Dan writes about Mat Cassel’s long standing role as second fiddle to a three-time Super Bowl winner and two separate Heisman trophy winners. It is a decent look at Cassel and the road that has led him to his first start in a meaningful game in a decade.
It’s really not a bad article overall, but I would take issue with a few points:
- For the umpteenth time this week, I have heard that Matt Cassel has not started since high school. Shaughnessy’s statement today is that “The last time he started a football game was Nov. 24, 1999, when he quarterbacked Chatsworth High to a 49-42 loss to Palisades Charter High School in the third round of the Los Angeles City Invitational playoffs.” This is not completely true – he has started some preseason games. Granted I get the point but he may want to couch his statements better.
- Dan perpetuates the whole shtick about Belichick’s unwavering faith in the system when he writes “The Patriots believe the system is bigger than any player and that is why Cassel is the QB rather than an experienced backup from the NFL scrap heap.” This is another oft-repeated claim and I don’t buy it. I do think it is true that they won’t transform their approach to a player who would not fit (Culpepper?) but I think Cassel has stuck with the team and is now the starter because he is talented. The fact that he knows the playbook after three years also goes a long way. It’s not like they pulled a high schooler off the streets because they believe he "fits the system"
- If Shaughnessy is going to write an article like this, a fresh perspective would be to interview his college coaches to get their perspective on his talent. Was there a significant difference between him and Palmer and Leinart? Or was it more slight? Would have been a good angle to explore
- Finally, he ends the column with a "string the quotes together" technique
Again, not a bad article but could have been better
(Edit: Corrected link, Thanks DB!)
(Edit 2: When I wrote this critique Friday, I said this column could have been better and this is what I had in mind:...Bob Hohler's piece is an excellent read this morning about Cassel)