Fassel says Patriots should stick with Cassel

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel appeared Tuesday morning on "ESPN First Take" and shared his thoughts on the New England Patriots' quarterback situation.

Guest anchor Bonnie Bernstein wondered if Cassel should have been removed from Sunday night's 30-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers and then asked how long the Patriots should keep using him.

"It really always goes back to the same thing: It's the coaches," replied Fassel, who called the game for Westwood One Radio. [Patriots coach Bill] "Belichick and his staff knows 'Is Matt Cassel doing what we're asking him to do, or is he just missing a lot of reads and making a lot of mistakes?'

"None of us know that. I can't even tell you that. All I know is the young man can function and can play quarterback based upon what they're trying to do.

"There was, like, five minutes to go in the third quarter and the Chargers were up 17-3. [The Patriots] were inside the 5, and they couldn't get it in. That would've made it a 17-10 game halfway through the third quarter. They were only one score away from tying the game up.

"So it wasn't like [Cassel] was a complete wash. I did the game. The Patriots didn't play well as a team, and it always comes back to the quarterback, but I think what [Belichick] has to do is stick with him, see what he needs to do to have some help, maybe streamline the packages of the offense.

"But I think they can win with him at quarterback, but he's going to have some up-and-down games, too."

New England's backup quarterback is rookie Kevin O'Connell. Second-year undrafted pro Matt Gutierrez is the third-stringer and threw one pass last season.