Tedy Bruschi backtracks after criticizing Patriots: ‘This team isn’t very good anymore’

Tedy Bruschi backtracks after criticizing Patriots: ‘This team isn’t very good anymore’

Tedy Bruschi is backpedalling after delivering an epic take on his former team, the New England Patriots.

During an appearance on WEEI sports radio on Wednesday, Bruschi caused a stir when asked whether free agent receiver Antonio Brown, who is serving a suspension after facing allegations of sexual assault and rape in a civil lawsuit, might land back with the Patriots, who cut Brown after reports of those allegations emerged. Bruschi’s answer went above and beyond an already hot topic, Brown.

“If I’m Antonio Brown, I’m not touching the Patriots with a 10-foot pole. And I say that because this team isn’t very good anymore,” Bruschi, a former linebacker who spent his whole career with New England, said on WEEI on Wednesday. “You’ve got a quarterback that I have to be open for him to get me. Do I go to Cam? Or maybe, let’s see, Russell Wilson, who can put the ball in a place where I barely have to move my hands?”

(For the record, Wilson does lead the league in Completion Percentage Above Expectation, per Next Gen Stats. Newton’s CPAE, meanwhile, is -1 … which ranks him slightly higher than Bruschi’s old QB, Tom Brady at -1.5.)

Almost immediately, Bruschi’s backtracking commenced. He took to Twitter on Thursday to clarify: he wasn’t speaking for himself when he said that. He was merely imagining what Brown might be thinking.

It’s a convenient out: these aren’t his words even though he said them. But, stick with me here, if Bruchi thinks Brown thinks the Patriots are bad, that’s probably because Bruchi also thinks New England isn’t good anymore. Right? I’m not trying to read Bruschi’s thoughts, but it’s easy to imagine the linebacker felt uncomfortable after getting blowback on social media after WEEI shared a tweet, which has since been deleted, with audio from Bruschi’s comments. And it’s possible Bruschi backed away from his brash remark, with hopes that he could pull off a nothing-to-see here routine.

Bruschi’s initial comments seemed reminiscent of what fellow ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer infamously said about the Patriots after a blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4 of 2014. Dilfer said: “They’re not good anymore.” On that same night, Belichick said “on to Cincinnati” about 100 times. And then New England not only crushed the Bengals in Week 5, but also won a Super Bowl a few months later.

Evaluating the 2020 Patriots is complicated. They have had excusable losses to the Seattle Seahawks and the Kansas City Chiefs, two of the NFL’s best. The Patriots also have two wins over the Las Vegas Raiders and the Miami Dolphins, both middling teams. But when New England lost to the lowly Denver Broncos, 18-12, in Week 6, the Patriots seemed to be in a bad place. Their 2-3 record is Bill Belichick’s worst since 2002.

Still, the loss to the Broncos is tough to evaluate, because New England practiced just twice, one being a walkthrough, over the previous two weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Quarterback Cam Newton, who contracted the novel coronavirus, was only able to participate in the walkthrough. So he was ill-prepared against a good Broncos defense, which stymied Newton and New England’s passing offense.

The Patriots weren’t good in Week 6. But it’s not fair to say they’re not good anymore. It’s likely Belichick will do what he always does: rally his team over the next few weeks. New England won’t be 12-4, but they’re probably going to make the playoffs, just like they always do.

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