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Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson on D&C: ‘[Tom] Brady’s decline has been in action for a while now’

06.03.14 at 11:48 am ET

Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to explain why he wrote that Tom Brady is no longer a top-five quarterback. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Monson wrote in an ESPN piece on Tuesday that Brady has been on a significant decline in recent years and no longer belongs in the upper echelon of elite quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

“I think he’€™s in the group with Russell Wilson, with Ben Roethlisberger, with Andrew Luck now,” Monson said.

Monson said that he took into account Brady’s relatively ineffective receiving corps and offensive line in his analysis, but said his decline was inevitable regardless of the players he was surrounded by.

“I think the receivers definitely doesn’t help,” Monson said. “When you have a receiving corps that’€™s depleted, you’€™re obviously going to struggle more. But I think the point I was trying to make was that Brady’s decline has been in action for a while now and all the receivers did was make it look worse than it would’ve done already.

“The point is though, at this stage in his career, Brady needs protection from the offensive line more than he ever has, and he didn’t get it last year. When you look at his decline over the last few years, even when the offensive line has been strong, he’€™s been struggling under pressure. I think the more pressure he’s going to get over the next couple of years, no matter how long he plays, the worse we’re going to see Brady look. Whether he has receiving options or not, he’s still going to struggle in the face of pressure.”

Monson said that even if Brady had targets such as Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker last season, “I think we’d still see a down year from Brady, but it may not have been as pronounced as it was.”

One factor in particular Monson pointed out was Brady’s struggles under pressure in the pocket.

“Brady invites more pressure from the offensive line than Manning does from his,” he said. “I think that’s part of the problem is that if he struggles under pressure more than he used to, that’s not going to be something that goes away. The longer he plays and the more he’s left trying to do things, he’s left stressing that offensive line more than a guy like Manning does.”

Brady still led the Patriots to the AFC championship game after a 12-4 regular-season record despite what Monson called a “down season.” Monson, however, said wins are not something he factors into his analysis.

“Honestly, for a quarterback I don’€™t think it matters much at all,” he said. “It’s not the quarterback. The quarterback is not winning games. Fifty-three guys and the coaching staff are winning games. Wins are not a quarterback’€™s statistic, and anyone who thinks they are needs to look at more of what they’€™re trying to analyze. It’€™s just not the way to measure things.”

Monson said he expects Brady to slide again in 2014.

“I’€™m happy to say there are factors influencing Brady’s down season that are beyond his control, but my point is I think that decline is inevitable whether he’€™s got help or not,” he said. “I think we’re seeing a guy who has gone downhill over the past few seasons and the only question is how far that’€™s happened and how far you can expect him to bounce back in 2014, even if the team surrounds him with weapons and the offensive line is as good as it’s ever been.”

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