Tom Brady is a 40-year-old quarterback who has defied the clock and continues to set records. But this season is different in that the future Hall-of-Famer is taking a hellacious beating because of his porous offensive line. If Brady gets hurt, how does that affect the NFL odds and the Patriots Super Bowl aspirations?
Tom Brady must be thinking that all of his offseason work, religious devotion to his craft, and fanatical diet regimen will all be for naught if his offensive line remains - offensive. Through five games Brady had been sacked 16 times compared to a full slate of 16 regular season games last season that saw New England QB’s brought down a total of 24 times. Brady stepped into MetLife Stadium last Sunday to face the Jets and was nursing an ailing shoulder because of the punishment received courtesy of the first five contests reverberating into Week 6.
Throughout his career, Brady has remained stunningly healthy except for 2008 when he saw his season come to a swift end as a result of an ACL tear in the first week of the season. This year has been different than the others in that he has had to wait a little longer to target receivers that are more vertical than slot oriented.Julian Edelman’s injury may even have as more to do with Brady’s beating this season than the Patriots’ offensive line woes. Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, and Phillip Dorsett traditionally beat people down the sidelines with blazing speed while Edelman and Danny Amendola make their living getting crunched across the middle. It’s a longer stay in the pocket to release on a long pass than it is spinning a missile seven yards through a tight window to a slot receiver like Edelman.
Although Brady escaped un-sacked and relatively unscathed in New England’s 24-17 win over the Jets, his shoulder remains ailing and this offensive line needs to give their legendary field general a split second longer than he’s getting now. Otherwise, the Jimmy Garoppolo Era may be ushered in sooner than later. And speaking of Sweet Jimmy G, we don’t know much about his skill set or football IQ because we have only seen him take the reins in a pair of games during Brady’s suspension in 2016. Granted, he was good but two games does not a career make nor is it wise to believe the Patriots wouldn’t suffer because of it. Not necessarily because of any ineptitude on Garoppolo’s part but because, like every other quarterback who ever walked the planet, he is not Tom Brady even at the ripe old age of 40.
Brady’s Injured Now What?!
The Patriots are an underwhelming and disappointing (relatively speaking) 4-2 after six games but what happens if Brady goes down and fans in the six New England states suddenly sustain a collective seizure? The first thing the Patriots would do is hand the ball to Garoppolo and sign a backup because there is no third-stringer waiting in the wings.
The next thing that would happen, or should I say the first thing that would happen the moment Brady was carted off the field, is that the NFL odds makers would immediately change New England’s Super Bowl odds currently sitting at +450 and the odds-on-favorite to somewhere around No. 5 where the Seattle Seahawks sit at +850.
Maybe the drop wouldn’t be that severe as “In Bill We Trust” has been an NFL maxim for 17 years and counting. I am sure there would be sharks waiting for that line to spike, circling the waters – or teller cages – to lay it in on the reigning Super Bowl champs. So let’s say the Pats get tagged at the same price the oddsmakers are currently dealing the Steelers at +775. Do you consider that value and include the Pats in your future NFL picks?
All I can tell you is that if this offensive line doesn’t get better at protecting their meal ticket, Brady won’t last and Jimmy G will soon join him on trainer’s table and in the stands watching the likes of T.J. Yates or Matt McGloin commanding the New England offense. What are the odds of that?!