Matt Patricia

How well does Tom Brady play against former Patriots coaches?

How well does Tom Brady play against former Patriots coaches?

The Patriots will face the Detroit Lions Sunday night in the Pats latest matchup against a former Bill Belichick assistant. The Lions hired Matt Patricia after the defensive guru spent 14 seasons under Belichick in New England. But so far, Patricia and the Lions are off to a rough start (0-2), and it could get worse -- it's been well-established that former Belichick pupils have struggled against the Patriots. 

TOM E. CURRAN'S HARD TRUTHS

But what about Tom Brady against Patriots assistants-turned-head coaches? Patricia will be the fifth former coach Brady will face, joining Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Bill O'Brien, and Josh McDaniels. Patricia will join Mangini and Crennel as former defensive coordinators to scheme against Brady, while O'Brien and McDaniels went from calling plays for Brady to trying to stop him. Who has the advantage, Brady or his coaches?

VS. ERIC MANGINI

Belichick first discovered Mangini as a ball boy in Cleveland. Mangini eventually became New England's defensive coordinator for a season before accepting the head coaching job with the New York Jets. Because he was in the AFC East, Brady played Mangini the most of any former coach. Brady and the Pats went 4-2 in the regular season and 1-0 in the postseason against Mangini's Jets. Mangini's defenses picked Brady four times in those six games, but Brady still threw nine touchdowns. He completed 116 of his 190 pass attempts (61 percent) for 1,346 yards.

As head coach of the Browns in 2010, Mangini's team beat Brady and the Pats 34-14 for one of their five victories that season. Brady went 19-for-36 for 224 yards and two TDs in that game.

VS. ROMEO CRENNEL

The defensive coordinator for the Patriots' first three Super Bowl champion squads had no answers for Brady and the New England offense in a matchup against the Browns in 2007. The 2007 NFL MVP completed 22 of 38 passing attempts (58 percent) for 265 yards, three TDs, and zero interceptions. 

VS. BILL O'BRIEN

Bill O'Brien called plays for the Patriots from 2009 to 2011, but is probably most known in New England for his infamous yelling match with Brady on the sidelines during a game in 2011. O'Brien is now in his fifth season as the coach of the Houston Texans and his defenses -- which, for the record, have been very good -- have had absolutely no success against Brady. The Patriots are 3-0 in regular-season games and 1-0 in the postseason when Brady starts against O'Brien. Brady threw for 1,168 yards in those four games, completing 91 of 142 passes (64 percent) and throwing 12 TDs and just three interceptions. 

VS. JOSH MCDANIELS

McDaniels, who is in his second stint as the Patriots offensive coordinator, has a great relationship with Brady, as shown in Brady's Facebook docu-series Tom vs. Time. But in 2009, the two faced off against each other when in McDaniels' first season as Broncos head coach. McDaniels got the win in overtime, but Brady played solid. He was 19 of 33 (58 percent) for 215 yards, with two TDs and no picks. 

OVERALL

It's been business as usual for Brady against his former coaches, with a record of 8-3 in the regular season and 2-0 in the playoffs. In those 13 games, he completed 61 percent of his passes for 3,218 yards, 28 TDs and seven interceptions. Brady will look to continue his success against Patricia this weekend, as the Patriots look to get back on track with a win.

-- Will Lefkovich

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Game within the game: Patriots' slow start has got to go

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USA TODAY Sports photo

Game within the game: Patriots' slow start has got to go

GAME WITHIN THE GAME 
Who gets the drop on the other guy? The Lions had a pick-6 to open their season and immediately burped up that lead against the Jets, fought back, then got their doors blown off. There was a strong scent of give-up from Detroit in the first game and if the Patriots – in front of a national television audience – begin to de-pants Patricia, expect the Lions crowd to jump ugly. Meanwhile, the Patriots have been staggering around offensively and defensively in the early portions of games going back to last season. Can’t have it. Can’t.

MORE CURRAN HARD TRUTHS:

 
LIONS GOTTA STOP


James White. Sticking with him since I’m thinking the Lions will tilt the field to Gronk and just hammer the message to not lose White in space.
 
PATRIOTS GOTTA STOP


Golden Tate. Even though Kenny Golladay’s put up the bigger numbers (13 catches, 203 yards), Tate (14 catches, 188) is so useful, smart and threatening at every level. He’s a third-down pain in the posterior.
 
THAT SUMS IT UP PATRIOTS STYLE


“I’ve seen a lot of defenses - we have, just as an offense - and you just never know what you’re going to get. You never know the game plan. You’ve got to be prepared for all and just got to go out there and execute. It doesn’t matter what you see, if you know what’s coming -- it doesn’t matter unless you go out there and execute.” – Rob Gronkowski on trying to anticipate what will be thrown at him
 
THAT SUMS IT UP LIONS STYLE
“He’s hands-down the best, in my opinion, that ever played the game. He knows everything. He knows what defense you’re in. So, we just have to do a good job of doing our job of getting the rush in his face, trying to throw different stuff at him. But at the end of the day, it’s about us. They’re coming in our house trying to eat off our plate. We’ve just got to do what we’ve got to do to get a win.” – Eli Harold, Lions linebacker, on Tom Brady.
 
THE WINNER IS...

Patriots 34, Lions 23

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE