Tom Brady’s battle with Father Time has been pretty one-sided in recent years, as Brady has staved off all cliffs — real and figurative — to maintain his place among the NFL’s best quarterbacks.

The New England Patriots signal-caller is in the familiar position of beginning the season as a defending champion after leading the Patriots to victory in Super Bowl LIII. And while there might have been slight, relative dropoff in his production last season, there’s no reason to believe No. 12 won’t have another stellar season in 2019.

That’s in large part because Brady works as hard as anyone to ensure he’s in the best possible physical shape to play professional football. But Brady’s preparation isn’t just limited to doing his workouts and making sure he’s eating right. The six-time Super Bowl champion also makes it a habit to fine-tune any and all aspects of the game, and those sorts of things stand out when his peers take stock of his work.

“I don’t see a drop-off without a catastrophic injury or, like the great pitchers, if he loses his legs,” an unnamed defensive coach told The Athletic’s Mike Sando for Sando’s yearly QB tier rankings. “I believe he is increasing his fitness. And then he has the best footwork, the best execution of the screen pass, and if you watch the cutups of his fakes, it is like a (expletive) magic act. Beyond that, I’m not sure the game has seen a competitor that exceeds him.”

Said an offensive coordinator about the QB: “Brady plays his best in the most critical situations. Anyone who doesn’t put him as a 1 is evaluating the wrong things.”

Once again, Brady’s feedback within the game was nothing but complimentary, as he was one of eight quarterbacks on Sando’s rankings in “Tier 1,” finishing second to only Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the best possible score based on voting from decision-makers across the league. That Brady is about to turn 42 and remains atop his game only speaks to his accomplishments.

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