Tom Brady said this week that he’s working on using his legs to extend plays.
One of Tom Brady’s assets over the years has been his ability to move around in the pocket and avoid the onslaught of defensive players that come his way each time he drops back to throw the football. Â Now it appears he’s focused on adding another facet to his game to try and give himself and his teammates more chances to make plays.
Last Thursday against the Jets Brady made a terrific throw while rolling to his left, hitting Danny Amendola from 19-yards out for the touchdown, which at the time helped extend their lead to 27-19 with 7:49 to go in the game. Â That play would ultimately prove to be the game winner as the team escaped with a 27-25 win.
The fact he was able to get outside helped give him the ability to connect on that throw as when Brady moved left, Amendola spun away from his defender and was able to get behind him, which allowed the veteran quarterback to hit him for the touchdown. Brady said on Wednesday that while extending plays with his feet has never been his strong suit, it’s something that he’s trying to improve on because he feels it provides his receivers better opportunities to get open.
“If you’re able to extend the play and buy your teammates more time to get open, then it’s like a whole other play.” – Tom Brady (USA TODAY Images)
“That’s never really been something that I’ve been great at is extending plays,” said Brady. Â “I see so many of these players â whether it be Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler do it, Alex Smith does it â some really mobile quarterbacks that do a great job for their team. Ben Roethlisberger has done it for a lot of years. I’m just trying to understand how I can help our team more. If I can make some more of those plays, I think it’d really help our team.
“I try to focus on that a little bit. Coach [Belichick] has talked about it. I think there could be more of those still, too. I don’t think instinctually it’s there for me yet, but I’m going to keep working at it. Because when you see when they happen, they end up being big plays, big momentum plays. Sometimes the defense has the initial part of the pattern covered, and if you’re able to extend the play and buy your teammates more time to get open, then it’s like a whole other play. It’s a great advantage for an offense. Like I said, it hasn’t really been a strength of mine. I’m trying to do a better job of it so hopefully it’s not as big of a weakness as it’s been in the past.”
The veteran admitted that the hardest part is getting past what he said is a “mental issue” of getting out of the pocket and using his legs, which is something he plans on trying to get past.
“I think for me sometimes it’s more of a mental issue,” said Brady. “I joke all the time, I said, I don’t have one cell in my body that ever tells me to run. I think I just sit there and kind of go, âWow, I’ve got more time to throw than usual,’ as opposed to I see some other players that maybe their initial read isn’t open and bam, they’re on the move, and they do a great job of that.
“I think there’s a balance for both of those. Being in the pocket certainly has served me well, but I think also there are times I can definitely help our team more [by] extending plays and making the defense cover for a longer period of time than they typically cover. So I’m going to keep working at it.”
Some fans may remember the play Brady made against former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher back on Nov. 26, 2006, who Brady juked while scampering for a first down on a 3rd-and-9 play and extended a drive that ultimately turned into a touchdown and essentially won the game. Â Back then he was 31, at the age of 37 he’s at the point in his career where fans likely won’t see him take off too often, but it’s still a play that he saidÂ he may be able to one day tell his kids that he made a Hall of Famer miss.
“Somehow that always gets brought up, too, when we play these guys,” said Brady. Â “There weren’t many of those in my career, so it’s pretty easy to count them all on one hand when something like that happens.”
“They’re probably still too young to know that at this point,” Brady said of his children. “To figure out what dad does yet is still kind of confusing for them. One day, you’re right. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame someday, so it’ll probably be the only time I’ve made a Hall of Famer miss.”
For now he and his teammates will continue their preparation for Sunday’s game, which will be their eighth game of the season. Â As they head into November it’s an important stretch, and Brady said they’ll learn a lot about their team in the weeks to come.
“This is when football season starts to really feel like football season and the mental and physical toughness really start taking a toll,” said Brady. This is where you see what your team is all about.”