"No Way!" said my buddy, the Steeler fan, "there's no way he returns to that crazy form! No one ever returns completely from something like that!"
The nerve of it all - coming from someone who witnessed his own team's QB win a superbowl, get into a motocycle crash and go on to win another superbowl right in his own backyard! "Did you forget what Big Ben did?" I rememinded him "and this is Tom unbelievable Brady we're talking about! Did you see what Peyton Manning did purely based on his work ethic last year? So why can't Tom do it? - I know he's hungrier than those two guys!"
Of course, he didn't have an answer. Which got me thinking...
The 2007 Patriots offense obliterated records with Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth...am I crazy to think they'll do it again with this group? The surprise factor has worn off and teams are now expecting the Patriots to be the most dominant offensive force in the NFL...but am I crazy to think this team is better - a lot better - than the 2007 offensive unit? Heck, Randy Moss agrees with me - I just don't know why I can't come out an just say it - the 2009 Patriots will be the scariest, most ruthless offense the NFL has ever seen! Somehow noone seems convinced - I can see some people shake their heads as they read this.
This is a scary (yes, scary) reciever group: Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Joey Galloway, Greg Lewis
This is a scary (yes, scary) running attack loaded with veteran talent: Fred Taylor, Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, BJGE (law firm)
This is an elite (if not scary) veteran tight end group: Chris Baker, Ben Watson, Alex Smith, David Thomas (this could a big breakout year for this 2nd round pick)
The Offensive Line is loaded with guys who know they are guarding the most precious gem in the NFL. Patriots have infused new talent in the O-line to shake up the veterans from their comfort zones.
If you are ANY NFL coach playing the 2009 Patriots, you have to know that this offense will put up 40-50 points per game with a level of ease that leaves people baffled. Everyone knows it's coming, everyone senses it but they immediately negate it by mentioning the one thing that no one seems to be able to forget. Yes you're right - Tom Brady's knee.
Will he be the same player? Will he play scared? Will he react as quickly as before? Will he see a monster or just another guy he can deftly side-step when he sees a fierce pass rush coming at him? Is his confidence shaken at all after not playing for 10 months?
The questions are numerous but to me it all comes down to this. The aspirations of the 2009 Patriots rest on the health of one knee - every little thing else has been taken care of. If this dream-team falters, you can say they were "kneed in".