Giving Up On The Next Tom Brady

March 29th, 2021

It’s Ira Kaufman’s Monday column presented by Bill Currie Ford, a Tampa tradition for 60-plus years. Shop now — and here — at GM Sean Sullivan, Ira’s good friend, is ready to help you personally.

@IKaufman76 (also a regular at Big Storm Brewery taprooms)

The evolution of pro football has me thinking about pocket change.

Although Tom Brady, who turns 44 in August, is still going strong, he represents one of the last vestiges of a breed that once dominated under center. Along with Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger, Brady is a reminder that pocket passers once ruled the NFL earth.

Today, they’re gridiron dinosaurs.

Drew Brees and Philip Rivers are gone and a new influx of mobile quarterbacks are literally running roughshod all over this league.

In the new world order, if you can’t move, you can’t groove.

Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen. Kyler Murray and Dak Prescott excel at extending plays and driving defensive coordinators crazy.

Deshaun Watson’s career may be in limbo, but he’s always on the move on fall Sundays. Justin Herbert and Daniel Jones, both 23, rely on their legs to avoid trouble while Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson have been frustrating pass rushers for years.

“I asked a friend of mine this morning: ‘Have we seen with Brady and (Peyton and Eli) Manning, the last of this style of players coming into the league?’ ” says Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian. “The answer is maybe. Now, all of those guys are different in different ways. They’re not all the same. But they are, quote, ‘athletic.’ They can move. They play quarterback in different ways. But that aside, I think there’s no question that the wave of the future is the athletic quarterback.”

The numbers tell the story.

During his 21-year career, Brady averages less than 4 rushing yards per game. Brees averaged less than 3. Ryan runs for 7 yards per game, a little more than Roethlisberger. In only three seasons, Allen has already rushed for 519 more career yards than Brady.

Here’s another yardstick: In the past eight years, Brady has rushed for 73 first downs. In the past two years, Kyler Murray has moved the chains 79.times.

This trend isn’t going away, either. When evaluating college prospects, pro scouts can’t decide whether to focus on arms or feet. Alabama’s Mac Jones is highly accurate and makes good decisions, but his lack of mobility is a serious concern at the next level.

Next Up

Look at the top-rated quarterback prospects for the 2021 draft.

In his three years at Clemson, Trevor Lawrence ran for 943 yards and 18 touchdowns. Zach Wilson rushed for 642 yards and 15 TDs in 30 college games while Justin Fields ran for 1,133 yards and 19 scores in 34 games.

How about Trey Lance? Try 1,182 yards and 16 TDs on the ground in 18 games at North Dakota State.

“Today’s pocket quarterback is yesterday’s scrambling quarterback,” says NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms. “I think that’s where the NFL is going. There’s going to be a level of expectation of the ability to get out of the pocket, extend plays, even for the pocket quarterback in this day and age. The guys like Tom Brady, that’s a dying breed. That’s the old NFL. You better have some athleticism.”

Even at his age, Brady might outlast Roethlisberger and Ryan as an active player. He could end up being the last of the big-time pocket passers.

“The D-lines in this league are just ridiculous,” says Cardinals Coach Kliff Kingsbury. “You can’t expect to block them and hold up consistently. So if you’re not a Drew Brees or a Tom Brady, getting the ball out on time to the right place 100 percent of the time, you better have some athleticism to be able to extend plays.”

It’s comforting to know Brady can be so successful doing it his way.

He takes fewer hits than today’s quarterbacks, who are constantly on the move. This new breed could turn out to be a mere passing fancy.

They’ll do — until the next Tom Brady comes along.

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28 Responses to “Giving Up On The Next Tom Brady”

  1. Swampbuc Says:

    Really good read, Ira. I think Russell Wilson needs to be in the athletic quarterback column, as well.

  2. Robert Says:

    Option A – QB who thinks and lasts 20 yrs
    Option B – QB who scrambles and lasts 5-7 years (maybe 10)

    hmmmmmmm. tough decision

  3. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Only Brady has the numbers that count and that would be seven (SB rings).

  4. Crack3rK Says:

    If that’s the case, I wonder how long the “athletic” QB’s career will be? Will you need to draft QB’s more often? Will that devalue Offensive linemen? Or, perhaps create a new type of O linemen “athletic” Lineman? It sure makes exciting TV to watch the Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson run around, but, so far, they share 1 title between them.

  5. Buc4evr Says:

    No run and gun QB can play at a high level for as long as a pocket passer like Brady. They get too beaten up by defenses. Most start to decline at the 5 year mark.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    Yes Tom Brady gets the ball out fast, but he’s also had some very good OLines providing protection too. Beyond that however, Brady’s a tough dude, and has shown that he can survive getting pounded in the pocket. In his 21 years he’s been sacked 521 times, an average of slightly less than 25 times a season. That’s the SECOND MOST of any QB in NFL history (Brett Favre leads in that department with 525 sacks in 20 years, for an average of a little over 25 sacks/season). Odds are that Brady will pass Favre this year in that department to become the most sacked QB in NFL history.

    Compare that to Drew Brees who only got sacked 420 times in 20 years (21 sacks/season average), or with Peyton Manning who only got sacked 303 times in 17 years (slightly less than 18 sacks/season average). Tom Brady’s shown that he can take it as well as dish it out.

  7. Snook Says:

    The reason a QB is successful has nothing to do with their mobility or athleticism.

    Can he read a defense and make the necessary adjustments at the line of scrimmage? That’s a bigger factor. These college QBs usually have never had to make calls on protection and most haven’t gotten a play call that wasn’t on a cardboard goofy sign on the sidelines.

    Brady isn’t a dying breed. He’s a smart QB. Period.

  8. Youngbucs Says:

    😂😂😂😂😂😂we have heard this going all the way back go back 30 years😂😂😂

  9. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Great article IRA !
    I don’t think anyone will EVER catch Tom Brady, ever!
    We are watching NFL History that IMHO will never be broken.
    As Buc4evr said “No run and gun QB can play at a high level for as long as a pocket passer like Brady. They get too beaten up by defenses.”
    That pretty much says it all.

  10. BA4President Says:

    Only 2 of the last 15 Super Bowls have been won by mobile quarterbacks.

    “That’s all I have to say about that” – Forrest Gump

  11. gotbbucs Says:

    Brady’s existence alone has made it almost impossible to scout other QB’s, because there just won’t be another one like him. He has also made it near impossible for other QB’s, especially in the AFC to get to the Super Bowl. He represented the AFC in the Super Bowl 9 out of the last 21 years.
    Mobile QB’s are fun to watch, but I wouldn’t invest huge money in one. The shelf life has been proven short over and over again. Pocket QB’s know they’re limitations until the end of their careers. Mobile QB’s find out they’re immobile one hit too late usually.
    Brady and the Bucs defense just destroyed the poster child for mobile QB’s in the Super Bowl. Myth debunked.

  12. gotbbucs Says:

    All of these mobile QB’s will either learn to play from the pocket or NFL defenses will eject them from the league, cause the defenses aren’t getting any slower.

  13. Bucanero Says:

    A little unrelated but how does Joe feels about trading a 3rd rd pick for Sam Darnold? Also are the Bucs bringing Gabbert back?

  14. Bucs since 76 Says:

    Brady usually does take the massive hits that other QB take. Once he decides there is no play to be made he will go down to avoid the hit and live to play another down. That has allowed him to play as long as he has.

  15. Bojim Says:

    The best mobile QBs are the ones that learn to stay in the pocket. 😉

  16. ModHairKen Says:

    RG III. Watson already blew out a knee. So did Burrow. Mahomes toe cost him. A running QB ain’t the way to go. They get hurt.

  17. Godlovesbucs Says:

    There is a HUGE difference between a mobile qb and a running qb. I would classify wilson, rogers, herbert and mahomes all in the mobile category. I would put allen, murray and lamar in the running category.

    If a qb can use his athleticism to extend a play that is an amazing gift. If he only uses it to turn a pass play into a scramble/run they will not last. They need to learn to keep their eyes up and avoid hits as often as possible. Thats the only way they can have a long career.

    I also would possibly debate that although he isnt able to scramble, brady is a very mobile qb in the pocket.

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Now…..lets be fair to Tom Brady…..all of those victory knees he takes at the end of ball games kills his YPC average…

    Think of how many he took this year for the Bucs….

    Also, lets not forget other pocket QBs… Mike Glennon

  19. Coburn Says:

    I think we are only having this discussion due to lack of talent in new online coming into the league with the way college offenses are run

  20. Natebucsfan Says:

    Pocket passers they more years in the nfl, downfall you better have an elite offensive line protecting him.

  21. Costa Rica John Says:

    Just my opinion but I believe the reason you need a more athletic QB is because the teams aren’t allowed to have as much full contact practices as they used to. Remember these offensive lineman need a lot of time to gel and get the timing down in pass protection. It also hurts that free agency moves them to another team so everyone starts over. An athletic QB can make up for the mistakes along the offensive line. I don’t think it’s the end of the pocket passer it’s just the trend in the NFL right now.

  22. Destinjohnny Says:

    NFL is a grown mans league
    Running qbs take a crap load of hits.

  23. Beeej Says:

    Few running QBs over 30

  24. Buczilla Says:

    Great stuff Ira.

  25. adam from ny Says:

    i think TB stands for tommy bahama in the above photo

  26. adam from ny Says:

    i think there will always always be a handful of pure pocket passers in the nfl…

    it’s tried and true…

    it shall remain…

    it’s just trending away from it at the moment a little bit more than ever before…

    half these kyler murray types will hit the wall in due time…maybe even kyler…

    and def don’t be on jalen hurts

  27. adam from ny Says:

    and def don’t bet on jalen hurts***

  28. D-Rome Says:

    QBs have had to become more mobile because great offensive line talent isn’t making their way to the NFL like it used to.