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Old 08-26-2006, 02:05 PM   #1

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Default Ridding Motorcycles? No. Working on the long ball.

Brady takes aim with long-range missiles
By Mike Reiss, Globe Staff ?|? August 26, 2006

FOXBOROUGH -- Staying true to his meticulous attention to detail, and always searching for an edge that could lead to victories, Tom Brady follows a similar routine after each NFL season.

He starts by picking one throw or concept. Maybe it's a screen pass or an in-cut. Could be a crossing route or a curl. Maybe it's a three-step drop or simply receiving the snap cleanly from center. Then he calls Tom Martinez, a former coach at the College of San Mateo in California, and schedules time to master that aspect of the game.

``I think that?s one of the things that?s so unique about him," said Martinez, who started working with Brady when the quarterback was 13. ``For a guy who has had success from a team and personal standpoint, he still wants to work, still wants to get better on certain facets of the game."

Brady, who is expected to see most of the action behind center tonight when the Patriots host the Redskins, said the reason is simple. Despite leading the Patriots to three Super Bowl championships and being selected to three Pro Bowls, he still has insecurities from his journey from sixth-round draft choice to NFL star.

So picture the scene in the offseason, as Brady, Martinez, and some willing pass catchers take the field. The goal is to fine-tune Brady's long throws, those of about 30 yards or more.

``I think one of the good things is picking one throw, or one concept, and making that the focal point," Martinez said. ``If you give someone 10 things to think about, they?re probably not going to be fluid, and you don?t want to lose that fluidness in what you?re doing. You can?t go through everything.

``Last year, when I watched him play, I felt like he had mastered the concept with the short- and medium-range throws. Down the field, I felt like he could get better at that."

Brady agreed, noting that he hit on 9 of 37 long throws in 2005 . In typical Brady-speak, he said ``that?s not good enough."

Already, Brady has seen improvement this exhibition season, and Martinez points to a play from last Saturday's 30-3 victory over the Cardinals. It came in the first quarter, with Brady delivering an arcing pass down the right sideline to receiver Bam Childress, who was tightly covered by safety Robert Griffith. The play went for a 29-yard gain.

A perfect throw it was not, but Martinez said it was a prime example of delivering an effective long ball.

``The point of the ball came down [into the receiver]," Martinez said. ``Even though the ball was thrown over the wrong shoulder, and Childress made a nice catch on it, that was a throw that went over the [defensive back] and dropped down. Childress is not very tall, so if that ball doesn?t come down, it would have been over his head. That?s how you want to throw that ball."

Brady's offseason focus with the long ball was on his follow-through. When he watched film of his 37 long throws from 2005, he noticed he wasn't finishing his motion, much like a tennis player who doesn't hit through the ball. Because of this, Brady's passes would sometimes sail past the receiver, with perhaps the most obvious struggles coming against the Saints Nov. 20, when he attempted several unsuccessful long throws before finally connecting with Andre' Davis for a 60-yard touchdown over the middle.

When Martinez worked with Brady on refining long-ball technique, he also instructed him to hold the ball a bit longer before releasing it, as that would yield more of the ``fine touch that everyone wants to have." Brady said that touch helps the ball turn over and drop as it approaches the receiver.

So while Brady is always trying to avoid the turnover, the ``turn over" is something different.

``You can always tell guys who are good deep-ball throwers," Brady said, ``because when the ball [reaches its highest point] it drops."

The long ball can be especially challenging to master because of multiple factors.

``It?s hard to practice because you need a stable of receivers willing to run that far down the field 20 straight times," Martinez said. ``And it?s also a throw that if you overdo it trying to get better, your arm can get hurt. The stress on your arm is greater than if you?re throwing a drag route, hitting the guy right in the chest. You have to do it in less repetitions."

That is probably tough for Brady to digest, considering he's willing to work around the clock if it means an edge. Maybe that's why Brady, who is entering his seventh NFL season, was looking to the future this week.

``Ultimately, it?s always about being a more accurate passer," he said.

``Hopefully, I?m about 40 percent through my football career and now I?m getting to the point where I?m starting to feel comfortable about it. You?d love to be able to, over the next 10-15 years, really hone in on that skill and become that much more of an accurate passer.

``It all comes down to technique, the footwork, the balance, and ultimately the execution of throwing the pass. The more consistent you can be as a thrower, the more accurate you?re going to be. It?s like a guy who throws darts. He doesn?t throw it sidearm. He lines it up and throws it. That?s how a quarterback has to be, too. It?s about that consistency."

Brady hit on 63 percent of his passes last season, and is a career 61.9 percent passer. As for those long balls, it's likely Brady will take at least one shot down the field tonight, as the game represents another gauge on how far he's progressed after making them an offseason focal point.

``Even though I think we completed a bunch of them last year, we still left a bunch of them out there," he said. ``Those are game-changing plays."?

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Old 08-26-2006, 02:43 PM   #2
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Old 08-26-2006, 03:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ridding Motorcycles? No. Working on the long ball.

theres a reason he's one of the best......
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Old 08-26-2006, 05:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ridding Motorcycles? No. Working on the long ball.

What a puss
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Old 08-26-2006, 10:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ridding Motorcycles? No. Working on the long ball.

Brady agreed, noting that he hit on 9 of 37 long throws in 2005 . In typical Brady-speak, he said ``that?s not good enough."

what a wuss!!!!! even noodle arm pennington can do better. no onder brady has been rubbing clear and shooting cream!
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