Rumors of New England Patriots internal turmoil spilled over onto ESPN’s NFL Countdown show Sunday, when respected NFL reporter Chris Mortensen claimed that future Hall of Fame Quarterback Tom Brady was experiencing tensions with the coaching staff.
Even more shocking, other ESPN sources said that the battle between Brady and Patriots coaches could see Brady — who other than Coach Bill Belichick has been the one constant on the Patriots since 2001 when the team won its first Super Bowl — on his way out of New England “sooner rather than later.”
As The Inquisitr reported earlier this week, the Houston Texans have been the subject of rumors as a possible trade destination for Tom Brady. Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien is a trusted confidant and mentor to Brady, serving as the New England quarterbacks coach starting in 2007, and offensive coordinator in 2011, before departing for the head coaching job at Penn State, followed by a move back to the NFL and Houston.
According to a report by Mortensen on ESPN.com, two sources confirmed that backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will replace Brady “sooner rather than later,” and that when Belichick drafted Garoppolo in the second round — startling Patriots watchers by making the talented 22-year-old out of Eastern Illinois the highest-drafted New England QB since Belichick took over as coach in 2000 — the coach always intended for Garoppolo to take over from the veteran Brady, not merely to serve as injury insurance.
Mortensen added, however, that by “sooner” the sources did not appear to mean that Brady would be replaced during the current New England Patriots season.
“Even though Patriots coach Bill Belichick chuckled when asked Monday night about Brady’s status, more than one source told ESPN that ‘nobody is untouchable,'” Mortensen wrote on ESPN.com Sunday. “Brady has stated publicly he wants to play another four or five years, at least. Sources close to the quarterback told ESPN that remains true but acknowledge that his career may end with another franchise unless Patriots owner Robert Kraft intercedes.”
The ESPN writer also said that, according to his sources, behind closed doors the coaching staff now questions Brady’s abilities, which by his performances in the first four Patriots games of 2014 could be seen as declining sharply at age 37.
On the NFL Countdown show, Mortensen claimed that the Patriots coaches have begun shutting Brady, who throughout the Belichick era has taken a close and active role in the game planning process, out of the room when it comes to offensive decision-making.
“Brady is uncomfortable with the personnel and coaching changes, the consequences have led to tensions between Brady and the coaching staff, with Brady’s input into gameplans, personnel packages, formations, pre-snap adjustments being significantly diminished,” Mortensen reported.
But the report also noted that the decline in Brady’s production, and the alleged “tensions” with Patriots coaches may have more to do with a series of poor personnel decisions by Belichick as he assembled the 2014 New England roster.