Tom Brady. 3-time Super Bowl champion. 2-time Super Bowl MVP, 2-time NFL MVP. He just had his first season where he surpassed 5000 yards and guess what folks, its going to get even better. I believe that Brady will have his best season in 2012. With new players coming in, and some young talent on the roster it is definitely possible. I'll tell you which players or factors will have the most impact on Tom Brady's next MVP season, 2012.
Between Deion Branch, Donte Stallworth and Anthony Gonzales, the Patriots have a ton of targets Brady can throw to in any given situation.
With Pats' tight ends, New England can theoretically draw single coverage on all of their receivers.
Gonzales is especially interesting to me. He was exceptionally unexceptional in his time in Indy, due to a mix of injuries and other players emerging.
In New England, the young, six-foot wide receiver will hardly be the most threatening player on the field, but Belichick knows how to make players productive.
Gonzales is still raw and will need to work on his timing routes, but if he can be the other receiver on the field when Welker, Lloyd, Gronk, and Hernandez are out there, he could become a mismatch.
Keep your eye on this one.
The first Bronco, but not the last, to make this list is Daniel Fells, who is a natural pass catcher that can also seal an edge when he is blocking.
Adding him into the mix with new additions full back Spencer Larsen (who ESPN scouts say can also play defense) and full back Tony Fiammetta, a primarily blocking back, makes picking a defensive package harder than ever.
The Patriots could come out in a three-tight end, two-running back set, with Gronk, Hernandez, Fells, Ridley and either of the new fullbacks. Then, they could run a few inside runs.
If defenses decides to go heavy, Brady can send Gronk, Fells, and Hernandez out in passing routes and beat them with his arm. If they stay small, then Ridley can pound the ball all the way down the field.
If that is the case, teams may opt to have Brady throw and pray for an interception rather than have their defensive line battered time and time again.
The point is that the defense can't be right, and if they do go for the big play, Brady can rip them apart through the air.
Also by the time the game is basically over, teams will be trying to force the Patriots to punt and will stuff the box trying to stop the run. If Brady sees eight in the box, he will be more than happy to call a deep route to Gronk and take the easy points.
The Patriots have two first round picks this year, and as always we expect them to trade one of them for another second round pick and a first in 2013. However, what if they don't do that? Here are the two best case scenario options if they don't trade back.
Option 1: The Patriots grab a Vinny Curry DE from Marshall, a natural pass rusher that could thrive in the 3-4 as well as the 4-3. And they also grab Alshon Jeffery South Carolina WR. Jeffery is a 6-3+ monster, that can go up and grab the ball at its highest point much like Larry Fitzgerald. With the offensive set up of the Patriots, the could use him situationally in his first year when the wanted a two wide receiver set. This would be like killing two birds with one stone. Jeffery would not only get to get to ease into being a WR in the NFL, but he would often get match-ups with the #2 CB. Since the best corner will likely be on Brandon Lloyd and the safeties will be to busy providing extra help in coverage against Gronk, I imagine that Brady would just lob the ball to Jeffery and let him do what he does best. The rich become richer.
Option 2: This is highly unlikely so please don't crush me for this. The Patriots trade for a WR. This can either mean the Patriots go after Mike Wallace in RFA, which is about a 2% chance if that. Or more likely, they trade with a team like the Dolphins or Chiefs to move up for a WR. Whether the Pats think that Blackmon, Floyd, or even Wright is their guy, if they think one of them can be a major contributor in that offense why not move up? Lloyd is very good but he is 31 so WR will be a need soon, why not move up now while Brady is in his prime?
The best way I can describe the way I feel about Brandon Lloyd is to say that I think he gets the job done.
He doesn't have gaudy numbers, and he doesn't have an amazing size or speed advantage. But I think that he can do anything asked of him. He is deceptively quick in his cuts, and he can get behind and burn a slacking defender.
But maybe his most important attribute is his relationship with McDaniels.
Wherever McDaniels and Lloyd have been together, Lloyd has been very successful. Whether he is more motivated around him or McDaniels just understands him better, the production is there.
With that on his side, Tom Brady can make Lloyd into a star, while also pumping up his own stats. It's tough for me to imagine a scenario next year where Brady doesn't have teammates with over 1,000 yards receiving.
Could we see this in 2012?
I think the answer is clearly a yes from me. With an elite quarterback and coach tandem leading the way the Patriot offense, this is a well-oiled machine that can score on anything you put in its way.
Here are some predictions on what kind of numbers I believe Brady and company can expect to see in 2012. These are my projected stats for the top three receiving targets and of course Brady.
Tom Brady: 425-of-600 passing, 71 percent completion rating, 45-10 TD-INT ratio, 5,500 passing yards.
Brandon Lloyd: 65 receptions,1,000 yards.
Rob Gronkowski: 80 reception, 1,200 yards.
Wes Welker: 99 receptions, 1,089 yards.