The morning after the New England Patriots lost to the Houston Texans for only the second time in 12 meetings, questions are swirling about the state of the offense. Is Tom Brady regressing? Is he becoming a problem for this perennial Super Bowl contender? In the eyes of ESPN analyst Rex Ryan, Brady is definitely not the issue in New England.
Speaking on Monday morning, the former Buffalo Bills and New York Jets head coach explained why he believes that Brady and the passing attack have been struggling in recent weeks. Essentially, Ryan said that it boiled down to the lack of capable receivers on the outside.
"I've said it all year, 'there's no talent,'" Ryan said. "There's no speed on this roster. ... To me, game on the line, give me one quarterback. I'll take that guy [Brady]. [I'd] rather be on that side of it than the other side of it."
"I've said it all year- There's 👏 No 👏 Talent 👏"
Rey Ryan is ADAMANT that the Patriots' problem is not Tom Brady. pic.twitter.com/ehPg8TaS9B— First Take (@FirstTake) December 2, 2019
As the former head coach continued to explain, the Patriots are not getting any production from the players that should be making Brady's life easier. N'Keal Harry, a first-round rookie, had an impressive touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys, but he was essentially benched against the Texans after he was partially responsible for an interception.
After 12 games, the leading receivers on the Patriots are Edelman (915 yards) and running back James White (512 yards). Speedy Phillip Dorsett only has 347 yards while the another rookie, Jakobi Meyers, has 299 yards. Antonio Brown still has more receiving yards (56) than the first-round rookie in Harry (28) despite having only played in one game for the Patriots.
Without a proven option next to Edelman in the passing attack, Ryan believes that the passing attack has become severely limited. This is a team that has previously been able to line up and convert on any down and distance en route to multiple wins. Instead, this group struggled to gain the needed 4-6 yards on Sunday night. There were also multiple moments during the game in which an attempted pass fell harmlessly to the ground due to a miscommunication between Brady and his receivers.
Sitting at 10-2 on the season, the Patriots are still in line for a playoff spot, but there are concerns about the longevity of this offense when the calendar turns to January. No matter what happens, Ryan believes that the struggles should not be laid at Brady's feet.
(Photo Credit: Tim Warner/Getty)