Sunday 7: Don’t read into Tom Brady stepping down from role of local Best Buddies co-chair

Ryan Hannable
December 15, 2019 - 6:00 am

1. There have been numerous indications that this potentially could be Tom Brady’s final season with the Patriots, but the news this week of Brady stepping down from his role of honorary co-chair of the Best Buddies Challenge (charity flag football game at Harvard Stadium and bike ride ending in Hyannis Port in June) is not one of them. Even if Brady signed a multi-year extension with the Patriots this past offseason, it likely still would have happened. There have been rumors of Brady wanting to give up his role for a few years, including potentially turning the event over to Kyrie Irving when he was with the Celtics. That obviously did not happen, and now the new athlete co-chairs will be Julian Edelman, who has been heavily involved in recent years, and Jayson Tatum. While Brady will still be a Best Buddies global ambassador, he has served as co-chair of the event for 16 years and sometimes things just cannot go on forever. This had nothing to do with his future with the Patriots. It appears it simply was time to move on from his role. While this particular thing doesn’t indicate Brady will be done in New England, there certainly are multiple other things that do, including the clause in his contract that has him a free agent after the year, putting his Brookline home on the market, as well as his general attitude this season. 

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2. What is the biggest issue with the Patriots offense this season? According to Brady, it seems to be consistency. The quarterback has used the word multiple times this season, including Friday when asked about the state of the offense. “I think the point is just we’ve got to maximize our potential, and I don’t know what our potential is,” he said. “We’ve got to be the best we can be. If we do it well one time, it’s how well can we do it consistently? I think part of it’s just consistently, we haven’t done a great job, and I think that when you’re not consistent, it just leads to other issues. Trying to be consistent and dependable is what a great offense is all about, and when you have really great play-making ability, all those things make it very hard to defend.” While the passing game hasn’t really clicked overall, each pass-catcher has shown at times the ability to make plays — it just hasn’t been consistent across the board.

3. One last thought on the Patriots’ videotape situation: It could have been handled better by the Bengals. It’s clear they thought it was a big deal and needed to get it out into the public eye because of the way it did. It all began with a question asked by their radio color analyst at Zac Taylor’s press conference Monday. If the question was not asked, the story would likely not have blown up like it did with a lot of questions regarding exactly what happened. Even with dozens of people in the Cleveland press box last Sunday, there was not a peep of what had happened (not even a single tweet). Clearly, Cincinnati wanted this story out there and it’s worth wondering if it were another organization who didn’t have a first-year coach, would it have been handled internally between the teams and the league, and perhaps not get out until a penalty was issued.

4. A player who absolutely needs to step up and contribute more for the Patriots to make a run in the playoffs is Mohamed Sanu. In his first game with the Patriots, he finished with 10 catches on 14 targets, but in the three games since, he has just six catches on 10 targets. While his ankle injury is a factor, the Patriots gave up a second-round pick for him and hoped he would be their No. 2 receiver. He needs to start playing like it.

5. The Pro Bowl rosters will be announced Tuesday night after voting was done by the fans, coaches and players. Fan voting ended last Thursday, and the Patriots players voted on Friday. New England may not have as many players as usual. Going into the final week of voting, only two players led their respective positions — Jake Bailey and Matthew Slater. Others who have a chance include: Julian Edelman, Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, Stephon Gilmore and Devin McCourty.

6. While next week against Buffalo is a huge game, it may not matter as much as some think when it comes to the AFC East title. If both teams win this week and then Buffalo were to win next week, the teams would be tied at 11-4. But, if the teams finish the year tied, the Patriots have the tiebreaker edge. To break a tiebreaker within a division, it starts with head-to-head (tie), then record within division (tie), and then common games. Buffalo has lost to the Eagles and Browns, which are both games the Patriots won, so they would get the tiebreaker. In order for Buffalo to win the division and the Patriots to become a No. 5 seed, New England would need to lose to Buffalo, and either Cincinnati or Miami.

7. This will be a short week for the Patriots with the Saturday game coming up against the Bills. It will be an even shorter week for Buffalo, as it will play in Pittsburgh Sunday night and then travel to New England on Friday. Going into the year, no one would have expected this game to have so much meaning for both teams, but that is a credit to the Bills for what has been a tremendous season so far. It’s worth pointing out back in Week 4, Buffalo held the Patriots offense to just 224 yards of total offense, its fewest of the season. 

Related: Julian Edelman among key questionable Patriots to make trip to Cincinnati