Or so, many are happy to espouse in articles, or on NFLNetwork and ESPN.
We have our own questioning articles here on PatsPulpit Brady's hand a cause for concern and by writers elsewhere like SN's Tom Brady in decline ... one of the key stats they focus on in their arguments is the mere 56% of his passes that he has completed to this point in the season.
I think we can look back to 2006 for a relative comparison, though the Offense had back then a superior running attack with the likes of Dillon, Faulk, and Maroney who in his rookie season was as good as he ever got.
In fact, one could argue that at least Brady had the likes of Faulk and Watson who were healthy the duration of the season and there for him, between the two of them, they accounted for more than 1,000 passing yards.
Brady hasn't had the same consistency this year with his backs or ends, least, not with his starters, Hooman and Bolden have been relatively injury free... but they don't compare to Faulk and Watson. Gronk, Ridley, and Vereen collectively have missed far more time than they've played... Brady had Dillon, Faulk, and Watson throughout the entire 2006 season.
Brady and the passing game struggled throughout the first half of 2006, in their first game against the Bills, they all but abandoned the passing attack and allowed Dillon and Maroney to pound the ball. A few weeks later they did the same against the Bengals. Brady's completion percentage hovered below 60% then as well (and at the end of the season it was just over 61%... considerably lower than the 66% percent average he achieved between 2007 and 2012).
Reche Caldwell was the lone consistent threat he had at WR, until the midway point of the season when they brought on Jabar Gaffney. I would say that Brady's situation is perhaps even tougher this season, because the weapons he has are not only new to the team, but they are rookies as well (IE - Dobson, Thompkins, Boyce)... I leave Amendola out of that equation, because he too, has missed far more of the season than he has played... even when he is out there, he is not in sync with Brady, because he's missed more time than not.
As for the protection Brady is getting, it certainly isn't better this season, in comparison to 2006... but that is tough to judge overall, and the Patriots have performed their worst only when facing two of the tougher Defenses in the NFL (IE - Bengals, Jets).
For sure Brady is getting older, and for sure he is on the wrong side of 35... and he may even be nursing an injury or two that is effecting his ability to throw as accurately as he would like. But that has less to do with things than the overall changes and injuries going on around him on Offense.
Lets also consider, there have been more than a few solid throws that dropped off of Sudfeld, Thompkins, Amendola, Dobson and even Gronk's hands... those drops alone, if they had been catches, would likely put Brady at the 60% completion rate.
One of the key stats no one has bothered to look at... is that in the last few seasons, dropped passes had been fewer than what we have seen in 2013. If someone were to ever bother doing a break down of that number... I can bet you they would find that Branch, Gronk, Hernandez, Woodhead and Welker the last two seasons were averaging about HALF the amount of dropped catch-able passes that this crew currently has.
In large part, Brady is only as good as the players he has around him... when none of them are as reliable (be it for health/injury reasons, or because they are rookies making rookie mistakes) as what he has had in the past, when none of them are playing up to the standards held at those positions in the past, you get performances like we have seen throughout this season.
And Brady goes from having a 66% completion average, to a 56% completion average.