Tom Brady has had some of his worst games against the Dolphins, but facing Matt Cassel instead of the perennial Pro Bowl quarterback is still a boon to their chances of victory, according to outspoken linebacker Joey Porter.
Leave it to the trash-talking king to give the Patriots' bulletin-board material. As if the AFC East juggernauts needed any additional motivation. The Patriots have won 21 consecutive regular-season games while the Dolphins have lost 20 of their last 21.
"If it's not Tom Brady, it shouldn't be that hard. It's not the MVP we're going against. They won last week, but it's not like they were putting up the crazy 40 points like they were when they had Tom," Porter said. "It's a different offense, a different team without Tom in there. I don't care what anybody says. It's not the same team.
"You treat him like a backup. How do you prepare for a backup? He doesn't get that many snaps, right? So you throw the kitchen sink at him. That's what we're going to do."
Cassel, who hadn't started a game since Chatsworth High (Calif.) nine years ago, completed 16 of 23 passes for 165 yards and no touchdowns in last Sunday's win against the Jets. The Jets beat the Dolphins 20-14 in Miami's home opener.
Porter may not have seen the league stats, which ranked the Dolphins 30th after giving up an average of 272.5 yards per game and a ridiculous cumulative passer rating of 147 for Brett Favre and Kurt Warner. Granted, Cassel isn't in the same category as two quarterbacks who together have five league MVPs and two Super Bowl titles.
Porter didn't back-track on anything he said Thursday, regarding his preference to play against Cassel instead of Brady.
"Same thing I said the other day, he's no Tom Brady. That was documented," Porter said. "If you play against any backup, you're coming after him just like if we played Buffalo and they put in their backup we're coming after them.
"(Brady) had 50 touchdown passes last year. You're asking a guy who hasn't played that many snaps to do what Brady did. It's not going to happen. When we played them last year Jason (Allen) got a pick and they were blowing us out and they put Tom back in. Like I said, he's not Brady.
"For us, we want to attack him the same way. I just don't think he could play on the same high level that Brady plays. If he does, Brady wouldn't be starting. He would be starting. Would you rather go against Brady or Cassel? You would rather go against Cassel if you were on defense, right? OK, that's what we'd rather do. We're getting Cassel instead of Brady, and I like our chances against Cassel."
Dolphins defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni said Thursday that he's not disappointed in the secondary but that he believes the Patriots will take at least three to five shots downfield after watching the Dolphins give up three passes for more than 50 yards.
"I would be shocked on the offensive game plan sheet up in the right hand corner where it says shots down the field ... if that doesn't have a minimum of three to five every week and that goes for everybody," Pasqualoni said. "With the Cowboys, we had a minimum of five every week. I would say the Patriots probably have as many as five, not three. They probably saved the two for this week. Use them when you need them. They're on there and they'll be coming."
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