Part of this offseason was spent debating whether Tom Brady remains a top-five quarterback. Don't think he won't forget that; it's possible Brady comes out and eviscerates defenses despite the concerns about his age and efficiency.
One reason for thinking about a bounceback? Brady's private quarterback coach Tom House told Sirius XM he thinks it was mechanics causing the Patriots QB's struggles.
"As he’s getting a little older you lose a little strength, you lose a little flexibility," House said, via the Boston Globe. "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."
It's unfair to paint Brady's issues as disastrous. He wasn't a top-five quarterback in 2013 but he still managed decent numbers -- 60.5 percent completions, 4,343 yards, 25 touchdowns, 11 interceptions -- that just happen to be non-elite numbers. It was less than people expect from Brady.
Part of the problem was a lack of targets, too. Rob Gronkowski missed much of the season (and Brady looked GOOD when Gronk was healthy) but maybe he was "a little too rotational" as well.
"His front side was a little too rotational," House said. “He wasn’t maintaining his torque long enough."
Add "too long" to the list as well.
"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?"
It's almost unfathomable to think Brady would completely collapse into an average quarterback for the remainder of his career. As CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson pointed out in an excellent piece on aging quarterbacks, Brady could quite easily have a few more high-level seasons left.
The guess here is it largely depends on the targets the Patriots provide him. If Gronk is healthy and the wide receiver corps can develop and stay healthy, Brady should return to form.
We'll also see whether or not the mechanics can flick Brady's production like a switch. If it were any more simple it'd be ball bearings.