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Under the Spotlight: Patriots QB Tom Brady

Courtesy of Keith Allison on Flickr

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is now three games into his 13th season in the NFL. The Patriots are off to their worst start with him as the starter, but what does that say about how his own play? Many analysts say that Brady is in decline, which is difficult to say after he led them to the Super Bowl last year and passed for the second most yards in a single NFL season. Decline is not the right word to describe Brady’s play. The correct word is inconsistency.

Brady played well enough in Week 1 to help romp the Tennessee Titans. He threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns on the day and had an overall QB rating of 117.1. Not much to see there.

In Week 2, things got dicey as the offense sputtered all game long against the Arizona Cardinals. Brady struggled to get anything going until the fourth quarter but often found himself pressured by the Cardinal defense. One thing did become noticeable in this game. Brady took too much time in the pocket and took sacks he didn’t have to take. His mobility, although has never been too impressive, has gone down and has failed to help him make the little moves he once had to avoid sacks. He almost looks frazzled in the pocket at times and maybe even afraid of getting hit. Of course, the offensive line is not what it used to be, especially with Brian Waters not on the field. That being said, the word for Brady’s play in week 2 is inconsistency, not necessarily a sign of decline.

Week 3 is proof enough that Brady still has a lot left in the tank. He put up 335 yards in the air against a stingy Ravens defense and at times, cut through them with precision passing and brilliant play calling. Brady marched down the field with two minutes left in the first half and rifled a pass to Julian Edelman with just two seconds left on the clock. Brady was at his absolute finest during that drive and gave the momentum back to the Patriots before halftime. With a 30-21 lead in the fourth quarter, the offense certainly had its opportunities to put the game away but failed to do so, as the Ravens forced the Patriots to punt twice. Ultimately the defense would lose the game for New England, but it has to be noted that the offense sputtered at the most crucial point in the game. Brady certainly played well enough for the Patriots to win the game, but in the end his play proved to be inconsistent.

The 1-2 record for the Patriots is undoubtedly a concern for the Patriots just three games into the season. What people need to understand is that Brady and New England’s offense is too talented and too lethal to be this inconsistent for the whole season. There have been glimpses of how good this offense can truly be. With Brady at the helm, expect the Patriots offense to get rolling for good, starting with the Buffalo Bills this weekend.