By: Ian Logue
Avoiding hits appears to be a priority this offseason for Tom Brady. (USA TODAY Images)
In today’s NFL, there are quite a few mobile quarterbacks who make life pretty miserable for opposing defenses with their feet.
It’s a challenge that we’ve heard Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talk about when it comes to the team’s defensive preparation, and one that adds another wrinkle that has to be accounted for during the game.
For Tom Brady, he’s not a Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick type of player. His area of expertise is his ability to read defenses and pick them apart with his arm rather than tear them up with his feet. According to ProFootballFocus.com last season, Brady took off with the football just four times (excluding QB sneaks) compared to Wilson whose total was 51.
Half of Brady’s sack total in 2013 came on third down, where he was sacked 20 times, including three down inside the red zone.
(USA TODAY Images)
Meanwhile, Brady had the fifth highest total of drop backs in the league with 671, trailing just Matt Ryan (703), Drew Brees (699), along with Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco (tied with 677).
Being a pocket passer obviously has its advantages, but being able to move around is also a big benefit. It helps avoid additional hits by opposing defenses by being able to roll away from the pressure. Brady got hit as he threw quite a bit this past season, and was tied for first in having been hit nine times as he threw the football (Wilson and Kaepernick were only hit as they threw once), as well as having been sacked 40 times, the most since 2001 (41).
As a result it appears one area of focus is moving Brady around and working on throws on the run. That’s an area that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels spoke about last week, and felt that’s a weakness that needs to be improved.
“We were moving in the pocket and throwing off-schedule throws,” McDaniels told reporters on Friday. “That’s not necessarily a strength of our quarterbacks in general, and I think that’s something we’ve identified that could have helped us – a time here, a time there – and we’re adamant about trying to make it better.”
Half of Brady’s sack total last season came on third down, where he was sacked 20 times, including three down inside the red zone.
Needless to say despite being one of the NFL’s elite, there are still areas of improvement and McDaniels said that Brady’s constant desire to get better is something other players can learn from.
“Yup, I do,” McDaniels told reporters when asked if he thought Brady was still improving. “It’s hard for me to ever feel like that wouldn’t be the case. Any time you have a guy that is really focused on working on all of the weaknesses in his game, when there really aren’t that many, you can see where there would be room for growth.
“He listens as well or better than he ever has in terms of taking coaching and working on things that we’re trying to get better at. I think that’s a great example for the rest of the guys.”