Beware of quarterback attacks

Published 9:59 pm Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is it me, or is there a freakish amount of quarterback injuries so far this season in the NFL?

Could just be me. Or it could be that Tom Brady’s season-ending knee injury makes it seem like all quarterbacks’ legs are under attack more than ever.

What’s really sad is I wouldn’t have know his backup, Matt Cassel, from a boil on a warthog’s butt before Sunday. But that’s the way the game goes.

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The world didn’t have a clue about Brady until 2001 when Jets linebacker Mo Lewis made Drew Bledsoe’s organs rattle around inside his body.

So then I got to thinking …

How are some teams who have lost their top signal callers going to do in the interim? We’ll find out when we go down “The List.”

Patriots — Let Brady’s career tell you anything is possible. Let lightning tell you not to expect sequels. The similarities here are endless, though. Brady was a lifetime backup for much more heralded stars in both college and in the NFL (first at Michigan behind Brian Griese). Ditto with Cassel (Carson Palmer at USC).

The Patriots have arguably the best collection of offensive weapons (Cowboys fans booing) in the league, and hey, teams keep backups around for a reason. Don’t be surprised if the Pats do more than just show up in the postseason.

San Francisco — Alex Smith isn’t the No.1 quarterback, but it’s a pretty sad story that’s worth mentioning. People want to lay the blame for his “bust” performance on a lot of things, but I’m looking at one thing — four offensive coordinators in his first four years. Who can work like that, no matter how experienced? He’s out for the year with a broken bone in his throwing shoulder, and reports are this is the end of his time in the bay. It’s a shame because he’s a lot more talented than the chance he was given.

Tampa Bay — Most people think Jeff Garcia won’t go away, but a sprained ankle says otherwise — at least for the time being. Griese (surprise!) is leapfrogging past No. 2 Luke McCown and will start Sunday, probably because of that 83.6 career passer rating.

Kansas City — Count me among the list of people who want to see what Brodie Croyle is capable of when fully healthy. A separated shoulder will squash those aspirations for about a month. There was some uncertainty over who was actually the starter entering the season. Nothing against Damon Huard and Tyler Thigpen, but Croyle projects better as a No. 1. A healthy Croyle, that is.