There are some NFL franchises that are synonymous with toughness.
The Steelers and Ravens come to mind. So do the Bears. Heck, throw in the 49ers this year, too.
The Patriots? Not so much. Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain went so far as to say the Patriots were a “finesse” team a few weeks ago.
That’s like calling a Marine soft — it’s pretty much a slur.
“Football is always about playing physical,” Tom Brady said. “It’s a physical sport, and if you’re a finesse team you don’t usually last very long. And that’s what we’re trying to be; we’re trying to be a physical team that’s tough.”
They better keep trying.
The only thing tough about last week’s offensive display was how tough it was to watch.
The Pats were down all game, so it makes sense that they threw it more often than not.
But just 12 total carries? Just five carries from a 1,000-yard rusher, BenJarvus Green-Ellis? That has to change.
Brady admits it’s hard to regain a “tough” identity when throwing so much.
“It comes down to those situational plays that I talked about,” Brady said. “Like third-and-1, you’re not throwing it. First-and-goal on the 1, you’re not throwing it. Four minutes left in the game and you’ve got the lead, you’re not throwing it.”
In the fourth quarter the Patriots had third-and-1 on the Steelers’ 1-yard line. Pass. Fourth-and-1; pass. First-and-1 after a penalty; pass for TD.
So, does that make the Pats a finesse team??
If it does, Brady certainly seems to hope that shifts — and soon.
“Finesse in football?” he said. “Yes, football isn’t a finesse sport. You don’t go very far as a finesse team.”