When it comes to the New England Patriots, there’s one thing fans haven’t had to worry about for over a decade: the quarterback.
Tom Brady has made the Pats Super Bowl contenders since he permanently stepped in for Drew Bledsoe back in 2001, and now going into 2013, Brady still looks to be at or near the top of his game.
Brady tied his career high in completions last year with 401 while only throwing 8 interceptions. His passer rating from 2007 to 2012 (not including 2008 when he missed the season) has ranged from 96.2 to 117.2 – all higher than the first six seasons of his career.
And unlike some other Patriots – or former Patriots – it’s been a quiet offseason for Brady, as usual.
The Pats have found themselves in the news over the last few months for all the wrong reasons. They let Wes Welker go to the Broncos for cheap money, Rob Gronkowski had about 14 surgeries, and Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder. Brandon Lloyd was also released.
Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, but he isn’t a miracle worker. Without much of a receiving corps, Brady’s numbers could take a hit this season even if his skills are where they’ve been in previous years.
It also looks like New England could focus on the running game more this year than in the past, as Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen make up a solid two-headed beast in the backfield.
And speaking of the running game, we may see another Patriots quarterback get involved in the action.
The Patriots signed Tim Tebow in June, and it’s still unclear what their vision is for him. Tebow had success at the quarterback position with the Broncos but had an atrocious 46.5 percent completion percentage in 2011. He was traded to the Jets before the 2012 season and was basically non-existent on the field, throwing just 8 passes and rushing 32 times.
Tebow is not a traditional quarterback and could certainly be used in different situations as a fullback or even a tight end.
The Patriots’ third quarterback is Ryan Mallett, who the team drafted in the third round in 2011. Mallett’s name has appeared in trade rumors over the last two years, as teams love his strong arm and, of course, the fact he’s learning under Brady.