Well it looks like the return of Tom Brady went about as well as could be expected for us Patriot fans. Did it go as the coaches predicted? What is their coaching strategy for the rest of this season? What was their strategy for the first four games without Brady? I will attempt to answer these questions for you.
With the Deflatgate scandal now over, the Patriot’s coaching staff can approach the rest of the season with their full arsenal of players, plays and plans. When the season started, the Patriot’s coaches did their most vital and strategic planning for the first four games that would be played without Brady and a few other important players like Gronk and Rob Ninkovich. The coaches had to map out a plan against their opponents and do it with a more modest lineup. This stretch of games was looked on by most observers as a “hang on for dear life stretch” where the Pats may have to play catch up with the rest of the AFC. I believe realistically the coaches thought that they could finish 2-2 and if they finished 3-1 that would be fabulous. Well, great job coaches and players you accomplished that feat and with a little luck could have been 4-0. The crunching of the playbook to encompass a more concise list of plays for Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett to run without oversimplifying was the key. The Patriots turned themselves into a run first team which most teams could not have seen coming, but the coaches knew it would. The reemergence of LaGarrette Blount and the great play of a retooled offensive line was a job that the coaches and players should be proud of. The 3-1 record after the four games was about as good as anyone could reasonably expect and still allows the Pats to possibly win the AFC East and secure a first round playoff bye possibly.
The strategy with the return of Brady was truly evident with today’s game against the Browns. Brady was back to the passing game with a great mix of short and long passes as well a mix of receivers. He was hitting quick hitches to people like Edelman and Gronk while hitting Bennett and Chris Hogan for some longer gainers. The coaches did not back away from Brady’s strengths and banked on him being sharp upon his return. He was as sharp as a diamond drill bit today 406 yds and 3 TDs and never played much of the fourth quarter. That’s pretty damn sharp. The coaches could have opted to stay with a running game since it was working for the most part, but they did not back away from their strengths. Their strategy of utilizing their strengths and allowing their best players to play was a key.
I fully expect the Patriot’s coaches to be as ready for the rest of the season as they were for today. There is no reason to think otherwise. Expect them to keep other teams guessing and using their strengths such as two Pro Bowl tight ends, receivers like Edelman and Hogan, and of course Tom Brady. There is no reason to feel like the Patriots could not run the table for the rest of the season and make Roger Goddell look like the dufus that he is. I still think Robert Kraft, Coach Belichick, and Tom Brady will enjoy getting the Lombardi trophy handed to them by the big dufus Goddell. Let’s keep up the great work coaches and players and finish off this season in style with a win at SB LI.