Tag:Tom Brady
Posted on: February 11, 2011 9:53 am
 

An 18-game solution?

Leave it to someone associated with Tom Brady to come up with an intriguing solution to the 18-game season. No, not his hair stylist.

The Associated Press has the story:

 

Tom Brady's agent thinks he has a solution for an 18-game NFL regular season: Limit how many games each player can suit up.

The players' union opposes expanding the season by two games, one of the main sticking points in negotiations with the league for a new collective bargaining agreement.

Though agent Don Yee believes 18 games mean more bodily punishment, leading to shorter careers and possibly shorter life spans, he had these suggestions for making the change more acceptable:

-Increase the roster from 53 players to 58, and make all eligible to play on game day; currently, only 45 can play.

-Institute a rule that prohibits any player from appearing in more than 16 games.

"This compromise will create even more interest from fans," Yee said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "What two games will the head coach sit the starting QB? That's a discussion that will set sports talk radio airwaves afire.

"This compromise will also be popular with coaches and general managers who want a greater opportunity to develop younger players," he said. "The NFL doesn't have a minor league, and this compromise will force meaningful participation by younger players on the roster.

"Players also would endorse this because each would effectively get two bye weeks during the year. Bye weeks afford important healing time and personal time away from the game."


 

Obviously this specific solution would wreak havoc with Fantasy owners. Would we know in advance when a player would be sat down, or would it come in on Sunday morning that all of a sudden Peyton Manning is taking the week off? Yee is right in that it would cause plenty of interest, but not necessarily the good kind.

The ideal solution is to agree playing a 16-game schedule, just as the league has done for years. An 18-game season means more Fantasy games for us, which is great, but it also means more injuries, roster maintenance, etc. Some people who play aren't into such a challenge.

I still think the league and the union have an agreement by June 1, if not May 1. I doubt Yee's solution is a valuable one, especially since I doubt Pats owner Robert Kraft would want to pay Tom Brady to sit for two games.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 13, 2010 11:31 am
 

Brady not a safe bet vs. Baltimore

In my rankings this week you'll find something rather startling: Tom Brady is not in my Top 12. It's not an attempt to be "out there" or to draw shock value. Based on the matchup, as well as Brady's receiving corps, as well as his history against the Ravens' defensive scheme, I don't think Brady will have a great week.

Brady's stats over his last 40 starts will tell you that he is a Fantasy stud, but a big reason for those numbers was the presence of wide receiver Randy Moss. Never once did Brady play a game without Moss from 2007 through Week 3 of this year, and his numbers were mostly excellent. Before Moss, Brady was pretty good but not a 300-yard bomber. In fact, from 2001 to 2006 -- a five-year window where he won three Super Bowls but didn't play with a talent like Moss -- Brady had 17 300-yard games over 108 starts, including the postseason. That's one every six games or so, which is pretty good. But that pales in comparison to the 15 300-yard games he had over 40 starts with Moss (including the postseason) -- one 300 yarder every 2.67 games!

I contend that those days are over, as they have been this season: Zero 300-yard games while Moss was playing in a seemingly limited role (22 targets over four games).

Brady's receiving corps added Deion Branch this week, a receiver who easily had his best years with Brady in New England, including a career-best 2005 when he averaged 62.3 yards per game and less than one touchdown every three games. Those are Branch's best numbers as he finished '05 with 998 receiving yards and five scores. The Branch playing for New England now is not the same as the 2005 Branch: Since the Patriots smartly traded him away for two first-round picks, Branch has had multiple knee surgeries and has clearly lost his speed as his receiving average dropped from 13.7 yards per catch in his first three years in Seattle to 9.5 over his last 18 games there. Branch, who is expected to help replace Moss, will be a good source of receptions but not a gamebreaker, which some people will say he never was.

The rest of Brady's receiving corps is good but much, much easier to defend against now that Moss is gone. And that's music to the ears of the Ravens defense.

Baltimore's secondary has been lights-out this year: The only touchdowns they've allowed were to Benjamin Watson in Week 3 and two to Brandon Lloyd last week, one on a sensational deep-ball grab and another late to pad the Broncos' stats. They've shut down Mark Sanchez and Carson Palmer, each of whom threw for multiple touchdowns against the Patriots, by the way. And even with the Broncos throwing for 314 yards on 38 attempts last week, the Ravens' secondary is still yielding just 156.6 passing yards per game.

Next, I want you to check out Brady's career numbers against the Ravens' defense as well as against Rex Ryan's Jets defense. Ryan previously coordinated with the Baltimore D and did a pretty good job of scheming against Brady until recently. But even after Ryan left the Ravens, Ray Lewis & Co. have done a pretty good job containing Brady while Ryan's bunch in New York have begun to fizzle out.

vs. BAL (11/28/04): 15 of 30 passing (50.0 pct.), 172 yards (5.73 yards/att.), 0 TDs, 0 INT

at BAL (12/03/07): 18 of 38 passing (47.4 pct.), 257 yards (6.76 yards/att.), 2 TDs, 1 INT

at NYJ (09/20/09): 23 of 47 passing (48.9 pct.), 216 yards (4.59 yards/att.), 0 TDs, 1 INT

vs. BAL (10/04/09): 21 of 32 passing (65.6 pct.), 258 yards (8.1 yards/att.), 1 TD, 0 INT

vs. NYJ (11/22/09): 28 of 41 passing (68.3 pct.), 310 yards (7.6 yards/att.), 1 TD, 0 INT

vs. BAL (1/10/10): 23 of 42 passing (54.8 pct.), 154 yards (3.7 yards/att.), 2 TD, 3 INTs

at NYJ (9/19/10): 20 of 36 passing (55.6 pct.), 248 yards (6.9 yards/att.), 2 TD, 2 INTs


Keep in mind, Brady had some good numbers and some bad numbers against this aggresive version of the 3-4 scheme designed to attack him, but all except the 2004 numbers were done with Moss in the lineup. Again, notice just one 300-yard game and three games with more than one touchdown through the air.

I'd also like to point out that the Ravens specifically have done a good job limiting Wes Welker. In two games against Baltimore, one in December, 2007 and one in October, 2009, Welker totaled nine catches for 66 yards and no scores. In the interest of full disclosure, it's worth pointing out that Welker's replacement in the team's playoff game last year, Julian Edelman, scalded the Ravens for two scores while catching six passes for 44 yards. It's conceivable that Welker would have those numbers, especially since both of those touchdowns were hard-earned on broken plays. Or maybe the Ravens didn't take Edelman as seriously as they do Welker.

There's another issue even the most ardent of Patriots fans will take with this: The team is money after the bye week. Brady scorched Miami for 332 yards and a touchdown last year after the bye; in 2007 he hung five touchdowns and 373 yards at Buffalo. And the Patriots have only lost once following the bye with Brady as their quarterback.

Clearly, giving Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare for an opponent has done wonders for the Pats. But how much of that time has been spent reinventing the offense this year? It's been a while since we've seen the Patriots without Randy Moss. Are they going to seamlessly perform without him (they sort of did that in Week 4)? There's also a question of what role the running game will have post-Moss; do not put it past the Patriots to try using the run against Baltimore. Remember, this vaunted Ravens defense was picked apart by Peyton Hillis and Rashard Mendenhall -- who's to say Belichick won't scheme his offense to attack Baltimore the same way? You can't just say he's going to have Brady throw like crazy -- the guy will find wrinkles anywhere and has shown in the past that he will tailor his offense to attack the weaknesses of the opponent.

I know sitting Brady is a tall order, and some of us can't do it because we don't have a backup. But playing without Moss against a strict defense doesn't seem to suggest a big game for Brady. Don't be surprised if he underwhelms against the Ravens, even with the extra week to prepare.


Posted on: May 28, 2009 5:12 pm
 

Fantasy Huddle: Tom Brady

Tom Brady has been the focus of many Fantasy owners since ... well, really, since 2001. But more recently, since Week 1 of last season when he tore his ACL and MCL and missed all but the first quarter or so of the NFL season. Since then, he's had multiple surgeries (one to clean a staph infection) and rumored to be behind in his schedule, only to actually be ahead of schedule.

The Patriots held a late-May minicamp, and Brady was not only in attendance but working with the first-team offense. Though he admits to being a little rusty, he's optimistic that he'll be ready for the start of the 2009 season. He met with a huge throng of reporters, and the club was gracious enough to send out a full transcript. We went ahead and edited out the questions regarding his model wife and bicycling hobby and give you the meat and potatoes of what he had to say about his knee, his teammates, and his outlook on this upcoming year.

How are you feeling? Do you want to give us an update on the progress of your knee from the last two months or so?

Yeah. I've been feeling really positive. You know, getting back into the football stuff - it's a little different than the training you do - working out normally in the offseason, so it's good to come out on the field. There is obviously a lot of rust by all of us being off for four months. We're working hard to make the improvements we need to make. Thank God the season is a few months away, but we need the work and I need the work. I think everybody realizes when you come out after four months off there is a lot of work for us to do.

Do you have to learn how to throw again with the knee the way it is?

The throwing is not the problem at all. At this point it's just about getting back to the football activity. I am doing the football activities not for my leg, but for the rest of me - my everything. My body feels really good. My arm feels good. I'm not completing as many passes as I want, but we haven't been out here very long. I think it's just about getting better every day. If you can do that, and you can make continuous improvements over the course of weeks and months, you'll be a better player.

There's no adjustment with having to wear a brace on your leg and getting used to that?

No. You don't even really notice it. I would rather not wear, but [Head Athletic Trainer] Jim [Whalen] is forcing me to wear it, so I have to listen to him.

You said last year was the halftime of your career. What did you mean by that?

Well, I think we all have goals that we set for ourselves and how long you want to play. Fortunately for a quarterback, you can play for a long time because you don't get hit very often. I hope I have the opportunity to play for a long time. I think when you sit on the sidelines for an entire year you realize how much you love it. Not that you need that to happen to be grateful to play, but you experience things in a much different way and a way that I never experienced as an athlete. I love being out here. I love participating and being around these guys. We're working for some big goals we set, so we just have to, like Coach Belichick says, come out here and work hard every day and do our job.

You used the word rust. Getting back out here does it feel like a long time? What are your emotions?

I've been playing football for a long time so you don't have to relearn how to do anything, you just have to go out and try to be sharp. I don't think I've been very sharp the last three days in practice. It takes a lot of reps and a lot of throwing. You see the defense and you make the throws and there are adjustments you have to make on the field. The football part and understanding our offense - I mean, obviously, I have a good understanding of that - it's just a matter of putting it together at a different speed than you can go out and practice in the bubble in March and April. It's nice when team activities are on the field and there's blitzes and you can signal guys and something happens and a guy slips on a route and now you have to throw to a different player. Those are the things that you've got to sharpen up. There's a lot of training camp practices. There's probably 50 training camp practices that we'll have and I think each one of those will be valuable for all of us. I'm looking forward to those because I haven't had the opportunity to do that in quite awhile.

I would imagine your rehab is probably 75 percent done and I would think you probably still have some limitations. You don't feel like you are 100 percent yet, do you?

I feel as good as I could possibly feel. I don't think about it. It doesn't bother me doing anything. It's feeling really good and it's about as good as I can say. I'm real happy with where I'm at and I come out to these workouts happy to participate in them. That was something that was a big goal for me to be able to do.

If the opening game would be two months away do you think you'd be ready or do you think you need four months?

I will take every day that I have. Believe me, I'll take every day. We have a lot of work [to do] and there are a lot of new faces and new coaches. There's been a lot of change for us this year and we have to use it to our advantage.

Naturally a lot of people are comparing this offense to 2007 - you have some new tools in Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis. What are your expectations and do you think it will be better?

Well, we have guys that are experienced players. Obviously, Randy [Moss] and Wes [Welker] at receiver and we've added some tight ends and Joey and Greg are here as well. There's a lot of work that we need to do to get on the same page. I know the kind of effort we put in in 2007 and we need to match that, and in 2008 as well - we worked hard that offseason. It didn't work out for us in the end, but I think this year is another bit of excitement, it's a new challenge and that's why we are out here practicing. I don't think you overlook anything out here. Every rep we are trying to complete is for a reason. There are signals [to learn]. We're walking through the two-minute drill today. We're trying to all get on the same page and that's going to carry over into training camp and training camp carries over to the season. We have a lot of tough opponents this year. We have a challenging schedule and we are going to need the work that we have. I think the new guys - they are a bit overwhelmed with the offense and the terminology and the speed of how I'm spitting things out in the huddle and how I'm changing things at the line. We are all trying to get used to that.

What's been the biggest surprise for you over the last two days?

This is a hard game and it's one of those things that if you're not doing it every day and you're competing at this level, you always think it's going to get easier as you get older and you are going to complete more balls. That's not the way it works. You've got to come out every day and put the work in. You can't take anything for granted and you can't think that because you completed it last year a certain way that that's the way it's going to be this year. We've got a group of hard working guys and I'm very appreciative of that as a member of the team because I don't have to motivate those guys. They are really self-motivating and they're willing to work and we are willing to put the time in together. I think we're going to need all that hard work and commitment from everybody to make it a successful season.

Aside from the knee, how rusty do you feel?

I feel like it's springtime - 50 degrees and rainy in Boston. It's the start of a new year. I wish we'd come out and throw 90 percent completions out here every day and [have] everyone on the same page and [have] no mental errors, but because we are so new to this there are a lot of mistakes we are making. We have to try to make those improvements every day. We go in, watch our film and listen to Coach and hopefully we can build on each day. So like I said, we can look back two months from now and know that we're prepared for training camp.

At this point what could stop you from being ready for the season opener?

I said anything that could stop anybody. There're a lot of things that could happen in two months. I have to drive home this afternoon in Boston traffic, you never know what could happen. Knock on wood please. We're out here preparing and I don't anticipate anything. I hope there's not. We'll deal with something if something does… lighting striking, I don't know.

Randy Moss and Wes Welker talked about how their experience in the offense is really going to help what you guys had in 2007. What do you think about that showing up now and going into the year?

Those two work extremely hard. They were pretty good two years ago when they got here and they were great last year. I expect them to be great this year and there isn't any reason why they shouldn't be. They work hard. They know the offense. They're accountable and they're great leaders. They need to play well. If they don't play well then obviously we're not going to have a very good football team. When your best players are guys that are the hardest workers - I know Coach Belichick loves that. I think all the players look up to those guys and their leadership ability.

What's the adjustment without Josh McDaniels out here?

You know Josh and I had a great relationship. As a part of the NFL, things change every year. There're 13 new head coaches and he's one of them. I really hope that we find ways to move on without him, and we've already started that process. It doesn't stop for anybody around here. You leave and someone else fills your spot and they're anxious for the opportunity. We have to work hard to get up to speed on everything and the coaches that are in that role are doing that.

Was there ever a point in your recovery that you thought you might not be ready?

No, I think part of surgery and rehab is that you have setbacks and you just deal with them. It doesn't always go as you plan it. Life doesn't go how you plan it. It's a matter of dealing with it [and] understanding, what do I have to do to get back on the right track. It didn't really set me back for very long, probably just long enough from keeping me from really hurting myself.

Have you lost weight? Are you at your playing weight?

I think I'm a little more than my playing weight. I try to work on my strength a lot. There're different things you try to find [to make] improvements on. I'll be right back to where I need to be in a few months. I need some warm weather.

Are there things you would like to do but you are holding back a little bit?

I always try to do as much as I can do. I'm never a person that does not enough because I'd regret not doing enough and think I probably could have done more. I probably go too far and have to reel myself back in, which works in some things and other things it doesn't work. I think as far as I'm concerned now, coming out here, I'm trying to do everything I can do and I'm trying to do everything in the offseason program since it started. It's been good because now I come out here and there's nothing I'm worried about. I just try to play better, which I didn't do very well today.

What do you think about Joey Galloway and Fred Taylor and the new weapons on offense?

I think it's great. I love having veteran players come onto this team because they have the experience. They know football and they know the language and terminology and the learning curve is so much accelerated for them. It's challenging in our offense for a young player because there's a lot that we do. It changes every week. Especially as a receiver, you might be in one spot one day and the next spot the other [day] and the route we are calling – there are three different variations to the route based on the coverage. It's tough, so when you have a veteran player, he's – ok yeah, I get that, I did that. When you get a rookie, he's trying to make sure he gets out to practice on time. When you have Fred who's excited to run the plays and now he has to learn our terminology versus the terminology he's known… He's excited, he feels excited to be here. That youth comes out in him, so I think hopefully we are going to get the best out of both he and Joey and Greg Lewis. I don't know if you saw that catch he [Greg] made today, but that was ridiculous. I told him that was the one he caught in the Super Bowl – that weasel.

How confident are you that you can be the same player that you were before the injury?

We'll see. Like I said, talk is cheap. I could sit here and tell you guys that I'm going to play until I'm 80, but that doesn't matter. I'm going to do the best that I can do and I'm going to try to be the best leader and the best teammate and supporter of the guys on my team – it's something I've always enjoyed doing. Like I said, I'm grateful to have that chance and to be out here today. I can't wait to get out and start playing games.

Posted on: January 22, 2008 11:12 am
 

Fantasy rankings update: Eli up, Rivers slides


We've altered our Fantasy Football rankings. You can check out our positional rankings here and our Top 200 list here.

Here are the highlighted changes:

New No. 1 at tight end. Jason Witten jumped Antonio Gates, but it's a very close call. In fact, we've had some serious debate over who should be No. 1 at tight end between these two and Kellen Winslow. I like Gates, personally, and would take him over Witten and Winslow in every draft. Gates is effectively the No. 1 receiver on the Chargers while Witten and Winslow are No. 2s. Gates is also a huge red-zone target that racks up the touchdowns; the others aren't as reliable down there. My esteemed co-worker Jamey Eisenberg would take Winslow first, citing his offense. So, naturally, we put a guy NEITHER of us would take first as our No. 1.

Philip Rivers down. The guy has a torn ACL, usually a nine-month rehab process. I doubt he'll have a chance at being close to 100 percent by training camp, which is nearly six months from today, by the way. Figure Rivers to be ineffective until October -- which makes him a No. 2 Fantasy passer.

Eli Manning up. The guy has played well in the playoffs thanks not only to improved play from his receiving corps (Plax is playing big) but also because of improved decision making. He seemingly gained confidence in that loss to the Patriots in Week 17, and it's propelled him to playing in the Super Bowl. And, it's trickled down to the rest of the Giants. He should carry it into next year. Plus, I really like his receiving corps at 100 percent.

Lions changes: Calvin Johnson, Shaun McDonald down, T.J. Duckett up. The Lions' offense is expected to be more run oriented next year, which means that Johnson and McDonald -- especially McDonald -- won't be stat mongers next year. In the case of Johnson, his value could go up if Detroit parts ways with Roy Williams, which is under consideration since he'll be a FA after 2008. Duckett is a free agent and may start 2008 as the Lions' starting RB if he re-signs (which he will since he won't start, or get paid, anywhere else).

Vincent Jackson up. He played great this postseason, opening some eyes. Wish he had done that all year. The guy is going to get single coverage with Chris Chambers and Antonio Gates playing alongside him. Still a big-size, big-jump guy.

But the most interesting dilemma we've got is who we'd take first between LT and Brady, and if LT is even the No. 1 runner. Tomlinson has never played 19 games (actually, more like 17 1/2 games) in a 12-month span, and he enters the offseason with a sprained left MCL. The injury doesn't really worry us, assuming it really is just a sprain (I bet it's worse). Furthermore, Tomlinson is 29 and heading into his eighth NFL season. Not this year, but NEXT year is when running backs start to slow down. I don't know if LT would qualify, since the elite runners usually push through their eighth, ninth and 10th full seasons with flying colors, and LT is an elite player. All that said, the case for dropping Tomlinson isn't strong ... for now. We did move Brady to No. 2 overall on the Top 200.

Thoughts? Comments? Random statements? Let's chat. Post a message below and I'll respond.
Posted on: January 16, 2008 5:32 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2008 9:35 am
 

LaDainian talks 'Burner'; Brady a bummer

We had the opportunity to talk to LaDainian Tomlinson today as part of an NFL conference call. While most of the questions were about LT's upcoming playoff game at New England, I asked him about Michael Turner and what it's meant to have him as a teammate:

"
It's been great to have him on the team because I've always felt like I can take a rest at times throughout the game and kind of stay fresh because I've got a guy like Michael Turner who can come in there and pound away and keep the chains moving. So it's a benefit to all of us to have him on the field and have him on our team. You know, he's a pro. He understands his role on the team and he did it."

Why ask about Turner? Because he's a free agent this coming offseason, and chances are he'll sign a big contract to start somewhere in 2008. Who would know him better than Tomlinson?

Which is why I'm a little disappointed in his answer. But it's understandable -- the guy was on the call fresh off the practice field, so the last thing he probably wanted to do was chat for 10 minutes with random people all over the world. In fact, Tomlinson sounded tired and annoyed for most of the call. He kind of perked up talking about Turner, as well as Darren Sproles.

I also asked Tomlinson about whether he thought his offseason routine would change because he's playing three extra games. He misunderstood the question and thought I was asking about playing on a bye vs. playing a wild-card game. For what it's worth, he said he liked playing the extra games. A big concern of mine is LT's physical well being heading into 2008 after tacking on three games (maybe four if he wins at NE) this postseason.

Moving on ... we also spoke to Tom Brady on the same conference call. No team says nothing quite like the New England Patriots. I asked Brady about Maroney's role during the season, and instead of receiving some harmless insight (the regular season is over, Tom!), I got the every-week-brings-new-challenges can o' crap: "
I think every week is something different, and really whatever we feel like we need to do, that's what we do, and that helps Coach Belichick.  As a quarterback, I just try to run the plays that are called.<o:p></o:p> "

But I did get a straight answer out of Brady when, right after his answer, I asked if he ever had any say in the offensive game plan. Brady was actually committal: "I have none. I just kind of do what they tell me to do."

I actually found that interesting -- arguably the best quarterback in the league doesn't get to voice his opinion on what he thinks would work against an opponent.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com