The key to beating Tom Brady used to be hitting him early and often. The Chiefs have become the latest defense to show that there’s another way.
Brady, who can carve up a zone defense like a Jedi splitting open a tauntaun (NERD), has struggled of late, relatively speaking, against man-to-man defenses.
Of course, playing man coverage and playing it competently are two very different things. The Chiefs had both the horses and the guts to do it. The Saints may be willing, but their young defense may not be able.
When it comes to facing the Patriots, playing zone is a certain slow death. Playing man potentially will be a fast death. But it also will possibly shorten drives and give the Saints’ offense more chances against a New England defense that struggled in Week One.
Given Brady’s obvious issues with accuracy in Week One, why not take away the ability to dink and dunk it to an open man in an open space and instead force Brady to go through his reads, find a guy in man coverage who may be open, and deliver the ball accurately? That strategy seems to be working, and the alternative consistently hasn’t.