New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has been so good for so long, it’s strange to think about the Patriots without him.
That’ll happen this season when the former Michigan quarterback is suspended four games, but it’ll also be the permanent case when Brady retires.
As All22‘s Nate Atkins writes, the Patriots are doing what they can to extend their competing window and Brady’s longevity. The 39-year-old Brady has won four Super Bowls, has passed for 58,028 yards in his career and was one win away from playing in this past season’s Super Bowl. Brady was and remains one of the best, but as he gets still older, there’s a rising chance for a quick decline like the one Peyton Manning experienced.
The Patriots’ offensive line still needs much work, but Atkins notes how Brady will get help this season from a new source:
If the Patriots are to effectively keep Brady clean in the pocket after he returns from a four-game suspension for the Deflategate scandal, they’ll do it by continuing the schematic approach they’ve always won with while enhancing the safety valves for when those systems begin to break down. Trading a fourth-round pick to the Bears for tight end Martellus Bennett this offseason played into both ideas. The 6-foot-6, 275-pound Bennett will add stress to the coverage, particularly when defenses are in their base package and lack the athleticism to keep up with two of the best receiving tight ends in the game.
Brady is eligible to return Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 9. That’ll be the next peek into seeing if Brady has slipped, even if only just a bit.