In some circles, pressure on the quarterback is considered as important as a sack. Pressure is the mechanism by which the defense forces the action and the pace of the game. The defense can compel the QB to release the ball before he wants to…before he can set his feet; before receivers have a chance to complete their routes. This Sunday, the New York Jets put on an exhibition demonstrating the finer points of QB pressure.
NFL Network analyst and former All Pro lineman Warren Sapp, in describing a highlight of Bart Scott running unimpeded at Brady said, “That’s almost like a duck and chuck. He didn’t want to stand in there…and that’s not Tom Brady.”
Mike Martz, former head coach of the Rams, followed up with: “He’s just a little bit panicky in the pocket at times…and he’s a little timid with his footwork right now.”
Check the link to the NFL Network.
After the game, Jets players added:
Asked if the Jets succeeded in making Brady uncomfortable in the pocket, linebacker Bart Scott(notes) said with a straight face: “I don’t know. You¹d have to ask him. Maybe he likes people around his feet or people hitting him in the chest, or throwing people in front of him to the ground. Some people might not be uncomfortable in that situation.”
Defensive end Shaun Ellis(notes), who returned from a one-game suspension, was not as coy. He said he saw confusion in Brady’s eyes. “He was trying to figure out where everyone was coming from. We had him throwing off his back foot a lot.”
From an earlier post, here, on September 1:
Tom Brady looks a bit skittish to me. Rust and timing? Maybe it’s that in his last two games, he was injured on a blitz by Pollard and harassed within an inch of his life by the Giants. Doesn’t pressure make all QB’s somewhat less than awesome? I know it might sound crazy, but he seems like he is more willing to let the ball go a quarter-second early. He seems less willing to take that big hit — even though he just took a big hit from Albert Haynesworth. In watching the first half vs. the Washington Redskins, I thought Brady did most of his damage with a clean pocket. I also thought he did a very good job of getting rid of the ball BEFORE pressure came (until Albert put his weight on him). I don’t know if Patriots fans would agree, but the ball seems to come out a bit quicker than usual. He’s still accurate. He can still throw the deep ball with touch and accuracy. He still has total command of the offense and is likely to rack up some big numbers, but the real test for this team won’t come until they face elite defenses like Pittsburgh, San Diego (with Merriman), Indianapolis (with Bob Sanders) and others. By the way, I think the Patriots have enough weapons (including Fred Taylor) to approximate what they did in 2007. Look out.
If I saw it during a pre-season game, and Mike Martz and Warren Sapp are talking about it after WEEK 2, you’ve got to know that every defensive player on the Patriots’ schedule is salivating at an opportunity to play Brady BEFORE this gets fixed. Carson Palmer hasn’t been the same since getting hit in the legs by Kimo Von Oelhoffen. The Bengals, of course, have fallen farther than these Patriots are likely to drop, but things happen.
Who knows! It may never get fixed. Sometimes a player gets hit in his Achilles heel and remains hesitant to jump back into the fray. Brady’s life beyond football has been so much a topic of conversation that one can’t help wondering if the uphill climb to a 4th ring (without Bruschi, Harrison, Vrabel, Seymour, Weis, Crennel, Dillon, Vinatieri and so many others) is more appealing that crawling into bed with his family.
The fans in New England are waiting for an answer, but you can believe that the Atlanta Falcons with Jonathan Abraham, Mike Peterson and company could care less. They’re coming hard and they’ll be there all day. Brady has earned the right to do as he pleases on the field – still, there is work to be done. If Tom Brady is to restore his name and legacy, Week 3 would be a nice start to get started. Time is running out and this won’t be any easier in 2010.