• Keith Walsh

Brady or Belichick?

The evil empire is officially split up for the first time as Tom Brady has left Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. Yes I know this happened weeks ago but it is still a big story and it got me thinking...Who was the main reason for their success? Was it the franchise QB or was it the mastermind head coach? We may never know the true answer to that but this season we will probably get somewhat of an idea. Brady will look to lead his new team in Tampa Bay and Belichick will try and keep the Patriots atop the AFC.

So was Brady a good QB in a better system or is Belichick system so good that any QB can win in it. Well, we don't have much to judge off as the last time we saw a Bill Belichick team without Tom Brady was back in 2008, after Brady suffered a season ending injury in week 1. That year Matt Cassel came in and led the Patriots to an 11-5 record however, they failed to make the playoffs. 2008 was Cassel's 2nd best season of his career if not his best. He finished with 3693 Yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Now they were no Tom Brady numbers, but still pretty solid for a guy that most people never heard of until that year. He had two solid WR's to throw the ball to with Randy Moss and Wes Welker and a decent run game as well highlighted by Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk. Now I'm not saying those are great RBs but I've seen worse. Bottom line is in Belichick's system Cassel was able to lead a good team to a winning record and in most years would have been a playoff appearance.

Now if Cassel was really as good as he played in 2008 he should have had continued success after he left New England right? Well the following season he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs and led them to a 4-12 record....Granted he didn't have a Randy Moss or Wes Welker to throw to. He still had some quality receivers on his team with Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers to go along with a great running back duo in Jamaal Charles and Larry Johnson. The next year with the Chiefs he would have a much better season. He finished 2010 with 3126 yards, 27 TDs and 7 Ints those numbers were good enough for the Chiefs to win their division and finish with a 10-6 record. Since that year Matt Cassel has been irrelevant and that could be for a number of reasons whether it's age, ability, or most likely lack of a good coach.

Now since Matt Cassel there have been two other QB's that have left the Patriots and have gone on to have a little bit of success. Those two QB's are Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. Garoppolo just helped lead the San Fransisco 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance where they lost to the Chiefs. As for Brissett, now the starting QB for the Indianapolis Colts he hasn't set the world on fire but he has been a quality replacement for Andrew Luck and still has plenty of time to grow into a better QB. At this point it is pretty well known that Bill Belichick did not want Garoppolo traded and was hoping to have him as the replacement for Tom Brady. Clearly that didn't happen and the Trade was made with the 49ers. Last year was Garoppolo's first full season and it was a great year for him as he finished with 3978 yards, 27 TD's and 13 ints. A very small sample size and we will find out if Garoppolo will continue to have success and the same can be said for Brissett.

As for Tom Brady, this season will be his first year without Bilichick and we will see if he will continue to have the great success he's had. Brady hasn't had the best of weapons in his last few years with New England but with Belichick they were still able to win their division and make Super Bowl appearances. I think Brady is a great QB and I think a little bit of it had to do with Belichick and his system I think more of it has to do with Brady's talent. He has had some great players around him including Randy Moss, Deion Branch, and Gronk. But, he has also had some no name guys that he has led to Super Bowls. This season with the Bucs he will have no shortage of weapons as he is surrounded by Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard and of course the returning Gronk. The Bucs also added some offensive line help to protect Brady and that should benefit him greatly. He is also going to play for a great head coach in Bruce Arians which will also be a great situation for him.

To answer the question of this post as to which one of these two legends would I rather have, well I will have to go with Tom Brady. Coaching and the system the coach has is definitely important when it comes to the success of a player however, when it comes to the QB they still have to go out there and make the important throws. Over the course of his career we have seen Tom Brady do that time and time again and that is the reason he is probably going to go down as the greatest QB in NFL history. As for Belichick I think this year we are going to see just how important Tom Brady was to the Patriots as I believe they will struggle this upcoming season and it could be the beginning of the end for Belichick in New England as well...

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