New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could be in a heap of trouble in 2013 if his star tight end Rob Gronkowski is absent while dealing with injuries, but does that mean he is only as good as Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton?
That’s the argument Dan Hanzus of NFL.com makes in his recent column, taking a statistical stance on the issue and saying Brady was not much better than a second-year quarterback in Dalton when Gronkowski was not on the field:
According to numbers compiled by NFL.com, Brady posted a 65.7 completion percentage, a 23-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 106.6 passer rating with 7.9 yards per attempt on snaps with Gronkowski on the field. Those numbers plummeted to a 58.9 completion percentage, an 11-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and an 87.1 passer rating with 7.1 yards per attempt on snaps without Gronkowski.
To be fair, Brady also was dealing with a hobbled Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker in addition to the loss of Julian Edelman in early December. Still the effect of losing the NFL’s best tight end and most dominant red-zone presence cannot be overstated. Since he entered the league in 2010, Gronkowski leads the NFL in red-zone touchdowns (29), quarterback-to-receiver completion percentage (72.2) and yards after contact per reception (2.54).
The numbers certainly don’t lie. It also goes without saying that Brady will have to rely on other targets if the NFL’s best tight end is sidelined with back and forearm issues that have been nagging him all offseason.
However, to compare Brady to Dalton isn’t really fair—at all. We get the point Hanzus is driving home—Brady’s play dipped last year without the man known as Gronk and it could cause some serious issues for the Patriots next year, but to say he’s only as good as a quarterback entering his third year is stretching the logic a bit thin.
As of now we don’t even know Gronk’s fate for 2013. Brady’s play will be impacted no matter what, but we have a feeling he’ll be just fine either way.
What do you think?
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