In the end, it didn’t come back to bite the New England Patriots, but playing Tom Brady in a preseason game against Green Bay on Thursday was a risky proposition, especially since three reserves started along the offensive line.
Brady didn’t play much – he went 1-for-4 for 10 yards in the 22-11 loss in Foxboro – but why did he even bother suiting up?
“I have no idea,” former NFL player and current NFL analyst Ross Tucker said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It makes no sense to me whatsoever with him not practicing yesterday because he was in New York for the hearing. It’s just an unbelievable testament to the confidence that Belichick has in Brady and the confidence that he has in some of these backup offensive linemen. We’ve all seen at times what’s happened with some quarterbacks, even in the preseason like Mark Sanchez behind the backup offensive linemen. I played for five tams in seven years. I can’t ever remember a starting quarterback going in with an entire backup unit. Now, it’s not all backups for Brady, and in preseason you’re usually going to have one or two starting offensive linemen sit out because (they’re) injured (and) they just don’t risk them in a preseason game. But three is a lot, and he is Tom Brady.”
Is it possible the Patriots were trying to send a message to Roger Goodell and the league? Or perhaps the rest of the team?
“I don’t think it’s a message to the NFL,” Tucker said. “I think, if anything, Brady probably wanted to play because that’s the way he is. Having played with him for a couple years up there, he probably really wanted the reps. He probably felt like he needed some live game reps, especially with missing some action in practice like he has, and I would say maybe it’s a message of support and thanks to all the fans. . . . Here he is, we appreciate all of your support, and we’re going to throw you a bone and put Brady out here for a little bit.
As for Brady’s legal battle, Tucker, who played for the Patriots in 2005 and 2006, more or less agreed with the Wells Report.
Key words being “more or less.”
“Honestly, DA, I think Tom’s the best quarterback ever,” Tucker said. “I really hate that he’s going through this, but I think he’s brought a lot of this on himself, quite frankly. I kind of thought there was a lot of flaws in the Wells Report, but at the end of the day, the conclusion – which is that it’s more probable than not . . . that Brady was at least generally aware that they were deflating footballs – I mean, that’s kind of the conclusion I came to as well. What are the odds in Vegas, DA, that the only person in the galaxy that any of us have ever heard of . . . happens to be the guy that took the ball into the bathroom, and that Brady happens to destroy his phone the day he’s meeting with Ted Wells? Those two things both being coincidence . . . is probably a billion to one, maybe a trillion to one. You got to be kidding me.”