The League

Mark Maske
Staff Writer

Mark Maske

Writes the NFL News Feed blog

Dynasty, Interrupted


The entire NFL season changed the instant that Tom Brady got hurt. The New England Patriots went from being a top Super Bowl contender once again to being nothing more than a team that can only hope to get to the playoffs, and probably will fall short.

Brady's injury looked like a torn ACL from the moment that it happened. People around the league are saying tonight the Patriots believe that's precisely what the injury is.

There was no reason to think the Patriots would roll through the regular season unbeaten again with Brady in the lineup. But they certainly appeared to be a heavyweight team once more.

Without Brady, they likely will struggle to reach the playoffs. Sure, they still have a bunch of very good to outstanding players. But they haven't invested their resources in keeping a top-notch backup quarterback around. Matt Cassel isn't the answer, at least not at this point in his career.

He looked overmatched during the Patriots' winless preseason. Preseason games don't mean anything to Tom Brady or the defending AFC champions with three Super Bowl trophies sitting at home. But they do mean something to guys like Matt Cassel, and what we saw from him wasn't good.

The Patriots managed to beat the Chiefs today after Brady got hurt. But the Chiefs could be a very bad team, so that might not mean much at all.

Chris Simms is scheduled to be in Foxborough, Mass., for a workout Monday. He could be signed to be Cassel's backup, and perhaps his eventual replacement.

The dynasty isn't over yet. When Brady returns to the lineup, whenever that is, the Patriots will be a championship contender again. They fall into that category whenever Brady and Coach Bill Belichick are around. But this year, minus Brady, they clearly aren't in that category.

By Mark Maske  |  September 7, 2008; 10:00 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: More Gump Than Mensa | Next: Knee-Deep in Trouble


Please email us to report offensive comments.

You know..Belijerk is getting his bad karma back..He treated the NFL like his lap dog when given the chance last year. He flat out had no class the way he handled the Skins game against Joe Gibbs. Tom Brady was very arrogant too last year. They got beat by an above average football team in the SB for embarrassment for history. Now they lose Brady in the first game to a knee after he was hurt all year with the ankle...Football Gods seem not to happy with Patriots Nation right now.

Posted by: Skins3X | September 8, 2008 12:40 AM

52-7. What goes around, comes around. Payback time for the Pats for the rest of the season - perhaps this will teach them some badly needed humility.

Posted by: bsterritt | September 8, 2008 1:02 AM

Let's see Brady's 31 and has been lucky up until now with injuries like this. The big test is how he comes back and how this will affect his abilities considering he's always been pretty much a drop-back pocket passer.

Posted by: esteban | September 8, 2008 6:47 AM

What are you talking about. Cassel is a fine QB - comes from USC, played behind Carson Palmer, Matt Leinert, he knows how to be prepared as a backup. And, anyone throwing to Randy Moss is destined to be a succssful QB. Even Jeff George looked good playing with Randy Moss.

Actually, this is in a sad way the best thing to happen to NE this year. Now, they can focus on keeping going w/o Brady instead of any SuperBowl hang over.

- Ajay Gupta

Posted by: Ajay Gupta | September 8, 2008 8:14 AM

Cheaters Never Prosper! Let's hope Belichek enjoys the taste of his own bile.

Posted by: mjwies11, washington, d.c. | September 8, 2008 9:49 AM

Honestly, those of you that are cheering this injury as "bad karma" or the like should be ashamed of yourselves. Just because our defense couldn't earn their paychecks last year doesn't mean we should celebrate a potentially career-changing injury to the Michael Jordan of our league and a guy who (unlike his coach) has been a class act his entire career. Comments like the ones posted here are shameful and, quite frankly, truly digusting. Perhaps some of you should exhibit the "class" that you accuse the Patriots of lacking.

Posted by: Ashamed Skins Fan | September 8, 2008 10:56 AM

A QB gets hurt in a game and it's bad kharma coming back to haunt them? What a joke. Brady is one of the best ever, but something like this is bound to happen to any QB who starts for any length of time at all. With him gone the Pats are still a playoff contender (thanks to a fairly weak division) but I have to admit that I wouldn't bet on them to win the AFC again. With Cassel (or maybe Simms) they can still go 10-6 and either win the division or possibly get a wild card. Pats haters - don't arrange your funeral parties yet!

Posted by: dritchie | September 8, 2008 12:59 PM

I'm one of those people who thinks that Tom Brady has, for years, gotten more credit than he really deserves. I think he has always been a fighter and a good leader, but beyond the leadership qualities, he's a slightly above average QB. He's good, but not the superstar he has become. I don't like the Patriots, but part of me hopes that they do really well this season so that it tarnishes the legend of Brady and the world realizes that the system (and Randy Moss) is winning games.

Posted by: Andy | September 8, 2008 2:46 PM

A slightly above average quarterback? He had 50 touchdown passes and eight interceptions last season. What would it have taken to make him kind of good, 100 and two?

Posted by: Mark Maske | September 8, 2008 8:18 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company