It doesn't take a professional to realize that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is getting mugged on a weekly basis. His offensive line isn't able to protect him on a consistent basis and over 50% of the defensive contact on Brady has come over the past three weeks.
The coaches know it's a problem.
"Certainly we're not trying to see a spike in that number [of quarterback hits], that's for sure," Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. "We'll do everything we can to limit those. I think there are a lot of things that go into that. When you're talking about passing game and pressures and those types of things, there are many variables that could dictate whether or not the defense gets pressure on you or doesn't. The design certainly is something that can be looked at and discussed.
"You've got to have people open, on time and in rhythm to be able to get the ball out on time, and there are other times when you certainly need to hold up in protection a little bit cleaner, a little longer, to try to execute a specific type of play."
As the offense currently stands, the playcalling is putting Brady in the scopes of the defenders since the Patriots aren't a threat to run the ball. Since defenders aren't concerned about the run, they're keying in on the quarterback and hitting him at a relentless pace. The fix will have to come from a combination of better playcalling, better blocking, better rushing, and better route running.
"Everybody needs to do their job," McDaniels explained. "And we need to do a good job of coaching and trying to put those guys in good positions to certainly limit that number of hits. There's no question that that's not something we're looking to try to do, and we want to try to minimize that as much as we can."
The Patriots task won't be easier this week against defensive lineman J.J. Watt, a player head coach Bill Belichick just put on par with Lawrence Taylor in a recent press conference. The Texans pass rush is high quality and will certainly test the New England offensive line.
The line had better be ready, too, or else Brady is going to be in the dirt for most of the game.