New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will never be confused for Bills QB Tyrod Taylor, but both have had varying degrees of success running the football.
When Patriots reporters tried to bring up Brady’s lack of speed during Wednesday’s press conference, Brady interjected and said, “Don’t tell my mom that either because she would totally disagree with that. She thinks I’m very fast. I know. She says, ‘I think you’re the fastest person on the field.’ I say, ‘Mom, you are crazy. No way.’ That’s moms.”
This is despite the fact that Brady’s 40-yard dash at the combine looks like this bit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
Brady thinks his running game is just fine because teams aren’t preparing for him to take off.
“We’ve been talking about that for a few years,” Brady said, “if there are two or three plays a game that you can make just moving the pocket, or sliding, or buying your receivers more time, or scrambling on third-and-two, it’s just one more thing that they have to defend.”
Oliver broke down one such example of Brady buying time with his legs here, finding RB James White for a first down on 3rd and 9.
“Jimmy [Garoppolo] made a bunch of those when he was in there early,” Brady explained. “Jacoby [Brissett] made some. It’s nice to be able to do that because I think it’s a little discouraging for a defense when they feel like they’ve got you covered or they’ve got the right call on it, and all of the sudden– I mean, I don’t think they’re preparing for me scrambling for first downs.”
Brady managed to discourage the Steelers with three first down runs in week 7. One was a QB sneak, but the other two involved break downs by the Steelers and some nifty open field plodding by Brady.
sidenote: this is some excellent pass protection by the Patriots offensive line.
For the Bills, head coach Rex Ryan agrees with Brady, but suggests that Brady run the ball more.
“I’d like to see him do it more often,” Rex joked. “Put him in the option. Let him run the option. That’s the one thing that really doesn’t scare you much. You’ll live with that. What scares you is when he lets the ball go. You know, when he releases it.
“But the scramble, I mean I know what you’re saying. He’s able to pick up a few first downs. I think we might have the edge in the running threat at quarterback this week. I might go out there and make that bold statement. But they may be a little more worried about that than me worried about Tom running.”
And Rex is right. You’re lying if you claim you don’t white-knuckle your couch every time Brady takes off from the pocket. Ryan and the Bills will be happy to see Brady shuffling around the pocket because that means the coverage down the field is working; Brady won’t be able to win the game by scrambling- and Brady knows it.
“I know they’re not working on [defending the QB scramble],” Brady said. “They’re working on stopping Gronk [Rob Gronkowski], and stopping Julian [Edelman], and Danny, and Hogs [Chris Hogan], LeGarrette [Blount] and James [White]. That’s not one of their top 10 things on their hit list, so I think it’s pretty discouraging when it happens and hopefully we can keep it going.”
If I had to create a power ranking of the headaches caused by the Patriots offense, the “Tom Brady scramble” would be 12th, sandwiched between “Julian Edelman end-around” and “Martellus Bennett end-around.”
Hopefully the top 10 items on the Patriots list will work against the Bills so Brady won’t have to scramble.