Colgate Around the Hill – How will the Partiots fare without Tom Brady?

Mike LeClair

Tom Brady is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, and his absence will certainly hurt the Patriots, but less than most think. Let’s not forget, they still play in the AFC East, have one of the easiest schedules in the league this year, and have Bill Belichick at the helm. Let’s also not forgot that when Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury in 2001 and a sixth-round pick out of Michigan was the only replacement, everyone thought the Patriots were finished. and they won the Super Bowl. Belicheck has a fantastic eye for talent, and Matt Cassel, though unproven, played very well against the Chiefs in place of Brady. With Belichick preparing him weekly, Cassel will lead the Patriots to the AFC East title, and deep into the playoffs.

Garrett LeyMaroon-News Staff

The Patriots will struggle without Brady in 2008, and it’s not because Matt Cassel is new their quarterback. The Patriots main problem is that they lack a proven running back who can carry the ball 25 times a game and take pressure off of Cassel and the passing game. Laurence Maroney, who led the Patriots last season with 835 yards rushing, has yet to establish himself as a top-notch running back in his first two years in New England, averaging just 58.9 yards per game. Maroney will be the main focus in 2008, mainly because nobody can expect Cassel, a career back-up-even in college-to come in and make the same plays Brady did for the past seven seasons.

PAUL KASABIANMaroon-News Copy Editor

The talking heads on television and the radio seem to have forgotten that 53 men make up the New England Patriots roster, and losing one man will not capsize New England’s season, even if that man is one of the best five quarterbacks in NFL history. The team has enough depth and experience to give Cassel a good support system to work with, and with an easy schedule this year (the Patriots find themselves having the good fortune of facing the AFC West AND NFC West), New England should win the AFC East with relative ease and go deep into the playoffs. Whether Cassel thrives in the postseason without any previous playoff experience remains to be seen. I predict that the Pats to make the AFC Championship Game.

Mike McMasterMaroon-News Sports Editor

Sunday night, I wandered back from dinner and turned on the TV. Relaxed, and in a good mood after a good weekend, the last thing I expected was a funeral procession on NFL Live. Analysts discussed whether anything in the NFL will be the same, while Chris Berman looked like he was trying to fight back tears. Well, it won’t be the same. Matt Cassel is no Tom Brady, and the Pats, who were looking to return to the Super Bowl, will now struggle to be the team to beat in the AFC East. After Buffalo’s 34-10 curb-stomping of the Seattle Seahawks, the Bills could be the team to beat in the East. Meanwhile, the rest of the NFL breathed a sigh of relief, because all of their Super Bowl dreams just got a little more real. Without Brady, look for an old Patriots’ defense and an inexperienced quarterback to miss the playoffs.