A Slice of Fried Gold

The end of an era?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Goodbye Mike!

Alright, that title is obviously overly dramatic. The Patriots are not going away in any way, shape or form. In fact, after the moves we made, it sets us up to be even better (and younger) than last year. However, after the Patriots dealt 2008 hero Matt Cassel and long time favorite Mike Vrabel for the 34th pick in this years draft, it kind of feels like a big part of our identity is missing.

Not so much with Cassel, but Vrabel really is the personification of the Bill Belichick way. Gritty, versatile, durable, and eminently coachable, Mike Vrabel plays football the way it is supposed to be played. Need him to line up as a down lineman off the edge? He's got that. Inside linebacker? Outside linebacker? No problem. Hell, tight end on goal line plays? You betcha coach. He does it all, and he does it all well, and it's going to be sad seeing him play for the Chiefs next year (in the theorized universe where the Chiefs are actually broadcasted on television).

Cassel is a joy also, and was the savior of 2008 after Tom Brady got hurt. It's good to see him get the opportunity though, as with Brady back (and you have to assume his recovery is going well considering the Pats dealt Cassel) he just wouldn't have the opportunity.

No less, like I said, I'm excited about the future for the Pats. Perhaps I'm just making lemonade out of lemons, but dealing a QB with clear physical tools but inflated stats due to his system and supporting cast and an aging linebacker for a high pick and tons of cap space isn't all bad. There is already word that the Pats will likely make a run at one of the linebackers in the market, from Julius Peppers to Ray Lewis, or even Jonathan Vilma in a trade for picks. They have a ton of cap space, and people have speculated that they may go for TJ Houshmandzadeh to replace Jabar Gaffney (I don't buy it, but you never know). Plus, with four picks in the first 2 rounds (and 5 in the first 89 picks), they have a lot of room to move up or get younger support very quickly.

In short, it's not doomsday. It's actually a brand new day for the Patriots, and perhaps even a better one than the day before.

I hope at least. Let's hope I'm not just deluding myself, because that's totally possible.


Sam said...

It was pretty sad to see Cassel go, but it would have been more sad to watch him waste away on the bench all year. Let's just cross our fingers and hope that Brady doesn't pull a Carson Palmer on us...

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