Broncos' Del Rio still trying to stop Brady

Broncos' Del Rio still trying to stop Brady
January 17, 2014, 1:00 pm
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No opposing coach has had his defenses ripped apart by Tom Brady like Jack Del Rio.
 
In seven games against Del Rio’s defenses as either a head coach or defensive coordinator, Brady is 173 for 238 with 22 touchdowns and an interception.
 
That encompasses Del Rio’s tenure as head coach in Jacksonville and as defensive coordinator (and interim head coach) in Denver.
 
Brady went 34 for 50 with three touchdowns and a pick against the Broncos in November and saw his completion percentage go DOWN. He completes 73 percent of his passes against Del Rio defenses.
 
It’s a matchup that cannot be overlooked on Sunday. Even if the Patriots don’t have diverse offensive weapons – no pass-catching tight end, no great outside-the-numbers threat – whatever Del Rio’s been laying down against Brady in the past seven meetings, Brady’s been able to sniff out and beat.
 
Del Rio steered clear of over-the-top praise for Brady in comments Thursday.
 
“He’s a good player, prepares hard,” said Del Rio. They do a nice job with their scheme and he’s an accurate passer with the football. [He’s a] smart guy, competitive guy and obviously a good player.”
 
For a guy as competitive as Del Rio - both as a player and coach – he has to know the record and the numbers and it must be a ball of bile to know what Brady’s done. He tamped down the Brady angle, saying, “It’s our team against their team and we want to find a way to do enough defensively to give the ball back for our offense and make sure that we put ourselves in a position to win the football game and so right now we understand how big as challenge it is with a really good running game, with a really good quarterback [and] a lot of different weapons that can do things. We’re doing all we can to get ourselves prepared to go out and play our best and that’s really all that you do.”
 
Without Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots should be a little easier to defend through the air. Del Rio understands that the Patriots running game, though, may be a preamble to allowing their best player to take a shot.
 
“Of course they can still throw it—[they are] good at it,” Del Rio observed. “Play [action] pass shots and some of the quick game they do out of opened up formations. [QB] Tom [Brady] is one of the top quarterbacks in the league so when you have a guy directing it like that obviously you’re going to be very good at it, but the thing they really are doing is physically they are getting after people, they’re winning the heading battle in the trenches and running the ball right at people with [RB LeGarrette] Blount doing a large portion of the running, but all of their backs are capable. Good group and we’re getting geared up for it.”

Good idea.