Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Time to stop blaming the receivers...

On Sunday night I saw a quarterback that consistently overthrew or shorthopped open receivers. Even during the early portion of the game when Brady completed something like ten of twelve passes, on at least three occassions he was bailed out by receivers who came back and made diving catches for balls that were underthrown - and almost a fourth (the incompletion to Graham).
While the running game wasn't there, the offensive line consistently gave Brady time to find open receivers, and he still made bad decisions, at least twice hitting defenders on the hands as he led receivers through their routes.
Had this been Bledsoe having the exact same game, the blame would have been laid at his feet - and other than Ben Coates and Troy Brown (who was generally pretty low on the totem pole in Bledsoe's day) what starting receiver tandem did he ever have for more time than Brady had with Branch and Givens.
Brady has now played like this through three games. The oft injured Terry Glenn? Brisby who started...what two, maybe three season before having serious injury issues himself? I remember a cast of immortals such as Ray Crittenden, Michael Timpson, Shawn Jefferson...none of which Bledsoe had more than three seasons with, and all with whom he was expected to produce results immediately.
I love Brady, think he's a great quarterback, but when I watch the tapes this year, so far, it's beginning to look like the problem is Brady.
He missed Watson in the deep seam, overthrowing him by a good 15 yards, he missed Brown by a solid half step down field when Brown had beaten the coverage. He skipped the ball to open receivers on a number of occasssions, including two to Watson, one to Graham, and his first attempt to Gabriel on an out pattern.
The knock against Caldwell was that he dropped passes in San Diego - I haven't seen enough passess hit him on the hands to say that Caldwell is the problem. I've seen Gabriel open several times with the ball not making it to him. In the first week I saw Brady throw balls into the raised hands of the defensive line again and again.
Personally, I have no idea what his receivers can do - through his first two games Brady has completed 50 percent of his passes, in his third he completed 60 percent, only by the grace of some great play by the maligned receivers and tight ends that dove back to balls that otherwise would have short hopped (the first reception by Watson along the sideline).
I love watching Brady play, but right now the quality of the receivers is being used as an excuse by alot of people (Mike Felger at the Boston Herald is right now the biggest fan-boy of this excuse), but I seem to remember until Terry Glenn came along, Bledsoe was always expected to produce with new sets of wideouts every couple of years.
First year - Crittenden and Timpson.
By year three I believe it was Crittenden and Brisby, four, Brisby and Glenn
By six Glenn and Jefferson - and both Glenn and Brisby consistently had injury problems. All I'm saying is before I start leveling problems at the receivers, I need to see Brady hitting them on the hands with some consistency.
Sunday I saw a quarterback that looked like he didn't want to be there and he played like it. The only time he seemed fired up was over some of the bad calls made by the zebras.
At this point, it's time to stop pointing fingers at the receivers.

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