Thursday, December 22, 2011
Do not blitz Tom Brady
By James Walker
The consensus in NFL circles is the best way to beat Tom Brady is to constantly pressure and blitz the New England Patriots quarterback.
But according to ESPN Stats & Information, that theory couldn't be more incorrect.
This season Brady has the highest completion percentages (67.1), yards (1,582) and passer rating (135.6) of any NFL quarterback when teams bring five or more rushers. Brady also is tied with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the most touchdown passes (16) this season against the blitz.
The emergence of second-year tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez helps tremendously in this area. Most blitzes leave the middle of the field exposed or in one-on-one coverage, which both tight ends have been able to exploit. Wes Welker also does most of his damage in the middle of the field.
Brady, 34, is at the point in his career where he's seen every defensive scheme. Chances are, you're not going to surprise him with a blitz, and his receivers are talented enough to beat single coverage. The best route for opponents is to just sit back and hope Brady makes a couple mistakes.