The wait is almost over.
While Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin defense of their Super Bowl LVI title Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys, followed Sunday by the beginning of the Mac Jones era for the New England Patriots.
On the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran, Phil Perry and former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel discuss just how much pressure Jones is under when it comes to replacing Brady, who won his first Super Bowl in New England was Jones was just 3 years old.
"Obviously, he was a great player [here]," Jones said earlier in the week, when Curran asked about playing to Brady's standard. "The word 'standard' kind of hit me there, because we all want to play to that standard, the Patriot Way; really it comes down to doing your job. As a quarterback, that's leading the people around me as best I can."
Later on in the episode, Cassel, who once replaced Brady himself -- albeit under dramatically different circumstances in 2008 when Brady tore his ACL -- gives some insight on being assertive as a new quarterback.
"He's got to show to these guys that he can handle the reins and also hold them accountable, because they're going to hold him accountable," Cassel said of Jones. "They know that they're going to go as he goes, so he's got to show that leadership quality. It's actually a really good personality trait that he has that he's comfortable enough to say 'hey look, I need this out of you.' It also sets the tone for these guys when they get in the huddle that they respect him and understand he's the leader of this offensive unit."
Perry asks Cassel if there's a specific moment he remembers after taking over for Brady in Week 2 in 2008 where he began to assert his own will, and draws upon a colorful conversation with none other than Randy Moss in a game against the Seattle Seahawks:
Moss: "You don't talk to me like that, Cassel!"
Cassel: "You don't talk ME like that!"
"That was one of those moments where I was so comfortable within the offense and what we were doing and everything like that, but you have to show that assertiveness when you're in the huddle, even with veteran guys like Randy Moss," Cassel said.
Also discussed in this episode: What does Cam Newton have to get off his chest on 'Funky Friday?'