October 13, 2009
Patriots Brady Still Trying to Find Himself
BY: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
For a guy who's considered to be one of the NFL's top signal callers, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is certainly finding that his first season since having his knee reconstructed has been less than easy.
He's been misfiring, knocked around, and overall just out of sync with guys that he used to hit with such regularity it was ridiculous. Back in 2007 the question wasn't would he be able to find Randy Moss deep, but how many times would it happen each game?
Instead the question of late has been, "Will he actually connect or will he overthrow Moss again this weekend?" Unfortunately the answer on Sunday was the latter after Brady once again overthrew a wide open Moss which cost the Patriots a touchdown.
His other favorite target, Wes Welker, saw a ball hit his feet when a completion from Brady would have left him headed off to the races after he got behind the coverage and had nothing but open field in front of him.
On the play Brady told WEEI on Monday that he expected Welker to stop and didn't realize he had gotten fully behind the defenders and would have scored.
"We're going to make those improvements. Wes is one of the best football players that I've ever played with. I've got to find ways to do a better job with Wes, with Randy to get those guys the ball. We certainly had opportunities to get them the ball yesterday and we didn't."
Unfortunately those miscues ended up being critical plays that obviously could have changed the course of Sunday's 20-17 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos.
The good news is as erratic as he's been so far this season, he's not making mistakes with the football. He may be overthrowing Moss and missing Welker, but luckily he hasn't been turning it over. Through five games Brady has just two interceptions, a total that is pretty respectable considering there are 22 other quarterbacks who have thrown more. He's second in the NFL with completions with 127, and has more attempts so far this season than any other quarterback in the league at 207. All this as he continues to try and get back on track after being out of the game for a nearly a year. That final stat alone makes his interception total that much more impressive.
To make matters worse, things didn't exaclty go their way during the final two quarters in which they were unable to put any points on the board. Kicker Steve Gostkowski missed a 40-yard field goal, and with time winding down Brady fumbled for the second straight week after a hit by Vonnie Holliday near midfield ended a potential game tying/winning drive with 1:45 left in regulation.
The Broncos won the toss and went on to win the game - with Brady never touching the football and getting the chance to make up for the turnover.
"Believe me, there's obviously after a game a lot of soul-searching," said Brady. "The only thing I can focus on is what I need to do better. And there's plenty of things I need to do better. We've got 11 games to play. We've got an opponent this week [Tennessee] that's always a tough test for us. Hopefully, we can go out there and play better. I'm excited to get back to practice on Wednesday and get back to work"
He'll have a day off on Tuesday before they begin preparations for a home game against the winless Titans this weekend. There's still plenty of football left to be played, but other than hard work and repetition, there's no easy fix for what it's going to take for Brady to get back to the level of play we're accustomed to seeing from him. If we know anything about his work ethic and dedication, one would have to believe that we'll continue to see improvement in the coming weeks. Sitting at 3-2 and with the Jets loss Monday night, the AFC East is still wide open - which should make the rest of the season interesting to say the least.
"I think that the important thing for us is to identify all the things we've done right over the last five weeks and all the things we've done wrong the last five weeks and try to build toward something better and more consistent and that's just hard work," said Brady. "That's just understanding it and putting the work in and going out there and performing better. There is no magic solution."
"I'm tough on myself also. When you miss throws, you're certainly disappointed. We don't have the margin of error to miss throws. We missed a couple yesterday that were important plays. You've got to find ways to do it better. Keep going back to work, work on the mechanics, work on the timing, work on the plays and try to execute better."
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