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200 Miles From the Citi


September 23, 2009 4:01 AM

WHAT'S UP WITH TOM BRADY?

OK Jets fans...let's cool it with the "Brady Sucks" chants.

Tom Brady does not suck. Tom Brady is just playing below the significant bar he has set for himself to this point in his career. I know, it's much too wordy to chant at a game. But it's more true than "Brady Sucks".

At the very least, Brady sucks right now. The question is, why?

Here are the facts:

Game 1: 39-53 for 378 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Game 2: 23-47 for 216 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Going deeper than the facts, Brady only had as many yards against Buffalo as he did because they didn't run the ball and he completed short passes. And if it wasn't for the final five minutes of that game he would have shown no life at all.

Against the Jets, he should have gotten a win. All he had to do was complete one pass at any of five or six key moments in the game - and he overthrew or threw behind his receiver each time.

I'm hearing that the Jets' pressure was affecting his timing and that every throw was made a step sooner than he would have liked. But I don't buy it. Because there were times he was throwing to the sidelines when his receivers were going long, or vice versa. He was throwing over guys' heads. To be honest, I didn't think the Jets' pressure in Week 2 was all that great. He had plenty of time to let things unfold most of the game.

My wife was quick to a theory - "Remember he had the shoulder injury in the pre-season?" I do remember, and it's certainly possible that his shoulder is bothering him...many a lesser quarterback suffered through such injuries and never came back (Ken O'Brien anyone?). And of course, he's coming off major knee surgery. So he still may come around as he gets his legs under him.

But I'm not so sure I'm buying the injury thing either. Is it because he's hurt that Brady takes his sweet time coming on and off the field? Casually coming up to the line and letting delay of game penalties rack up? I don't really think so.

To sum up what I'm noticing I need to give you some background. Even as a Jets fan I've always liked Tom Brady. He was hard not to like. He always had an answer for the reporters, he played the game hard, he seemed like a nice guy.

The Brady I'm watching on the field right now looks like a punk.

He looks like he's slinking on and off the field. Really, he does. Watch him. He doesn't look like he's hustling. I know it's hard to tell sometimes with football players with all the padding and helmets and stuff...but he doesn't really look like he cares.

Then there was the interview he blew off after the Buffalo game. Tom Brady doesn't do that. He stops and answers the questions, or at least makes an effort to hear the reporter ask the question. He doesn't give an on-the-run "I can't hear anything you're saying." At least he doesn't do it when it's live TV and it's ESPN. Is it an off-the-field thing that's bothering him and made him wary of a reporter's on-the-spot question? He and his supermodel wife are expecting a baby, and then there was a lawsuit publicized Tuesday against their bodyguards for gunshots at the wedding. The problem here is that Tom Brady doesn't bring that type of stuff with him onto the field.

I know it's silly that I sound so concerned. As a Jets fan, part of me is enjoying watching this - it's been a long nine years. But the football fan in me misses watching a professional go about his job.

And it also makes me think how lucky the Jets would be if Mark Sanchez turns into the type of player I expect Tom Brady to be...on and off the field.

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