BOSTON (CBS) — With Jacoby Brissett under center and a watered down playbook, the Patriots were shut out by the Buffalo Bills 16-0 at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.
But forget that Pop Warner playbook, because Tom Brady is back. With the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback returning from his DeflateGate suspension on Monday, Boomer Esiason of CBS’ The NFL Today and WFAN said the Patriots are now ready to get “back to who they really are.”
Boomer joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich for his weekly interview on Monday, and said Brady will get to take out a month’s worth of frustration against the 0-4 Cleveland Browns next Sunday. While Brady is an exquisite physical specimen and one of the greatest (if not the greatest) quarterbacks to ever play the game, Boomer wouldn’t be surprised if the 39-year-old has a little bit of rust to knock off following his 30 day ban from the team.
“I just caution everybody that, we’re all expecting him to throw five touchdowns and 500 yards his first day back on the field. It’s not that easy,” said Esiason. “He has to get himself into game shape and mentally get himself back into it. He has to be as motivated as he’s ever before to go out and have a great season.
“It’s not going to be easy; just rolling out of bed and playing football. There is going to be some adjustment period and, I would think, a few bumps in the road. They’re lucky they’re playing Cleveland. It shouldn’t be a tough game for them defensively and Tom will probably throw 30-35 times to get acclimated,” he said. “They should be able to pull away with a victory and smooth sailing the rest of the way.”
Rob Gronkowski made his return to the field last Thursday, but has been a relative non-factor in each of his two games this season. Esiason said that should change now that Brady will be back under center.
“I would suspect we’ll see the full bloom of the offense. There is a lot Josh McDaniels can’t do with a rookie quarterback. When the Patriots are all healthy and Tom is at quarterback, they have the full complement of the offense. They can move guys around, and they’ll start to do that,” he explained. “[Gronkowski] may be hindered by the hamstring, but I think he was more hindered by the fact he was playing with a rookie quarterback who couldn’t see the full field and was trying to run the ball more often.
“All of that stuff is gone and out the window, Josh goes back to being a real offensive coordinator with a full complement of the playbook and formations, and I suspect Gronk will play a big role, if he’s healthy, against the Browns,” said Boomer.
Esiason also touched on the NFL’s ridiculous crackdown on on-field celebrations: