Every weekday from now until the NFL season kicks-off, Boston Blood Sox will preview one group of Patriot players. Today we start off with the most important position in the game, with the most valuable player in the game.
For the first time in his career, Tom Brady will be making a start after missing games due to injury. He hasn't played a full a game since Super Bowl XLII. So that's February 3, 2008 to September 14, 2007. Nearly a 20 month gap.
It would be crazy to expect Brady to put up the kind of record-breaking numbers he put up in 2007. He will have a similarly stacked receiving corps to throw to, but the offensive line is weaker, and the running game might be better.
In '07, the Pats were accused of running up the score when they'd throw the ball late in games instead of running it. What the morons of the world failed to comprehend was that the Patriots had no dependable run game to get first downs and dependably salt games away. I think the Patriots depth at RB in 2009 will help Tom Brady by giving him more 2nd & 6, 3rd & 2 type downs.
From the preseason games, there's a bit of reluctance on Brady's part to fully step into throws. But that could be rust as much as it could be hesitation. He didn't show much fear during or after some big hits he received in the Bengals game.
I think Brady will throw 30 to 35 TD passes, be around 63% accurate with his passes (that's his career percentage), and keep INTs to a minimum. I don't foresee much difficulty with him barring another injury.
The Patriots don't have the same kind of QB depth as they had last year with Cassel as the back-up. But remember those idiots clamoring for the Pats to keep Cassel just in case Brady's knee wasn't healthy? How would the Pats' salary cap look like if these clowns ran the team?
Andrew Walter has a bit more experience than O'Connell, but a guy who can't cut it in Oakland even as a backup worries the hell out of me.
So basically, if Brady goes down again, it will be a worse feeling than it was last year. O'Connell has shown some sparks, but the Patriots without Brady are like a ship lost in a storm with no compass.