Few people are more qualified to give advice to Tom Brady's future replacement than Vinny Testaverde.
Why? Because the retired quarterback was "the next guy" at several points during his NFL career -- including on a Bill Belichick-coached team.
Testaverde, who joined the Cleveland Browns in 1993, took over for Bernie Kosar when Belichick released him midway through the 1994 season.
Replacing Kosar, a two-time Pro Bowler and Ohio native who had spent his entire nine-year career to that point Cleveland, was no easy task for Testaverde.
"It's challenging go into any city as a quarterback and perform at a level as the guy you're taking over (for) who had some great success," Testaverde told NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry for an upcoming episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.
"Bernie Kosar in Cleveland was a hometown hero. He grew up there. People loved him."
Testaverde was up to the challenge, though, guiding the Browns to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth in his first full season as a starter.
"That kind of took care of some of the things that needed to be taken care of," Testaverde said. "If that staff stayed together, I think we would have went on to do great things."
Even if Brady leaves the Patriots in free agency, Belichick shows no signs of stepping down. So, there's some precedent for New England finding success after Brady -- as long as the next QB in line has the right mindset.
"It's going to be the same if it happens in New England -- or when it happens in New England, because it's going to happen eventually," Testaverde said. "Those are big shoes to fill. But you have to manage your expectations. That's really what it comes down to."
Jarrett Stidham or any QB who comes to the Patriots doesn't need to be Tom Brady. Take it from Testaverde, who discovered that the best way to fill a legend's shoes is to discard them for your own pair.