During an appearance on ESPN’s NFL Live, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark didn’t have a problem questioning the effectiveness of quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots offense now that Wes Welker is gone.
“I think what’s really underestimated is Wes Welker’s importance to not only the New England Patriots, but Tom Brady. A lot of what they do is timing. A lot of what they do is option reads, when you’re working inside against that nickelback or against those linebackers. Losing him is huge,” Clark said.
“I know they think Danny Amendola can come in and have the same type of numbers he had with the Rams, but we also have to remember, he’s fragile. He’s not a guy who has completed a whole season, especially playing inside in what can be a physical AFC East. You also think about Gronkowski and the injury; that is going to be bigger than anything for the New England Patriots coming in this year. Also Aaron Hernandez …
“In 2010, we saw it start with the Jets in the playoffs. When Tom Brady gets pressure and when you’re man-to-man and bumping those guys and making it hard for him to throw, he sees ghosts. Even when guys aren’t around him, even when he’s not about to be sacked, when his clock goes off in his head that the ball should be out, we’ll see him duck, we’ll see him flinch. When you get Tom Brady doing that, the whole New England Patriots mystique goes away.”
Clark is absolutely right about Amendola. While he’s a very good receiver, he has to prove that he can stay healthy.
When it comes to Brady, I also agree with Clark. When the Giants defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl back in 2007 and 2011 Brady looked very uncomfortable because of the pressure they were bringing. He seems to have a hard time hanging around in the pocket when his line can’t hold things together up front.