If you follow, cover or root for the Raiders and the Tuck Rule still enters your mind, stop reading here. For the purposes of this season, separate from any other year, we need to discuss Tom Brady. Brady and the rest of the Tampa Buccaneers will fly into Vegas and play the Raiders. Yet, this isn’t the same old Brady that you’ve seen in New England for the better part of two decades. Yet, in a new surrounding, Brady managed to find a new home, within a new offense.
During his last few seasons in New England, you could hear the whispers of significantly diminished arm strength. Instead, Brady suffered from diminished receiving talent. Gronk retired, cameos by Antonio Brown, and Josh Gordon hurt the cause. Outside of Julian Edelman’s 100 matches, only one other Patriots wideout boasted more than 25 catches (Philip Dorsett, 26). You heard expert after expert alleged a catastrophic arm-noodling. Brady’s 6.6 yards per attempt stood out as a giant problem. People claim to see a lack of velocity and ability to hit the deep pass. Look at what a change of address and actual vertical threats can do. Not only has Brady increased his ypa to 6.9, but his completion percentage also rose. That is to say, not only is he throwing deeper routes, he’s completing them as well.
Bruce Arians prefers his quarterback to make vertical throws, Brady appears to adjust to the new scheme with intelligence. Granted, his predecessor, Jameis Winston never met a window he could not attempt a pass through. Yet, Brady takes his shots in a controlled manner that won’t lead to disaster. Still, after five games, he looks comfortable in Arians’ scheme. Other than film, there is one specific stat to focus on: intended air yards per pass attempt. That means, regardless of if the pass is completed or not, the average route depth counts. Last year in New England, Brady averaged 7.6 yards in the air. Now, spin that towards this season: 8.5. The routes are deeper. The Raiders need to account for the fact that the fallacy of compromised arm strength hinders the Bucs offense. With Evans and Godwin on the outside, Vegas needs to realize that the entire field is open.
To stop Tom Brady, the Las Vegas Raiders must generate a consistent rush. New acquisition David Irving may not be the complete answer. However, he will add quality depth to a unit that fails to get home with any semblance of pressure. With Brady’s quick release, Tampa only surrendered eight sacks in 223 attempts. Moreover, the quality of heat must be from all sides. Brady will roll away from Maxx Crosby. The hope remain is that interior push will funnel him horizontally. If the Raiders fail to hit Brady, the talent of the receivers and tight ends will make this a long afternoon in the desert.