The decline of Tom Brady is happening before our very eyes. He's still sharp but not as capable of carrying the team on his back like he used to. How many TD's did he throw yesterday? What I didn't expect was the Pats running game to emerge this year, and that's the reason I may be wrong about them going 9-7. You'll have to forgive me, predicting the future is an inexact science.
At 35, Brady is, by definition, on or rapidly approaching his "decline." So, that's really not saying much of anything.
But, if you asked me to pick a QB with whom to play out this season, I'd still take him over every starting QB in the League, except maybe for Rodgers or Brees. Ryan has yet to deliver consistently over 18--20 games. Ditto for Flacco, Smith, Romo, Schaub, Rivers and Cutler. Vick is a trip to the ER waiting to happen. Luck and RGIII are just getting going as are Newton and a few other young guys. Eli and Roethlisberger are proven champions, but do you want to have to rely on either of them every game and into the playoffs if Brady were the alternative? That's not a question I'd want to ask Tom Coughlin or Mike Tomlin if I were expecting an honest answer. Remember, that's said for this season.
For now, Brady is struggling to keep his QB rating above 102 and doesn't seem to be able to crack 103 and he's on track to throw for "only 4,600" yards. Sanchez only wishes that he could work his way into such a state of "decline."
No one knows the mind of Darth Vader, but his newfound emphasis on the running game is probably no accident. Also, Brady is uniquely suited to run the "lightening" offense the Pats featured last night.