Boomer Esiason on D&C: ‘Opposing teams now know how to stop Tom Brady’
|11.07.11 at 9:54 am ET|
CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to break down the Patriots’ 24-20 loss to the Giants on Sunday. Esiason provided his insight into why the Patriots offense was held to 20 or less points for the third consecutive week and why the offense was unable to score in the first half for the first time since Dec. 12, 2006.
“Opposing teams now know how to stop Tom Brady,” Esiason said. “He was harassed, he threw interceptions, he fumbled. The Giants defense seemed like they were swarming all over the place, especially in the first half. And then when you watch the performance last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, you say the same thing. He was harassed. He was beat up.”
Esiason attributed the pressure on Brady to the Giants defensive line and said the man coverage down the field prevented the Patriots from making big plays. Just one week after the Patriots were shut down by the Steelers, Esiason said other teams can now attack the Patriots offense from the same blueprint.
“What people are saying about the Patriots, especially offensively, is that most of the completions come inside the numbers,” Esiason said. “They’re 15, 16, 17 yards or less. There’s not a lot of outside completions.
“Completing a lot of these passes inside the numbers to tight ends, to Wes Welker who had yet another great game yesterday is starting to … People are allowing that to happen because they don’t have to worry about any outside threat whatsoever.”
The lack of the deep threat on the Patriots offense goes back to wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, who was brought in as a free agent to make big plays and has yet to do so through the first eight games of the season. Ochocinco was targeted by Brady five times in the second half on Sunday and failed to catch the ball on any of those passes. Twice, his failure to catch the ball on third down forced the Patriots to kick a field goal. Although Brady neglected to discuss any personal frustration with Ochocinco in his postgame press conference Sunday, Esiason said he thinks the quarterback has to be frustrated with the receiver.
“I don’t think Tom trusts him,” Esiason said. “That’s my estimation from afar. That’s not something that someone told me. That’s not something that I read. Tom would never say that publicly. But watching it on the field and watching their discussions, there’s no way in the world that [Brady] can trust him.”
Following are more highlights of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
On a hidden key to the Giants’ win Sunday: “It’s hidden yardage, but I’m telling you, the guy who had a great game yesterday was the punter for the Giants, Steve Weatherford. It was a long field all day long for the Patriots. And the Patriots are used to having the ball somewhere around the 40 or the 50 or maybe even the opponent’s 40 after a turnover or a big punt return, big kickoff return. And that never happened for them. That’s why the Patriots had probably close to 450 yards in total offense but only had 20 points.”
On what is wrong with Ochocinco: “I don’t know what is going on with Ochocinco. It looks like he’s completely — I don’t want to say that he personally has checked out. But I think that he has not found any sort of rhythm in this offense whatsoever. I don’t know how frustrated Tom is with that.”
On the defensive breakdowns late in the game: “That’s the other problem. The defense for the New England Patriots looks pretty good for the first half. They shut out the New York Giants. But when the game was on the line and you needed to get a stop, they couldn’t get it. And it really comes down to a couple of plays in this situation, too. Jake Ballard‘s catch was unbelievable.
“The interference calls against the New England Patriots defense where all of the sudden the defensive backs looked like they were not NFL-caliber players, those three plays right there, that’s what won the game for the New York Giants on offense against the New England Patriots defense.”
On why Ochocinco’s inability to figure out the offense hurts the Patriots: “I see it, I know what it is, and I know how frustrating it can be, especially when you’re used to having an offense that is a well-oiled machine that moves up and down the field where everybody is participating. [Rob] Gronkowski and [Aaron] Hernandez, Welker and certainly Deion Branch, they’re going to be the guys that are going to get the bulk of the catches. But there’s got to be that one guy, that Randy Moss type, that can get down the field, that can beat somebody one-on-one, that has the speed that inflicts a little bit of fear in the opposing defense, and right now that’s the one part of the offense that you’re not seeing.”