Good thing Tom Brady didn’t actually have a concussion last year (heavy sarcasm intended), because he’s on pace this year to take more sacks and shots than he has since The Hangover came out.
(And the only reason The Hangover is our reference point there is because that’s as far back as NFL.com’s reference data goes.)
Brady’s on pace this year to get his clock cleaned either by sack or quarterback hit 160 times over the course of this season, according to Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.net. Kind of makes whatever bumps and bruises you’ll rack up on the slopes this winter look like small potatoes by comparison when you’re doing the Peter Griffin “Owwwwww...owwwwwwww” at your desk or in class that week.
So as a guy who knows a thing or two about getting hit, and who’s seen his best receivers absolutely get their clocks cleaned by some of the best hitters in the game, Brady’s all about his pass-catchers avoiding the big shots and living to fight another day. As a matter in fact, if it comes down to lowering your shoulder to try and grind out that extra yard, or just going down, Brady’s in favor of the Patriots’ receivers hitting the deck if it means avoiding getting blown up.
Brady understands that discretion is the better part of valor. On Wednesday, he said, “I think decision-making is important for all players. I tell the receivers all of the time, ‘You catch the ball in traffic. You’re a 190-pound receiver. You’ve got 240-pound linebackers. To run and take that amount of force for one extra yard and then you miss three games -- I don’t think that helps us much.’
“It’s the same as a quarterback,” he continued. “You stand in the pocket. You do have to learn how to find the way down in a way that you’ll be able to get up and try to play the next play, especially with your right shoulder. I think for me more than anything I try to land more on my left shoulder than my right shoulder because you’ve only got one right shoulder and I need this for a lot of throws, and the more hits you take on it then the harder it is to take. I just do the best I can do. There’s some luck involved, but let’s go again, baby. Let’s line them up and play.”
As our fearless leader Rich Hill noted on Thursday, New England’s offense that made over-the-middle short throws an art form in 2010 has actually trended more and more towards the intermediate and deep-ball passing game ever since, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Wes Welker’s adamantium-skeleton durability was quite literally one-in-several-million and probably not easy to duplicate. The Patriots have had a slew of talented receivers over the last five or so years, but point to any one of them and anybody in a sports bar north of New York could tell you “Oh yeah, that guy, (insert at least one season-ending injury)”.
And with New England’s wide receivers already being rocked by injuries this year, with the Saints game in particular standing out because Brandin Cooks was the only receiver not nursing some kind of bump/bruise/potentially serious stuff, it’s hard to miss Brady’s championship undertone there.
The winter’s when real football starts, don’t be a hero in Week 4 and put yourself in the trainer’s office - or worse - when we’ll need you.