After the Patriots have started 3-0 this season without him, there's been talk about whether or not Tom Brady is a system QB. The future Hall of Famer himself decided against responding to the chatter, but it looks like safety Devin McCourty has decided to go to bat on his behalf.
"Just a system guy? That's wrong. Obviously, everyone knows Tom Brady's legend." McCourty didn't hesitate to rip into the theory, and for good reason. "His game speaks for itself...Obviously here in New England we find ways to win...to try to say he's a system quarterback, I don't even think you should waste your time asking questions like that." Harsh words, but definitely true. The fact that Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett can effectively run the offense doesn't mean that Brady's a system QB, it just means that Bill Belichick is an amazing coach (something most people already knew).
Aside from this year, the only other year without Brady for the Pats was 2008, when Matt Cassel came on in replacement after Brady tore his ACL. The Patriots offense set all kinds of records in 2007 en route to a 16-0 regular season. 2008 was, well, different. They scored 179 fewer points, 32 fewer touchdowns, and won 5 fewer games. Oh, and by the way, Cassel threw for fewer than half the TDs Brady threw for in 2007 (21 vs 50). It's pretty easy to see: just because the team succeeds doesn't mean Brady is replaceable.
Speaking of success, McCourty touched on how the Patriots are dealing without Tom Brady at the helm. "We obviously can't wait to have him back in the locker room, he's the leader on our team...It's a little different here without Tom." That's an understatement. So how do they keep winning? Consistency. "[Bill Belichick] came in the same way he was three years ago, week one, week two, and let us know, 'We need to do this, this and this and we can win the game.'...Over the years you see it. You do those things, you come out as a winner." Well said.