A blowout loss on Monday Night Football led to Tom Brady taking a seat for the final minutes of a 41-14 loss, then led to a question that was unthinkable as recently as 14 hours ago: Do the New England Patriots have a quarterback controversy? The answer isn’t as easy as ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Though Brady isn’t in danger of losing his job, his recent struggles have led to a fair discussion about his future in Boston. FTW breaks down both sides of the QB controversy question.
Yes, yes they do.
1. Of course they do! The mere fact that it’s being discussed makes it so. I mean, we’re not having the same discussions about Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees, are we?
2. Tom Brady has been a bad quarterback this year — not bad in relation to his usual greatness, but bad when compared to other current NFL quarterbacks. Consider:
• His numbers are worse than EJ Manuel’s, the Buffalo Bills quarterback who was benched Monday for Kyle Orton, a quarterback who once lost his job to Tim Tebow.
• In his last six games, Brady has as many touchdown passes (6) as turnovers (3 interceptions, 3 fumbles).
• His offensive line is terrible, yes, but the stats show Brady’s ineffective even when he has time to throw:
• Only two full-season starting quarterbacks have a lower passer rating than Brady in 2014.
• Brady’s passer rating, completion percentage, yards per pass and touchdowns have decreased in each of the past four years.
3. While all this is true, Tom Brady isn’t getting benched for Jimmy Garoppolo this season. Barring injury, this is Brady’s team and it will continue to be, unless the Pats unexpectedly lose seven straight. Then, Brady could be shelved with some trumped-up ailment that allows Garoppolo to start a few games to audition for the role. (But no matter how bad New England might be, a 2-9 start isn’t really in the cards.) An out-and-out benching? That’s not happening.
But let’s forget about Brady’s poor play for a second. The thing is, it doesn’t really matter if Brady was playing like he was back in his record-setting, MVP season of 2007. His football career is quickly coming to an end either way.
Brady turns 38 next August. That’s the same age John Elway, Joe Montana, Dan Marino and Steve Young were when they retired. No one plays forever. NFL teams don’t cling to the past either. (Remember, Joe Montana was traded and Peyton Manning was cut.) The Patriots know this, which is why Garoppolo was drafted in the first place. He’s the heir apparent. The question is, does the Garoppolo era start sooner or later?
4. When it comes to football, Bill Belichick has little sentiment. Adam Vinatieri, who was just as responsible for the Pats’ three rings as any other player, parted ways when he was still in his kicking prime, all because the Pats didn’t want to pay him $12 million over five years.
How did Belichick react when asked to describe the departure of one of the key cogs in the Pats’ dynasty? “It’s a longer story than it’s worth telling,” he said, “and it doesn’t make any difference. He’s not here.”
Anyone who thinks Bill Belichick will trot out Brady simply because of his past greatness is delusional.
No, there’s no QB controversy. Come on; it’s Tom Brady.
1. Just because New England is looking to the future doesn’t mean Brady is on the outs. Drafting Garoppolo is due diligence for both down the road and in the event of an injury. There is no controversy for the main reason said above: For the rest of 2014, there’s no chance a healthy Tom Brady won’t remain Pats starting quarterback.
2. Don’t believe that? Let Bill Belichick reassure you.
2. 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.
3. Ben Volin of The Boston Globe explains why Brady might be easy to trade:
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’s very intriguing. But Brady signed that cap-friendly deal to help the Patriots, not to up his trade value. Would the Pats try to unload him, knowing that Brady’s sacrifice is the only reason he could be shopped? Would Brady play under those terms for the Texans or would he demand his market value?
4. Bill Belichick may be cavalier and unsympathetic when releasing players such as Adam Vinatieri, Ty Law and Troy Brown, but this is Tom Brady. Without Brady, Bill Belichick might have been another two-time ex-head coach forced to eventually accept that he was best suited to being a defensive coordinator. There’s cold and calculating and then there’s having no feeling at all. Belichick isn’t a robot, despite what his press conferences might suggest.
5. The Patriots are a 2-2 team in football’s worst division. The Bills are starting Kyle Orton. The Dolphins have a coach who creates his own quarterback controversy. The Jets are the Jets. If New England can play its final 12 games one-game over-.500, that should be enough to get in the playoffs. Brady can continue to be mediocre and have that happen. So let’s not proclaim the dynasty over just yet.Tags: car, football, game, player, show, sports, today