News flash: Tom Brady of the New England Patriots is really good.
Okay, that’s not a news flash, we knew that already. But look at the list of accolades:
• Four Super Bowl rings
• Seven Pro Bowl appearances
• Two-time league MVP
• Two-time AP Offensive Player of the Year
• NFL record holder for most touchdown passes in a season
• Married to Gisele Bundchen
So that last one isn’t football-related, but it’s still impressive.
Now in his 13th NFL season, Brady shows no signs of slowing down, if his performance in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans indicates anything.
Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns in the Pats’ surgical 34-13 dismantling last Sunday.
So how does a defense prepare for one of the all-time greats at his position? That’s a problem that the Arizona Cardinals face this weekend as they visit the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough Sunday.
There’s no answer to the question, obviously. But one member of the Cardinals’ defense has faced Brady more than anyone, and is offering his expertise about facing him in practice. Sanders was a fifth round pick of the Pats in 2005, and faced Brady every day for five seasons (Brady missed most of the 2008 season with a knee injury).
“I’ve been sharing little tidbits here and there all week,” Sanders said. “We’ve been watching a lot of film and going over the tips we have on their tendencies and whatnot, and I think Sunday, we’ll be ready to go.”
This will be only Brady’s second career outing against the Cardinals, and the first since 2004 when he led the Pats to a 23-12 win on September 19 of that year. But the lack of familiarity with an opponent doesn’t really matter — Brady has carved up all NFL teams equally. Sanders touched on what makes Brady so good.
“Tom takes pride in knowing you better than you know yourself and knowing his offense and his adjustments like the back of his hand.
“He’s the first one in and the last one out every day. We’ve been constantly reminding guys to get their extra study in, mentally get prepared for a 60-minute grueling battle,” he said. “He’s one of the best, they’re going to make their plays, but we’ve got to make ours when we get our opportunity.”
Arizona Sports’ Craig Grialou contributed to this report