remember, they did cheat and have been know for taking questionable shots at their opponents. There are a number of Pats haters because of this."

I disagree. Spygate galvanized Pats haters because it gave them something concrete to latch onto, but it did not create the hatred. Likewise, running up the score, taking questionable shots, etc, all made good fuel for the fire. But the reason people hate the Pats is that they were so good for so long. People can't stand to see a team win so much, especially fans of other good teams who consistently ended up the victims of the Patriots' success. Living in Boston, I've been on both sides of this. Every year, from 1995-2003, whenever the Red Sox seemed poised for postseason success, the Yankees came in and ruined it. They won the AL East for a decade straight, some years coming from as much as ten games back. And if the Sox did make the playoffs, those pinstriped New Yorkers were there, waiting. So Boston developed a deep, irrational hatred of the Yankees. Along the way, we found a million little justifications for it, but in the end, there was only one reason: Every year, inevitably, the Yankees ruined our season.

People hate the Pats because they have dominated the league this decade. Fans of teams like the Chargers and Steelers especially hate the Pats because they've been handed some particularly heartbreaking losses the last few years. Tack on whatever other justifications you want, but without the success, there would be no hate.

Posted by: BC | September 9, 2008 11:14 AM

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