Tom Brady isn’t ready to retire any time soon. He shrugs aside the chatter that he’s no longer a top-five NFL quarterback, and says he’s worried about being replaced soon by Jimmy Garoppolo.
But Brady, who turns 37 in August, at least recognizes that his advancing age has affected his performance in recent seasons.
Brady’s private quarterback coach, former MLB pitcher Tom House, told SiriusXM radio on Sunday that a big part of Brady’s offseason training revolves around trying to get his body back to feeling like it did 10 years ago. Brady is coming off a season in which he had his lowest yardage and touchdown totals since 2006, and lowest completion percentage since 2003.
“As he’s getting a little older you lose a little strength, you lose a little flexibility,” House said in the interview. “And what was happening was he was noticing that his accuracy and his long ball weren’t what they were three or four years ago. So we ran him through the computer, compared him to the models we have created for movement efficiency, and there were really, really small things that were causing his issues.”
Brady has struggled to complete deep passes ever since Randy Moss loss his effectiveness after the 2009 season, often overthrowing his receivers. The website Pro Football Focus ranked Brady as the 12th-best passer out of 21 last season on passes of 20-plus yards down the field, with 20 completions in 66 attempts.
“His front side was a little too rotational,” House said. “He wasn’t maintaining his torque long enough.”
House also explained that Brady, who stands with a lanky 6-foot-4 frame, can get too “long” with his stride and throwing mechanics.
“One of the things that we’ve learned about quarterbacking – it’s not the length of the stride, it’s the timing of the stride. Tom is long and lanky,” House said. “If Tom has an issue, he gets a little long. … That’s one of the things that we focus on when we analyze Tom every year and we maintain during the season, is how quick does he get into the foot stride?”
House compared Brady to Hall of Fame Pitcher Nolan Ryan, House’s former pupil.
“Nolan Ryan had almost a 7.5-foot stride, but he still got into foot stride right around 1 second,” House said.
And the Ryan comparison doesn’t end there with Brady. Ryan pitched until he was 43, and House sees a similar desire from Brady.
“He wants to be competitive as long as he can,” House said of Brady. “He wants to play until he’s 43-45 years old. There’s no reason these guys can’t do it, if you can identify what they need to do to sustain and maintain what they had at the peak of their careers, and it’s doable.”
House said Brady has done a great job with tightening his stride, making “really, really small adjustments” and maintaining his body this offseason.
“What is most impressive to me is these quarterbacks, they pick stuff up really, really quick,” House said. “I think it’s because of the necessity of the game, they have to make decisions quickly and learn quickly. When you show them what they need to do, they fix it in a blink. It’s pretty impressive.”Follow Ben Volin on Twitter @benvolin.