Does Tom Brady suck? For Buffalo Bills fans, the answer is a resounding “yes.” The New England Patriots quarterback has been giving Bills fans trouble for years—breaking hearts with close calls and the occasional clinic he puts on against the Buffalo secondary. Judging by this year so far, however, that all may begin to change.
Brady was asked prior to the beginning of this season about his timetable for the rest of his career. He responded to this trite question with a simple answer: “When I suck, I’ll retire.”
This begs the question: has Brady begun to suck? Brady is having one of the worst starts in his career—showing a complete inability to throw the ball downfield. Despite a 2-2 record, Brady has a career low 59.1 percent completion percentage.
His throwing mechanics are much different this year than in any previous seasons as his feet have slowed, his eyes have been readable and defenses are collapsing his pocket before he can get settled in his drop back.
The Patriots have been consistently dumping passes and throwing screens this season. This is not a new addition to their offense––it’s their only choice. Brady has no time, no vision and no ability to play like he is expected to at this point.
Through three weeks, the Patriots offense is 21-for-58 on third down conversions, which is 27th in the National Football League. The team has not only gone three-and-out on their opening drives in their first three games, but they have allowed their opponents to score first in every game.
The Patriots made major roster changes this year—vamping up a normally lackluster defense with cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis. The hope was to combine their high-powered, ever-changing offense with a defense that can get them past the American Football Conference Championship, something they haven’t done since 2012. Unfortunately for New England, the revamp of the defense resulted in losses on offense. They lost veteran guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and running back LeGarrette Blount to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Patriots offense has been able to do without other star power next to Brady. He has made players like wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola look like world-beaters with excellent, on-the-mark passes that couldn’t be easier to catch. He also has had to deal with the injuries and inconsistency of tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronk had a disappointing, injury-plagued season last year that caused him to miss a significant amount of time.
The Patriots have relied on Brady for the past 15 seasons. He has proven himself as one of the greatest to ever play the game. He is a prototypical pro-style quarterback who is surrounded by superb coaching and a win-oriented atmosphere.
Whether this is just a cold start or the start of a cold finish, the Patriots are playing awful right now. In a hungry division that has been pushed around by the Patriots for the past decade and a half, Brady and his squad may be in store for a changing of the guard. The Pats welcome in the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Oct. 5—a team that has one of the best secondaries in the league. Brady needs to prove to all NFL fans if he is or is not starting to “suck.”