Tom Brady has been eating dirt more through five games than all of 2016. No, I’m not referring to his vegan diet “The Brady Method” but to the Swiss cheese that is the New England Patriots offensive line.
The line has allowed 16 sacks on the season – three of which have been allowed by veteran Nate Solder, who’s subpar play is costing the Patriots points. Solder has allowed 18 total pressures in just five games. In 2016 he only allowed 26 pressures and five sacks over 15 games, according to pro football focus.
“I think that overall, as a team, there are things that we all need to do better: coaching, playing, adjustments and so forth,” head coach Bill Belichick said Monday during a conference call when asked about Solder’s struggles. “Sometimes we haven’t just executed things the way that we want to do it.
Reporters continued to ask Belichick about Solder’s slow start and Belichick continued to beat around the bush and speak about the team and offensive line as a whole.
“Again, our team isn’t centered around one position or one player,” this is typical of Belichick when asked about certain positions and their struggles.
Solder’s contract runs out after the 2017 season and if his poor play continues they will not be afraid to say goodbye to one of their favorites. The Patriots selected offensive tackles Alex Garcia, and Connor McDermott in the third and sixth round of the 2017 draft, and might need to implement a switch.
Dante Scarnecchia will not stand for poor line play so expect the rookie linemen to see some playing time in the coming weeks if play doesn’t change.
The sacks and pressures aren’t all the offensive line’s fault however, Brady has been forced to hold the ball longer in order to find an open man deep. With a plethora of injuries including key wideout Julian Edelman, Brady has struggled to connect with recievers quickly.
Wide receiver Chris Hogan has been Brady’s security blanket while Cooks has seemingly been strapped by almost every defense. That’s an easy fix, and expect Brady and Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to return the offense to a well oiled machine.
Even with the porous offensive line play and slimming receiving corps, Brady is still posting historic numbers through Week 5. In order to separate themselves from the competition, players and coaches alike need to fix communication issues and come together as a team.