Why Ex-NFL Player Won’t Blame Tom Brady For Patriots’ Offensive Struggles


December 9, 2019

Who can fault one of the last men standing for giving his all?

Former NFL wide receiver Nate Burleson explained Monday on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” why New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady doesn’t deserve blame for the team’s offensive struggles this season. Burleson used highlights from the Patriots’ Week 14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs to illustrate how opponents are capitalizing on the apparent disconnect between Brady, 42, and New England’s young wide receivers.

“The struggles of the offense are about pressure,” Burleson said. “… this is purely X’s and O’s. The press is what DB’s are doing to the wide receivers. They’re smothering these guys at the line of scrimmage, Tom Brady drops back, these windows are smaller than ever, and then pressure finally. They’re rushing four and still getting to Tom, which means they’re dropping back multiple individuals into coverage, into those passing windows, and all of a sudden this offense is pressing. I’ve never seen Tom Brady try to do more and not be able to do more.

“And last thing, I feel like these wide receivers don’t know the playbook like Tom knows the playbook. Because he’s talking in the media and he’s saying, ‘They haven’t been through what I’ve been through, situations.’ Because he has spent a lifetime being at the highest level. You’re seeing these guys play slower because they don’t know the playbook like Tom Brady knows the playbook.”

The Patriots have scored 20, 17, 13, 22 and 16 points in their last five games, respectively. They’ve won two and lost three in that stretch, which represents the most difficult portion of New England’s regular-season schedule.

While Brady isn’t interested in making any excuses for New England’s struggling offense, Burleson’s explanation is an interesting counterpoint for those who believe the GOAT’s “decline” is why the Patriots are struggling to score.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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