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Ian Rapoport on Not Sunday podcast: Tom Brady dodging hits is bad sign

December 18, 2018 - 2:44 pm

It's clear Tom Brady has slipped a bit when it comes to playing at his MVP-level of a year ago. So, what is the reason for it? Is it age, personnel, injury?

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport joined the Not Sunday podcast with Ryan Hannable this week to share his thoughts.

“I would say there’s probably a couple of things," he said. "One is they have had a lot of different receivers in and out, moving parts. I mean Josh Gordon honestly probably hasn’t gotten enough credit for seamlessly working into this offense. Look at some of the other teams that have picked up players, and look at Philly. They are great over there, obviously won the Super Bowl last year, and they really struggled to integrate Golden Tate. Josh Gordon comes in, didn’t have a reputation at all, and has come in and really been pretty good. But, that is hard.

“I just remember thinking at the beginning of the year, especially when [Julian] Edelman was out, that this is probably one of the least talented and productive group of receivers that I can remember. They have had some good help. Cordarrelle Patterson has been a revelation on offense with the fun stuff he’s doing. They lost [Danny] Amendola. Edelman has been good, but I would say the position group probably has something to do with it.

“And then look, you can’t talk about Brady and production without wondering about his age. You don’t always know what it looks like, kind of at the end because it doesn’t happen gradually. A lot of times it happens suddenly like with Peyton Manning. But, what does tend to happen is you get rid of the ball a little quicker because you don’t want to take the hits and that kind of sometimes is you know like, maybe that is it. I would say of all the signs, that is probably the biggest one to watch for — does he start dodging hits and just kind of unloading.”

Rapoport also said he would not be surprised if after the season it comes out Brady played through an injury during the year.

“No, I would not be surprised," he said. "I mean, he’s been on the injury report with a knee, and I know he’s not on the injury report now. But, this is one of those things — there are stories every year where a guy plays OK, you know, a really good player and plays OK, but not quite like himself and then it’s like, ‘Well, he was playing through a torn labrum’ or ‘He’s played with a meniscus’ or whatever it is. So, no I wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t know about anything specific right now.

"I also know that Brady is bizarrely tough and has played through so much more than we will ever know. I think that wouldn’t surprise me, but the biggest question is he’s literally not going to play forever. I know everyone hates this, but he’s literally not. At what point to you start to say it is age or is he just going through a time where he’s not playing great?”

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