By: Ian Logue
The offseason criticism of Tom Brady continues, with critics doubting whether or not he’s still one of the best in the NFL. (USA TODAY Images)
A quiet morning on this Thursday, but here are some quick news and notes from this morning:
CRITICISM OF BRADY CONTINUES:
Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA TODAY apparently isn’t happy with how the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2014 turned out, especially when it came to where Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fell in the rankings:
Tom Brady’s ranking would be disputed no matter what, given his tumultuous season. But the Patriots quarterback finished No. 3 on this year’s list, behind Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. It’s clear players who voted found some explanation for Brady’s struggles at the start of the year.
Whether it was on Brady or not, the Patriots’ early offensive woes were evident. A thin receiving corps contributed to an eight-game slump for Brady, which he then seemed to break out of. But he still finished with a pedestrian 6.9 yards per attempt (easily his lowest in a full season since 2006) and unremarkable numbers both downfield and on third down.
USA TODAY’s Nate Davis pegged Brady as the No. 3 QB and No. 12 overall player two weeks ago. The Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg went further by claiming the Patriots’ star doesn’t belong as one of the league’s top-five signal-callers. That’s probably a step too far; Brady’s entire season didn’t definitively indicate a fall from the elite.
Peyton Manning actually came in at number one overall, while Brady came in at number three.
There has been plenty of criticism surrounding Brady’s play this past season from those who didn’t watch every game and were purely looking at numbers on paper. The offense evolved over the course of last season before injuries, once again, simply set them back and made it too much for them to overcome. That’s something that most critics seem to overlook, and that appears to be the case, once again, with this piece as well.
LOOKING AT THE TITLE WINDOWS FOR THE NFL’S ELITE:
Field Yates has a good piece in ESPN’s Insider looking at the title window for some of the older elite quarterbacks in the NFL, which included Brady along with Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.
Yates feels that a regression in 2014 is unlikely, but that it’s fathomable that his play will slide at some point before he reaches 40, but either way if Bill Belichick remains as head coach, he still believes they’ll remain a contender.
As stated, a Brady regression is far from a guarantee. He’s under contract for four more seasons, and while there’s little precedent for quarterbacks playing into their 40s, he’s a rare player.
Moreover, while the sample size is small, we’ve seen the Patriots without Brady in 2008, and they won 11 games. Even if it was against a watered-down schedule, that’s hard to do in the NFL. Belichick is the preeminent coach of his generation (perhaps of all time), and the organization is strong in all the foundational positions. (Their front office ranked seventh overall in our FPR, and the coaching staff ranked first.) Few teams adapt to change better than New England, and if Belichick stays in it for the long haul, the Patriots cannot be counted out.
As for the Broncos and Steelers, he believes Denver is in tough shape without any real answers in the post-Manning era, while he also feels Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is “underrated”.
FORMER PATRIOT SEYMOUR MAKING RUN AT WORLD SERIES OF POKER:
After retiring in 2012 from the Oakland Raiders, it appears that former Patriot, Richard Seymour, is looking for a new challenge and has decided to focus his competitive energy playing poker.
“Now that I’m done playing football I realize that poker is competitive,” Seymour told Pokerlistings.com. “A lot of the qualities I had on the field I can use on the poker table.”
According to SilverAndBlackPride.com, Seymour survived day one and is currently still alive on day two in the tournament. There were 2,571 players still left at the beginning of the day, which may seem like a lot but considering the Main Event had 6,683 entries and the entire tournament began with a record 82,360 entries.
Seymour has reportedly played poker his whole life, so this isn’t new to him as he often played with his teammates in Oakland on plane trips.
For now it appears he’s trying to compete in something with much higher stakes, with the big prize being $10 million should he be able to survive and win it all.
Mike Reiss continues his “Checking the locks” series, with this morning’s edition focusing on the cornerbacks – READ MORE
Nick Underhill of MASSLIVE continues his series ranking the Patriots players, with Rob Gronkowski coming in at number three in this entry – READ MORE
Erik Frenz of Boston.com has a piece this morning on Bleacher report pondering whether or not Ryan Mallett has become a forgotten man in New England – READ MORE
James Christensen also has an article looking at a lot of the recent buzz surrounding the team – READ MORE
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