Steelers defensive back Ryan Clark took to NFL Live on ESPN this morning, and he had some words to say about Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, among other aspects of the Patriots offense.
Clark made sure to mention that Welker’s replacement, if you want to call him that, Danny Amendola, has quite the tough time staying healthy, as well as the Patriots’ TE duo, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, though their health troubles are certainly not as bad as Amendola’s.
Clark also spent some time breaking down Tom Brady, stating that “Even when guys aren’t around him, even when he’s not about to be sacked, when his clock goes off in his head and the ball should be out, we’ll see him duck, we’ll see him flinch”, while also saying that “When you get Tom Brady doing that, the whole New England Patriots mystique goes away.”
Clark also made sure to state that Brady ‘sees ghosts’ when Brady gets pressured while his WRs get jammed at the line.
As a Patriots fan, I’ve seen plenty of other Pats fans stating that Clark is simply being a hater, but I can’t really disagree with Clark, simply because, well, he’s right.
Ever since Brady tore his ACL, he certainly has been, for lack of a better term, squirrel-ish in the pocket when he starts to get pressured, and when his mental clock goes off, he does start rushing throws, making poor decisions, and things of that nature, which contributed greatly to the Patriots losses in the playoffs since 2007.
As for Clark’s statements about jamming the Patriots’ wideouts, he’s right, and a classic example of that would be against the Seattle Seahawks last season. However, that’s at least partially due to his undersized receiver corps in recent memory.
Take, for example, 2011, in which Wes Welker, who sits at 5’9, 185 pounds and Deion Branch, who clocks in at 5’9, 195, were Brady’s two primary receivers. Even last season, Brady had Welker and Brandon Lloyd, who sits at 6′, 200 pounds, is quite a bit smaller than most teams’ top two receivers.
It’s not easy to throw a pass while under pressure to a small receiver that’s being played physically, to say the least.
However, the Patriots exchanged some of their smaller receiving options for bigger ones this offseason, including Aaron Dobson, who’s 6’3, 210 pounds, and Michael Jenkins, who comes in at 6’4, 215, among other size upgrades at receiver.
The last time the Patriots played Pittsburgh, Brady’s offense was virtually shut down, while Ben Roethlisberger kept Brady off the field.
The Patriots are set to play the Steelers in week 9 this year, and with the Patriots having greatly increased the size of their receivers, it will be interesting to see if Clark’s suggested gameplan will work this time around.
Photo credit: ProvidencJournal.com