Jaworski: Cassel showed unbelievable mental toughness
"Every week he seems to do something else that impresses me. What he did in Oakland, just a few days after his father had died, is amazing. I can't imagine doing that, especially playing as well as he did. We have to look at Matt's mental toughness. He's just a tough kid to knock down."
Monday Night Football analyst Ron Jaworski was asked the question that will be asked many, many times this winter and spring.
If you were general manager of an NFL franchise that needed a quarterback, would you offer the New England Patriots a first-round draft pick for Matt Cassel?
"Are you kidding me?" said Jaworski last week from NFL Films headquarters in Mt. Laurel, N.J.
"If I was planning on drafting a quarterback in the first round, absolutely. I would take Matt Cassel instead. Rather than going through the maturation process and bumpy road, I like a sure thing. Matt is a player."
OK, so we aren't alone in our high praise. Cassel, who for some reason has been overlooked for the NFL's "best story" of 2008, is getting his props from one of the most knowledgeable quarterback gurus in the world.
"I don't understand why people aren't talking about him more, but I am," said Jaworski.
He says he has seen virtually every one of Cassel's snaps this season, watching the "coaches film," which shows three views of each play.
"I think the biggest difference now than earlier in the season is that he's not a one-read guy," said Jaworski. "Earlier in the season, he wasn't going through his progressions. But that is understandable."
Like everyone else, Jaworski figured after Tom Brady went down in Game 1, the Patriots would simplify things and run the ball a lot more.