Tom Brady Returns!
Okay, let’s ignore for a second that five-fumble, shut-out loss the Patriots suffered this past Sunday, a game made complete by Bill Belichick throwing a tablet in disgust. Yes, the fumbles have been a problem, and Gronk hasn’t been himself and LeGarrette Blount is getting overworked. But for the most part, New England has handled the absence of Tom Brady spectacularly.
And now, the king returns from his four-game journey of self-rediscovery. I don’t think he’s gotten any less fierce or competitive.
Brady’s first task is an easy one - to provide stability to the position that’s dominated headlines for countless months, and lately has seen his back-ups racking up injuries. His second task will be to get in sync with his receivers and open up holes for running back LeGarrette Blount. Again, this shouldn’t be a problem for one of the all-time greats.
“It is a lot of fun to be back,” said Brady this week, after a month of not being able to practice with the team. “It was great to be back in the building and see my coaches, and to get to work on actual football. I really enjoyed it.”
Brady will have a few weeks to get really settled in. The Pats have a bye this week, then face the 0-4 Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Then comes the challenging stretch, with Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Seattle. But, that doesn’t phase him.
“I’ve been dealing with a lot of adversities over the course of my career,” Brady said. “I know all athletes at this point in their careers, nothing has been handed to them or given to them. You have to work hard to earn it. And you draw on those lessons... I’m excited to go out there and join them.”
For Ohio State QBs, Success Rate Stands At One In Three
Ohio State has a trio of former quarterbacks in the NFL, and the theme between all of them seems to be a slow start for their career. Rookie Braxton Miller is still transitioning to wide receiver, and he has just 9 receiving yards through two games. Cardale Jones, another rookie playing for Buffalo, is riding the bench behind Tyrod Taylor and E.J. Manuel.
Terrelle Pryor, though, has finally hit the jackpot. Pryor stepped away from the game in 2014, but came back with the Browns and has become a silver lining for a team that’s currently 0-4, with Tom Brady and company up next.
Still, putting aside the team’s imploding season (and the 3-13 season last year), Pryor has turned in an impressive renaissance - not only as an offensive weapon, but even taking snaps at quarterback and safety, too. Plus, he’s just looked damn good, especially when the ball is in his hands. His Week 3 outing against Miami turned him into a human highlight reel.
“We blew it,” said Mike Lombardi, a member of the Patriots brain trust last season when the Pats had a chance to sign him. “The league often gives you a chance to be great and if you don’t talk advantage of it, it’s your own fault and that was one of those times we didn’t take advantage of it in New England, clearly. It was all right there in front of us, and we didn’t make the right decision at that point, but that’s life. You move on. But Pryor has a chance to be special.”
Pryor isn’t the only OSU QB who has a chance to be special. But it’s been turning that opportunity into something more that’s been the problem - at least until now.
Hitting the Links Is Wearing New Clothes
I enjoyed this look at Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott, two rookies playing big roles for the Cowboys against their old rival from the Jerry Rice days.
A question with no easy answers for the Lions’ wide receiver.
Jordan Howard had a breakout game in this one against the Lions; between Howard and Tevin Coleman in Atlanta, and WR Cody Latimer in Denver, the Hoosiers are looking pretty effective at getting their offensive weapons into starring roles in the NFL.
Carolina Panthers are 1-3, somehow. This game is cruel.
On the upside, old Alabama phenom Julio Jones is tearing it up. He had his second career 250-yard receiving game, which has never happened before in the history of the NFL. This also marks the first time a QB and receiver have gone for 500 and 300, respectively.
Also, this tweet about sums it up:
Rams season starts over the past decade— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) October 2, 2016
Here’s a film room piece on what got Bill Belichick to throw that tablet.
The Steelers and Ravens are both 3-1, with the Bengals and their 2-2 record looking uphill just to get a Wild Card berth. This division is always an entertaining, wall-to-wall showdown (plus the Browns).
Some familiar faces in this one are Allen Robinson, former Penn State wideout, Yannick Ngakoue, a Maryland defensive end last year (and whose last name, by the way, is pronounced In-gock-way), and Myles Jack, a UCLA linebacker. Denard, by the way, has only carried it four times this year.
On the Colts’ side, the team that just suffered a 30-27 defeat to the Jags is feeling pretty low at the moment. Chuck Pagano is starting to feel the hot seat.
Trevor Siemian’s salary is $500,000 this year. For a league that’s paying mediocre QB talent $10 million or more annually, the fact that Denver is getting Siemian’s production for a twentieth of the cost is absurd.
Also, Paxton Lynch is a really exciting prospect. Tall, mobile, good pocket presence. Another guy who’s on a rookie contract.