Tom Brady out for season

Opponents expecting the Patriots to fall apart as a result of Tom Brady’s season-ending knee injury would be wise to remember the last time New England had to turn to its backup quarterback.

His name: Tom Brady. And after Drew Bledsoe was injured in 2001, he led the Patriots to Super Bowl victories in three of the next four seasons.

“Everybody here understands that things like this happen; they’ve happened before,” offensive lineman Matt Light said Monday, shortly after the team confirmed that Brady would have surgery on his left knee and be placed on injured reserve.

“I feel good about this football team.”

Brady was a former fourth-stringer, the No. 199 pick in the 2000 draft, when Bledsoe sustained a sheared blood vessel in his chest two weeks into the ’01 season. Brady stepped in and took the Patriots to their first NFL title.

Coach Bill Belichick said comparing the situations was like “comparing apples to grapefruits.” But others around the league remembered Brady’s humble beginnings and wonder whether Belichick might have another star in the making.

Matt Cassel, who had to fight for playing time in college