Why Adrian Peterson isn't a good fit in New England.
"If Tom Brady had a runningback like Adrian Peterson, they'd be unstoppable"
Let me stop you right there.
Okay, obviously, it sounds good on paper.
Adrian Peterson is arguably the best runningback to play in the NFL over the last ten years, and Tom Brady might be the best... ever, so together, they would absolutely tear the league up.
And you know what... They might.
But not for the reasons you'd think.
The casual fan might say that two all-star players together would simply overpower defenses.
They could feed Peterson the rock up the middle until teams came up to stop the run, and then burn them with the deep play action pass!
On Madden, that would absolutely work, go home and try it.
Here's why that makes no sense in the real world.
Every NFL team runs an offensive system.
There are many similar systems, but each one has wrinkles and staples that make it unique.
In New England, they run a bit of the pro-spread offense.
They like to sit Brady back in the shotgun, give him a plethora of options, and exploit the mismatches. Despite not having an extraordinary receiving corps, Tom Brady spectacularly zips through his reads and finds the open man. Sometimes it's a small gain under the middle, sometimes it's a screen to the outside, and occasionally, he gives his hulking tight end, Gronkowski, a try down the field.
In order to facilitate this offense, the Patriots needed very specific types of players. Their offensive linemen are quicker, pass-protection oriented, their runningbacks have soft hands and move well out of the pocket, and their receivers are shifty enough to get open against tight coverage inside.
It's a tight offense that relies heavily on Brady's ability to find the open man and deliver the ball in a matter of seconds.
It's pretty impressive.
So how does a defense respond to such a quick offense?
It's very hard to get pressure on Tom Brady, so you need to create time for your pass rushers. You have to bump New England's admittedly smaller receivers on the line to throw off their timing, and essentially throw anything you've got at Gronkowski. This means you need to substitute linebackers for more defensive backs.
Obviously at this point, a bigger runningback wins the match-up against a smaller player in a defensive back.
"So... AP is a bigger runningback. Boom! 5 yards guaranteed!"
But aren't you already getting that with the committee you have?
By switching to a single back instead of a committee, you're giving up 64 catches, 523 yards, and 3 TDs from your passing game.
You're talking about your big third down play, your checkdown option, and... pretty much the philosophy of your offense.
Adrian Peterson is a great back, don't get me wrong. But... by no means is he a stud receiver.
He's never been the guy to rush 30 times and catch the ball 10 times.
Peterson is a guy you build an offense around.
But... It wouldn't make sense to do that in New England.
Not with Tom Brady being the offense.
PLUS! It's silly to assume the Patriots need help in the running game. Despite being a pass first team last year, they still accumulated over 1,700 rushing yards.
That's not amazing. But for a team with three relatively mediocre runningbacks, it's not bad.
So why give up a draft pick and pay upwards of ten million dollars for a guy with character issues to do a job any undrafted guy could do?
It may be a good situation for Peterson, as he could finally be on a team with championship credentials, but ultimately, it would be a very expensive move for New England that just isn't worth it.