The riddle of the offseason…

December 30, 2008 at 11:51 am 2 comments

71465469EG021_Houston_TexanWhat can a dynasty like the Patriots learn from an underachieving team like the Browns? Does anyone remember Derek Anderson? How about his 2007 season and the Browns’ decision to stick with him as their starter instead of rookie stud Brady Quinn? Well, I am not saying that there is an open quarterback competition in New England between Tom Brady and Matt Cassel, but with Cassel about to become a free-agent I would advise ALL teams to beware. Don’t fall into the “Cinderella-Derek Anderson” trap!

Derek Anderson came out of no where in 2007 and led his team to a playoff-like record, but the Browns just didn’t get in. His Pro-Bowl stats inspired the Browns’ front office (now fired) to sign him back and make him their starter. They made Anderson the starter over hometown rookie Brady Quinn – at which time fans probably didn’t mind too much. Then, after a horrible start in 2008, fans realized how bad he was. They realized how bad the front office was and so did the owners, which is why Phil Savage is now unemployed. But look at the stats:

Derek Anderson (2007) (15 G)         3,787 yds   56.5%    29 TDs   19 INTs   82.5 RTG                                                                                                                  

And in 2008 we saw Tom Brady go down in the first game and watch a guy named Matt Cassel come in and fill the HUGE shoes. Cassel’s background was short – very short. In fact, Cassel hadn’t started a game since high school, which lead to no type of confidence amongst fans or analysts. However, Cassel got better week after week, he started putting up huge numbers, and before you know it…Matt Cassel has Pro Bowl stats and in the final year of his contract. Sound familiar? Look at Cassel’s stats:

Matt Cassel (2008) (15G)                  3,693 yds   63.4%   21 TDs   11 INTs   89.4 RTG

Both guys’ stats are extremely appealing, especially to people like Minnesota, Detroit, New York Jets (longer term), and maybe even San Francisco. But can Cassel really be trusted or is he another one-hit-wonder? Many people will tell you that any quarterback could succeed in New England’s system offense and that’s why they don’t buy into Cassel. Some people will say to look at Derek Anderson last year. But I would say to wait out for the playoffs. Matt Cassel may get an opportunity that Derek Anderson didn’t have and that’s to show what he can do in a must-win playoff situation. We must remember that even when a team loses an All-Pro quarterback, there is still 52 men that were a huge part of an undefeated season just months ago. Cassel, if lucky enough, will have a great opportunity to demonstrate some leadership and skill, all while having a strong supporting cast behind him. This is the one-time deal for Cassel to make the big dollars, no excuses.

You can make your own arguments and create your own “what-if” scenarios, but the “Cinderella-Derek Anderson” effect has to be in the minds of numerous GM’s in the league. And now with Tom Brady reportedly slow in his recovery, maybe the Pats resign Cassel and he ends up just fine. Or will he crumble? If he stays, starts, and succeeds – is it the system or is he really a good quarterback? No one will know until it happens, but Cassel should come with a ‘BUYER BEWARE’ label.


Entry filed under: Pro Football. Tags: , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sportsaholic89  |  December 30, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I think it is the system that makes Cassel so great. He is a good QB; but, not as spectacular as people have portrayed him to be.



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