The idea of the Patriots being better off without Tom Brady sounds ludicrous at first glance, but perhaps it’s a feasible possibility.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss on Wednesday reported, citing conversations with people around the team, there’s belief in New England that the totality of the offense could be better this season than it was last season. The idea being that if Jarrett Stidham can be solid under center and the supporting cast improves from the 2019 campaign, the complete unit could be more efficient. Reiss also made note of Brady’s league-leading 33 throwaways last season, a sign the Patriots’ offense frequently was out of sync.
The concept isn’t completely irrational, but Rob Ninkovich isn’t buying it. The former Patriots pass rusher expects to see growing pains from Stidham, which will make it tough for the offense to be consistent.
” … Look, you had a Hall of Fame quarterback for a very long time and in the quarterback position — if you have a great quarterback — their job is to make everybody better,” Ninkovich said on ESPN”s “Get Up.” “Their job is to check the offense into the best possible play against the defense. You talk about throwaways, that just means nobody was open and the quarterback was doing the smart thing and throwing the ball away. You get into a situation with a young quarterback, he might try to force the situation. The No. 1 way to lose in the NFL is turnovers. So if you don’t take care of the football/you don’t throw the ball away in situations you’re supposed to throw the ball away, you create turnovers. That’s how you lose. That’s losing football.
“It’s hard for me to think the Patriots are going to be better without Tom Brady. You talk about running the football. Yeah, if you’re not playing from ahead and you don’t have the lead, you can’t just run the football over and over and over again. You have to play from ahead to run the football. I don’t think the Patriots are in a better place without Tom Brady.”
Not only will the Patriots be finding their way without Brady on the fly. They’ll also have to do so while going through arguably the league’s toughest regular-season schedule in 2020.
As such, it’s easy to understand why Ninkovich isn’t expecting offensive progression in the upcoming campaign.