FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is missing practice on Wednesdays because of a lingering Achilles injury and on pace to get hit over 70 times this season, but he still won’t put his offensive line on blast.
And that’s not just in public to the media. Left tackle Nate Solder revealed this week that Brady “has never said one negative thing to me or the offensive line.”
So, why is that? Brady explained Friday during his weekly news conference.
“It’s an incredibly difficult job,” Brady said. “There’s five of them. They need to coordinate everything up front. There’s a lot of different rush packages that you get and you’re facing some of the best athletes in the world and you’re always on the defense as an offensive lineman. At the end of the day, you’re always going backwards. Our guys do a great job keeping their poise and I think they’re so well-coached and they take it to heart. They take the coaching to heart. They play together, they do everything together and they’re just a great group.
“The culture of the offensive line is built by a lot of the guys that have played before the guys that are currently here. They take a lot of pride in watching the current offensive line do its job. Matt Light and Logan (Mankins) and Joe Andruzzi and some really great players that we’ve had here — Dan Koppen. I mean, they’re always checking in on how the offensive line is doing. I think those guys are doing a hell of a job and I love all those guys. They do a great job working hard for our offense and it all starts with them in the run game, the pass game. You really can’t do anything if those guys aren’t playing as well as they’re playing.”
The Patriots’ offensive line has undergone some turmoil this season as opposed to last, when the unit stayed healthy for the most part. Starting right tackle Marcus Cannon will miss his fifth game of the season Sunday with an ankle injury, and David Andrews sat out two games with an illness while Solder and guards Shaq Mason and Joe Thuney have stayed healthy all season and started every game.
The Patriots could be down to their fourth-string offensive tackle, in Cameron Fleming, if LaAdrian Waddle also can’t play with an ankle injury suffered in Week 12.
That means Brady could be under siege against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. And even if he gets battered and bruised, he’ll stay positive.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images