In 2014, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady worked on his mobility. In 2015, he mastered the pre-snap reads and tempo. In 2016, he worked on having the best deep ball in the NFL.
Brady always takes the offseason to refine his throwing mechanics and to improve on one facet of his game. I think it’s fair to say that Brady’s improved an incredible amount at throwing while under pressure.
Pro Football Focus noted that Brady’s passer rating dropped more than any other quarterback while under pressure in 2015. In 2016, Brady’s completion rate fell from 75.4% to 47.2% when he was pressured, the 28.2% representing the biggest drop in the league. Now that’s not to say that Brady was a bad quarterback when pressured, but that he went from being the Greatest Quarterback in the League with a clean pocket to Pretty Good Quarterback when pressured.
Well, it looks like Brady did some cooking in the kitchen this offseason because he’s certainly not struggling with pressure in 2017.
Whew. Brady’s passer rating of 143.1 when pressured is incredible and is leaps and bounds and heads and shoulders above any and every other quarterback in the league. It’s not even close, either.
Last year, Brady’s passer rating under pressure was 84.9 according to Pro Football Focus. He had a passer rating of 123.0 with a clean pocket. PFF also noted that Brady had a passer rating of 112.7 while pressured prior to facing the Atlanta Falcons.
So while ESPN and PFF are not using the exact same data sets to define a clean pocket or calculate their passer ratings, we can at least say with confidence that Brady is a lot better at handling pressure in 2017 than he was in previous years.