Brady's Return: Realistic Expectations Necessary

Aaron Dodge@Aaron_DodgeAnalyst IApril 23, 2009

I would hope that fans of the NFL and even the New England Patriots understand the fact that Tom Brady will never return to the statistical form of his 2007 season. For starters, he doesn't have to have that kind of season and historically he never even got close before. He also may not even be able to either.

Lets take trip down memory lane to past seasons. We're going back in time, back to a team without a deep threat like Randy Moss and without the "Slot Machine" Wes Welker. This was a time without huge names, but that didn't matter one bit in New England. This era yielded some pretty heavy duty hardware like say three AFC Championships, three Super Bowl Championships, and five playoff appearances.

I am by no means here to say that the Patriots record breaking offense of '07 was holding them back, heck they only lost to one opponent after beating them earlier(albeit in the biggest game in franchise history). All I'm trying to say is that the Brady led Patriots had immense success before his "breakout" season. He was a prolific winner before and there's no reason to believe that he has to put up the same stats for this team to have a success.

In his six previous seasons (as a starter) Brady never put up more than 28 touchdowns and averaged a little over 24. That was with "weapons" such as David Givens, Reche Caldwell, and David Patten. So it's no stretch to think he will have little trouble producing more with the likes of his Hall of Fame caliber WRs again this year. However I'm warning that expectations have got to be in line with him coming back from a year off and knee surgery.

His knee will hold him back, how much it will affect his game is beyond any of us, we all will have to wait and see. Whether it's an adjustment period to the permanent brace or a slow start similar to Peyton Manning's recovery, I believe he will feel the affects for a time being and it will show in his production.

The Patriots may have been and may still be the "Class" of the AFC East, AFC, or even the NFL, but it would be incredibly over zealous to think other teams won't get better. Randy Moss catching a bomb for 65 yards won't happen too many times before a defensive coordinator decides to go with a different approach.

With all Brady has to go through getting back into playing form and the leaps and bounds other defenses are sure to be making in progression, I believe it's fair to say you will see a decline in his numbers. Historically that hasn't been too much of a bad thing. Brady may not have won the MVP before his '07 season, but I think Patriots fans were more than content with his two Super Bowl MVP trophies.

Aaron is a writer here at the Bleacher Report, but he also runs a Sports Forum which may interest you. Check it out at THLforums.com.


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