FOXBORO, MA — It may have only been one football game, but Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has certainly seen much more than that from quarterback Tom Brady.
For only being in his second season Brady has so far shown that he has what it takes to play in the NFL. He’s done a good job reading coverages and certainly didn’t appear intimidated by the Indianapolis Colts who were solid favorites heading into Foxboro last week. One of the things that Belichick likes the most about the young quarterback is his vision on the field, and his understanding about the game itself.
Belichick said on Friday that he’s not surprised at all with Brady’s ability to spot coverages in game situations.
“Tom has done a good job of that all year,” said Belichick. “He has done a good job in preseason. He has been a good decision-maker in practice and in the game. I thought he did a pretty decent job in the Colt game. He had a couple of throws that you would like to see him get the ball a little bit lower and hit [the receiver], but he went to the right guy. He just didn’t make a good throw on a couple of balls.”
“His field of vision, I think, is really one of his strong points, regardless of how long he has been playing. The thing I really like about Tom is after the play when you ask him, ‘Tom what did you see?’ and he tells you exactly what he saw. ‘I saw the corner was inside on that route so that’s why I came off to the back and I didn’t have him because of this so that’s why I threw it in there.’ He sees everything and then when you look at the tape you can go back and verify and say, ‘Yeah I can see why you did what you did.’ That is what you are really looking for from a quarterback.”
“The worst thing is when they give you one of those, ‘I didn’t see the guy in there. I shouldn’t have thrown it.’ If he had seen the guy of course he wouldn’t have thrown it, but that is what a quarterback has to do. He does see well and when you talk to him as a coach you have confidence that whatever he did, even if it was the wrong thing, he knows what he saw out there and he knows why he did it. So then you come back and correct him and say, ‘The next time you get that situation do something else’.”
During his first start Brady finished 13-of-23 for 168-yards passing and didn’t turn the football over with interceptions. Brady, who was a co-captain at Michigan, does have a history of playing within himself and not trying to force things.
“My style is my style,” said Brady earlier in the week. “If I see a chance to take a shot, I take a shot. If you don’t see a chance to take a shot, you dump it. You really take the approach.”
He’s also had a history of stepping up in big games. In Brady’s final game of his collegiate career, he lead Michigan back from a two-touchdown deficit and lifted his team to a 35-34 overtime victory over Alabama in the Orange Bowl. During the game he never changed his approach despite the fact that his team only managed 96 yards of total offense before halftime. Brady came out in the second half and lead the Wolverines on a 21-point explosion in the third quarter as they fought back to tie the score at 28 going into the game’s final fifteen minutes.
He never doubted himself in that game, and his attitude along with his understanding of the game are the things that have impressed his coach.
“He has a real good understanding of the game especially for a second year type player,” said Belichick. “When you are a quarterback or as a coach there are a lot of different things to take into consideration and two of the most important things are scheme, understanding what the coverage is and knowing by scheme where the soft spot is to throw, but also personnel.”
“Sometimes you get a matchup in your favor and you want to work that matchup regardless of what that coverage is. Being able to put those together and being able to understand wide receivers against db’s and tight ends against linebackers and backs against linebackers and then at the same time understanding the overall coverage scheme, putting that all together, that is what good quarterbacks do. They are able to process all of it.”
“Tom is not there yet, don’t get me wrong, but I think he has shown a lot of those qualities to be able to do a lot of things that manage that position.”