Even though he didn’t post his best numbers and had a down year statistically, there is little doubt that New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady still had an excellent year overall when looking at his total body of work. Without Wes Welker and with Rob Gronkowski injured for much of the season, Brady was still able to put up solid numbers and once again did his best work at the end of games to make up for the Patriots proclivity towards slow starts. Although he wasn’t able to pull things together with a late push in the AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos, the fact that the Patriots got that far despite all of their injuries and roster turnover is a testament to the greatness of players and coaches like Brady and Bill Belichick.
Brady has decided to opt out of the Pro Bowl due to an injury, which I would normally write as “injury”. However, Brady did play through the season with a hand injury, and he definitely deserves the rest. I think people downplay the talent around him a little too much, but it’s clear that he had less to work with than many other quarterbacks in this league.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith will take Brady’s place in the Pro Bowl this year, and Smith certainly knows a thing or two about having to play with lackluster pass-catchers around him. In fact, I am willing to state that no other solid quarterback- let alone a QB on a playoff team- played with worse “weapons” around him that Smith. Jamaal Charles was a legitimate MVP candidate due to his all-purpose play and Dwayne Bowe is solid, but Smith literally had just two feasible players to throw to this season. Anthony Fasano did some nice things, but Smith didn’t have the kind of help he thought he would at TE due to injuries. Beyond that, a guy like Donnie Avery shouldn’t be starting in this league, and the Chiefs had neither top-end talent (Bowe is more of a No. 2 than No. 1 receiver) nor depth at the position/
So Smith was pretty good despite having less-than-stellar talent around him to throw it to, and that’s because Smith once again did a great job of being accurate and limiting mistakes. There’s nothing wrong with being a game manager, and it’s important that Smith filled out that role behind a great defense and running game. Heck, Brady was a game manager at the beginning of his career (though he was by far the best game manager in NFL history) before blossoming into a superstar. Smith isn’t going to be a star QB anytime soon, but there is little doubt in my mind that he’s a franchise QB.