Josh McDaniels might put Tom Brady on the run more in 2014: ‘We’re adamant about trying to make it better’
|05.30.14 at 4:22 pm ET|
FOXBORO — One of the things that makes Tom Brady a truly great NFL quarterback is his willingness – after 14 seasons – to try anything and everything to get better. On Friday, the Patriots and Brady showed off one aspect of their offense that might change ever so slightly heading into 2014.
Brady and Ryan Mallett spent part of their 100-minute OTA session on the back fields working on rollouts, indicating Brady might be on the run – by design – this season. There were precious few instances of designed rollouts last season as Brady set up shop in the pocket and looked to drive the team down the field.
“Whether it’s footwork, where to put our eyes after the snap, there’s so many things and elements of the quarterback position that you can actually get better at,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “We were moving in the pocket today and then throwing off-schedule throws. That’s not necessarily a strength of our quarterbacks in general but I think that’s something we’ve identified that you know what, it could’ve helped us a time here or a time there. We’re adamant about trying to make it better.”
One example came at the end of the Browns game on Dec. 8 when Brady rolled out to his right and found Danny Amendola for a one-yard TD pass with just over 30 seconds left to lift the Patriots to a 27-26 win at Gillette Stadium.
But in the playoffs, there were limited such designed plays, and it became obvious in the AFC championship in Denver that Brady in the pocket was a target of a defense that could pin its ears back and go after the quarterback.
Brady, according to McDaniels, has already shown a willingness to improve aspects of his game that might make this transition not just possible but effective.
“Yep, I do,” McDaniels said when asked if he sees Brady working hard to improve his game. “It’s hard for me to ever feel like that wouldn’t be the case because any time you have a guy that’s really focused on working on all the weaknesses in his game when there aren’t that many, you can see where there would be room for growth. He listens as good or better than he ever has, in terms of taking coaching, working on things that we’re trying to get better at, and again, I think that’s just a great example for the rest of the guys. And he’s certainly shown that he’s going to work on different aspects of his game to fix them and make them better.
“Same thing I’m used to seeing. He’s in great shape, great condition, early in the building. He’s working really hard. He’s been accurate. He’s definitely the leader of our group on offense and he’s competing hard and that’s really a great example for the rest of our guys on offense.”
As for rookie quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, McDaniels said he and the Patriots coaching staff need to give him time to get comfortable. Garoppolo was not on hand Friday as he was at an NFL-sponsored rookie event.
“With every quarterback I’ve had the chance to work with, it takes a while before you can truly see them feel comfortable because their mind is going so fast because they have so many things to think about and there’s so many things they’re not 100 percent on top of yet,” McDaniels said. “Sometimes, if you’re too quick to judge a younger player like that, you can make a mistake in terms of saying, ‘I thought he was this or he didn’t do that.’
“You gotta give it some time. You have to give him an opportunity to really get his feet on the ground and then once he does that, then you have an opportunity in training camp and as training camp goes on, to really see what he looks like in his system. That really applies to all the rookies, not just the quarterback position.”