New England Patriots QB Tom Brady connected on 4 of his 6 passes that traveled 15 or more yards down the field against the Cleveland Browns. WR Chris Hogan collected 2 for 106 yards, while TEs Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett each collected a 37-yard gain.
This is probably going to be the new normal since Brady has been working on his deep ball this offseason.
“I've always worked pretty hard on my mechanics and making sure I'm doing things the right way mechanically,” Brady said on Wednesday. “I think that's translated into a lot of throws, but hopefully I can hit those ones down the field. Those are big ones. They change the whole field position. They change...if you throw a 50-yarder, it's five first downs. It shows up on the stat sheet a little differently, but the production is great when you're able to kind of hit those home run balls.”
Hogan presents the deep speed with reliable hands on the outside that the Patriots haven’t had in years, while Gronkowski and Bennett are walking mismatches- and all this will just open up the field for WR Julian Edelman underneath.
“If they're [the opponent] going to double cover someone, it means other guys have single coverage,” Brady explained. “If you're playing with a guy like Gronk, it's great for you because you're not the one getting double covered, so you'll have opportunities and you have to take advantage of the opportunities when you get them.”
“Whether we're running it or throwing it, which part of the field we're throwing it - outside, inside, deep, short - everybody has to play a role,” Brady added. “You play that role, like that long one to [Chris] Hogan in the game, I would say that he was the last guy that I would ever except to get the ball on that play on the deep one on the right sideline. But he's in the position and he gets open, and now he gets the opportunity. You never know when your number is going to get called, so when it does you've got to take advantage of it.”
In Brady’s first game back, Hogan, Gronkowski, and Bennett took advantage of their opportunities. Edelman’s time will come.
It seems like Brady has approached each of the past few seasons with the aim of adding a new tool to his belt, whether it’s learning how to scramble or hitting the deep ball. He’s going to make sure his teammates have a chance to come down with the football- and don’t be surprised if they’re catching the ball deep down the field.