Jaworski: Brady missed opportunities

January, 18, 2011
1/18/11
5:32
PM ET
ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski broke down the film of the New England Patriots' loss to the New York Jets and discussed his observations on Boston sports radio station WEEI on Tuesday afternoon.

Probably the most significant of his findings was that there were opportunities in the passing game that Tom Brady just missed.

"I’m going to be honest with you guys,” Jaworski said. “I went through the tape and there were some plays on the field that Tom Brady did not see. I think Tom began to play a little bit fast, and the term I use, he began to see ghosts. There were some opportunities, particularly early in the game, a key third-and-3, he had Danny Woodhead out of the backfield in the flat and he doesn’t throw the football. It’s a play that Tom has probably seen 50 times this year and completed 50 times. For some reason, he didn’t throw the football. I don’t know if he got spooked by the [first-quarter] interception or what, but he did leave some plays on the field.”

The Jets didn’t blitz Sunday nearly as much as they have in the past, choosing instead to focus more on bumping receivers off the line of scrimmage and blanketing them in coverage. The strategy worked, with Brady getting sacked five times and rushing other throws even when defenders weren’t close to sacking him. According to Jaworski, he seemed to be reacting to the “perception of pressure” even when it wasn’t there.

"I think he had a poor game,” Jaworski said. “I’ve always said that Tom is one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the game. I’m not talking about run-around quarterbacks, I’m talking about how I believe you have to play the position. He’s always been really good at that moving in the pocket, those subtle little moves to the left or right or up in the pocket that compress and allow some time for receivers to uncover.

“I just felt that at times he had those opportunities and he kind of flinched. There was a perception of pressure, and at times it wasn’t there. It was awkward to me to see Tom reacting that way. When bodies weren’t around him, he was perceiving pressure."

Among some other observations by Jaworski:

* He saw some similarities in the Jets’ strategy to the famous defensive game plan Bill Belichick devised to stop the “Greatest Show On Turf” St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

“Belichick did an outstanding job of jamming, rerouting, being physical with Marshall Faulk and the wide receivers of the Rams,” Jaworski said. “To a certain degree, Rex Ryan stole a little bit of that game plan. They really took the timing and rhythm away from Brady and those receivers.

“Not only were they holding up [Rob] Gronkowski, they were bumping the wide receivers, bumping the backs out of the backfield. ... The game plan to be physical and chip the wide receivers, chip the backs coming out really played well for the Jets.”

* In reaction to the Patriots evolving over the course of the season into an inside passing team, the Jets’ defense funneled everything back to the middle of the field on defense.

“You’re trying to move people to the inside, congest the areas,” Jaworski explained. “And as I like to say it, make it muddy for the quarterback, dirty it up a little bit inside. And you do that by being physical at the line of scrimmage, rerouting inside, where your help is.”

* If Pat Chung had cleanly handled the snap on the Patriots’ fake punt attempt, Jaworski thinks the play would have succeeded and resulted in a first down. "The play was there," Jaworski said.

* He was surprised that the Patriots did not try to take advantage of tight end Aaron Hernandez in the passing game. Hernandez was targeted just once by Brady.

“If you get explosive plays out of [Hernandez] that kind of softens up the defense,” Jaworski said. “We all know [Alge] Crumpler is more of a possession receiver. I was surprised we really didn’t see Hernandez until very late in that game as part of the two tight end system. I thought he would be an explosive guy that you can create some matchups with.”

* Jaworski observed that Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis “had a tremendous game.”

* He was surprised that the Patriots did not seem to display a sense of urgency during their long fourth-quarter drive when trailing by 10 points.

"There just didn’t seem to be a sense of urgency," Jaworski said. "It was a great drive if it was in the first quarter. ... I was very surprised by the lack of urgency to get the plays running.”

* On defense, Jaworski was surprised to see the Patriots playing zone on defense against Mark Sanchez. In his opinion, the Patriots should have pressed the young quarterback more.

Listen to the full interview HERE.

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