Harrison says the problem isn’t Brady but his supporting cast


So what’s wrong with Tom Brady?  A former teammate says the real question is what’s wrong with the guys around him.

Tom Brady can still play,” NBC’s Rodney Harrison told WEEI in Boston on Tuesday, via ESPN.com.  “But when you surround him — there’s a reason why Brandon LaFell was let go [by Carolina]. He’s not a great player. He’s a young guy, and he has to make his way in this league.

“And Danny Amendola, you look at him, no one ever said he was a great player. He’s always been hurt. The history is behind it.  Rob Gronkowski obviously coming off that ACL injury, he’s been hurt.  So it’s not like when you look at the Patriots on paper they just have all these weapons and teams are afraid of them.”

Then there’s the blocking.  Or lack of it.

“I think it’s one of those situations where Brady, he’s really, really frustrated,” Harrison said. “He doesn’t have any confidence in his offensive line.”

As a result, Harrison thinks Brady is “scared to death” in the pocket.

“But at the end of the day, Tom needs to play better,” Harrison said.  “The offensive line needs to protect him, but Tom — we’ve said it week in and week out — he’s missing opportunities that are there; he’s just floating the ball in the air.”

The ball may be floating some more on Sunday night.  Fresh off a 41-14 thrashing by the Chiefs on national TV, the Pats return home to face the 3-0 Bengals on Sunday Night Football.

72 responses to “Harrison says the problem isn’t Brady but his supporting cast

  1. I’m not agreeing 100% with this assessment, but when you look at the guys Brady is throwing to, as well as the guys being counted on to protect him…it certainly leaves much to be desired. All I know is that when the Pats managed to give Brady one of the top WRs in the NFL in Randy Moss, nobody could touch the Pats. All they did was set records.

  2. Okay, time for a *slight* reality check:

    These are all facts, but Brady isn’t the guy he was 3 years ago. He’s a bit slower and isn’t overcoming the lack of talent at key positions. Let’s stop acting like this 0% Brady’s fault.

  3. You know who this happened to last year? Eli Manning. And everyone was all like, “oh man! Eli’s such a bad quaterback! He’s so bad! Get rid of him!” He’s got a team this year and no one want to give him any credit. But if blessed art thou Tom Brady gets a bad supporting cast, wow, look out everyone except Tom Brady. Media’s gonna light you up.

  4. Respect what the Pats have done the past decade plus, but next Sunday night the torch gets passed. Bengals are for real this year, and for the forseeable future.

  5. I’m sick of hearing all the excuses being made for Brady – the Patriots don’t have the worst OL or WR corps in the league.

    Amendola was wide open on several plays but Brady never even looked his way. Amendola, on the Rams and with McDaniels had far more success – he is capable of being a bigtime contributor but Brady is not using him

    Endelman is a great slot WR and solid #2, Wright was the most productive rookie TE in the NFL last year despite being on a horrible team, Gronk might not be 100% but he is still far better than most other teams TEs and LaFell was a good, productive receiver despite playing in Carolina on a more run-heavy team.

    It’s not that the Patriots haven’t been trying to surround Brady with receiving talent, the fact is they’ve been trying to find receivers that fit his skillset of throwing quick, short inside passes over the middle that can get him YAC (in his most recent MVP year his receivers led the league in yards after the catch) eg Welker, Amendola, Endelman, Austin Collie.

    Brady has never been a particularly great or consistent outside passer – it’s very telling that despite the gameplan being to clearly spread the Chiefs out on MNF by passing out of the shotgun that they deactivated their outside WRs as Brady probably wouldn’t have been able to get the ball to them anyway

  6. What supporting cast?! The man’s #1 and 2 receivers are a 5 foot tall slot receiver and a shell of his former self tight end playing on one leg. Yes Brady is missing open receivers, but that has more to do with the ticking clock in his head after every snap and constant fear of getting leveled that he’s never had to deal with before. I wish there was a way for he and Peyton Manning to switch teams for a year, because Brady would be the one who Look like he can play until his 50’s, and Manning would look like he’s on his last stretch.

  7. Harrison, u need to quit trying to sugarcoat this. when the rookie QB can go out there with the same line and march down the field and score a touchdown there has to be something wrong with Brady

  8. Thanks, Rodney. Very profound. I don’t know what the world would do without your penetrating insights.

  9. All true – and Belichick would be the first to accept responsibility for assembling the team that he did

    Now, that doesn’t mean that players still aren’t supposed to execute – especially if they want to play in this league

    But the notion that Brady is washed up or that Belichick refuses to accept his share of blame for a loss (as he always does) is laughable.

  10. This happens every year…And somehow they ALWAYS find a way to turn it around.

    Its obvious that they are no longer a SB contender, but they will make the playoffs and get bounced like they have been for the past 10 years or so.

  11. Nothing is as dangerous as a wounded animal. The Pats will be back. And the Bengals have a history of losing games they should win by playing down to their opponent’s level. Check Marvin Lewis’ record coming off a bye week. Bengals are ripe for a let down.

  12. Nice that everyone’s making excuses for Brady. No doubt, the pats aren’t as talented as many would have us believe. However, if you watch the games and take a look at the stats, the truth is evident.

    Any other QB would have been taken to the woodshed by the media and the talking heads. Go ahead, keep ignoring what your eyes have seen. Sure he will have some more games where everyone proclaims his return to form, but just like like every other great player before him, those games will be fewer and fewer.

  13. It’s almost as if Rodney Harrison, an ex-professional football player who knows the team personally, knows more about football than the average moron New England fan that can’t do anything but dial WEEI and scream.

    I will say though, LaFell is playing with a lot more guts than people gave him credit for.

  14. Harrison is right, it is Brady’s supporting cast that’s holding him back…. His arm is just awful. Time or no time to throw it, doesn’t matter. Brady can no longer make every throw a qb needs to make. #12thmanisheretostay #dynastybeforeyoureyes

  15. Like a broken record, pick a new topic every week to complain about then next week pick a new topic blah blah blah!

  16. Brady’s now dealing with what Cutler dealt with his first 4 years in Chicago. Not that I’d compare Cutler to Brady, but it doesn’t make it easier.

  17. So Brady spent the last couple of years throwing to as bad if not worst receivers not named Welker but now that his deal with the devil ran out it’s all the current crop of WR and the All-Pro TE Brady got back? Ok, he’s got a point about the offensive line play but we’ve seen Brady win with bad receivers. The problem isn’t just on them.

  18. The Patriots have been making questionable personnel decisions going back to 2005/2006 when Bill first showed signs of being unable to rebuild the aging defense, which had been so dominate in their super bowl years, through the draft. When I go back and look at their success from 2005 on I see a team that benefited from elite QB play and their positioning in a division that has been historically bad over the past decade. But make no mistake about it, outside of 2007 when the team was stacked, the Patriots have fielded a flawed roster in every other season. Rosters with huge personnel holes that got exposed in the playoffs by quality opponents.

    Point is Brady is no longer elite, and while I feel as though if surrounded by the right team he could still win in the NFL, he is no longer able to cover up for the head scratching moves by Bill the GM.

  19. The Beging of the End. The patriots are really
    not a good team at all. there about to lose
    a couple more. Bengles and Bills will see
    to it that this season is about over.
    the way I see it the Bills will finish
    1st now that they have a real QB with
    Orton running the ship. Dolphins will finish
    2nd. They already kicked the crap out of the pats.
    N.E. will finish 3rd and the Jets will finish

  20. So why did Gropollo move em 80 yards right on down for a touchdown? He had the same talent that Tom had and it seemed to work for him.

    Admit it Tom, you’re at the end of your career and don’t have the fire in your belly anymore. Go home and start being the house dad Mr. Bunchen.

    Tjanks for the memories Tom.

  21. As a Ravens fan I can unequivocally say that we’ve all seen this movie before.

    The media and fans starts to pour dirt on the pats after initially praising an offseason trade that now with hindsight made the team weaker (wright and a pick for Mankins) only to see the team start to gel and come together after a rough start.

    They’ll right the ship, Belichick always does, and win the AFC east easily. Meanwhile the team that starts out like a house on fire will finish the season as one and done in the playoffs. Just ask the Chiefs or bengals.

    Honestly we saw the same movie last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and…

  22. Look at what John Elway has done in Denver in an attempt to getting Peyton Manning another ring. Look at the talent he has acquired.

    And look at what the Patriots have done for Tom Brady.

    If your name isn’t Brady, you’d best not be a Pro Bowler in New England, because it’s probably going to mean a one-way ticket out of town, sooner rather than later.

    Genius Bill has jumped the shark, and skinflint Robert Kraft’s cheap ways can no longer be ignored.
    What’s equally shocking are the number of big league analysts that predicted a Superbowl return this year for the Patriots (silliness exceeded only by the hype for the Saints).

  23. What game was he watching? I’ve never seen suck terrible passes from Brady. He had poor supporting casts in the past and did fine. He was just 5-10 years younger. Can somebody please hire an analyst that has a clue.

  24. Brady is done.
    The rest of the team is not in position to let the refs decide it for them at the end of the game like they did in Cleveland last year.
    There is no magic or video tapes or phantom calls to slow the demise. The only thing that will slow it a little is how horrible the Jets, Bills and Dolphins can be on any given week.

  25. of course, itz nvr marcia’s fault is it? big ben has had basically no offensive line for almost his whole career, he had hines ward…..no tall receiver, and average running backs…..but itz only pretty boy who ‘has no supporting cast’


  26. If by ‘supporting cast’ Harrison meant OC & QB coach Josh McDaniels, then he is 100% right.
    I cringed when they brought him back, and hope they get rid of him soon enough, or Bill steps in and takes control of the offense from here on out.

  27. I think Brady is losing a step… it happens to all the great ones. I think its on the GM or scout, or whomever is in that spot in NE.

    If anything this just goes to show, you can’t always trade vets for future prospects, and if you do, but even that can be overcome. Just spy on the other team and get inside information, because after all that’s the last time the Patriots have won anything.

  28. It would help to consider some facts in the assessment of the Patriots performance.

    Fact: The Patriots had poor field position the whole game. In 11 drives they never once started better than their 20 yard line.

    Fact: The Patriots, who had forced 8 turnovers in 3 games, did not force any turnovers in this game.

    Fact: The Patriots had only four possessions in the 1st half. Total time of those possessions was a mere 10:30 versus 19:30 for the Chiefs.

    Fact: Despite all of the above, Brady had no turnovers, and only one 3 and out in the first half.

    Fact: In the second half, with a 17-0 lead, the Chiefs continually dropped 8 men into coverage while still getting to Brady for a strip sack, a forced fumble/turnover, numerous hurried throws, and two interceptions.

    The game may have been an aberration for the Patriots but it had a theme that has been seen often for away teams in the NFL.

  29. ..Meanwhile.. Garoppolo drives down the field missing only a pass and tossing a TD.

  30. Too many excuses… This is just a lousy start to a season by Brady and hopefully not a sign of his decline. The scary thing is he’s played some average defenses so far. However if there’s one thing Belichick has done well it’s hiding some of Brady’s weaknesses that have come with age. The good news is that Garappolo looks like he could be something some day.

  31. @ Flash1287
    Tom Brady’s Stat line this year

    -Completion % 59.1 good for 27th in the league, and not much better than Tim Tebow’s career rating I might add.
    -Yards a game average is 198 good for 30th in the league.
    -Average per pass attempt is 5.77 which is second last in the league and just barely above rookie QB Derek Carr in Oakland LoL!
    -Touchdown Passes he has 4 which is good for 21st in the league EJ Manual has more and was just benched I might add, Ryan Fitzpatrick has more and even Ryan Tannehill has more Bwwahahahahaahahah.
    -Interceptions 2 is good for 21st in the league which is one stat you want to be low. With the multiple dropped picks against Oakland he really should be leading the league with 4 or 5.
    -Sacs 9 which is good for 7th in the league (this isn’t a good thing pats nation)
    -QB rating 79.1 which determines how well your playing the position there are only 3 QB playing worse at present moment and that’s Derek Carr, Geno Smith, and Jake Locker.
    -Fumbles he leads the league with 5 and also leads the league in fumbles lost with 3. Tom stop eating that popcorn bro! Them fingers are greasy!
    -3rd down % is 21 for 58 with a whopping 36% conversion rate. Which ranks 27th in the league and is absolutely pathetic.
    -This guy doesn’t deserve to be in the conversation as the best ever. He has a hard enough time winning an argument that he’s better than his back up. Tom Brady is Over rated and since being exposed as a fraud he proves game in and game out he’s a bottom 3rd of the league caliber QB. THIS GUY SUCKS!

  32. funny how when Jay Cutler was getting pounded every week playing behind some of the worst offensive lines in the history of football, and with no weapons to throw to.Devin Hester was his # 1 wideout it did not matter critics said, he should be able to make them better and that the elite qb’s would be able to win. now that it is happening to an elite qb (one who sucks up to the media unlike Cutler) it’s not his fault. double standard much? I don’t care what he did in the past with talent around him we are talking the present day here and now.

  33. Of course Brady is “scared to death” in the pocket. He has enjoyed the luxury of the best protection in football for years. Now that it’s gone, he’s being exposed.

  34. This is laughable, first because Harrison is obviously biased and second, for the longest time we have been told that Tom can make average receivers look like great receivers. Deion Branch was supposedly the poster boy for what Tom could do. In fact, aside from Randy Moss, Tom has NEVER had elite talent to support him. The fact of the matter is, since the begining of last season, Tom has looked old. No zip on his passes, no accuracy with his throws and even less mobility than he had before (if that was even possible). I’ve got nothing against Tom Brady but time is catching up to him. It’s not his fault and there really isn’t anything he can do about it, it’s just how the game works. But please, for the love of God, spare me this garbage about his weapons. You lose that right when you spend 15 years telling us how he doesn’t need them.

  35. Baltimore had the worst line in the history of the bfn last season but you didn’t hear any noise from their QB. Brady is exposing himself for who he really is…a whiny prima donna who manipulates the officials with his on-field screams. Thank you Giants and Ravens for rendering NE impotent the past seven years!

  36. I don’t care how good a QB is…if the offensive line blows, so will the QB. Tom has had an amazing line most of his career. This year? Not so much. In today’s NFL, if you aren’t mobile and your line stinks, you will not succeed.

  37. Rodney’s own version of it’s not you – it’s me. Everyone is hesitant to say that Tom’s skills may be eroding. It happens to evetyone.

    It’s true he doesn’t have the support of other QBs, but the same is true for many others, who get slammed daily. Would he be better with Peyton or Luck’s weapons? Of course, but in Luck’s case he can throw 4 TDs in a win, turn around and throw 2 ints, then get credit because he lacks a run game and a defense.

    There’s a double standard. Win and it’s all good. Lose and all the excuses come out.

  38. Shut your piehole Harrison, you were the dirtiest player to ever play the game, you used roids too. Nobody cares about your opinion. Brady is done and so are the Patriots.

  39. So in this case the QB gets all of the praise and none of the blame. STOP IT. Would it be better with a stronger supporting cast, probably but Tom is on the down hill slope and there will be plenty of reasons why, some of which is the player is not as sharp mentally, physically or otherwise in Tom’s words he has started to ” suck “.

  40. When it comes to the Pats you can’t believe anything Harrison says. He is a totally biased homer when he is supposed to be an unbiased commentator.

  41. “No one ever said [Amendola] was a great player.”

    That’s funny, because I seem to recall many Pats supporters, and at least one member of the media, Bill Barnwell at Grantland, saying that although Welker was a great player for the Pats, Amendola was going to be an upgrade because he was just as good but was younger.

  42. Brady reminds me of Favre as he got older and would get hit. He didn’t like it very much and it affected his game. Same with Brady. If Manning starts getting hit in Den then he’s done too.

  43. Brady would not be Brady if he didn’t have good olines around him his whole career. We all know what happens to Brady when the other team gets pressure on him……he can’t get it done.

  44. Pats have lost a lot of front office and coaching talent, and it’s starting to take a toll. They’ve also lost talent on the field as well (Mankins, Hernandez, Welker, and Gronk is pretty much a part time player.

  45. Yes the line is terrible, but good teams have figured Brady out. Brady is among the worst QBs under pressure in the pocket. Get him out of the pocket, and he becomes impotent.

    A good way to alleviate that pressure? A run game, but that all circles back to the line.

    This has all the makings of a 7-9 or 8-8 team.

  46. so brady only plays well when he has everything tipped in his favor? who doesn’t play well under those circumstances? he doesn’t have it anymore.

    Favre fell off a cliff after the 2009 season, looks like the same is happening to Brady, except he kind of stunk last year too.

  47. Harrison nailed it.

    Let’s see if BB can scheme and strategize the Pats team to an over .500 record with this roster.

    I’m betting no. Looks like a 7-9 year to me.

  48. Wait, but Tom Brady is the best qb in the league when it comes to making those around him better…How many years are we going to be hearing this excuse for Brady?

  49. Don’t worry Tommy Boy, you get to come to Buffalo in two weeks to beat up on your favorite doormats. I’m sure after that game all the articles will be how “Brady is back!”

  50. the cheating patriots defense was great because they cheated….after 9/11, the patriots were given special treatment, i.e., no holding calls allowed so pretty boy could stand back there and toss those five yard down and in and/or out, and pad his stats with YAC….

    dink and dunk to three vinateri field goals (the real mvp of their asterisk trophies)

    pass happy rule changes, kept marcia high in the stats and points….but alas, no more cheating…no more rings….

    old dink and dunk tommy boy is nothing, and never was…..and im loving it.

  51. *
    Give Peyton Manning these same weapons and watch how he lights it up.
    P.S. – Not being sarcastic 3 1 
    Report comment


    Put Tom & Peyton onn each others team and watch pouty peyton get cruushed like a paper cup.
    In the SB, on that second pick, they showed the replay 4 times. Peyton had his eyes closed tight from before his arm started back till after he released that airball.

  52. For years Tom Brady has been pampered with protection, having time for a cup of coffee back there. Now Mankins is gone and suddenly Tom’s facing what… Ben Roethlisberger has had to put up with for years!

    Ben’s line stinks this year too, but here’s the difference.

    Ben 99 rating
    Tom 79 rating

    I just wish certain Steelers fans would wake up and smell the coffee.

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