In this NFL season, as most others of late, you cannot escape hearing about Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. With their last SuperBowl win, they are now tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers as having the most wins. What can be done, if anything, to make sure it won’t happen this year? Let’s examine the details.
Tom Brady and The New England Patriots: Can They Be Stopped?
Do They Have an Easy Schedule?
Many of those who are naysayers to the wins of the Patriots point at their record and say what an easy list of competition they have year in and year out. While it is true, six games a year are in their own division and both the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets are going through trying to rebuild and are no problem for them. The Buffalo Bills are getting stronger every year and are solidly in second place in their division. They also came very close to beating the Patriots in a defensive game.
The rest of the schedule seems a little light on the strength as well. The strongest team they have played outside of their division was the Steelers with an injured quarterback. Their other wins came against all below .500 teams. This week, they are playing a statistically subpar team in the Cleveland Browns. The real test will be in the coming weeks if they can stay strong against the like of the Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles.
Cold as Ice Coaching
Every head coach has their own style; their own game plan and their own way of showing emotion. With head coach Bill Belichick, there is little to no outward emotion shown. He and Tom Brady have a good working relationship, but even in the rare times that things go wrong, they keep it out of the spotlight. In this day and age, so much is going on in front of cameras and is even worse on social media. It is probably the smartest move they can do off the field.
Even during post-game interviews, Belichick keeps to the questions he wants to answer and none others. It is frustrating some reporters, but again, he’s leading by example. If he expects it of his players, he shows them what to do. Not that there haven’t been problems here and there, some being shocking when details came out, but more than most coaches, Belichick keeps his players disciplined and those who don’t understand that, generally don’t play more than one game.
Getting to Brady
When you are in the New England area, as this writer is, there are generally two types of people: those who love Brady and the Patriots and those who hate them. There is really no in between. While that may be true across the country, in New England it is worse.
So we come to the question, what can be done to stop Brady in his tracks. Well, let’s go back to basics. Put pressure on him. He doesn’t scramble as well as other quarterbacks and he doesn’t stand and take a hit like others either. Also, the one way to really throw him off of his game is to get him angry. There are fewer things that get him angrier than being sacked and rushed.
When you watch him play, Brady throws a lot of short passes but has good runners around him to get extra yardage. If you can break through the offensive line and keep him from doing a quick pass. You can get the offense off the field quickly, something the Buffalo Bills did well. The game-changer in that game was a defensive play by the Patriots, without that, the Bills could have easily come out ahead.
When Will The Evil Empire Fall?
While this week the Patriots should have no problem against the struggling Browns, the next few weeks will be interesting to watch and see if the Patriots can keep up this level of play.
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