How he beats you: One of the league’s elite quarterbacks for his entire career, Brady ranks second in the NFL this season with 3,916 passing yards and 30 touchdown passes. He is on pace to set new career highs in both yards and touchdown passes this season for the 9-3 Patriots.
“He’s a very smart quarterback,” Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo says. “You don’t see a lot of average quarterbacks out there that put in the work that he does. All of a sudden, he’s calling our plays. That’s the funny thing about it. The coverages he sees, the blitzes and where they’re coming from. He’s great at preparing and attacking defenses.”
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall agrees, adding that Brady is unflappable. “He doesn’t really feel the pressure,” Hall says. “There can be pressure around him and he’s not going to lay down. He’s going to stand in that pocket tall, deliver the pass. He’s good at sliding left, sliding right. Not really getting too nervous and not getting focused in on the pressure around him.”
How to stop him: As impressive as Brady is, the Redskins don’t see him as invincible. As Orakpo sees it, they can’t just let Brady sit back and carve them up. They must be aggressive. “We can hopefully disrupt him a little bit. There is film out there where guys have done a good job. We’ve got to be tight in our coverages because he’s a guy that, even if someone’s on that receiver, he’s going to put the ball in there as if the guy wasn’t even there.” The Redskins hope to swarm Brady with as many defenders as possible so he has a more difficult time finding open receivers. A week after failing to register a sack, Orakpo & Co. aim to correct that problem with better effort, as they try to win those battles in the trenches.
Bottom line: Because Brady does such a good job of preparing, it won’t be easy to fool him with pressures and coverages. Much of the pressure will fall on the defensive backs to blanket their receivers. “We’re going to try to get as many people around him as possible, and us on the back end, we’ve got to make the plays,” Hall says. “We’ve got to stop the run, send as many people around him as we can, and on the back end, we’ve got to lock up.”
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