Originally Posted by njx9
i'm not sold that cassel is as good as or better than brady was at a similar point. and i'm EXTREMELY sure that i wouldn't give him the mega contract he's likely to get in the off season. however, some people here are 1) dramatically overstating how good brady was his first season and 2) dramatically overstating the realistic, 'tangible' differences between the two teams.
I completely agree with #1. What makes Tom Brady what he is isn't how he played in 2001, it's how he progressed after that point. And we're assured of no such thing with Cassell.
But I completely disagree with your second point. The New England defense has stayed mostly the same over the years, and I think one of the great accomplishments I've seen in football this decade has been how well they've plugged holes. But the difference between the offense, both personnel-wise and schematically, between 2006 and 2007
is drastic, much less between 2007 and that 2001 team. Brady ran an I formation offense with almost all the offensive pressure put on the run attack his first year, while 2007 and 2008 have featured very few sets featuring less than 3 wide receivers, a ton of shotgun snaps, and a spread attack style routes from the pass catchers. The difference between Josh McDaniels' offense and Charlie Weis' cannot be understated.
On one hand, what Cassell has done in his first year is almost more impressive. One less starting experience and (I personally believe) less talent, he's managed to direct a passing attack that has been top notch at times. But do not make the mistake of thinking that the one thing that drove that offense last year was Tom Brady. It wasn't. He's been there since 2001. The difference was schematic and it was the added personnel.