By Ed Baylor: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is having one of the worst seasons of his career this season. He’s not handling the blitzes well and throwing the ball up for grabs way too much. His completion percentage has dropped from 63 percent to 55 percent from a year ago, and his quarterback rating is down to 75 from 93 a year ago. ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski thinks that Brady’s problems strive from him not handling the pass rush well by not getting his passes out quickly enough before the pass rush gets to him.
Jaworski told ESPN “With time in the pocket, Brady would either lead Edelman across the field, or hit Dobson coming underneath in the middle. Neither happened, the result of pressure. The pocket closed down on Brady, he lacked time to wait for the routes to develop and the functional space to deliver the football.”
Brady hasn’t been helped that the Patriots owner chose not to keep wide receiver Wes Welker and the Patriots haven’t got good play out of rookie receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski missed the first six games and didn’t look great when he returned. The Patrots also no longer have tight end Aaron Hernandez. Brady has a skeleton crew of receivers that he’s throwing the ball to and that’s got to make it hard for him to get the ball off quickly when he’s receiving a strong blitz.
The defenses have a huge advantage over Brady because they know that he doesn’t have great receivers and the Patriots don’t have a running game to speak of. Brady is forced to wait as long as he can for his receivers to get open because they’re not as good as the guys that Brady had last season. It’s kind of surprising that Brady hasn’t gone down with a season-ending injury yet because he’s been taking some really punishing hits this season.
The Patriots head coach Bill Belichick needs to insert more short yardage pass plays for Brady to use during blitzes because if he keeps having to throw with an entire defensive front coming after him then he’s going to take a big injury. Even if he doesn’t get hurt, Brady isn’t playing well because he’s getting nervous and throwing too soon.