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‘It’s way more checkers than it is chess’: Tom Brady further explained his ‘mediocrity’ comment about today’s NFL




Brady believes that quarterbacks aren’t being taught to read defenses and check out of plays as well as they were used to.

Tom Brady went further into his criticism about what’s wrong with the NFL today. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

When Tom Brady said that there’s “a lot of mediocrity” in today’s NFL, some were confused and debated his point.

The Patriots icon further explained what he meant in the latest episode of his “Let’s Go!” podcast, focusing more on the inability of quarterbacks to read defenses and check out of plays at the line of scrimmage. As Brady was discussing how well of a game the Eagles’ overtime win over the Bills was, Jim Gray (one of Brady’s co-hosts) asked him why we don’t see as many games as intense or as well-played as that one, calling back to Brady’s “mediocrity” comment.

“I think the point is, you want to see the game continue to grow and evolve,” Brady said. “That means better coaching, better quarterback play, and better defensive playcalling. I think a big difference too is the lack of time that coaches have with players, coaches have together in the building, people don’t understand the full picture a lot of the time.”

As Brady said that players at most positions only need to know how to do a few things well, he explained that quarterbacks “need to know what everyone is doing.” But he doesn’t think quarterbacks in the league now necessarily know as much as they should, placing some of the blame on coaches because they’re trying to “control the game from the sideline.”


“When you try to control the game from the sideline, you don’t have the answer for everything that’s happening on the field,” Brady said. “Ultimately, as a quarterback, I had all the things at my disposal to get us into a good play. … I had the ability to change the play to get us to a play that I thought would be more successful.

“I just don’t see as much of that in the NFL,” Brady added. “There’s a lot less time that people are spending on it. That’s just the reality. When I started, there was a lot more time we spent on it. Over those years, I developed a lot of those tools in my arsenal to get us into the best play.”

Brady said that his ability to check out of bad plays at the line of scrimmage helped him win Super Bowls and made other quarterbacks, such as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers, great. Now, he thinks that only Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and maybe a couple of other quarterbacks have the ability to check plays at the line of scrimmage.

Brady laid blame on the constant pressures of getting things right in the league for the lack of quarterbacks in the league today who are able to check out of plays at the line scrimmage, saying “in an effort to get it right, people are actually getting it more wrong.” As he thinks it’s particularly affecting young quarterbacks, he recalled that being able to spend time with the Patriots’ coaching staff during the offseason helped him check out of a play that led to an overtime win over the Chargers in his third career start.

“We were talking about how they were going to max blitz us,” Brady said. “We said, ‘OK, if they max blitz us and they get us in that look, we’ve got to check the protection to a seven-man protection, and let’s get the receiver a shot down the field.’ [They said that] to a second-year quarterback!

“I was in the system my whole first year. I was being taught by Bill Belichick and Charlie Weis. We had quarterbacks school and the offseason program. We get into overtime after going the full 60 minutes and I recognized they called this all-out blitz. I said, ‘[Expletive] this, I’m changing it.’ I changed the protection, I threw a deep ball to David Patten, pass interference and we got a 50-yard gain. We win the game on a field goal in overtime.”

Instead of seeing quarterbacks doing what he did at the line of scrimmage throughout his whole career, Brady believes there are too many quarterbacks and teams being “reactive” and trying to fix problems after the snap.


“The more you can be decisive as a quarterback, the better outcomes you’re going to have, the better your process is going to be,” Brady said. “You want to be really decisive as a quarterback. You want to be really sure of what you’re doing. But you need to be sure of the gameplan, the protections, who’s responsible for who if they blitz, and where all of the receivers are going. All of that takes time. We’ve got to allow these guys time to develop.

“The pro game is reflecting what the college game is as opposed to the college game reflecting what the pro game is,” Brady added. “We’re asking pro players to play college football. That’s the biggest difference I see. It’s way more checkers than it is chess. I tried to play chess. I wanted to have three moves ahead of you at all times.”

Source: Boston Globe

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