What We Learned: Brady Rocks Part 1

A look at the impact from the Patriots third preseason game against the Washington Redskins and what it meant for New England. Tom Brady continues to show why he's the best in the game. Look no further than the first half of Saturday's victory to understand why Brady means so much to the team.

As much as Patriots Nation was swept off its feet by the Pats41-0 win over Washington, there was truly only one significant event that occurred Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.

It came with 5:06 remaining in the third quarter, when Matt Cassel came running on the field to quarterback the Patriots the rest of the night.

Which meant that, barring a collision with mascot Pat Patriot on the way to the tunnel, Tom Brady escaped the game unharmed.

Let the Super Bowl dreams continue.

As the Patriots play financial hardball with Deion Branch, it's with the understanding that their team concept is bigger than any one player. That any player is replaceable. Its been proven out over the past five seasons, as just about every important player on both sides of the ball has missed significant time.

Well, almost every important player.

Not No. 12, whose incredible career is ever-so-slightly beginning to be taken for granted around New England even

The Sporting News, in their annual ranking of all NFL players regardless of position, thought fairly highly of Brady: they ranked him No. 1.

Best player in the league. Tom Brady, a.k.a. Johnny Unitas with a better haircut.

"I always see things I can do better," he said in a recent TV interview. "I guess it's my curse."

The curse is what makes him great.

"Tom understands the game, but he's always looking to learn more," coach Bill Belichick said recently. "He's very much a thinking quarterback."

A thinking quarterback, yes, and a talented quarterback as well. Brady has been ridiculously consistent over a five-year starting career, with season stats that have practically been carbon copies and a won-loss record including playoffs of 68-21.

It all goes back to the curse, the voice inside him that tells him he's not quite there yet.

The desire to get better all the time makes sense, for a guy who was the No. 7 QB at Michigan, the No. 4 QB in New England. That he feels like its a curse also makes sense wouldn't it be more fun to just relax and enjoy success, to rest on his laurels?

But that wouldn't be Tom Brady.

MORE: Don't miss Part Two of this article (membership required) with info on the secondary, game notes and insider analysis and a surprising compliment by the coach.

Jonathan Comey is a special contributor to Patriots Insider. A former newseditor and Patriots beat writer, he lends his experience and wealth of football knowledge to Patriots Insider readers. Jonathan's articles can be found regularly on PatriotsInsider.com or you can read past articles by searching for "Jonathan Comey" in the archives. His book "The Poker Trip," about his cross-country travels playing poker, is available on his website www.jonathancomey.com


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