All summer long -- or at least ever since Wes Welker left for the Broncos and Aaron Hernandez left for a cell block -- people have pointed towards the obvious decline coming for Tom Brady and the Patriots offense.
Then Tom Brady did what Tom Brady do, going 7/8 for 65 yards and a touchdown in limited Week 1 preseason action against the Eagles. It's just the preseason, of course, and the Eagles might be bad on defense all season long, but it's still a reminder not to write off Brady just because he lost weapons.
In fact, the quarterback said Monday morning on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show that he feels "better now" than he did when he was 27 years old.
"The biggest difference is I feel better now than I used to feel," Brady said. "That's the encouraging part is that I've found ways that I can prepare my body and prepare myself so I don't go through that. I don't buy into the fact that you just get older and you have to feel crappy for the rest of your life so I try to live my life and take what I've learned over the years and apply that to my every day living so that I can wake up in the morning and be excited about going to work."
But, again, it's the preseason. And Brady cautioned anyone who thinks New England's offense is operating at 100 percent to take a breath and realize that
"Football is too challenging to think that you can have it all figured out,” Brady said. "You certainly don't want to be peaking the first weak of August. It's a constant building process. You're still learning who your team is, the depth and quality of your team, through October and November. We're so far from where we're going to be. We're teeing off on the first hole. We've got a lot more to go."
Love the golf analogy (Brady's a decent golfer, in case you forgot) and love the focus as well.
You wouldn't expect anything less from Brady, a consummate pro who understands the importance of performing while also managing expectations.
But you also shouldn't expect anything less from a guy who hasn't gone under 3,900 yards passing since 2006. And if he's feeling better than he was then, well, don't be stunned if it's Brady pulling the upset and producing big stats despite a dearth of weapons.