Steelers safety Ryan Clark is already licking his chops about playing the Patriots in Week Nine.
Clark said on ESPN that the Patriots have taken a step backward by replacing Wes Welker with the “fragile” Danny Amendola, and that quarterback Tom Brady struggles when he starts to feel pressure and can’t find an open receiver.
“I think what’s really underestimated is Wes Welker’s importance to not only the New England Patriots, but Tom Brady,” Clark said. “Losing him is huge. . . . I know they think Danny Amendola can come in and have the same type of numbers he had with the Rams, but we also have to remember, he’s fragile.”
Clark believes that if Brady isn’t seeing his favorite receiver getting open quickly, then Brady is going to struggle.
“When Tom Brady gets pressure and when you’re man-to-man and bumping those guys and making it hard for him to throw, he sees ghosts,” Clark said. “Even when guys aren’t around him, even when he’s not about to be sacked, when his clock goes off in his head that the ball should be out, we’ll see him duck, we’ll see him flinch. When you get Tom Brady doing that, the whole New England Patriots mystique goes away.”
Clark referenced a 2011 game when the Steelers beat the Patriots and held Brady to 198 passing yards.
“Two years ago we played them and dominated them because we went man-to-man and had a big corner in Cortez Allen on [Rob] Gronkowski, and made it hard for Tom Brady to get the ball off, in timing, and made him to have to make plays. It was hard for him.”
Those comments may motivate Brady to make life hard for Clark when the teams meet on November 3.