An interesting topic has bubbled up in New England regarding Tom Brady’s playing time in this week’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions. The third week of the preseason usually sees the starting units of both teams play at least an entire half, and perhaps even a couple of series in the third quarter. The final week of the preseason typically has starters rest and the other players have a last chance to make a good impression in a game situation. However, there is chatter now, highlighted over at ESPN Boston, that the Patriots should limit Tom Brady’s snaps to just maybe a few series due to the formidable pass rush he’s likely to face against the Lions, led by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
I think it’s complete crap.
The offensive line has a job to do, and that’s to protect the quarterback and open up holes for the running backs. The quarterback has to make quick decisions, avoid the pass rush, and deliver the ball on time and accurately. The only way to simulate that for the regular season properly is in a preseason game, and Brady talked about those kinds of reps himself only a couple of days ago.
“…in practice you stand back there and they come at you, but then they pull off so you may think ‘Oh OK, I’ll just make the throw’, but that’s not the way it works when you’re playing for real,” Brady noted in a press conference.
I understand the concern about Brady getting hurt. Let’s not forget that the preseason that Brady played the least, in 2008, he got hurt early in the first regular season game and was lost for the season. Now, I’m not saying that the lack of playing time is connected to the injury, necessarily, but you can’t play or prepare scared. That’s not how you win in the NFL. Is Suh really that dominating that Brady’s chances of getting hurt are exponentially greater in this preseason game? I don’t think so. Suh is a terrific player, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t hurt the readiness of my quarterback in fear of him. He didn’t exactly “light up” the Cleveland Browns last week.
You can read the debate and vote in the poll on this issue at ESPN Boston by clicking HERE. I think the debate is ludicrous and only adds to the notion that quarterbacks are a soft, pampered breed of player. Should we sit Logan Mankins or the rest of the starting offensive line because they have the block Suh and the Lions’ d-line? Should we sit BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead because Suh might hit them when they’re running the football? Didn’t think so.