FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -Even though he's only started one game for New England, Matt Cassel has learned plenty about the Patriots' way of doing things.
The longtime backup quarterback declined to be drawn into a smack-talking contest with Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter on Thursday, a day after Porter was quoted as saying that beating the Patriots without starter Tom Brady ``shouldn't be that hard.''
``I don't know what he said and I don't really care to know,'' Cassel said. ``Everybody is allowed to have their own opinion. I respect him as a player. I think he is a great player. That is the NFL. Everybody is going to have an opinion and you just have to go out there and play.''
uthern Cal and hadn't started a game since high school, filled in last week and helped New England beat the Jets 19-10.
Apparently, that wasn't enough to impress Porter.
``I just know he's not a Tom Brady. So if it's not Tom Brady, it shouldn't be that hard,'' Porter said Wednesday. ``Tom can just make some of the plays other quarterbacks can't do. He's been in the offense. He's proven. He was the MVP last year. It's not the MVP we're going against.
``They won last week, but it's not like they're putting up the crazy 40 points they did when they had Tom. So it's a different offense, a different team without Tom in there. I don't care what anybody says, it's just not the same team without Brady.''
Brady led the Patriots to a 16-0 record in the regular season last year, but the Patriots (2-0) are unbeaten so far this season with Cassel at quarterback. Cassel was 16-for-23 for 165 yards in Sunday's game against the Jets.
But Porter said the Dolphins (0-2) have a plan to deal with Cassel: ``Treat him like you treat a backup.''
``How do you prepare for a backup? He don't get that many snaps, right? So you throw the kitchen sink at him,'' Porter said. ``That's what we're going to do.''
elphia Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell notoriously called out New England safety Rodney Harrison before the 2005 Super Bowl. The Patriots won the game, Mitchell was a non-factor, and he never played another game in the league.
Before a late-season game against New England in 2007, Pittsburgh safety Anthony Smith guaranteed a victory. Not only did the Patriots win, but they burned Smith for two touchdowns in the process.
On Thursday, Harrison just smiled when asked about Porter's comments.
``The good thing about football is that you have the opportunity to prove it on Sunday,'' he said, saying it was just ``Joey being Joey.''
``It's a very competitive league. People are going to talk,'' Harrison said, brushing off attempts to get him to respond in kind. ``What are you seeking here? You know I've been around too long. I'm not going to fall for it.''

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