What is wrong with Tom Brady of the Patriots Football Team?

Reply Tue 30 Sep, 2014 03:36 pm
Tom Brady's poor play forces Patriots to mull exit strategy

By Jason Fitzgerald Contributor @Jason_OTC
Last updated on September 30, 2014 2:09pm.

The Patriots offense is in a tailspin, and people are starting to ask the question: What is wrong with Tom Brady?

New England needs a plan in case Brady's poor play continues. The quarterback has one of the more unique contracts in the NFL, which leaves the Patriots with two options, both of which require change for the franchise.

For years the Patriots have planned roster strategies around the idea that Brady would cover mistakes. The quarterback seemed impervious to roster turnover, but in the past two seasons the Patriots jettisoned wide receiver Wes Welker and guard Logan Mankins for low-cost replacements. Both cases have led to poor results.

Many analysts last season felt Brady had lost the ability to make certain throws and could no longer drive the ball. Brady indeed has seen a statistical decline in each of the last two seasons, and he's on pace for the worst non-injury season of his career.

Brady has been the most willing player in the NFL to provide his team financial flexibility. In 2013 he opted for a low-cost extension rather than forcing the Pats to pay him top dollar. At the time Brady could have asked for $100 million over five years. Instead, Brady’s extension would pay him just $27 million over three new contract years and $57 million over the full, five-year period.

That contract, however, had a catch. As a kickback from the Patriots to Brady for accepting the low contract, they essentially guaranteed his entire deal. His 2015-2017 salaries became fully guaranteed provided he is on the roster for the last game of the 2014 season. The cost to release Brady and avoid that guarantee would be $18 million against the salary cap in 2015. So not even considering his legend status in New England, he is virtually assured of earning that guarantee.

Brady's salary cap charges over the next three years are $13, $14 and $15 million respectively. Those figures, not too crippling, will leave the Patriots two options to consider.

The first is to continue to start Brady for the duration of the contract, which would make him the QB until he's 40. That would force the Pats to shift their salary cap and roster strategies to invest in players around Brady, rather than expecting Brady to turn lower-cost investments into stars.

It starts with the draft, where the over-reliance on Brady has allowed the Patriots to shift priorities away from offense. Since 2007, over 71 percent of the Patriots' picks in the first two rounds have been used on defensive players.

The Patriots must consider spending more on free agents who can contribute right away. Despite their Brady savings, the Patriots still field one of the lowest cash payrolls in the NFL. Their largest multi-year free agent investment is just $5.7 million per season on Danny Amendola. This can not continue with the older version of Brady.

Option two sees the Patriots begin to shift Brady to the bench and begin the evaluation of a younger quarterback. Because Brady’s cap charges are not excessive, the team can afford to field a high draft pick and keep Brady on the roster.

Many found it curious when the Patriots looked at some of the higher-rated QB draft prospects in 2014 — some speculated that coach Bill Belichick just wanted a first-hand look at the quarterbacks he'd face. But it's just as reasonable to think that Belichick saw the decreases in efficiency last year and wanted to begin planning his eventual exit strategy.

The Patriots did draft a quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, in the second round — the highest QB selection of the Belichick era. Garoppolo gives New England an option to evaluate in a blowout win or loss, rather than keeping Brady on the field for all four quarters.

Brady’s contract does not contain a no-trade provision, and a trade is indeed a way for the Pats to avoid the guaranteed salary. They moved on from Drew Bledsoe years ago and watched as the Colts released Peyton Manning when the right prospect came along.

Brady and the Patriots may face the harsh option of moving on in the near future

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Reply Tue 30 Sep, 2014 04:09 pm
New England Patriots Rumors, News: Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, QB Controversy, Offensive Line
By Zachary Stieber, Epoch Times | September 30, 2014
Last Updated: September 30, 2014 1:43 pm

The New England Patriots season is up in the air after getting blown out on Monday night, and news and rumors are ramping up, including trade rumors.

Check out the latest buzz below.

Brady’s Job in Jeopardy?

There’s some speculation after the blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that Tom Brady’s job is in jeopardy.

He was benched late in the game, with backup Jimmy Garoppolo leading a touchdown drive after entering with just over 10 minutes remaining.

USA Today broke down both sides of the argument, saying that there could be a controversy because Brady is playing bad in comparison to other NFL quarterbacks, including EJ Manuel and Kyle Orton. “In his last six games, Brady has as many touchdown passes (6) as turnovers (3 interceptions, 3 fumbles),” it noted.

On the other hand, it noted that there is no controversy and Brady will remain the starter pretty much no matter what. “It doesn’t matter if Brady was 27 or 37 — no one could play well with such a penetrable offensive line and Julian Edelman as a go-to receiver.”

Brady to be Traded?

Along with rumbling about a controversy, is trade talk about Brady.

“Everything should be on the table now with Brady and the Patriots, if [coach Bill] Belichick truly wants to do what’s best for the team, as he constantly stresses,” according to the Boston Globe.

“Brady will be 38 next Aug. 3, and his contract is insanely team-friendly — if he is on the Patriots’ roster on the final game of 2014, his salaries for 2015 ($7 million), 2016 ($8 million), and 2017 ($9 million) become fully guaranteed, but at less than half the going rate of top-tier NFL quarterbacks ($20-plus million). That’s cheap money for the Patriots, but it’s also cheap money for a team desperate for a quarterback — like, say, Houston, where the coach (Bill O’Brien) is a close ally. Or, say, Tampa Bay, where the general manager (Jason Licht) used to work for the Patriots and is close with Belichick.”

It said that the team likely won’t trade Brady now but could in the near future.

Coaches First to be Blamed

ESPN says that the brunt of the blame for the season so far, and the blowout, should fall on the coaches.

“There was very little attempt to establish the run. They are trying to play a style they haven’t proven equipped to execute. Defensively, they couldn’t stem the tide against a running attack that manipulated players out of their gaps while taking advantage of specific matchups,” it said.

“Andy Reid and his staff were at another level compared to Bill Belichick and his staff. This is not the brand of Patriots football we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in Belichick’s 15 years as coach.”

The Patriots next play the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, at home, before hosting the Buffalo Bills a week later.

Offensive Line Changes Didn’t Help

Some offensive line changes were implemented for the game but didn’t really help.

“The Pats opened the game with a new combination of linemen, but they rotated throughout the night because of an array of poor performances at Arrowhead Stadium. Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork, Cameron Fleming and Sebastian Vollmer were the starters from left to right, and Marcus Cannon and Ryan Wendell also got in on the action, leaving just as many questions about the future of the line as there were entering the game,” noted the Boston Herald.

A number of the linemen made big mistakes, including Solder letting Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali race around and knock the ball from Brady.

Fleming was a surprise starter, making his first career start along with Stork, who played center.

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs gave their neighbors across the parking lot a little bit of inspiration with their impassioned performance against New England.

Jamaal Charles returned from an ankle injury to score three touchdowns, Alex Smith threw for 248 yards and three scores, and the Chiefs routed the Patriots 41-14 on Monday night, getting the sports week off to a smashing start in Kansas City with the Royals preparing to open the baseball playoffs on Tuesday.

“To have back-to-back events like this, Monday night football and a home playoff game, yeah, it’s special,” Smith said. “Right next door to each other.”

Arrowhead Stadium, which was packed to the brim in red-clad Chiefs fans, is just a short walk from Kauffman Stadium, which will surely be packed with blue when the Royals end a 29-year playoff drought against the Oakland Athletics in the AL wild-card game.

Several members of the Royals even showed up for the Chiefs-Patriots game, including starting pitcher James Shields, drawing huge roars when they were shown on the big screens. And some of the Chiefs said they were thinking about returning the favor, including wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.

Regardless, the Chiefs will be able to spend Tuesday in a celebratory mood.

They held the Patriots’ Tom Brady to 159 yards passing and a touchdown, picking him off twice and returning one for a touchdown. Brady was also strip-sacked by Tamba Hali to set up a Chiefs field goal, capping off a miserable night for the two-time NFL MVP.

“It was just a bad performance by everybody,” Brady said. “We need to make sure we never have this feeling again. We’ve got to figure out what we have to do better.”

The Chiefs forced the Patriots to air it out by stuffing Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. And when Brady dropped back, their front seven ran roughshod over New England’s suspect offensive line.

It hardly helped the Patriots offense that it was trying to operate on the same night Chiefs fans were trying to reclaim the record for loudest outdoor sports venue. The record was set in the first half, when Guinness World Records noted a noise level of 142.2 decibels — breaking the mark of 137.6 that Seattle Seahawks fans set last season.

“My ears are still ringing,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said with a smile.

Kansas City had 303 yards of offense by halftime, the most against any Belichick-coached team in the first half of a game. That includes his years coaching in Cleveland.

“We just never got anything going. Nothing,” Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. “They just executed. They executed perfectly. We were always out of the game, it seemed.”

Here are a few of the reasons why the Patriots were thumped so soundly:

RUN, RUN, RUN: Charles looked just fine on his sprained right ankle, running for 92 yards. He was spelled by Knile Davis, who added 107 yards on 16 carries. “We kept each other fresh,” Davis said. “When he went in, he did his thing. When I went in, I did my thing.”

TENSE MOMENT: Charles briefly went to the locker room after stumbling into the end zone on his third touchdown of the game. He appeared to grab his hamstring, and Reid said that he received an IV, indicating that he might have been cramping. “I feel sore,” Charles admitted afterward.

BRADY’S STRUGGLES: Brady is completing just 59 percent of his passes through his first four games, his worst rate since becoming the Patriots’ starter in 2001. He is also averaging less than 200 yards passing per game. “I wouldn’t say we’ve had a very productive four games to start, but hopefully we can learn from it and understand the things that we’re doing wrong,” he said. “There’s nobody going to dig us out of the hole. We’ve kind of created it for ourselves and we’re going to have to look each other in the eye and see what kind of commitment we’re willing to make.”

KELCE STARS: Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who is quickly becoming one of Smith’s favorite targets, had eight catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. “We know what we can do on our offense and our defense,” Kelce said. “Our defense got a lot of turnovers today, and that was awesome to see.”

GAROPPOLO PLAYS: Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo got into the game in the fourth quarter for New England, when the outcome was already decided. He was 6 of 7 for 70 yards with a touchdown. “I am a relief pitcher, pretty much,” he said, “so that is my job.

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