By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — There’s a lot of drama around the Patriots these days. Perhaps you’ve heard?
The power trio of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft is set to explode, despite the team’s 13-3 record.
At least one of those men might be in his final days with the Patriots, even though the team has home-field advantage throughout the postseason and is a favorite to win the Super Bowl.
And Brady — poor, poor Tom Brady — is still steaming because he did not win any Patriot Of The Week awards all season long, even though he’ll win the NFL MVP award less than a month from now.
Yes, the “lingering sadness” that fills the offices and locker room at Gillette Stadium is very real, to the point where you can’t help but wonder if the Patriots will even bother to show up to their playoff game on Saturday night. Perhaps they’ll just forfeit, call it a year, and they can all go their separate ways. Clearly, the dynasty needs to end right now, so why delay it any longer?
Yet against all odds, it seems as though the Patriots will indeed try to persevere through these trying times. And it appears Brady — despite being a “changed” man, despite missing an imaginary open receiver against the Chargers in Week 8, despite being the recipient of a rare hug doled out by Kraft one day — is getting an early start on his preparation.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported Monday morning that Brady couldn’t wait any longer and showed up to work early, long before his teammates were due to arrive in Foxboro.
Crippling drama aside, there is reason to believe Brady could be in position to post some monster numbers for the Patriots this postseason. Nearly two full weeks of rest appears to have been much-needed for the 40-year-old, and it likely helped a number of players heal from injuries — a list that includes receiver Chris Hogan, as well as running backs James White and Rex Burkhead.
Add those players to the healthy offensive weapons — Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, Dion Lewis, Danny Amendola — and then consider the current roadmap through the AFC. It has Brady facing defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in the divisional round and then the Steelers in the conference championship; Brady has succeeded greatly against both that coach and that team (generally simultaneously) throughout his career.
What’s worse news for the Titans and (likely) the Steelers is that Brady didn’t leave for work Monday before he posted some inspirational wisdom on his Instagram page:
“Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ The warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’” – Unknown
“I am the storm”??!! Goodness gracious. The Titans are in trouble.
So, while the power struggle is apparently suffocating all who dare walk through the doors of Gillette Stadium, while Belichick may be “furious and demoralized” about a trade he made in October because his starting quarterback was performing too well, despite some unnamed “staffers” sharing the concrete information that the Patriots’ Week 17 ho-hum win over the Jets “felt as if it could be” Belichick’s final regular-season game with the Patriots, it appears as though the team is going to persevere and give it the old college try this weekend against the Titans.
Silly as it all may be, Brady’s shown a knack in his past for thriving on this stuff.