Gregg Williams and his bounties are long gone from New Orleans. But football remains a physical sport, still premised on great quarterback play and disrupting the opponent’s otherwise great quarterback play.
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady remains capable of great quarterback play. The Saints, who are 4-0 in the regular season against Brady during his time in Tampa, realize the importance of disrupting Brady’s ability to play great quarterback.
And so here’s the question. Will the Saints go after Brady on Sunday?
That entails creativity in the effort to get to Brady, with pre-snap looks that disguise the true intentions — especially since there’s nothing Brady hasn’t seen before getting the ball in his hands. And, even though no one says it out loud anymore, the Saints surely realize the benefit of putting bodies on Brady, in clean and legal ways.
Brady looks noticeably thin. He’s 45. He said during the latest edition of the Let’s Go! podcast that he was feeling it on Monday morning, even though he didn’t particularly get banged around all that much against the Cowboys, with two sacks and two other quarterback hits.
Remember, the arm will be there into his 50s. Father Time’s inevitable victory (if Brady keeps playing long enough to lose the race) will be rooted in Brady’s legs. Specifically, in his ability to use his legs to keep the play alive long enough to get rid of the ball.
It could prompt Brady to revert to his fairly recent habit of just getting rid of the ball, even if he ends up throwing it up for grabs. (See 2020 NFC Championship.)
Regardless of whether the Saints are able to hit Brady or simply to rush his throws, if he doesn’t have multiple receivers today (and he quite possibly will be), things could get dicey in a building full of raucous Who Dat fans, some of whom will regard Brady as part of the reason why Sean Payton is gone, given that they were angling to partner up in Miami.