How much is Tom Brady to blame for the Patriots' recent playoff struggles? Since the 2009 postseason--outside of Super Bowl 46 and three other games--Brady has been either bad (all 3 games vs. the Ravens) or mediocre (vs. Jets, vs. Broncos) in the playoffs.

Been in a couple twitter conversations about this lately so let’s dive in.

First, it’s important to note that in the playoffs you’re playing against the best teams and often the best defenses. So we have to adjust our expectations and I think the important question to ask is “Did Brady give his team a chance to win?”

Let’s remember he threw exactly ONE touchdown in 2001’s march to the Super Bowl in three games.

 Brady was clearly not at his best in the 2011 and 2012 playoff games against Baltimore. But again, let’s remember we’re talking about arguably the best defense in the NFL, or at least the AFC, during that time.

So do we blame Brady for not torching them? He was still 1-1 in those two games and really, the 2012 was a total Patriots beatdown in the second half. The defense couldn’t get off the field so it’s hard to pin it all on Brady in that one.

Similarly in the two Super Bowl losses, Brady led his offense down the field to take a late lead (against defenses that were playing very well I might add) only it was the lack of that final defensive stop that lost the championship for him.

Can we really say Brady was in large part responsible for any of the playoff losses? Maybe he wasn’t at his best, but we never saw critical turnovers or a complete meltdown in any of them by Brady.

And really let’s be honest, the Patriots defense in recent years hasn’t exactly been on fire in the playoff losses either. In their last four playoff exits the defense has forced ZERO turnovers. That leaves little margin for error on offense, especially when you consider how much this team thrives on forcing turnovers.

So in those playoff losses Brady hasn’t gotten much help either.

Ultimately this is a team game, so it’s hard single out one player, even the quarterback, and assign a percentage of the blame. There are a number of factors that go in to evaluating an individual performance.

It’s not so easy to say Brady didn’t shred team X in the playoffs like he often shreds teams in the regular season so it’s his fault they didn’t win.

He’s always prepared, he doesn’t make critical mistakes and he will fight down to the end. I’ll take Brady in a playoff game any day. And if he gets the right support from the rest of his team, he’s just about unbeatable.

I’ve played against Darrelle for a lot of years, playing him two times a year with the Jets for a long time, so I know the kind of competitor he is. Having him in practice every day makes all of our guys better because they’re seeing the best, a guy that competes every play in the run game and pass game, on every route. He gets pissed off like I do when a ball gets caught on him. So it’s a nice little competition every day. You’re trying to get the best out of each other.
Garoppolo, who has thrown a few interceptions in practice, said some of the main advice he’s received from Brady is to take a “next play” mentality when things don’t go as planned.
“As an offense at this time last year, we really didn’t know where we were at. I think it’s a real benefit to our offense knowing what guys are capable of, knowing the skill set they have to compete at an NFL level. “That’s the difference between a rookie year and a second year. Guys have done it, proved it, and now you have confidence going into the next season that we’re actually good at some things. And those are the things you want to build on. “
I’m excited to be out here with my teammates and working to get better,” Brady said after the two-hour practice. “It’s a long training camp. It’s going to be a lot of effort and a lot of work. There is no easy way about it. You just have to grind and put the work in and listen to the coaches, try to make the improvements. Hopefully when we start the season, we’ll be a lot better team than we are now.
Looks like practice jersey numbers have been switched over to the game jersey font. Yes, I notice things like this.

 (via Patriots Training Camp - 7/24/2014)

Looks like practice jersey numbers have been switched over to the game jersey font. Yes, I notice things like this.

(via Patriots Training Camp - 7/24/2014)

Patriots Training Camp Preview: Quarterbacks

Welcome to part one of our Patriots Training Camp preview that will feature an in-depth look at each position on the roster and what we’ll be looking for in training camp along with our expectations going into the season.

Another Patriots season is upon us, here we go!

The New England Patriots’ offense underwent changes and injuries in 2013. With multiple weapons in their second seasons with Tom Brady, as well as their two top running backs entering contract years, the Pats’ attack is primed be better in 2014. 

Tom Brady has gone through multiple phases of offense during his Patriots career. There was the efficiency years of 2001-2006, the Randy Moss years of 2007-2009, then the high-speed blitzkreig of 2010-2012 with Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Deion Branch and Wes Welker.

Now Brady enters the twilight of his career with two highly-drafted young quarterbacks behind him. Brady should have a few more sure-fire seasons left in him, but what can we expect to see out of Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo?

Our training camp preview series kicks off with the quarterbacks.

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