Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Brady's injury underscores how fragile the Patriot's season is.

Brady at camp,
earlier this season
Consider it a bullet dodged. Tom Brady left today's practice, a joint one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with what is being reported as a left knee sprain. ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that Brady underwent an MRI today, which came back negative. It appears that the New England Patriots avoided what could have been a disaster. The event also highlights how tenuous the situation in Foxboro is.

In 2008, Tom Brady suffered a season ending injury in the first quarter of the first game. That 2008 team went 11-5 with Matt Cassel at the helm, but missed the playoffs. The 2008 squad was coming off the near perfect 2007 season, and was basically the same one that only went 18-1. The offense was loaded, the defense was a stacked, veteran unit. This 2013 team is far from that team.

First, this defense is still not anywhere near the level of the 07-08 team. Bill Belichick has rebuilt, reloaded, and restocked the unit, but they are still far from being considered dominant. They do not instill fear,  have no swagger, and, from what we've seen so far, still have no pass rush and a porous passing defense.

Second, the WR unit is unproven. The 2008 team still had Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and a productive Jabar Gaffney. Who is on the 2013 roster that compares, as of now? Julian Edelman? Michael Jenkins? Danny Amendola? Amendola looks like he might be able to fill Weklah's role, but who is going to be Moss?

Finally, at the heart of the defense, the LB corps were the key to the veteran D. Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Roosevelt Colvin, rookie Jerod Mayo and Junior Seau were all here. The 2013 squad has Brandon Spikes, Mayo, Don'te Hightower, and Rob Ninkovitch. A nice group, but they don't have the cache the 2008 group had.

As TB12 goes, so goes the 2013 Pats. If Tom Brady goes down, Ryan Mallett and Tim Tebow (yikes) are up. Now as of tonight, we've got no idea if Brady is going to be ready for week one. But are the 2013 Patriots going to win with Mallett throwing to Danny Amendola and bunch of unproven WR's? God forbid (pun intended) that Tim Tebow take the reigns. The Flying Elvii, and especially the young WR's, need Brady.

It's a poor situation, and it's clear that the Pats need to prepare for the inevitable day that TB12 moves his locker from Foxboro to Canton. That day is fast approaching, and for a short time today, the end was in sight.

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