There are many moving parts to the offense this year. The touchstone seems to be Tom Brady. If he equals Peyton Manning's 4-4 of 2008, I will declare Brady the better quarterback. Manning missed time during the preseason while recovering from bursa sac surgery. Tom Brady missed A WHOLE YEAR recovering from a torn ACL and MCL! To recover from that AND perform on the field is a testament to a guaranteed legend. Tom's was the harder recovery. That can't be argued.
Another factor in the offense? The running game was going gangbusters. Everything was firing on all cylinders and then...BOOM! Our leading rusher, Fast Freddy Taylor, blows an ankle. Back to the Dancing El Mo, Laurence Maroney. At least we have Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Can you say backfield-by-committee? I knew you could.
Everyone is looking for 2007. Or, at the very least, they WERE at the beginning of the season. Tom's back, so this shouldn't be a problem, right? Everything's in place to make another run for it, right? Wrong. Watch Tom in the Denver game. After a few failed attempts to get Randy the ball, he consistently looks for Wes. What's the problem with that? The little engine that can is going to get worn out; he's going to get hammered on a regular basis. And defenses will figure out that if you blanket Randy and Wes Welker, you've taken away Brady's weapons.
Joey Galloway, for all intents and purposes, is a bust. I feel bad for the man because he has to walk into the locker room every day, knowing he's not contributing. He has to travel with the team and not suit up on gameday. That's gotta hurt. Compassion is called for in these situations. Unfortunately, this is a cold, heartless business and us fans are no less heartless. Drop after drop, disconnect after disconnect, and we move on.
Unfortunately, it's not all Galloway. He just happens to be the poster child for an overall lack of on field communication. Take a pass to Wes Welker in the Denver game which appeared to be thrown at his ankles. Brady later went on to explain he was thinking Wes was running one route when Wes made an adjustment based on the coverage he saw. Is it truly only Galloway who's having issues?
The difference between this passing offense and that of 2007 is other receivers. Don't get me wrong. Julian Edelman is no slouch and has a bright future with this team. But he's not Donte Stallworth and he's not Jabar Gaffney. Neither Donte nor Jabar are #1 or #2 guys. On a good day, they're solid #3's. Which is exactly why we were so successful in 2007. Many more capable targets.
When either Randy or Wes were blanketed with coverage, which often happened towards the end of the year, Brady knew he had a high percentage third and fourth look. Teams who didn't respect that got burned. A perfect example of this was the 2007 Ravens game, when Jabar made a toenail scraper of a catch in the fourth quarter to preserve the perfect regular season. After Wes and Randy, there's simply not a lot of wide receiver talent. Sam Aiken is very capable and I get stoked when he catches a good ball, but who else is there...NOW? Julian Edleman is a long-term prospect as is Terrence Nunn and Brandon Tate. Shun White? He owes the government some years of active duty for his Naval Academy education.
We lack a serious third and fourth option for Wonderboy. On 98.5's Felger and Mazz show, a caller asked, "Do you think T.O. would be a good option?" Wait...give it 30 seconds. Now, I have written in the past that I think T.O. is toxic. He's at singer/starlet diva high maintenance level. Maybe even worse than Mariah Carey. But the dude has skills. I'm not lobbying for it, but I'm just saying...