The day has finally come. The Patriots began preparation for the Arizona Cardinals yesterday and Tom Brady was not there. He left the team at 4 P.M. on Saturday and will not return until October 3rd. Ever since the entire Deflategate saga began the idea that Brady would be missing games has been abstract. Now, it is a reality.
It is a reality that we as fans, and Brady himself must face. As fans we have known nothing but Tom Brady as the quarterback of this team since 2001. We had Matt Cassel in 2008, but that was under far different circumstances, the silver lining this year as a fan, is that we know Brady will be back week five. Seeing someone else leading the team is going to take some getting used to, but at least we know it will be temporary. Expect a very different brand of football with Jimmy Garappolo under center. No one can run the offense that Tom Brady runs, and he won’t be asked to. The team will try to keep it simple for Garappolo, and hope that they will be able to win on defense. This is just something we are going to have to accept for the first four weeks.
I’m going to guess it will be a little bit tougher for Tom Brady to come to grips with this. He is the ultimate competitor, and not being able to be with his teammates and coaches preparing will kill him inside. This is not like 2008 where he physical could not play. No, this time someone is telling him he is not allowed to play. He can’t be at the facility or have any contact with anyone associated with the team. It’s not like he’s rehabbing an injury and can still practice with teammates to keep his chemistry. It has been reported that he will work-out with Randy Moss and Wes Welker while he sits out, but this cannot replicate live reps with current players, or a live pass rush. I don’t know how Tom is going to do while he waits to return, but I do know that when he does he will be more driven than ever.