Pressuring Tom Brady
It goes without being said, but Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen, and quite possibly the greatest.
Despite his mid-level play this season, Brady is a menacing signal-caller to face in the playoffs. Last season, Brady was barely a top-10 quarterback in yards or touchdowns and still won the Super Bowl.
This season, Brady has fallen off even more considerably, but that should not give comfort to Tennessee. Historically, Brady has struggled when teams are able to get four-man rushes to the quarterback and it will continue to be a key for the Titans this weekend.
The Titans’ — edge rushers Kamalei Correa, Harold Landry, and Derick Roberson — will need to attack Brady by winning their matchups. The Titans have just enough talent in the secondary to be able to double Brady’s favorite wideout Julian Edelman and still play man-to-man coverage against the other receivers.
If the Titans can win the line of scrimmage with four-man rushes, then it will be a long day for the Pats offense that has struggled to move the ball the second half of the season. If the Pats hold up against the edge rushers, then it will be up to Dean Pees to send out creative blitz schemes to rattle Brady.
We have seen Pees take risks and send well-timed corner blitzes and linebacker blitzes all season long. Forcing Brady to make quick throws or long third downs will be critical. The Pats will try to rely on their running backs to challenge linebacker coverage with James White in the flat or with Sony Michel running up the middle. Successful blitzes will mitigate the entire Pats offense.
It’s easy to say that the Titans will need to pressure Brady to win. Titans have been highly variable this season in bringing pressure. If Brady has a lot of time to throw from the pocket, the Titans will struggle to keep up in the secondary and keep pace throughout the game.