Sunday, January 27, 2008

Super Bowl Hype, Part I : Are You Stupid?

ESPN's K.C. Joyner must have too much time on his hands, writing a column asking if Tom Brady's "gunslinger mentality" (you'll need ESPN insider access) might be getting him into trouble.

Joyner decided to take a look at the Pats last 5 games- the Jets, Dolphins, Giants, Jaguars, and Chargers- to examine Tom Brady's decision making, and apparently, the results aren't so good.

The totals are bad enough, but the variety of bad decision types is also unsettling. He stared at a receiver on two occasions, forced a pass into coverage on three others and didn't see a zone defender in the passing line two times, as well. These are quite simply the kinds of mistakes that Brady never used to make.

This might sound like piling on, but it actually could have been worse given how often Brady was forcing passes to Randy Moss. Three of Brady's bad decisions came on throws to Moss, but there were four other passes where Moss was either double- or triple-covered, yet Brady chucked the ball to him.

Having to force passes into coverage to keep Moss happy is exactly what caused a ton of friction between Daunte Culpepper and Moss when they were paired up in Minnesota, so this does beg the question of whether Brady is doing this to keep Moss happy.

What all of these notes say to me is that we might be seeing a new Tom Brady. For years, the one comment that could be safely made about Brady is that he was not going to beat the Patriots with his mistakes.

After seeing this metric review, I am beginning to wonder if Brady's playing it safe all those years was a byproduct of the below-average receiving corps that New England possessed during its earlier Super Bowl runs. Now that he has a top-of-the-line group of receivers, Brady seems quite willing to tap into the gunslinging part of his psyche and take many more chances.

The extra risk-taking has made for a very exciting year, but if Brady doesn't cut back on his mistakes against an opportunistic Giants defense in Super Bowl XLII, he may very well regret getting away from his safe tendencies.

Did Brady force the ball to Moss against the awful Jets and the awful Dolphins. Hell yeah he did- And Belichick, the rest of the Patriots organization, and the Patriot fans couldn't have cared less. Brady wanted Moss to get that damn record and so did the rest of us. I don't remember Brady forcing the ball to Moss in the game against the Giants and he's thrown, what, 3 passes in Moss's direction the last 2 weeks?

Brady was 26 of 28, 26 of 28 against the Jags, and had a few poor decisions against a Charger team that had intercepted him 4 times over their previous 2 games. And can we forget his performance against the Giants? 32 of 42, 356 yards, 2 TD's and 0 INT's. I just can't imagine what sort of brain dysfunction would inspire someone to come up with such meaningless numbers and to write something so stupid. Numbers are useful if they mean something, but you can't throw in two late season games against the bottom feeders of the NFL to make a point about Brady's decision making. And you can't use Brady's forcing the ball to Moss in those games in an attempt to make a point about his gunslinger mentality while ignoring what he's done in the playoffs. When it comes to football analysis, there's poorly thought out and there's stupid and this is just plain stupid.


Blogger McMc said...

Here's what I hate: The second any QB throws a bad INT, they become a "gunslinger". Shut the hell up. It is IMPOSIBBLE to have an open reciever on every play and every QB, even "Safety First" Tom Brady, will try to make the perfect pass. Quarterbacks know what they are doing, it's just some aren't as gifted power/accuracy wise. Favre has a cannon, so he knows he can fit passes into tight spaces. Peyton, Brady...they can make the tough throws. Also, QBs will often throw passes to recievers whose coverman isn't looking. Sometimes, the coverage turns at the right time and you get an INT. Other times, they never turn and it's a completion.

Whoever this K.C. Joyner is should be embarassed for writing such "He stared at a receiver on two occasions, forced a pass into coverage on three others and didn't see a zone defender in the passing line two times, as well."

Oh my God, that's seven "mistakes" in five games! Bring in Matt Cassell. Brady is washed up!

2:20 AM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

Maybe we can agree to retire the term "gunslinger" and actually, while we're at it, maybe we can retire the term "game manager" as well.

10:27 AM  

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