Friday, December 19, 2008

System-atic detraction

A funny thing has happened on the Patriots' way to a double-digit winning season.

Their back-up quarterback has put together, in 14 games roughly 400 more passing yards than did Tom Brady over the same number of games in 2001, with the same number of touchdowns and one fewer interception. The real creepy thing - Brady completed 63.9 percent of his passes. Matt Cassel? 63.8.

This has brought all the "Brady is just a product of the system" idiots back out.

I won't sugar coat it either - they are idiots and they have no concept of the game, nor it's history.

Ultimately ALL quarterbacks, particularly the greats, are products of systems. The ones that struggle tend to do so for many reasons. For some it's about not really having the talent to compete at the NFL level as a starter, but for many it's a lack of consistency in the system - learning new systems, dealing with multiple coordinators, and so on. Few have the talent to overcome that. Drew Bledsoe and Dan Marino put up big numbers despite having to learn a variety of systems, but they're the exception, not the rule.

Yes, Peyton Manning put up great numbers throughout his career, but before Tony Dungy and his staff came in, his highest completion percentage for the season was 62.7 percent. After Dungy, the lowest that percentage has been 65.0. Manning has only been in two systems - the one under Jim Mora, and then the one under Dungy.

Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman, Dan Fouts pretty much stayed in one system throughout their careers. David Carr, JP Losman - both have been through multiple offensive systems and neither has panned out. Sure, that's a small sample, but it wouldn't be that hard to broaden that.

Yes, Brady and Cassel are products of the Patriots' system, but no more than the fact that the system is a product of the quarterbacks' talents.

Were it just that a quarterback could step in and do well in the system, then we wouldn't be able to look at the following names and see a list of has-beens that couldn't operate the "system" -

Rohan Davey
Michael Bishop
Kliff Kingsbury

Right now, the Pats are 2 for 5 in the last ten years (not including Matt Gutierrez or Kevin O'Connell as the jusry is still out on them) in regards to guys who are "products of their system." So, either Cassel and Brady deserve credit for learning a difficult system (after all, more draftees have failed in it than succeeded), or they deserve credit for making a system work that 60 percent of the quarterbacks drafted by the Pats have failed to do.

Most of the Hall-of Fame quarterbacks were in the same

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