When was the last time a quarterback other than Tom Brady was under center for the New England Patriots for a full season?
That would be 2008, when Matt Cassel replaced Brady after he suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots backup managed to lead his team to an 11-5 record, but New England failed to clinch a playoff berth.
Now, it's Cam Newton's turn to see what he's capable of in Bill Belichick's offense. Newton signed a one-year deal to replace Brady, who departed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, during the offseason.
On a brand new Patriots Talk Podcast, Cassel himself joined Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry to discuss Newton's impact and much more ahead of Sunday's Week 1 game vs. the Miami Dolphins.
Cassel explained how offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels can get creative with Newton under center.
"I think they have to take advantage of the fact Newton is a special player and he's dynamic. This offense will look, I believe, completely different than what it looked like last year. You have to put in those zone reads and the misdirections, fake the jet sweep, play-action off that," said Cassel.
"By doing so, it keeps the defense honest and a lot of times in those zone reads, those RPOs, you're not blocking the defensive end. And so the defense can't overreact because as soon as that defensive end overreacts comes up field, he's right around the corner for a 15-20 yard gain."
Also discussed in the episode: How should the Patriots attack the Dolphins’ defense? 2020 bold predictions for the Patriots, Can Devin Asiasi have a better rookie season than Rob Gronkowski? And more.
Editor's note: Matt Cassel, who had a 14-year NFL career that included four seasons with the New England Patriots (2005-2008), is back on the NBC Sports Boston team for his second season. You can find him on game days as part of our Pregame Live and Postgame Live coverage, as well as every week on Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk podcast and NBCSportsBoston.com.