New England Patriots: What Happens If Tom Brady Gets Injured?
It has happened once before, and there are chances of it happening again.
I remember that day like a horrid nightmare. My mother picked me up from Pop Warner football practice and her face was solemn. She didn't know much about football, but she knew that this was bad. I didn't say a word on the ride home.
But what happens if history repeats itself?
The Quarterback Situation: Brian Hoyer
The obvious question will be, who will be Tom Brady's replacement?
Brian Hoyer—who? Hoyer is a three-year veteran in the National Football League out of Michigan State. He has spent his whole career with the Patriots, so he knows the playbook of Bill Belichick and should fit in nicely with New England.
In the preseason, Hoyer had a quarterback rating of 89 and played a nice game versus Jacksonville in Week 1. That was the only game he started in. He went 15-of-21 with a touchdown and 171 yards.
While Brian Hoyer is no Tom Brady, he would be a solid replacement.
The Quarterback Situation: Ryan Mallett
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Remember Ryan Mallett?
Last year he was a stud quarterback, breaking school records and leading his college of Arkansas to a 10-2 record en route to the Sugar Bowl.
This year he is a rookie third-string quarterback and the quarterback of the future for the New England Patriots.
But Mallett will be thrust in the spotlight if Brady gets injured.
In the first NFL preseason game of his life, Mallett played the entire second half, completing 12-of-19 passes for 164 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sadly, Mallett struggled the rest of the preseason.
The Run Game
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The only reason why the Patriots are still winning is because Tom Brady is playing his heart out every Sunday. The run game and the defense is giving him absolutely no help at all.
So, while Hoyer and Mallett would be decent quarterbacks, none of them would be as good as Brady. That being said, the run game would have to step it up in order for New England to continue their winning ways.
Of course, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead will get more touches to help this run game, which is ranked 20th in the NFL.
The run game has been looking pitiful as of late, but in the beginning of the season, the rushing game was actually playing quite well. If Brady pulls a Peyton Manning, then the offensive line as well as the backs will need to step up.
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Well, this will be interesting.
The Patriots' defense is by far the weakest unit on this team. They require the offense to score 30-plus points a game in order to salvage a win. With a rookie and a career backup carrying the offense, there is no way that they will be able to score more then 30 points in a game!
Once Patrick Chung comes back, this unit will undoubtedly get better, but the Pats need increased play from their defensive backs in order to compete. Right now New England is last in the league when it comes to defending the pass.
While it is a known fact that Bill Belichick does not care much for the positions of safety and cornerback, the holes that New England is suffering will have to be replenished somehow.
Kyle Arrington did a nice job when he filled in for the injured Devin McCourty, but McCourty needs to step up his game in order to keep the starting position.
Arrington leads the team in both tackles and interceptions and while the front office drafted Ras-I Dowling last year, that was too little, too late.
If Brady was to get injured, then this defensive unit would be forced to rise to the occasion.
The Tight Ends
The biggest crutch for a young quarterback is a good tight end. Instead of being forced to throw the long ball, these tight ends allow the quarterback to dump the ball off short and still make good yardage.
Thankfully for Hoyer and Mallett, the Patriots' offensive scheme is all about the short pass.
And they have a little player named Rob Gronkowski.
The Gronk makes plays after he catches the ball and is the biggest crutch in the end zone. Also, Wes Welker will help these young quarterbacks make easy throws. All they have to do is get Welker the ball and watch him take off.
Aaron Hernandez, while not as prolific as Gronkowski, is also a viable option to throw the ball to. Hoyer and Mallett should not be worried one bit about their receiving options, as they will almost never be forced to throw the long ball.
All in All
If Brady was to get injured in the first quarter of New England's game at Denver next week, then I have them losing that one to a Denver team that is hotter than a Cancun beach.
As for the playoffs, I don't see them making it past the first round. If they drop the game versus Tebow and company, then New England won't get a first-round bye and will be forced to play a wild-card weekend game.
In that game, the Patriots won't be able to make up for their mistakes on defense, as they don't have a Tom Brady-esque player to score 30 points a game.
If you're a Patriots fan, then a healthy Tom Brady should be item number one on your Christmas list. I know I already shipped my letter to Santa!