Insiders Analysis: Quarterbacks

PI takes a look at the roster and breaks down each player on a unit-by-unit basis. In this installment, the quarterback position is the subject. An area where the Patriots have had the benefit of Tom Brady's experience to carry them to three Super Bowl wins. The question is; Who is backing up Brady should he suffer an injury?

Tom Brady ­ 6’4”, 225 Lbs., 6th Year, Michigan
The youngest quarterback to win 3 Superbowls will be put to yet another test this year after the Patriots lost Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis. However besides Weis, no one knows the schemes as well as Head Coach Bill Belichick, (who most insiders assume is doing the play calling, but he also may be casting a shroud of protection for a young understudy) and the ultimate coach on the field in Brady himself. He’ll have no shortage of weapons to work with; the cast of skill position players is the same with the exception of WR David Patten, who left via free agency to Washington. In fact he’ll have more options than last year. Tight End Ben Watson, who was lost for the season Week 1 vs. Indianapolis, will be like a supplemental draft pick this year as he will add a new wrinkle to the offense with his rare combination of size (6’3”, 253) and speed (4.5 40-yard dash at the 2004 NFL Draft Combine). Brady loves to spread the ball around, and seems able to find weaknesses in coverages on an almost play-by-play basis. Having 3 pass-catching threats at tight end (Daniel Graham, Watson, and Christian Fauria) as well as being able to have 5 or even 6 quality wideouts to disperse to in Superbowl XXXIX MVP Deion Branch, David Givens, Troy Brown, Bethel Johnson, Tim Dwight, and his former Michigan teammate David Terrell (if he gets the program) may make Brady as deadly as ever.

Doug Flutie ­ 5’10”, 180 Lbs., 12th year, Boston College
The New England folk-hero makes his return to the area in search of a Superbowl ring to go along with his 1984 Heisman Trophy and 3 Grey Cups. Flutie had been a reliable backup for Drew Brees in San Diego the last 3 seasons, throwing 10 TD’s vs. 4 INT’s in limited action. Although small in stature, Flutie more than makes up for lack of size with speed, athleticism, and his fiery attitude. Despite his track record and local legend status, he is no lock to be the number 2 quarterback.

Rohan Davey ­ 6’2”, 245 Lbs., 4th year, LSU
Davey’s play in the 2004 NFL Europe season, a year in which he was named Offensive Player of the Year, and also led the Berlin Thunder to the World Bowl Championship, helped give him the seasoning to win the backup QB job last season for the Patriots. However, he has not impressed the Patriots brass enough to guarantee him a spot on the 2005 roster.

Matt Cassel ­ 6’5”, 230 Lbs., Rookie, USC
Cassel’s size and the strength of his throwing arm are what motivated the Patriots to use a 7th round pick on him in this April’s draft. A successful preseason may keep him on the roster, much like another long shot by the name of Tom Brady did 5 years back. He’ll most likely battle Davey for the number 3 slot.

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