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Tavern talk: Fixing Brady’s problems

Like a pitcher, Pats QB has lost his strike zone. Michael Lombardi

Print This October 14, 2009, 06:19 PM EST

What’s wrong with Tom Brady? I’ve been asked that question a lot recently. Why he isn’t the Tom Brady of old? What’s happened to him since his knee injury? Interestingly, the same questions were being asked of Peyton Manning last year when he returned from a knee injury. And their stats are surprisingly similar. Take a look:

Both were 3-2 after five games.

MANNING

115/182     63.1     1,302     8 TDs-5 INTs     9 SACKS        8 +25 PLAYS

BRADY

127/207     61.3     1,344     6 TDs-2 INTs     5 SACKS        7 +25 PLAYS

These stats look amazingly similar in that both players willed their teams to wins without playing their best football. Does this mean the best from Brady is yet to come?

Knee injuries are difficult to overcome in a short time. A quarterback’s lower body, like a baseball pitcher’s, is where he gets his power, drive and the accuracy. Footwork is essential to the quarterback, and right now, Brady occasionally loses the strike zone in terms of accuracy. He seems to be overthrowing the ball with his arm, not unlike a pitcher who loses the strike zone when he throws with just his arm.

This doesn’t happen all the time, but at times the ball doesn’t come off his hand as smoothly as it did before the injury. He doesn’t look as though he’s in rhythm with his wide receivers about where exactly on the field they’ll be on each play. On the seam route that he missed to Wes Welker, Brady thought Welker was going to hook up, and Welker thought he would stay in the seam since the middle of the field was open. Most routes in the Patriots’ scheme are read routes and require precise timing with the quarterback and wide receivers.

Brady is a competitor. He’s not shy about admitting his missed throws, and so he’ll continue to work on finding ways to improve. As his lower body strengthens, he should become more accurate and not overthrow every ball using his arm.

There is nothing wrong with the Patriots’ offensive scheme. They have guys open in the routes. What they need is for Tom Brady to be Tom Brady. And like Manning, it takes time to get back from an injury.

Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi

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