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Bye-Week Breakdown: Quarterbacks

10.23.11 at 1:26 am ET

With the Patriots off this weekend, we’€™ve got our Bye-Week Breakdown, a position-by-position look at the Patriots as they head into the bye weekend. We’€™ve already put the tight ends, wide receivers, offensive line and running backs in the spotlight. Now, it’€™s the quarterbacks.

Overview: As has been the case for the Patriots in the past, all the offensive success flows from the quarterback position. And even though he has cooled somewhat after a red-hot start, it’€™s clear that Tom Brady has few peers: Through six games, he’€™s leading the league in passing yards (2,163) and yards per game (361) and second in yards per attempt (9.13), touchdown passes (16) and completed passes (160). He is one of the finest game-managers, and no quarterback in the NFL has a better grasp of his system and what his coach ultimately wants him to accomplish on a weekly basis than Brady. (He and Bill Belichick have the longest active quarterback-coach relationship in the league.)

As for drawbacks, there still remains a question as to whether or not the Patriots can be successful if Brady is less than his best over the course of a full 60 minutes. In addition, even though many of the interceptions have come on tipped, fluky plays, he’€™s thrown twice as many picks this season as he had through six games last year. But thus far, there’€™s no reason to think Brady won’€™t at least be in the discussion when it comes to MVP talk this season.

Depth chart: Tom Brady (160-for-237 for 67.5 percent, 2,163 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, eight interceptions), Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett (zero snaps each).

Best Moment: Brady’€™s performance in the regular-season opener against Miami was one of the finest of his career. He went 32-for-48 for 517 yards and four touchdowns, including a 99-yard pass play to Wes Welker that tied the league record for longest play from scrimmage in NFL history. He completed passes of 99, 46, 30, 24 and 23 yards to five different receivers, and ended up with completions to eight different receivers.

Worst Moment: While not all of the four interceptions could be blamed on him — rewatching the game, there were probably two badly thrown balls that were the fault of Brady — the four-pick nightmare against the Bills in September was probably one of the worst games Brady has produced the last two seasons.

By the numbers, according to Pro Football Focus: Tom Brady is the only member of the New England offense to play every snap from scrimmage this season. PFF also has him graded as the top overall quarterback in the league after the first six weeks of the season with a +44.4.

Money Quote: ‘€œI’€™ve said it before — there’€™s no quarterback I’€™d rather have.’€ –Belichick on Brady. The two recently tied Dan Marino and Don Shula for the most wins by a quarterback/coach combination with 116.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brian Hoyer, bye week breakdown, Dan Marino



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