With Cassel injured, Pats prep for Palko

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Matt Cassel during the 2008 season.A hand injury is likely to prevent the Patriots from seeing old friend Matt Cassel on the field Monday night at Gillette Stadium and now the team is prepping for top backup Tyler Palko.

"Tyler's a player that we've got to do some work on, spend more time watching him," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "We, of course, haven’t seen a lot of him in regular-season games, so you have to go back to the preseason. I’d say he's an athletic player, quick release, can move around back there in the pocket. He’s left-handed and sees the field pretty well. I think they have lot of confidence in him. He played ahead of [rookie quarterback Ricky] Stanzi in the preseason, and Stanzi's a guy they drafted, there’s a lot to like about him,too. So we’ll have to be ready for both of those guys."

But Belichick stressed his team won't look past the Chiefs without Cassel.

“We all know from the 2008 season here -- and many other examples of teams we've played against -- everybody wrote us off in 2008 when we lost Tom [Brady to an ACL injury], and Matt led us to 11 wins. We’re playing against a football team, not just one player. Whoever they have in there -- Palko, Stanzi, whoever it is -- we're gonna have to play a good football team, a team that won their division last year."

Belichick did offer his thoughts on what he's seen from Cassel since trading him to Kansas City following the 2008 season.

"Matt’s doing what he did for us in 2008 and that’s win games," said Belichick. "He make plays with his feet, he can run, scramble -- he's got a real good arm. He threw the deep ball well, made a lot of big plays with [receiver Dwayne] Bowe. He manged the team well, made good decisions -- he's a smart player, checks plays at the line of scrimmage based on different looks and so forth, obviously he can handle that well. I think he played about the way he played in here in 2008, and has built on it, improved on it, in all areas."