The hidden benefit of Tom Brady
|11.14.09 at 3:51 pm ET|
Tom Brady has earned the reputation as the most competitive player on the Patriots.
He thinks nothing of dressing down a teammate for a route mistake or a missed block. He also is known for imploring his teammates during sideline meetings.
But there is another benefit to having one the two best quarterbacks on the planet on your team. He practices against your defense during the week.
How big of an advantage is that?
“Tremendous,” answered Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather. “It helps tremendously. When you can go against a guy like Peyton Manning or Tom all day in practice you know that helps you so much, every way. It helps you be honest. It helps you play the game to your perspective instead of playing to let him dictate to you.
“I have to play him like I play Tom. Not saying that I play Tom great. I don’t think anyone plays Tom great. You just have to be comfortable with yourself and read your keys exactly right,” Meriweather added.
Brady and Manning are similar in the way they try to dictate to the opposing defense and the way they change up their tempo at the line of scrimmage.
So does going up against a quarterback like Brady or Manning really help your own defense, and your secondary in particular.
“Sure, I think there are some similarities between Tom and Peyton in terms of their ability to read defenses, quick release, accuracy and those types of things,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “There’s not a lot of margin for error defensively. If you don’t have the receivers covered pretty closely then both quarterbacks get it in there. We’ve seen Tom, [he’s] done that plenty in practice and Peyton [has done that] in games. I agree with that.”
But what happens when you take the field for real on Sunday against a quarterback like Manning?
“You pray,” Meriweather said, only half-joking. “You just have to go in and play your game and hope that he misses a couple of open passes.”
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