Don’t say I didn’t tell you that the Mankins trade, or money dump, was a big mistake. Imagine being in Brady’s shoes and standing in the huddle and talking to the offensive line that is supposed to be your defense against those monsters on the other team intent on driving you into the grounds. You are 37 years old and as expert as any in the game in the art of quarterbacking. You know how important the line’s role is and you look at two of the members who were playing in college last year, 22 or 23-year-old kids. You used to look at an old grizzly bear-type who was meaner than the proverbial junk yard dog but now some kids are smiling at you. That just about summarized the Patriot’s predicament which is Brady’s loss of confidence in his protection.
Two rookies were being played against season veterans. Two kids just out of college were thrown onto the field to learn how to foil those on the other side who have been up against the best. They don’t have it in them no matter how good they might be. Maybe after a few more games or sometime next year, but playing freshman linemen whether in college or the NFL is a thing that is far from advisable.
This team has for some curious reason had its first games scheduled against very weak opponents. Miami, Minnesota, Oakland, and Kansas City. The power rankings for the NFL prior to last night’s game had the Patriots at number 7, the Chiefs at 22, the Dolphins at 25, the Vikings at 29, and the Raiders at 30. In other words the Patriots were supposed to roll over these teams and be 4 – 0 at this time. The league likes the Patriots to look like a big winner since it is good for the ratings. The Patriots have a large following. The fix was in but two of the other teams didn’t get the message.
I’m telling you the Patriots have been dismal even though they are playing against dismal teams. That does not look good for the future but it does not mean they are not going into the playoffs. The other teams in its division are also in the lower half of the power ratings with the Bills at 19 and the Jets at 21. What it does mean is that when the playoffs come and the Patriots have to play some good teams they won’t be able to hold a candle to them.
Two plays still linger in my mind when I think of last night’s game. One was when Brady was sitting on the bench and Jimmy “Ciaou” Garoppolo the Italian Stallion was in at quarterback. On one play a Patriot player carrying the ball was running down the far sideline toward the goal. The game’s already lost so whether he scores or not really doesn’t matter. Two Chief defenders were closing in on him when out of nowhere came a Patriot playing as if the game is on the line and he tries to block out the pursuers. He does but the one carrying the ball goes out of bounds. “Wow,” I thought, “that guy has his heart and soul into the game.” It was Julian Edelman playing hard right up to the end.
The other play was the second interception pass thrown by Brady. He was looking for a player deep crossing over the middle but he apparently didn’t see the Chief’s player floating near him. He unleashed the pass and it was easily picked off. That was so unlike the Brady I’ve seen over the years that I knew he is not on his game.
I suggest he’s lost his edge. Someone suggested he was like Bledsoe. There are similarities. Bledsoe became an average quarterback after he was severely injured in a Jets game. He never got his confidence back. Brady losing Mankins has lost some of his. He can still get it back but he’ll need better protection. Now the team starts to play some of the better teams in the NFL so we’ll see what the future holds.
Keep in mind Brady has no need to play the game anymore. He’s made his mark, his future is assured. He can do almost anything he wants and make as much as he is now making. He and “the wife”, as my nephew would say, want him not to become a cripple. They already feel betrayed by the owner putting him at risk by selling off his protection.
Brady has nothing to play for. He knows this team is years away from another Super Bowl. He knows the owner is interested in maximizing his profit. So he and the wife may be looking at doing the same thing.