The New England Patriots offense is struggling, but one Hall of Famer isn't willing to pin it on quarterback Tom Brady's age.
Brady isn't playing poorly, but the Patriots passing attack hasn't been very efficient in recent weeks. In fairness to the 42-year-old quarterback, there are a few factors out of his control contributing to this development.
Injuries to the offensive line and the addition of several wide receivers with little experience catching passes from Brady are among the biggest issues New England's offense has faced.
Legendary quarterback Brett Favre talked about Brady's age Tuesday on his weekly SiriusXM NFL Radio show, and he isn't buying the notion that the Patriots' struggles on offense are the result of Brady being in his 40s.
Co-host Bruce Murray: “I do wonder to what extent you changed the way you played, if at all, as you aged, and whether we’re seeing that to some extent with Tom Brady?”
Favre: “I think you have to look at the way he plays versus the way I played. I was a player who – maybe not to the extent of Russell Wilson, obviously not Lamar Jackson, more in line with maybe Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield where you’re not going to run for 100 yards but you are going to use your legs to extend plays, and getting out of the pocket is not an uncommon thing that those quarterbacks I mentioned do and they certainly do well. And that was really kind of the way I played from day one. As I got older it was a little bit harder, and then became harder the following year and then even harder in year 16 than it was in year eight. And in year 20 it was much harder to escape and buy time. That’s where the age really, I mean, there were times I could see the play developing the way I wanted it to but I could not avoid the guy. You know, my mind told me I could do exactly what I had done in 1995 but my body would just not cooperate.”
Favre: “The difference is with Tom, that’s not the way he plays. He’s a pocket passer. He’s the greatest pocket passer ever. He and Joe Montana are in a class by themselves. Your feet and your legs are important but they are not as important as they are for the style of play in which I played. So I think as long as they protect him there’s no reason why he can’t play as long as he wants. I don’t think that this has anything to do with age at all. You know, we talked about a slump earlier with Phillip Rivers and you really could say that slump is offensively as a whole. For whatever reason the Patriots, they’re not clicking on offense, and it’s not a result of Tom being in his 40s. It’s timing, maybe the offensive line they’ve had a few changes there and he’s feeling a little bit of pressure from one side versus the other, and it’s just not right right now. But I think it is way too soon to write them off and I think it is absurd to mention age right now as a factor in why they’re struggling.”
Despite all their struggles offensively, the Patriots still have a 9-1 record atop the AFC standings -- one game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens. New England's defense is still playing at a historically good level, and two key offensive players in left tackle Isaiah Wynn and rookie wide receiver N'Keal Harry both are healthy again and on the active roster.
The Patriots have a little more than a month to find an identity offensively and build strong chemistry as a unit entering the playoffs. It's a bit similar to the situation New England faced late last season, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels figured it out. He's certainly capable of doing it again in 2019.
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