Age is just a number for Brady and Luck


Age is just a number for Brady and Luck

As a guy whos spent the last three years dating a girl who's six years his junior, Id like to think that I know a thing or two about age discrepancy. And while Im sure there are probably more Norv Turner fans in San Diego right now than CSNNE readers who give the slightest crap about my personal life, for the sake of Tom Brady and Andrew Luck, take a second and hear me out. Itll be quick, and honestly, not even that personal.

This is by no means a groundbreaking statement, but one thing I can say for sure is that a relationship (as long as everyones legal) should never be defined by age. In many ways, nothing should, but in terms of a relationship . . . I mean, its just life. Everyone lives it differently. Some 30-year-olds act like theyre 20, some 30-year-olds act like theyre 50, some 30-year-olds bounce back and forth between the two, freaking themselves out every step along the way. Which group is right? Depending on whom you ask, theyre all right. Or theyre all wrong. Its a total mess. And sometimes that mess results in a connection between two people who are in similar stages at different ages. And sometimes it works. Age isnt always a big deal.

But with that being said and re-iterating the fact that my girlfriend is now a far beyond legal and professional human being Ill admit that theres nothing creepier or more jarring about our six-year difference than when we play a game of How old were you in . . .

For instance, in the spring of 1998, I was graduating high school and she was finishing up sixth grade. In 2002, I was graduating college and she was a high school sophomore. In 2012, Im expecting Chris Hansen to bust through my door with a camera crew. But only when I think about it in those terms.

And thankfully, thats not the reality.

OK, back to Tom Brady.

Heading into Sundays game against the Colts, there are a ton of interesting storylines surrounding New England, Indianapolis, and really, the entire NFL. We can talk about how the Pats defense needs to redeem itself after last weeks disaster. We can talk about Chuck Pagano and the feel good story of the year. We can talk about HOW SOMEONE ON THE JETS SAID THAT TIM TEBOW SUCKS AND PRETEND THAT ANYONE CARES!

But more than anything, I want to talk about Brady vs. Luck: Chapter 1.

Here in New England, we do our best not to think about Tom Bradys age. And for the most part, I dont think we need to. While theres no doubt that hes getting older, at this point, its clear that Tom Bradys 35 goes against the stereotype. For all the grumblings about his downfall, Bradys still averaging 293.9 yards a game and is on pace to eclipse 4700 passing yards for only the third time in his career. His 0.8 interception percentage matches his lowest ever. On that note, only five guys in the league have thrown more passes than Brady this season, but not one starting quarterback has thrown fewer interceptions. His 80.9 Total Quarterback Rating ranks second in the NFL, and is his best since ESPN started tracking the stat back in 2008.

Bottom line: With Brady, age isnt a big deal. Not yet at least.

But with that being said, and as much as its all true, Tom Bradys 35 is no match for a little game of How old were you in . . . with Andrew Luck.

For instance, when the Pats drafted Brady in the spring of 2000, Andrew Luck was in the fourth grade. When 24-year-old Brady arrived in the fall of 2001, Luck had just turned 12. In the spring of 2008, as Brady was in recovery from the most historic loss of his career (and no one had even heard of Bernard Pollard), Luck was giving the valedictorian speech at Stratford High School in Houston.

Think about that for a second: Tom Brady is 35. Andrew Luck is 23.

In a way, it leaves you with even more respect for how long Bradys been doing this. But on the other hand, it also reminds you of how long Bradys been doing this. Its like, OK, he might not be old, but my God, hes old! And Luck? He was born in 1989! In my head, he shouldnt even be old enough to have his drivers license, never mind lead a team into Gillette Stadium.

But obviously, the dynamic between Tom Brady and Andrew Luck cant be defined by a 12-year discrepancy.

First of all, because of everything I already said about Brady. And second, because the age of 23 has nothing on Andrew Luck. The kids a freak in every positive connotation of the word. He's barely human.

On the field, its already clicking. Since throwing three interceptions in Week 1 at Chicago (aka the most horrifying way for any quarterback to kick off his NFL career), Lucks thrown more than one interception in a game only once, and has only thrown two over the course of Indys four-game winning streak. For the season, his QBR (77.6) ranks fourth in the NFL, behind only Peyton Manning, Brady and Matt Ryan. Hes not as good as he will be, but Lucks already a legitimate quarterback. Hes not 23. And off the field, thats only magnified.

What Luck has been forced to deal with behind the scenes this year makes Week 1 at Soldier Field feel like a home game against the Stanford JV. Theres the pressure of being the No. 1 pick. The pressure of taking over for one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. And . . . theres pressure and emotional chaos that comes with your coach being diagnosed with cancer three games into the season, and being forced to leave the team. Lucks handled it with ease. At least on the surface. His comfort and confidence with the media is almost bizarre. Its hard to believe that someone that age could be so polished, but at the same time so introspective and revealing. To be honest, it reminds me a lot of Tiger Woods, which is at least somewhat concerning. But for now, Luck is already as good as advertised.

Of course, hes not on Bradys level yet, and I think the final score on Sunday will prove that. But the game will also serve as the first chapter in what will likely become a historically significant NFL rivalry. A tailor made passing of the torch.

Brady says that he wants to play five more years, and theres no reason to believe that he cant. But if he wants to stick around, he better get used to dealing with Luck.

The two might be 12 years apart, but it wont be long before their lives and careers converge on the same path. And while you can sometimes make that work in a relationship, in football, it's a collision course.

For Brady and Luck, Sunday's just the beginning.

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Curran's Patriots-Bills preview


Curran's Patriots-Bills preview

Click here for the gallery.

FOXBORO  – Four quarters left in Tom Brady’s suspension, an undetermined (but also dwindling) number of days remaining in Rex Ryan’s tenure as a head coach, this game is intriguing for a lot of reasons. The Patriots can close out a remarkable quarter-season performance without Brady and put him back in the driver’s seat with a three-game edge over the Bills simply by taking out Rex. How they manage that – and which quarterback manages that – is the question that’s swirled all week.
Traditionally, the Patriots have thrown over and around the Bills’ front-seven with great success. Tom Brady’s good at that. Jimmy Garoppolo, with a bad shoulder, or Jacoby Brissett, with limited experience, may not be able to pull off the same act. Which means this could be a day for LeGarrette Blount who so far is leading the league in rushing. Many of those yards have come at the closeout juncture of games. This week, he may asked to do the damage early. The Bills have allowed five touchdowns on the grounds this season but only 3.4 yards per carry.
Without Sammy Watkins and dealing with issues at left tackle, the Bills are going to have to get a productive, 25-to-30-touch game out of running back LeSean McCoy. He’s handled the ball 59 times so far in three games (11 catches) and has been by far the focal point of the Bills offense. But with the Patriots having the chance to fixate on McCoy, Buffalo and newly-minted offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn better have a backup plan if and when the Patriots send multiple players to dog him. The Bills’ will be in a position where it’s on Tyrod Taylor to figure something out. The Patriots aren’t going to aggressively rush him. If the rush gets past him, it was done by mistake. Force Taylor to be a passer, find Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and  ailing tight end Charles Clay. Meanwhile, the Patriots figure to have Donta Hightower back to help with quarterbacking the defense. The Patriots are in a position defensively to really put the screws to a Bills team that doesn’t seem to have a lot of options.
Old friend Brandon Tate is the Bills’ return guy on both punts and kickoffs. He’ll get a good test from the Patriots special teams corps which has been a major story this season. Ryan Allen had a career game last week against Houston with six punts inside the 20 and one sitting on the 20. There were no return yards. The Patriots kick coverage created two turnovers last game against Houston and hasn’t allowed a return past the 25.
QUESTIONABLE: QB Jacoby Brissett (thumb), QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder), T Marcus Cannon (calf), G Jonathan Cooper (foot), LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder), TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring), LB Dont’a Hightower (knee), CB Eric Rowe
OUT: WR Sammy Watkins (foot), T Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle), C Patrick Lewis (knee) and WR Greg Salas (groin) QUESTIONABLE: S Colt Anderson (foot), TE Charles Clay (knee), CB Ronald Darby (hamstring), T Cordy Glenn (ankle), QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder), S Jonathan Meeks(foot) and S Aaron Williams (ankle)

The speed with which Buffalo adjusts to the Patriots offensive game plan and whether or not the Patriots have an adjustment to the adjustment. The uncertainty of the Patriots quarterback situation has been a distraction for the Bills and Rex Ryan this week and – given the Bills leaky pass defense – how Buffalo decides to deploy will matter a lot depending on who’s at quarterback.
Jannyris Edeldolagan. That’s just an amalgamation of the three wideouts of similar talent, pallor and quickness that kill defenses in the receiver shell game the Patriots play every week. Just when a defense thinks it’s got it figured out on a key third down and has set itself to take away Edelman, for instance, the dagger gets inserted by Amendola or Hogan. It’s like a shell game.
LeSean McCoy. That’s the whole damn game. Cuz you. Don’t wanna mess with Shady. Cuz Shady. Will … cause big problems.
“I fly around every day. You can’t land this jet, you know what I’m saying? It’s like having a private plane, wherever I want to go, I just go. I don’t have to worry about no jet fuel. I would say Gatorade but they don’t sponsor me so I’ll just go get me some good ole’ something to drink, and Gatorade can have the plug.” – Martellus Bennett, Patriots tight end, on the team flying around in September.
“It’s more of a ‘this is still a game.’ It’s a billion dollar industry and things but it’s still a game and you’ve got to be true to yourself and I’m true to myself. To me it’s just a thing where, you know, I enjoy Belichick’s press conferences and everything else because he’s true to himself and he does a great job. It’s pretty funny to me because you guys can never get anything out of him and I just think it’s great. It’s kind of funny that way. I pulled it knowing that every question is going to be about who’s the quarterback and all that. One thing I know for sure is that Tom Brady is not the quarterback and I feel good about that.” – Simple Rex, after being asked why he mimicked Bill Belichick during his week-opening press conference
Patriots 23, Bills 13

Report: Ex-Raiders FB Marcel Reece works out for Patriots


Report: Ex-Raiders FB Marcel Reece works out for Patriots

Fullback Marcel Reece, cut by the Oakland Raiders earlier this week, was one of five players who worked out Friday for the Patriots, ESPN's Mike Reiss reported

Reece, a seven-year NFL veteran, all with the Raiders, was suspended last December for the final game of the 2015 season and the first three games of this season for violating the NFL performance enhancing drug policy. 

Reiss reported that guards Jake Bernstein and Chase Farris, center Robert Kugler and tight end Greg Scruggs also worked out for the Patriots on Friday.

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