New England Patriots

Cassel details how Brady supported him during 2008 Patriots season

Tom E. Curran, Michael Holley and Matt Cassel react to the Apple TV+ series' fifth and sixth episodes.

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Episodes five and six of "The Dynasty", Apple TV+'s 10-part series chronicling the New England Patriots' unprecedented 20-year run of success, were released Friday.

Episode 5 primarily focuses on the 2008 season, during which Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Backup quarterback Matt Cassel, who hadn't started a game at any level in several years, wound up taking over the job and performed better than anyone could have expected given his inexperience.

Our Michael Holley and Tom E. Curran covered the team at the time and were interviewed for the docuseries. Joined by Cassel, they shared their takeaways from the fifth and sixth episodes during NBC Sports Boston's "The Dynastic Post Show."

One key part of the episode revolves around Brady's recovery and how difficult it was for him to not be playing. Cassel has developed a special relationship with Brady and appreciated how he handled the situation and helped him throughout that 2008 campaign.

"Brady and I had built a relationship over the last three seasons being teammates and being as close as you can possibly be," Cassel explained. "So it was difficult to see him go down, and I knew he was going through a lot of stuff.

"The other part about it that I did appreciate from Tom was that he stepped out away from the building, and he allowed me to grow into that role of being the starting quarterback, to be heard by the guys and seen as a leader as the season progressed. Because I think with him there and his presence, everybody feels his presence and the way in which he addresses the team and all of that. He was remarkable with me throughout the course of that season, and you could tell he was going through a lot.

"But at the same time, he was the first guy to call me after games as I got on the bus. He'd call me before the games. He'd tell me after the game, 'Hey, that one when you tried to rip that ball in there in cover seven, dude you should've took off and run.' I was like, 'Oh, good idea, maybe next time.' He was one of my biggest supporters and I always appreciated him for that because there was never any ego involved with him, even though maybe he was feeling like, 'Gosh, I wanna get back out there as soon as possible' -- because he knows the road of the NFL is you could possibly lose you job at any time.

"But I'm pretty sure he was confident in the fact that he's the best to ever play the game. He just came off a 50-touchdown year just before the injury, and he was gonna come back bigger and stronger than ever."

Cassel helped lead the Patriots on a four-game win streak to finish the 2008 season with a 11-5 record, which was not enough to earn New England a playoff berth in the AFC.

Episode 6 is all about Aaron Hernandez. It chronicles the beginning of his Patriots career, including the decision to select the University of Florida tight end in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, all the way to the day that he was arrested in 2013 and eventually charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd. In 2015, a jury found Hernandez guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Lloyd. Hernandez died by suicide in prison in 2017.

The episode featured interviews from former Patriots players such as Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, and Deion Branch, as well as owner Robert Kraft and former head coach Bill Belichick.

"Bob Hohler from The Boston Globe does a good job detailing -- look, there were multiple, multiple, multiple breadcrumbs indicating that this isn't a guy who makes a couple of wrong moves over the course of a year," Curran said. "He lives a lifestyle that is not conducive to society at large, never mind a high-profile role in the NFL with a (large) contract.

"But the Patriots were married to the talent, and married to the notion that they could make him be better, the way they did with multiple players prior to Aaron Hernandez's arrival, whether it be Corey Dillon, whether it be Randy Moss, whether it be any number of guys with transgressions far more benign than anything Aaron Hernandez wound up with.

"We're talking about bad actors who might've squirted a referee with a water bottle in Randy Moss' case. Or bumped a crossing guard with his car. This is not what Aaron Hernandez was, it was much more diabolical."

You can watch the full breakdown of the fifth and sixth episodes of "The Dynasty" below, or on YouTube:

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