The Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots have been rivals over the past decade. Both have vied for AFC supremacy and Super Bowl trips. They face off in week 9 of the NFL season and Steelers safety Ryan Clark is already circling that date on the schedule.
You could say he is looking forward to it.
“I think what’s really underestimated is Wes Welker’s importance to not only the New England Patriots, but Tom Brady,” Clark said on ESPN. “Losing him is huge. . . . I know they think Danny Amendola can come in and have the same type of numbers he had with the Rams, but we also have to remember, he’s fragile.”
Many have assumed that the Patriots think they can plug Danny Amendola into the system to replace Wes Welker and he’ll produce similar numbers. That Welker essentially was a product of the system, and Amendola can be as well. But Amendola has struggled staying healthy and on the field with the St. Louis Rams.
But that’s not the only weak link in the armor for the Patriots according to Ryan Clark.
“When Tom Brady gets pressure and when you’re man-to-man and bumping those guys and making it hard for him to throw, he sees ghosts,” Clark said. “Even when guys aren’t around him, even when he’s not about to be sacked, when his clock goes off in his head that the ball should be out, we’ll see him duck, we’ll see him flinch. When you get Tom Brady doing that, the whole New England Patriots mystique goes away.”
Clark has proof referencing a 2011 game where they executed this plan and won.
“Two years ago we played them and dominated them because we went man-to-man and had a big corner in Cortez Allen on [Rob] Gronkowski, and made it hard for Tom Brady to get the ball off, in timing, and made him to have to make plays. It was hard for him.”
We’ll see if he’s right next season.