Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark was a guest yesterday on ESPN’s NFL Live program, and wasted no time taking shots at a New England Patriots franchise that he feels has lost some luster.
Clark was asked how vulnerable the Patriots are given the loss of Wes Welker to the Denver Broncos. Clark wasted no time in giving his honest assessment of the Patriots, in what seemed like a shot at the new receiver and star quarterback.
“I think what’s really underestimated is Wes Welker’s importance to not only the New England Patriots, but Tom Brady. A lot of what they do is timing. A lot of what they do is option reads, when you’re working inside against that nickelback or against those linebackers. Losing him is huge,” Clark said.
“I know they think Danny Amendola can come in and have the same type of numbers he had with the Rams, but we also have to remember, he’s fragile. He’s not a guy who has completed a whole season, especially playing inside in what can be a physical AFC East. You also think about Gronkowski and the injury; that is going to be bigger than anything for the New England Patriots coming in this year. Also Aaron Hernandez …
“In 2010, we saw it start with the Jets in the playoffs. When Tom Brady gets pressure and when you’re man-to-man and bumping those guys and making it hard for him to throw, he sees ghosts. Even when guys aren’t around him, even when he’s not about to be sacked, when his clock goes off in his head that the ball should be out, we’ll see him duck, we’ll see him flinch. When you get Tom Brady doing that, the whole New England Patriots mystique goes away.”
Is Clark saying what everyone wants to say? Is his assessment of Brady factual or do most quarterbacks see ghost when all hell is breaking loose around them?
Only time will tell, but Tom Brady sees and hears all. The Patriots host the Steelers on Sunday November, 3.