|Tom Brady was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his four-TD outing. (BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF)|
Motion driving him
Brady focusing on mechanics
FOXBOROUGH - Tom Brady has made it look easy in the first three games of the season, completing 79.5 percent of his passes. Yet Brady said yesterday that nothing about throwing the football is simple, and he's always fine-tuning his mechanics in search of better results.
That fine-tuning has reached a new level.
"I think this is the most comfortable I've felt with it," Brady said yesterday as the Patriots began preparations for Monday night's game in Cincinnati. "For eight years [I've] put a lot of time and effort into trying to get things the way [I] want them. There's a lot that goes into throwing, the mechanics of it. It's not just coincidence that you complete certain passes that maybe you struggled with in the past. It's probably just better technique."
Tom Martinez, who has worked with Brady on his throwing motion since Brady was a teenager, sees the process as one that has been perfected over time.
"I would relate it to golf. You might be good with the 2-iron, 3-iron, and 5-iron but with the 7 and 9 you were good but not as good as you could be," Martinez said. "Tom is the kind of guy who is going to go out and master the 7 and 9 so there are no flaws in his game.
"You work hard to reach that point where the light bulb finally goes on and you see the flaws you had in a throw. It's a combination of body and arm together. Sometimes you might do the right thing with your arm, but the body is screwed up. Other times you might end up with the right thing with the body, but it's wrong with the arm and you're inconsistent."
Martinez said the 45-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Randy Moss in last Sunday's win over Buffalo was an example of a throw that reflected terrific mechanics. It showed how Brady's mechanics are also helped by factors around him, such as solid offensive line play and gifted receivers.
"In his own mind, if there were some throws in the team's system that he was not as confident in as he could be, there are different ways to change it, through drills, concentration, or sometimes just having better players around you," Martinez said. "Sometimes you throw a good ball and guys just can't get it. That throw to Moss was a hell of a throw, and it was a hell of a catch. I don't know if he had a receiver the last 3-4 years who could make that catch.
"So there are other factors that go into it, and I'm glad it's working for him because I know how much time he's put into it. To hear him say he's reached the point where it all makes sense, I think a lot of the experiences he's had up to this point make this opportunity so special for him. All the throwing he's done to different receivers has prepared him for anyone they could bring him."
Brady, who was named the AFC's Offensive Player of the Week yesterday, has thrown 10 touchdown passes this season, three or more in each game. If he does it again Monday night, Brady would join Kurt Warner (1999) and Steve Young (1998) as the only quarterbacks to throw three or more touchdown passes in each of the first four games of a season.
Good first impressionRunning back Sammy Morris is off to a strong start, totaling 33 carries for 151 yards (4.6-yard average) as part of a 1-2 punch with Laurence Maroney.
Brady has been impressed.
"Sammy has been a surprise for everybody," he said. "I think he's done everything that we've asked him to do. He's been very powerful and explosive, he reads the field very well as a back, and he catches the ball very well, so he's a threat in the pass game, he's a threat running the ball. He's been a great addition and he has a knack for the goal line."
Coach Bill Belichick added that Morris has also contributed on the punt and kickoff coverage units.
"He gets asked to do a lot of different things and he does them and he does them right," Belichick said. "He's a good guy to work with, a really dependable guy."
Supporting roleReceiver Donté Stallworth has just four catches for 66 yards, but said he's not frustrated because the Patriots are "winning right now and that's the most important thing." Stallworth was asked if he's been challenged in learning the team's complex offensive system.
"I've picked up on it pretty well, there are no problems with that," he said.
Because the Patriots have been known to spread the ball around, Stallworth believes his time for a breakout game will come, but maintained that it's "in the back of my mind right now; I'm not really worried about it." He said Moss has set the tone for others to follow.
"With the way Randy has been playing - really well - everybody else from an offensive standpoint you kind of feed off what he's doing," Stallworth said.
Knowing their limitsThe Patriots listed nine players on their injury report yesterday as having been limited in practice, with outside linebacker Rosevelt Colvin (ankle), cornerback Randall Gay (thigh), Maroney (groin), and nose tackle Vince Wilfork (shoulder) new to the list.
Guard Stephen Neal (shoulder), who has missed the last two games, remained on the report along with receivers Kelley Washington (hamstring) and Stallworth (knee), safety Eugene Wilson (ankle), guard Billy Yates (shoulder), and Brady (right shoulder, full participation in practice).