, Gloucester, MA

January 19, 2008

Jaworski: Brady season is best I've ever seen

By Alan Siegel , Staff Writer

Editor's note: Eagle-Tribune Publishing's Bill Burt traveled to NFL Films in Mount Laurel, N.J., a suburb of Philadelphia, and spent the day breaking down film with ESPN's Ron Jaworski, a former NFL MVP quarterback with the Eagles. Burt also spent time breaking down film on the MVP of the 2007 season, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. - It took only three pass plays from the New England Patriots game against Jacksonville on Jan. 12, for Ron Jaworski to start gushing.

"Look at that back foot," said Jaworski, while watching coaches tape of the game, to which only NFL Films and NFL coaches have access.

"Look at the pointed toe and how he pushes off when he releases the ball. Forget about the (Patriots') perfect record. That's perfection."

The play in question was a flare pass to the sidelines that gained only a few yards. But it was Tom Brady and, well, there isn't much he can do wrong in Jaworski's eyes.

Jaworski is probably the best guy in sports media to analyze the quarterback position. He spent 17 years in the league, 10 with the Philadelphia Eagles, which included an MVP trophy in 1980.

Jaworski is co-host with former Steelers running back Merril Hoge and ESPN's Sal Paolantonio on the "State Farm NFL Matchup" show on ESPN. The show is produced at NFL Films, where Jaworski has an office.

"Why do I get so excited about seeing Tom do the little things right?" asked Jaworski. "Because so few quarterbacks do. You'll see that same play where so many other quarterbacks pick up that back foot. I believe the quarterback position is the worst-coached position in the league. Tom, though, has been taught very well.

"Sid Gillman would have loved watching Tom Brady. I worked with Sid. He was fanatical about mechanics. And when you watch Tom Brady, there is not a better quarterback at doing the little things correctly."

Gillman was former assistant and head coach with the Los Angeles Rams before joining the AFL and Los Angeles and later the San Diego Chargers. His 1963 Chargers beat the then-Boston Patriots, 51-10, in the American Football League Championship game. The late Hall of Famer is hailed as the innovator of the passing game in the modern era.

Jaworski says the Patriots would be a decent team, maybe even a good team without Brady.

With him, they are legendary.

"I've been watching the quarterback position for a long time and nobody has played it like he has this season," said Jaworski. "Sure, he has the receivers, particularly Randy Moss and Wes Welker, and as we've seen that's very important.

"But what stands out, besides his mechanics, is his ability to hang in the pocket, buy time, find the open receiver, and then put the ball right where he wants it."

In breaking down Brady's performance against the Jaguars, Jaworski used the term "perfection."

"I think there was one time where he might have a receiver open on a longer route," said Jaworski. "But I believe the game plan was to find the (sure thing). And he did. Every pass he threw in that game, and I mean every pass, was perfect. Only a Patriot had a chance to catch it."

Jaworski pinpointed the first touchdown to Ben Watson as vintage Brady.

"First off, he had the time. And we know how good the Patriots offensive line is, probably the best in the league," said Jaworski. "Nobody was open. Tom looked at every guy. Then he noticed that the safety on Watson wasn't looking. He waited for Ben to make a move back to his left (at the back of the end zone) and threw it high where only Ben could get it. ... That was beautiful."

During the same day at NFL Films, Jaworski watched the Chargers-Colts game, one in which Peyton Manning was "almost perfect."

"Peyton had a great game. He really did," said Jaworski. "But there were a couple of plays, one on their last drive inside the 10 where he perceived there was pressure (to his left) and he rolled to the right and threw (an incomplete pass to) Joseph Addai in the end zone.

"Dallas Clark was open on the goal line to his left," said Jaworski. "That's on Peyton. When he saw the tape (the day after the game) he will see it. Trust me, he will never sleep (this off-season). That will kill him."

As for Brady, "I believe Tom would have seen that play."

Jaworski believes the Chargers are in for a tough game, particularly on defense, Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Like the Jaguars, they had a hard time getting to Manning. If that's the case, Brady will move the Patriots up and down the field, and eventually into the end zone.

"If the Chargers are banking on Brady having a bad day to win, well, I doubt that very much," said Jaworski. "He just doesn't make bad decisions. And this season, he has made the fewest I've ever seen and I saw every play this season."

To put Brady's season in historical perspective, a win Sunday and then two weeks later in the Super Bowl, it would be official.

"I believe when all is said and done he will be the best ever," said Jaworski. "I could watch him all day."