Monday, July 1, 2013

This Year will be Brady's Biggest Test

Tom Brady is one of the greatest stories in the history of the NFL. He was overlooked coming out of the University of Michigan; he had to hear 6 other quarterbacks names get called before his. Players such as Giovanni Carmazzi and Tee Martin were drafted ahead of him. He was the fourth quarterback of New England's roster. Finally, after an injury to Drew Bledsoe in 2001, Brady got his shot. The rest is well documented history. Three Super Bowl wins, a single season touchdown passes mark, and a sure fire fist ballot Hall of Fame career. However, this upcoming season may be his most difficult. With the loss of Aaron Hernandez to a murder charge, Wes Welker to free agency and Rob Gronkowski sidelined with back surgery, Brady will have to implement a new system in order to keep the dominance going.

As astounding as it seems, the New England Patriots currently have one wide receiver that caught a pass from Tom Brady last year. His name is Julian Edelman, and he is not even assured a roster sport through training camp. The loss of Welker may be felt the most, as he was Brady's favorite target. He was New England's all time leader in catches, but the team felt they could still maintain a championship team by letting him walk. The team signed Danny Amendola, who plays the slot just like Welker. The potential problem is that Amendola has a history of injury. The team also signed Donald Jones and Michael Jenkins. Jones could never become a consistent force in Buffalo, while Jenkins has earned the nickname Molasses Mike for his inability to separate from coverage. While Brady has done wonders with groups of no name receivers before, this group is going to test the skill of the 35 year old. But luckily for him, he won't have to do all the heavy lifting.

The Patriots usually go as far as Brady's arm will take them. But last year, the Patriots found they had a pretty good compliment of running backs. Led by Stevan Ridley, this group is going to be asked to shoulder a heavy offensive load. Ridley rushed for over 1,200 yards and a dozen touchdowns last year. The team will expect nothing less and it will likely have to lean on the running game. In addition, the team also has Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, and the newly acquired LeGarrette Blount. Vereen has been used as a pass catcher, while Bolden and Blount run with more power. This group will have a lot to prove, and with defenses keying on Brady first, they could be a nice surprise.

All in all, I think it will be another division title in New England. They are lucky they play in one of the worst divisions in football. While the Dolphins spent a lot of money this off season, there is no proof that will translate to the field. The Jets and Bill are both in a rebuilding phase. This should give Brady at least another season to get into the playoffs. From there, anything can happen. Brady has gone to 5 Super Bowls, and won 3. If he can get just one playoff win, I think this season will be a success. Just don't tell any Patriots fans that. They expect to hoist the Lombardi trophy every year, no matter what.

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