Apologies ahead of time if/when this turns into a big NEM affair. This is from today's Belichick press conference. I thought it help shed some light on the possible issues that come up on outside patterns vs. inside ones. No mention of Champ Bailey ;-) From that I get that each pattern has its own issues. The throw across the middle could be easier because it's a shorter throw, but there's also more traffic to consider, and the communication with the receiver. The throw to the outside, in one sense, could be easier in that the quarterback only have to account for that one defender (he's not going to make the throw if two are over there). Belichick makes arguments for both sides. Given the arguments Belichick makes about the perils of going inside, I can understand why we would see more outside throws. The parts I bolded above all fall on the communication between Brady and his receivers. If they're not on the same page yet about where to go (leading the WR vs. waiting for the settle, under vs. over the coverage, QB sticking it in vs. waiting for the WR to clear), passing inside could be much more dangerous right now. Whereas passing to the outside, while a more difficult pass to throw, allows Brady the security of playing off just one defender. So it's Brady putting more stock in his own ability to make the tougher throw instead of trusting the receiver to go the right spot inside. From the same press conference, talking about Stanley Morgan and the Pats of the late 70s: I don't know if this sheds any light on how the Pats are currently using play-action. It seems to say the shorter the routes, the less likely there'll be play action. Maybe this is because the QB needs to keep his eyes on the field for the shorter routes (just my speculation; any insight is welcomed). But I think it would also indicate that they're less likely to do play-action on the patterns you're looking for, NEM. Sound plausible?