Tag:Tom Brady
Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:36 am
Edited on: January 16, 2012 11:49 am
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Monday Musings: How do you slow Brady?

BALTIMORE -- How do you slow down Tom Brady?

I asked that question to Baltimore Ravens corner Lardarius Webb.

"You have to try and confuse him," Webb said.

Good luck with that. Brady, like the other top quarterbacks, has a way of knowing where he's going with the football before the snap. He's great at those pre-snap reads.

The Patriots don't really stretch the field all that much, but Brady excels at getting the ball to the receiver or tight end with the best match-up. Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and receiver Wes Welker are all good at winning against man coverage.

"Tom is playing excellent up there, and what they did to the Broncos last night, I think they sent a message to whoever was coming up there," Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said. " So, we’ve got our hands full and we’ve got to go up and get ready to play in the AFC championship.”

You can't expect the Ravens to stop Brady. They can only hope to slow him down.

 Look, I've stated my opinion about Tim Tebow's ability to play NFL quarterback the right way. I didn't need his performance against the Patriots Saturday night to convince me that he's far from being able to lead a team from the pocket. The Broncos gimmicked up the offense for him to help offset his inability to throw from the pocket. Until he learns how to do that, and throw into tight windows, there will always be doubts. He didn't lose that game to the Patriots. Hell, John Elway in his prime wouldn't have won that for the Broncos. But expect Tebow to be pushed in training camp by somebody. Or the Broncos will be in a lot of trouble moving forward. 

 The NFL considering full-time officials makes no sense to me. What they need to do is add an extra official on the field. The game is too fast now to just have seven officials on the field. One more would help compensate for the speed of the game advancing to where it is now. Plus, more passing means that the officials have to expand their focus to a wider perspective. So say no to full time officials, but yes to adding one more on the field.

 Lewis wasn't too happy that a Baltimore writer questioned the way he and Reed played the final few games of the season. He took exception to the criticism of their tackling. Truth be known, neither one tackled that well down the stretch. It's hard to believe after 16 years, Lewis still gets worked up over the critics.

 I love the hire of Dirk Koetter by the Atlanta Falcons as offensive coordinator. Koetter and Matt Ryan will work well together. And for those worried about Koetter being too conservative, he was forced to be that way under Jack Del Rio. He often had game plans adjusted by the head coach. That won't happen in Atlanta. This is Koetter's chance to show how good a coach he can be. I bet he excels.

 I like the idea of the Miami Dolphins hiring Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. He is a damn good coach whose time has come to be the top man. Zimmer is fiery coach, but his players love him.

 Fear the Texans next year. That is a talented football team. Who knows how good they could have been if Matt Schaub didn't go down? That defense can be special. They do have to decide what to do with Mario Williams? Do they tag him? That would cost $22 million. That's way too high, considering they played without him for most of the season and finished second in total defense. Rookie Brooks Reed and Connor Barwin are both good players at outside linebacker. If Williams hits the market, he will be by far the highest-paid free agent out there.

 Just a thought, but if Jeff Fisher is worth $8 million a year what is Tom Coughlin worth?

 The Saints might lose defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to the Rams. He would join good buddy Jeff Fisher, the team's new coach. Here's what I wonder: Do the Saints really care? Williams loves to blitz, and he was undone by it against the 49ers Saturday. His defenses have struggled to defend the pass in New Orleans. 

 Did Alex Smith show what he could do when given the chance to throw against the Saints? Has he been held down his entire career? It's a legitimate question. Smith looked great in the fourth quarter and his last-minute drive was something you'd expect from Joe Montana. He was accurate, throwing into tight windows. Smith has always been a stand-up guy. It's nice to see him having some success. He's a class kid.

 Admit it. When you watched 49ers tight end Vernon Davis lighting up the Saints for 180 yards and the game-winning touchdown, you asked why he doesn't do that more? I think the 49ers need to get him involved in the offense more.

 Memo to those out there touting the Giants as a defensive team: They were eighth in scoring offense and 25th in scoring defense. They are an offensive team that has a pass rush. Period.

 Of the four teams left in the playoffs, the team that finished highest in rushing yardage was the 49ers. They were eighth. You don't run it to win anymore. You just don’t. 

Posted on: January 12, 2012 5:07 pm
 

Divisional Round Matchups: Suggs vs. Brown

Texans left tackle Duane Brown vs. Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs -- Brown has been one of the better left tackles in the league. He has really improved in pass protection. Suggs is a force off the corner. He tends to get sacks in bunches, so Brown can't allow him to get going. If he does, it could be trouble for T.J. Yates.

Ravens nose tackle Terrence Cody vs. Texans center Chris Myers -- If the Texans are gong to run the football, they have to move Cody off the line. That means Myers. He is good at taking the nose where he starts to go. But if Cody is playing him head up, it could be trouble for Myers to move him. He isn't that strong.

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul vs. Packers left tackle Chad Clifton -- The last time the Giants played the Packers, Pierre-Paul had a big day against Marshall Newhouse, who was playing for the injured Clifton. With Clifton back, the Packers have to feel better about the pass protection. He is good at it. But he isn't a great run blocker.

Packers corner Tramon Williams vs. Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks -- Williams usually takes the team's top receiver if the Packers play a lot of man. They used him some on Nicks in the last meeting, and Nicks beat him for a long play. Even though Victor Cruz had a better season, Nicks is still the Giants top receiving threat.

Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow vs. Patriots coach Bill Belichick -- Belichick has had two weeks to prepare for Tebow and the Broncos' gimmick offense. That will give him a big edge on Tebow. What does Belichick throw at him that will be different from the last meeting? I bet it's a lot. How well Tebow handles that will go a long way in determining if Denver can move the football.

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham vs. 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis and others -- Graham is a huge part of the Saints offense. His ability to stretch the field as a tight end almost mandates a safety covers him, but word is the 49ers will try and handle him with Willis, one of the league's best cover linebacker. But you can bet the 49ers will also put a safety on him in other situations.

49ers defensive end/tackle Justin Smith vs. Saints guard Carl Nicks -- Smith is a 3-4 defensive end, but when the 49ers go to a sub-package, they put Aldon Smith next to Justin Smith, and he moves inside. That could put Justin Smith him on Nicks, one of the best guards in the NFL in a lot of passing situations. That's force vs. force.

Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey vs. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski -- At times in his career, Bailey has played a lot of man coverage on tight ends. He is used to it with Antonio Gates in his division. I would imagine that the Broncos would put Bailey on Gronkowski some in this game in man coverage. I know I would.

Patriots corner Devin McCourty vs. Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas -- The Broncos have one real receiving threat, and that's Thomas. He is coming off a 204-yard receiving game last week against Pittsburgh. McCourty is a good player who had a bad year. He isn't a great man cover player, and was torched some early playing it, but he might be asked to come up big here. Kyle Arrington might also spend 

Texans receiver Andre Johnson vs. Ravens corner Lardarius Webb -- Johnson didn't play in the first meeting. This time, you can expect him to challenge the Baltimore corners down the field. Webb, who has had a good season, will likely spend a lot of the day on Johnson. That's a tough challenge for any corner.

Posted on: October 16, 2011 7:21 pm
 

Brady makes Cowboys pay

FOXBORO -- They gave him a chance.

You never give Tom Brady another chance.

For nearly four quarters, the Dallas Cowboys seemed to have Brady befuddled. Their exotic defensive looks had him looking jumpy in the pocket and forced him into two interceptions.

It was their game.

But they gave him a chance, and Brady loves getting the chance.

Trailing by three, he started at his own 20 with 2:34 left and moved the Patriots to the game-winning score with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez with 22 seconds left for a 20-16 victory.

Moral of the story: You don't give Brady chances.

The Cowboys did. They got the ball back at their own 20 with 3:36 and ran it three times.

Brady made them pay for being so conservative -- just like so many others before them

.

Category: NFL
Tags: Tom Brady
 
Posted on: January 17, 2011 1:00 pm
 

Brady gets a pass

---If Peyton Manning did what Tom Brady has done in his last three postseason games, the wolves would be circling the carcass. As it is, Brady gets a free pass. Brady is 0-3 in his last three postseason games. Included is a loss as the supposed greatest team of all time in 2007, losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl. He's also lost two consecutive home playoff games, one as the top seed in the conference, that coming Sunday in losing to the New York Jets. It's not like Brady has lit it up in those games either.  He didn’t play awful, but he certainly wasn't Brady-like. In those three games, Brady threw five touchdown passes and four interceptions. His highest passer rating was 89.0 Sunday. Here's another amazing nugget: Since Brady won the Super Bowl after the 2004 season he has played in 10 postseason games. His passer rating has been over 90 just three times, twice against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In those 10 games, he has thrown 19 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions.  This is by no means meant to demean Brady. He is still one of the all-time greats. But let’s face it: He hasn't exactly been a great postseason quarterback since winning his last Super Bowl. Since Brady last won a Super Bowl, Manning has won one and been to another.  He's played in 11 postseason games and has thrown 15 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions. He's had four games with passer ratings over 90. Neither has been as good in the postseason as they've been in the regular season. The difference is Manning has to hear about it. Brady does not. That's what you call living on your laurels.

---There is no doubt the Patriots need deep speed. They can talk all they want about how they didn’t miss Randy Moss. Maybe they didn’t miss the Moss they had this season, but they missed a player like Moss, a speed guy who can push the coverage. It's amazing Brady did what he did in the regular season without that speed. That’s a testament to him and the ability of Bill Belichick to coach up the offense. The Patriots have two first-round picks. They must get a player who can stretch the field with one of those.

---The Falcons had no answer on defense for the Packers Saturday night. I'm not sure anybody would have. They were that hot. Atlanta has some talented, young players on defense. But they need to get more help with their outside rush. John Abraham is a good player, but he's coming to the end. Kroy Biermann, who was expected to have a breakout season, was a disappointment at the other end. The Falcons also need to turn the offense over to Matt Ryan. They have to play more up-tempo. To help that, Atlanta would be wise to get a young tight end. Tony Gonzalez is considering retirement and he doesn't have the same speed he once did. He had one catch against the Packers.

---One player who will have to step up his game for the Falcons next season is corner Dunta Robinson. He signed a big contract as a free agent last spring and was a disappointment. Brent Grimes, the other corner, outplayed him. Robinson needs to become a most consistent player. The Falcons need him in a division with good quarterbacks.


---Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is one of the best play-callers in the NFL. He takes a lot of heat for his inability to stick with the running game. Guess what? This is a passing league. In the Packers' scheme, the short-passing game is the running game. I've known McCarthy for a while and I've always considered him an innovative offensive coach. This is his time to get his due.

---Why didn’t the Patriots show any urgency when they were down 10 and got the ball back in the fourth quarter? Sure didn't look like coaching genius to me.

---Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice has done a wonderful job with his revamped line. They don't have a ton of talent, yet they are one game away from the Super Bowl. Big props to Tice.

---I can't wait to see Mike Martz match wits with Dom Capers, two coordinators I really respect.

 

Category: NFL
Tags: Tom Brady
 
Posted on: January 12, 2011 3:11 pm
 

Pre-game babble is meaningless


During a recent conversation with an NFL head coach we discussed pre-game build up and if anything that is said and done leading up to a game can have an impact.

"We might try to say it does, but it doesn't," he said.

How right he is.

A handful of players I spoke to agreed. Once the pads are on, once the first hits are made, no pre-game noise matters.

A big reason is the on-field noise is even worse.

I've had several players say the insults on game day are X-rated compared to the pre-game buildup. They wouldn't have a chance on live television or radio. The FCC would go nuts.

"I've had guys say I was a gay and all that," one player said. "Only he didn't say it in that way, if you know what I mean. It's nasty out there."

So while a lot is being made of the ugly words thrown at Tom Brady by Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, just remember they don't matter. If you think something like that will make the Patriots play harder, then you don't know football players.

They play harder in the postseason. If they're not motivated by the fear of losing, then something's wrong anyway.

Brady is guilty of being a game-day punk at times. But that's fine. He can back it up. He's earned that right. When he pointed to the Jets bench after throwing a touchdown in the 45-3 blowout earlier this season, I knew that would become an issue if they met again.

I'll be honest: I like it.

Back in the day, I remember a kid taunting me during a high-school game. One problem:

My team was winning.

I pointed to the scoreboard.

That's all that matters.

Talking smack is an art form.  Backing it up is another matter.

Brady can back it up. That's why he's great. I will say this. He does get a free pass for his on-field antics. He's Tom Brady. Of course he does.

Maybe that's why Cromartie popped off the way he did. But if they Jets think they're getting into that guy's head, they can forget it. He's a pro's pro who won't let any pre-game noise bother his focus.

Jets coach Rex Ryan doesn't care if his team talks. That's a good thing for us in the media. Ryan is smart enough to know that none if it matters. If the Patriots blow out the Jets Sunday, Cromartie's words won't be the reason, but his play might.

I've seen too many paranoid coaches get too caught up in what players might say. You know, providing the proverbial bulletin-board material.

Walk into an NFL locker room and you're bound to see articles cut out and posted on the walls with yellow highlights of things opponents said about a certain player or the entire team. It's sophomoric to think those things matter. But coaches aren't always the brightest.

You know what matters? Getting hit in the mouth on the first play with a chance to move on in the postseason.

So make a big deal about Cromartie's words all you want. As soon as the foot hits leather for kickoff, they'll be as meaningful as an NCAA bowl game in December.

 

Category: NFL
Tags: Tom Brady
 
Posted on: September 10, 2008 8:28 pm
 

Something to make you puke


Sports fans can be demented, mean, angry, nasty, violent and just plain crass.
And George Lampman is cashing in on it.

Lampman is taking advantage of the season-ending knee injury suffered by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to make a buck.

Lampman, who has a silk-screen printing company in Pittsburgh, has unveiled t-shirts that laud Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard, the man who knocked Brady out for the season, as some kind of hero.

For $19.99, you can buy a Bernard Pollard fan club shirt, complete with a No. 12 (Brady's number) circled and crossed out. The shirt says the fan club was established Sept. 7, 2008, which is the day Brady went down.

Sick.

To me, this is a sign of how demented some fans have become.
Lampman doesn't argue the point.

"I can totally see where you're coming from," said Lampman, who is a diehard Steelers fan.

Isn't it crass, I asked?

"I can't disagree," he said.

So why do it? There's sadly a market out there. I spoke to Lampman Wednesday night for five minutes.

"I've sold six while we were talking," he said.

So who's ordering? The New York Jets fans are buying them with on addendum.

"They want them sent overnight so they can have them for Sunday," Lampman said.

Disgusting.

Don't people who buy these shirts realize that this is a man's livelihood we're talking about? When I mentioned that to Lampman, he callously replied, "he's not losing any money this year and I'm sure it's no career-ending."

Pollard can't be happy about this.  He was sick about putting Brady out.

It's one thing not to like a player if you're a fan. It's another to make light of a serious situation.

Lampman said he might make up to $20,000 on the shirts. He's had 500 orders or so already.
I almost didn't write this because it only feeds the monster. But the whole issue is so sickening that I thought it needed to be pointed out just how low some of our fans have gone.

 

 

Category: NFL
Tags: Tom Brady
 
 
 
 
 
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