Don't Crown The Patriots Champions Yet: Tom Brady Has Much To Prove

Note to the Patriots fans: Although I am not a fan of the Patriots I am very interested in the Tom Brady saga. I do hope he regains his form and if so the Patriots are my favorites to win the Super Bowl but it remains to be seen how he will perform throughout the season. This is an article I wrote on the bleacher report. Let me know what you think. 

The 2007 New England Patriots finished the regular season with an extraordinary record of 16-0. Not only had the Patriots won every game, becoming the first team to go 16-0 and the first undefeated season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins, but they slaughtered their competition in almost every "contest".

Although their undefeated season came to an end with a shocking, to some, loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, the team had made a historic run and appeared to be the front runners going into the 2008 NFL Season. 

Fast forward to September 7, 2008 when the NFL world and Patriots fans held their breath as the 2-time Super Bowl MVP lay on the ground clutching his knee in pain. The unthinkable was a reality as the almighty, poster boy of the NFL, Tom Brady was carried off the field and later placed on injured reserve, ending his season. 

The Patriots, under the inexperienced yet surprising Matt Cassel, went on to finish the season 11-5 but missed the playoffs. Cassel thrived under then offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels system, leaving the Patriots with a sufficient backup plan if Tom Brady wouldn't be fully healed for the 2009 season. 

Matt Cassell was traded from the Patriots to the Kansas City Chiefs for a second round pick in this years NFL draft. Did this mean New England and Bill Belichick had enough confidence that Tom Brady will be fully healed and ready to go for the 2009 season? 

The Patriots must be sold on Brady's progress because backups Kevin O'Connell and Matt Gutierrez have attempted 7 passes COMBINED. At least Matt Cassel had 39 career attempts going into the season, right?

So is Tom Brady really ready to step back out on the field? Word out of New England is Brady practicing without any restrictions and is moving without any problems. The Patriots say will be the same Tom Brady as he was before the injury. I'm not so sure I believe he is 100%. Carson Palmer struggled mightily after his injury, granted Brady was hurt in week one while Palmer was hurt in the playoffs. 

The preseason power rankings are all-ready out all over the Internet with the Patriots claiming the top spot in most of them. They have added weapons on offense in RB Fred Taylor, TE Alex Smith, WR's Greg Lewis and Joey Galloway and used 4 second round picks on the defensive side of the ball in addition to signing CB's Leigh Bodden and Shawn Springs. A revamped defense should help sure up some of the problems from last season but the defense isn't the main concern for the 2009 Season. 

You can argue that the Patriots have more help than last years team thus they are deserving of the top spot but has anyone seen Tom Brady play in a full game yet? Does adding 6 aging veterans and a few rookies to your roster automatically put you as the favorite for Super Bowl XIV? I don't buy it. 

I never want to see an injury hurt a players legacy but Brady has much to prove this upcoming season. Will he return to his Pro-Bowl, MVP type form or will he join the ranks of mediocrity? 

All eyes are on Tom Brady to perform from the start of training camp till week one and on. The crown shouldn't be handed to the Patriots just yet because Brady has much to prove.

The views expressed in these FanPosts are not necessarily those of the writers or SBNation.

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