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Bruschi says if Brady ducks under pressure, he’s smart

Baltimore Ravens free safety Ed Reed (20) jumps over a sliding New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the second quarter in the NFL AFC Championship football game in Foxborough Reuters

When Steelers safety Ryan Clark said this week that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ducks and flinches when he feels pressure, it caused a stir among those who saw Clark as calling Brady out. One of Brady’s teammates, however, says that there’s some truth in Clark’s comments — and that’s a reflection of the intelligence Brady brings to the game.

Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi discussed the matter with Clark today on ESPN’s NFL Live, and Bruschi said that when Clark describes Brady as shying away from contact, what he is actually describing is a smart quarterback who knows that as the most important player on the team, he can’t take unnecessary hits.

“He says ‘seeing ghosts,’ I say ‘protecting the franchise,’” Bruschi said. “Quarterbacks must think differently than safeties or linebackers.”

Bruschi said that when he was on the Patriots’ defense and was watching Brady from the sideline, he would be yelling for Brady to avoid contact in exactly the way Clark described.

“Tom has that clock, he feels it,” Bruschi said of Brady’s ability to feel pressure coming. “If you’re on that sideline you want him to go down.”

Clark took Bruschi’s comments as validation of his own critique of Brady.

“What I said was the truth, and Tedy just kind of agreed with me but gave you the reason why it’s OK,” Clark said. “When he’s in the pocket, he’s ducking. He’s looking. He wants to get out of the way. He doesn’t want to be hurt.”

Bruschi told Clark that after the Patriots lost Brady in Week One of the 2008 season and had to go with Matt Cassel the rest of the year, the Patriots knew that Brady had to protect himself going forward. In the same way, Bruschi said, Clark would want Ben Roethlisberger to go down and protect himself rather than getting knocked out of a game and relying on Charlie Batch to replace him.

“I would rather play with Tom Brady than with Matt Cassel,” he said. “Just like I think you would rather have Roethlisberger than Batch.”

If what Brady does is “duck” and “flinch” under pressure, then Patriots fans would gladly take Brady ducking and flinching for 16 games a season for several more years.

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39 Responses to “Bruschi says if Brady ducks under pressure, he’s smart”
  1. tbd3 says: May 8, 2013 5:39 PM

    Why do you think Ben Roethlisberger misses more games than Brady? Because he takes the contact. Brady avoids it.

  2. bigmarsh57 says: May 8, 2013 5:42 PM

    As a Cowboys fan watching Romo run around to avoid pressure inevitably throwing it into a crowd of DBs, yes, “flinch” take the sack or throw it away.

  3. bosoxlover12 says: May 8, 2013 5:46 PM

    The last time Roethlisberger played 16 games, the Steelers won the Super Bowl.

    That alone should be enough reason to disprove Clark.

  4. gloryfromheaven says: May 8, 2013 5:47 PM

    It’s funny cause even Peyton Manning basically does the same thing. He just falls down and takes the sacks when he knows he’s about to get popped or he’ll throw it away quickly without much pressure….

  5. titansbro says: May 8, 2013 5:47 PM

    But when it matters I want my QB to hang in there & deliver the football even if it means taking the hit.

  6. axespray says: May 8, 2013 5:48 PM

    As a Packer Fan, any time Rodgers would scramble and not slide or go out of bounds – I … ugh, I really don’t wanna watch Graham Harrell doing anything, but hold a clipboard.

  7. ampats says: May 8, 2013 5:49 PM

    Ryan Clark thinks it is much smarter to stand in there and take the hit and get knocked out multiple games. Sounds like wishful thinking on his part.

    Tom Brady will see you in Foxboro Anthony Smith, I mean Ryan Clark.

  8. axltcu says: May 8, 2013 5:52 PM

    As a Pats fan I’d rather he take the sack than fumble or throw a pick because he’s trying to throw while getting hit.

  9. dccowboy says: May 8, 2013 5:54 PM

    ” dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge!”

    Patches O’Houlihan

  10. dcsween says: May 8, 2013 5:57 PM

    I think that this is something that RGIII promised he is working on too … listening to his brain clock and getting safe.

  11. thegreatgabbert says: May 8, 2013 6:00 PM

    I’ve been saying the same thing about the kid who knocked off a 42 on his Wonderlic test. Maybe y’all listen now?

  12. puppybowler says: May 8, 2013 6:07 PM

    Bruschi would never criticize anything Patriots. I think he had them winning the superbowl last year after they lost to the Ravens in the playoffs.

  13. catquick says: May 8, 2013 6:15 PM

    Bruschi makes sense

  14. blackngold4life says: May 8, 2013 6:22 PM

    Everybody knows if you can hit Brady a few times a game he gets Rattled just like P Manning..That’s why they run that Dink and dunk offense that made Welker look so GREAT. He’s best when he can sit in the pocket for 10 seconds and don’t have to move his feet. Clark meant no disrespect was just answering a Question..And Teddy as good as he was is the ULTIMATE Homer! He’s pickd the Pats to win the Superbowl every year since he retired.

  15. zack2482 says: May 8, 2013 6:34 PM

    As a Cowboys fan, Romo is ALWAYS running. Brady, only feels pressure in 4 games all season which equates to 4 losses. Get the point? He’s hardly pressured and when he is, he’s a sitting duck.

  16. harrisonhits2 says: May 8, 2013 6:42 PM

    Brady also ducks while tucking the ball into his body and wrapping his body around it so he won’t fumble when he sees he’s going to take a hit.

    He rarely fumbles.

  17. ggreen7 says: May 8, 2013 6:44 PM

    Tom Brady has a quick release, just as Dan Marino did. When he can’t get rid of the ball quickly he’ll go down rather than go out of the game. It’s funny how people seem to think it’s all about his offensive line protecting him. In 2001 while Bledsoe was starting, he was constantly getting sacked and they were winless. Once Brady came in, all of the sudden the O line was miraculously better and they won the Super Bowl. It’s not rocket science.

  18. eagleseagleseagles says: May 8, 2013 6:51 PM

    Brady has always had good route-running receivers and so he gets the ball out quick. Belichick is too smart to leave him on an island to get hit all day. I don’t know how anyone hasn’t picked up on this strategy. Only two strategies work in the NFL.
    1- you have a mobile qb that puts a strain on the defense because they are always scared of the qb running.
    2- you have a very accurate qb with extremely good route-running WRs so that the qb gets rid of the ball.

  19. hovadagod says: May 8, 2013 8:20 PM

    Teddy bruschi kills me if Clark would have said that flacco or dalton he would’ve talked bout how their scared and bout how their o lines suck but since it was said bout cry baby Brady he wants to clean it up. Why is he on espn he should be on some local sports show in the Boston area since he only likes the pats

  20. zombiepatriot says: May 8, 2013 8:28 PM

    Since everything else I post seems to disappear let’s try something simple.

    Brady is good.

    Good for him for not taking hits.

    Plays more games.

    Patriots chances of winning increased.

  21. 49erlifer says: May 8, 2013 8:33 PM

    Not a Giants fan but i like Eli Manning but he has some of the most akward throws before being hit i have ever seen, funny thing is they usually are right on the money.

  22. umadbro13 says: May 8, 2013 8:44 PM

    Clark calling someone “fragile” is hilarious dude cant even play in Denver

  23. kinguga says: May 8, 2013 8:44 PM

    Most QBs who lack mobility will tend to get gun-shy when they’re getting constant pressure in the pocket. Brady will stand in there all day if he feels safe. Therefore, it’s on the defense to find a way to get pressure on him WITHOUT leaving those short, quick passes wide open for easy first down gains. The easiest way to do that is to get pressure with your front four, which the Giants put to good use in two Super Bowl wins over the Pats.

  24. u4iadman says: May 8, 2013 9:13 PM

    Teddy is such a homer for Pats, no objectivity.
    Cant listen to him at all.

  25. heinrich95 says: May 8, 2013 10:05 PM

    Brady is a lady!

  26. abninf says: May 8, 2013 10:11 PM

    Eh, Tony Ramirez Romo plays with a punctured lung and broken rib. Brady would curl up and cry.

  27. redskinsredskinsredskins says: May 8, 2013 10:35 PM

    Don’t know if I can trust bruschi. Remember when he was all like “derrrrrrrrrrr strokee dddddderrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”

  28. buffalobills4ever says: May 8, 2013 10:42 PM

    In my opinion if you take any elite pocket passer (Brady, Mannings, Flacco, etc.) and you give them a poor offensive line or just a defensive team that is dominating their line, they will not be successful. Watching Brady pick apart my bills over the years having 10-15 seconds to throw the ball makes him seem better than he really is at times. I’m not saying these guys aren’t good, notice I called them elite pocket passers. I’m simply saying they need the o-line and system to be perfect. Playmaking quarterbacks like RGIII, Mike Vick, Andrew Luck, Russel Wilson, Collin Kapernick, Aaron Rogers, Ben Rothlisberger, are the guys who can make plays when defensive line pressure is overwhelming an offensive line. Make a pass rusher miss and hit a wide open receiver across the middle. Matt Cassel is an example of a player who completely benefited from things being perfect in New England and when things were not that way in Kansas City he was brutal.

  29. bubbahotepp says: May 8, 2013 11:21 PM

    Brady doesn’t need to duck or flinch. If you breathe on him, you’re flagged.

  30. mike83ri says: May 8, 2013 11:27 PM

    I said almost word for word as a comment under the original post but yet again the PFT police went and deleted it. Knock it off guys, it’s getting old.

  31. swagger52 says: May 8, 2013 11:31 PM

    It is smart, but only for Brady. Brady is the only QB that makes a lot of first downs by illegal contact or illegal hit on the QB. Brady leads the league in that percentage, so Bruschi is basically saying that that Brady is playing the odds – just wait for the call.

  32. iclight79 says: May 9, 2013 12:05 AM

    Well that and it certainly didn’t help Cassel that he no longer got to play your Bills, the Jets and the equally lowly Dolphins twice a season when he went to KC. That’s not to say the AFC West is any good, it especially wasn’t back then, but it’s better than the East minus the Patriots.

  33. pdxpanther says: May 9, 2013 12:26 AM

    I bet if Bruschi played for another team he’d say Brady was soft and needs to take the contact like Ben.

  34. swagger52 says: May 9, 2013 1:07 AM

    Bruschi is right. Suggs is right. They are saying the same thing Brady gets all the calls. Bruschi is just saying, just wait it out until the Refs give Brady a call. Brady’s best odds for a illegal contact call ALWAYS happen on 3rd and long. Don’t believe me..check the stats…

    How Ironic..that illegal contact call came into the league because the Patriots were chucking the greatest show on turf all the way down the field in the Superbowl.

  35. larryboodry says: May 9, 2013 5:17 AM

    Smart man, that Tom Brady…He may have a future in this league.

  36. chalkruz1989 says: May 9, 2013 7:07 AM

    So, you’re saying that a Pittsburg Steelers player is mocking a New England Patriots player?

    That’s not a shocker, any which way to throw a dagger, you take your shot.

    But, it’s Ryan Clark not Ben Roethlisberger or Troy Polamalu.

    Thanks to ESPN, Clark has been made into a household name. His play is quite average and if you see him when Troy is out of the lineup it’s pretty hysterical.

    Tom Brady only missed games due to a hit below the knee, not because of concussions or rib injuries and so forth.

    I’d rather have my quarterback look like a little girl when pressure comes than a barbarian and miss long periods of time.

  37. crownofthehelmet says: May 9, 2013 9:46 AM

    Classic picture. Both Reed and Brady, head down, thinking they’re going to be hit. Though pic would have been more appropriate if Reed was the hurdlee instead of the hurdler.

  38. CKL says: May 9, 2013 12:35 PM

    TB will stand and take a hit if he thinks he can complete the pass. Ask Dumervil. It’s more when the play looks like it’s not working that he’ll “live to fight another day”.

    It’s also about preventing turnovers. Last year TB lost 0 fumbles for the first time ever. He used to have double digint INTS almost every year and that has imporved as well. He was prone to the strip sack at times because he didn’t protect himself or the ball waiting to complete a pass. Ask Aaron Schoebel.

  39. bobzilla1001 says: May 9, 2013 2:09 PM

    Whatever and however Tom Brady plays the quarterback position at the NFL level, his methods are effective. He gets his offense into end zones. Often.
    I wonder how many times Bruschi was asked to play defense while supported by a 22nd-ranked scoring offense.
    Playing defense with a low-scoring offense leaves little room for error. Brady is one of the few QBs in the league able to carry a bottom-10 defense.
    He is to be admired.

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