Monday, September 17, 2012
Tom Brady's missing deep ball
By James Walker
Remember when Tom Brady used to effortlessly connect on bombs to Randy Moss in 2007 and 2009? Well, those days are in the past for the New England Patriots.
Brady is still an elite quarterback. But one thing that's showing with age is the 35-year-old's inability to accurately throw the deep ball. Brady missed on a pair of big opportunities in Sunday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Brady overthrew receiver Brandon Lloyd and Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski on a pair of deep passes Brady wished he could have back.
The deep ball has been increasingly missing with Brady as he's gotten older. Since 2011, he's overthrown 12 of 19 attempts of 30 yards or more, which is the highest percentage (63.2) in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
In addition, Brady completed just 50.5 percent of passes of 15 yards or more last season. Brady is still great at reading defenses and making the short and intermediate passes. But age and wear and tear is starting to create holes in Brady's deep passing game.
Lloyd was expected to bring the deep ball back to New England's offense but that hasn't been the case through two weeks. Lloyd is averaging 9.9 yards per catch. Brady's longest pass to Lloyd is for 27 yards. Part of it is developing chemistry, but the other part is Brady’s struggles with accuracy throwing beyond 30 yards.
The Cardinals did a good job of pressuring Brady (four sacks), keeping everything in front of them and not letting New England make explosive plays. This strategy kept the Patriots out of the end zone until late in the fourth quarter.
Expect more opponents to play the Patriots this way unless Brady proves he can tear the roof off the defense.