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What's With This Lack of Faith?

Radio Host Worries About Brady's Backup

Some days are just tough being a sports fan.

So I'm listening to WEEI this morning during my workout, and I should know better, because I'm usually plagued with John Dennis. Both he and Gerry Callahan are on vacation, so instead we get Larry Johnson and Craig Mustard. I really have to start remembering to bring my iPod Shuffle.

So they're obviously talking baseball, because that's 99 percent of what these guys do, but they mention the Boston Herald's story that New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Brucshi has a possible fractured wrist; and then (I think it was Mustard) starts on about how he's upset the team hasn't signed wide receiver Deion Branch yet, and segues into the media coverage of quarterback Tom Brady's absence, and then he mentions that a few media outlets (this one included, though I'm sure he was unaware of the fact) suggested that perhaps the coaching staff allowed Brady to take time off so backup QB Matt Cassel could get in some reps with the first squad.

And then he started on this whole thing about Cassel being the backup and the need for a veteran presence at backup at the position, "even if it's just to hold a clipboard." He all but called the Patriots powers that be idiots for not having a veteran backing up Brady.

Right. Like in 2001 when Drew Bledsoe was injured. The Patriots had, um, Damon Huard as the "official" No. 2 until push came to Mo Lewis' shoulder into Bledsoe's chest. Everyone, including me at the time, assumed Huard would assume the reins until Bledsoe returned.

Turns out head coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Scott Pioli and probably a few other people knew something we (and that would include Craig Mustard) didn't know. And you know what? They probably know more than we do now, too.

Besides, what little we saw of Cassel last season wasn't all that bad. He was far from great, but he was a pure rookie then, and it was more than we saw of Brady his first year. And that turned out pretty well.

So I'm going to go into the season hoping that our three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback stays healthy, despite the odds that say he'll get hurt eventually (although he's been hurt, pretty significantly, a few times and played through it). And when the time comes for another quarterback to take up residence behind the center that that player, whether he's a 1-year or a 10-year veteran, will be ready to do the job.

We likely will never see the likes of a Tom Brady stepping out of the shadows to amaze us in ways we never dreamed, but we shouldn't come to expect that. And we should have some faith that this coaching staff and front office, given their track record and the fact that they have all the information in front of them -- information that we don't have -- know what they're doing.

OK, Craig?