Pittsburgh Steelers‘ safety Ryan Clark made some headlines yesterday as a guest on ESPN’s “NFL Live” television program. He asserted that New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady struggles under pressure when the blitzes are coming and “sees ghosts” in the pocket.
“When Tom 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,” Clark said on NFL Live. “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. When you get Tom Brady doing that, the whole New England Patriots mystique goes away.”
Not only did Clark disrespect Brady’s abilities, he also took a shot at newly signed Patriot Danny Amendola, claiming that he cannot fill the shoes of the departed Wes Welker who defected to the Denver Broncos in the off-season.
“I think what’s really underestimated is Wes Welker’s importance to not only the New England Patriots, but Tom Brady,” Clark said. “Losing him is huge. I know they think Danny Amendola can come in and have the same type of numbers he had with the [St. Louis] Rams, but we also have to remember, he’s fragile.”
Amendola has indeed struggled to stay on the field the past two years, playing in just 12 of 32 games. But there is no denying the talent that Amendola possesses, not to mention his perfect fit in a Patriots offense that utilizes the slot receiver more than any other team in the NFL.
Clark’s insults to Brady are truly ironic given the success “Tom Terrific” has had against the Steelers in his career. Brady has posted a 6-2 record against the Steelers, including two victories in AFC Championship games. In the six wins, Brady has tossed 14 touchdowns with just one interception. Clark joined the Steelers in 2006 so he was not a member of the team when the Steelers lost to the Patriots in the AFC Title game in 2001 and 2004 at Heinz Field.
Clark proudly mentioned the last time the two teams met up at Heinz Field in 2011, when the Steelers held Brady to 198 passing yards in a 25-17 win.
“Two years ago we played them and dominated them because we went man-to-man and had a big corner in Cortez Allen on [Rob Gronkowski], and made it hard for Tom Brady to get the ball off, in timing, and made him to have to make plays. It was hard for him.”
It goes without saying that there is no reason to give Brady any extra motivation. He is already one of the most driven players in the league and there is no sense getting him fired up. Brady and Amendola will certainly be looking forward to November 3rd when Clark and the Steelers visit Gillette Stadium.