The offseason is a wonderful time for NFL fans because players that are not exactly household names tend to sound off at random times. That was the case on Monday when Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark told ESPN’s “NFL Live” that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady “sees ghosts” in the pocket. Now Clark was clearly trying to make some noise so that television networks might consider him as an analyst when he retires from the game, but his seemingly bold statement isn’t farfetched.
Brady himself has admitted to dodging tacklers who don’t exist, which is what Clark was referring to when he said the following:
“When Brady gets pressure and when you’re man-to-man and bumping those guys and making it hard for him to throw, he sees ghosts. Even when guys aren’t around him, even when he’s not about to be sacked, when his clock goes off in his head that the ball should be out, we’ll see him duck, we’ll see him flinch.”
Clark is exactly right — if he still has the ball, Brady has a tendency to flinch as if he’s being pressured even if he isn’t after about four seconds. That obviously hasn’t affected him a ton in his career, but the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since Spygate, so take that with a grain of salt.
Clark isn’t a genius here, though; he said the Steelers “dominated” the Patriots in 2011 when they were able to shut down Rob Grokowski. If you look at the box score of that game, the Steelers won, but only by eight points and Gronkowski had 94 yards on seven catches. So again, take Clark’s comments with a grain of salt because he could be eating his words when the Patriots play the Steelers this year.