Re: Brady getting respect from other team fans
posted at 6/10/2014 12:32 AM EDT
Professional commentator Sam Monson starts with the theory that quarterbacks have a stale date on them, like milk jugs, and once they pass that stale date they quickly start to smell bad.
I'm willing to entertain this theory in general, but real life issues can be messier. In practice, three things happen to QBs. First, they get happy feet if they get hit too much. This happens to young quarterbacks, the Sanchise comes to mind, and it's hard to correct once it happens. Second, players' bodies pick up long term disabilities that don't show. Sometimes it's luck that saves a quarterback from one of these disabilities, sometimes it's a quick release or knowing when and how to throw the ball away. Third, people's minds go in this business. They can't process things at NFL speeds any more.
ProFootballFocus has been doing quarterback numbers for all of June, and Brady's numbers are curious. First, Brady threw well to the left and to the center but poorly to the right side of the field in 2013. This might have something to do with Brady's mysterious shoulder injury, but it also might reflect that Brady has nobody open except Edelman's open all day, so he throws the ball 105 times to Edelman. Edelman usually lines up on the same side of the field?
Next on the list, Brady is in the bottom half of NFL quarterbacks in the first quarter of the game but he's #1 in the NFL in the fourth quarter. I can't think of a single injury reason why this might be true. More likely, BB has figured out the opponent's defensive wrinkles by the fourth quarter. Also, the Patriots are often way ahead by the fourth quarter and everyone in the stadium is expecting a running play, which makes Brady's occasional pass option wonderfully effective. Next, it's entirely possible that BB has a number of gimmick plays and formations that he saves in the safe for when they can win the game. Finally, everything that BB does from Brady's 25 second countdowns at the line to the offense's rushing up to the line has worn all of the tread right off of the entire defense's tires by the fourth quarter.
Next, Brady is #1 in the NFL at second and 4 to 7 yards. Brady is actually lousy at third and 10. My guess is that the hurryup is best executed between first down and second down. If the Pats get 3 to 7 yards on first down then they rush up to the line and hike the ball immediately. The defensive linemen are gasping for oxygen and one or more of them isn't even set to take the initial O-line surge, much less to bull-rush a tackle backwards. much less to coordinate anything. Usually on third and 10 the running back is tuckered out after two plays and the third down back has to come in, which means that the defense also gets time to rotate in fresh quarterback-chasing bodies and reset. Also, Brady can't run his famous play-action on third and 10. No one expects a run for 10 yards unless it's a draw play.
Brady doesn't have any serious injuries at this point except for that long-term shoulder problem. Josh McDaniels is keeping Brady on a pitch count during camp and preseason, I believe.
As for Brady's mental stale date, I don't see evidence of it coming. That date apparently varies from athlete to athlete. For all we know, the mental stale date might have something to do with the severity of concussions that a player has taken. Brady takes a few hits, but he has about the quickest release in the NFL and he often throws the ball away. He's also pretty tall and heavy for a QB, which means less gee-forces on his brain during a hit. Also, defensive coordinators have learned the hard way that you can't make a living blitzing Brady because he'll spot the hole and then fry your defensive backfield. If you want to stop or slow Brady then you have to create a coverage sack. So, Brady gets blitzed less and hit less.
Other teams' fans would be overly quick to see and claim that Brady ain't what he used to be. None of them are seeing it. I'm not either.