BOSTON (CBS) — Michael Felger listed a number of hurdles which will make life difficult for Tom Brady next season.
One is the inevitable: Father Time. Brady will turn 38 years old in August, and it’s hard being a quarterback near 40.
Another factor: Without Darrelle Revis, the defense will not be as good next season as it was last season, so more weight will be on Brady’s shoulders.
Oh, one more: The skilled players remained remarkably healthy last year, which might not be the case in 2015.
And then, Felger said, there’s this: “He’s not going to have his guy in there taking a little air out of the ball.”
Felger prefaced this statement by saying he’s not trolling.
“Last year he struggled in that first month, right? It was bad,” Felger said of Brady’s September, when he completed 59 percent of his passes and threw four touchdowns and two interceptions. “And then he steadied himself at home against Cincinnati, and then he had that game against the Jets where it was real bad, right? And he freaked out about the balls.”
That’s where, according to Felger, the plot thickens.
“And what happened after that Jets game? The very next week against Chicago, and this is the one where it had the most chatter that Wells was able to decipher,” Felger said. “The most chatter between [John] Jastremski and [Jim] McNally, and this was like the big week, where they were MF-ing Tom, and Tom was on them for the condition of the balls, and whatever. The next week, they played a home game against Chicago, and Brady went 30-of-35. That’s a completion percentage of 85.7 percent. His quarterback rating that day was 148.4.”
And after that, it was smooth sailing for Tom.
“From that game forward, when Brady freaked out on his ball boys — not even ball boys, I’m sorry, locker room attendant — since that game, and again, he completed 54 percent of his passes against the Jets. After that, his completion percentages were 85.7, 62.3, 63.3, 71.7, 62.9, 63.6, you get the idea. He sort of turned his season around from that point forward.
“Now, obviously Brady can play with a fully inflated football. He did in the Super Bowl and was as good as you’ll ever see. He did in the second half against the Colts and he was as good as you’ll ever see. So I’m not saying he can’t throw a fully inflated football. Of course he can. Obviously he can. He obviously doesn’t need it. … but, maybe over the years, he’s used it. It’s a crutch. You know these athletes that get ’em sort of right, they’re struggling, they do a little of this, a little of that, and it’s a mental thing. I don’t know, because he can clearly throw a football whether it’s 12.5 PSI or 16, he can do it, but when he gets in times of trouble, he’s had a little help there along the way. What if he doesn’t have it along the way?”
His point being made, Felger did not get much support from his radio brethren.
“Doesn’t that 8-for-8, -yard, go-ahead drive in the Super Bowl kind of kill that whole argument?” asked Jim Murray.
“Yeah. That’s not a concern for me,” Tony Massarotti said. “The air in the balls is not a concern for me.”
Felger admitted it’s more of a mental edge than a physical edge, but it’s something to monitor nonetheless.
“I just think [his performance] is going to come down from last year, for a multitude of reasons, and the pssst is just a little thing I’m going to keep an eye on. That’s all. Just a little bit. In times of trouble, he has a bad night, the ball is too hard, can he go to his guys and say, ‘Get thes balls right next week, by the way. They didn’t feel right.’ He can’t do that.”
Unsurprisingly, the callers weren’t a fan of Felger’s opinion.