BY NICK ST. DENIS
Matchups between cornerbacks and receivers certainly dicatate where, when and how a quarterback throws the ball on a particular play.
Free-roaming safeties, according to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, hold just as much stock.
"You have to be aware of where the other players are on
the field," Brady said Wednesday, via Patriots.com. ". . . the safeties have a lot of bearing on how the
quarterbacks throw the ball.
"The longer the ball is in
the air, the more the safety has a chance to impact the play. So,
sometimes you don’t want the safety to be involved so you drive it a
little more. When they are not involved, you can put a little more air
Brady has certainly done a good job of avoiding safeties this season, as only two of his five interceptions have been to centerfielders. However, his most costly one was a pick-six to New York Jets safety Antonio Allen last week.
Allen snagged a pass from Brady, which was intended for Rob Gronkowski on a cross route, and took it to the end zone to spark New York's comeback victory. It was his first interception returned for a touchdown in over two years.
Brady was fully-aware of Allen, as Allen was manned-up with Gronkowski all along. But the only spot Brady could have completed the pass was over and ahead of Gronk. Instead, he threw it on a direct line, and Allen cut it off before it ever got to the tight end.
"Ultimately, whatever it takes to complete the ball that is what you
are trying to do," Brady said. "Certainly there are some throws that I would like to
do a lot of things different on. Whether I throw inside or outside or
low or high, you’re just trying to complete it the best you can."
Brady's only other pick to a safety this year was to Mark Barron of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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