Patriots: The Patriots know that the key to getting to Brady is inside pressure

For years we have been told that the key to getting to Tom Brady is inside pressure. It is all about throwing him off of his spot. That theory will be tested this week when Brady and the Buccaneers visit Foxboro.

Other teams have taken that approach to dealing with Brady in the past but it hasn’t exactly worked.

Teams that have running quarterbacks can usually beat inside pressure by either escaping out the front or back door. Brady isn’t exactly a running quarterback but through the years, he has been able to protect himself and prolong his career by developing impeccable pocket management skills and having just enough athleticism to get out of the pocket and protect himself.

The Patriots know Brady and Brady knows the Patriots. Sunday night will be a chess match of the highest quality.

With that being said, the best way to still affect Tom Brady in the pocket is with inside pressure. The Patriots are going to have bring A gap and B gap pressure and force Brady to either reset the pocket or vacate laterally.

We all know Brady does not run well, especially at 44 years old. If the Patriots can get a consistent push inside and disrupt his timing, they will get Brady out of rhythm.

All of this sounds good but it’s easier said than done. Whether it is base pressure or pressure packages, the Patriots are going to find a way to get to Brady consistently. If they don’t, it is going to be a long night for the defense.

The Patriots will utilize a variety of fronts in this game and it won’t be to confuse Brady but rather to affect the Buccaneers offensive line and their pass protection schemes.

Here are some different fronts and pressures that could the Bucs protection schemes some issues and affect the Bucs passing game.

Diagram 1: In this diagram, the Patriots bring five and drop six into Cover 3. Twists and delay blitzes inside could affect Brady and force him laterally. On this front and pressure, the Patriots utilize a T/T stunt with two linebacker blitzes. The Patriots will do a lot of this on Sunday. Especially away from the running back.

Diagram 2: The Buccaneers are predominantly an 11 and 12 personnel team. The Patriots will play mostly nickel against them but expect some dime and three safety looks like the one above. By playing Phillips, Duggar and McCourty together, the Patriots have some options in terms of what they could do in their pressure packages.

On this blitz, they are in a 2-4-5 look. They run a loop, slant pressure with a blitzing strong safety late. The Patriots drop to Cover 3 behind it. Brady has seen everything but stunts like this out of a balanced front are tough to diagnose pre-snap. I don’t care how many years you have played in the league.

Diagram 3: Four and five man pressures with twists and loops will be a big part of the Patriots game plan this week. They will disguise a lot as well. In this look, they come out in a two shell and play a Match 2 coverage while utilizing a four man pressure with an end dropper.

Diagrams 4 & 5: I expect the Patriots to play a bunch of Man Free (Cover 1) and Cover 2 man in this game. Given Tampa’s talent at receiver and their propensity to throw deep off play action, the Patriots will want to help their corners over the top in certain situations. With Brady being no threat to run, you can still twist and blitz him, be physical with their receivers and help over the top.

Getting to Brady will be priority number one defensively. Belichick and his defensive staff need to find a way to be physical with Tampa’s receivers while getting consistent pressure on Brady.

I would play a five man box the entire game. Either a 3-2 or a 4-1 and I would dare them to run the ball. If they run Fournette, Jones and Bernard effectively and win, hat tip to them. They earned it.

I would not let Brady beat me. It’s easier than done but I wouldn’t. Belichick likes to take away the other team’s best player. Well. That’s Tom Brady this week. Go ahead and take him away coach.