Ex-Patriots offensive coordinator: If Tom Brady leaves, here’s the QB most ready to run New England’s system


For the past 20 years, the New England Patriots haven’t had to deal with any question marks at the quarterback position, but that could change in two short weeks if Tom Brady decides to leave in free agency and sign with another team. 

If Brady ends up walking, the Patriots will have plenty of options when it comes to replacing him. Although there will be several quarterbacks to choose from, only one of them makes sense, according to former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.

From Weis’ point of view, the best fit for the Patriots system would be none other than Andy Dalton. 

“I just think that of the quarterbacks out there, and what they’re like, and what they do, the guy who’s most ready to play in the Patriots system, even though not having been in the system, would be [Andy Dalton],” Weis said during a recent interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Weis, who won three Super Bowls during his five seasons as the Patriots offensive coordinator (2000-04), believes that Dalton has the winning pedigree that a quarterback needs to be successful in New England. 

“This guy has won a lot of football games,” Weis said. “He knows how to see the field. Throwing it [hasn’t] been the issue. The biggest issue with Cincinnati is the mentality in the building, No. 1, and the injuries to all the skill people on a yearly basis. Every year you’re watching Cincinnati, do you ever see their full group of people all there together for an extended period of time? Hardly ever.”

As far as the injuries go, Dalton had to play behind a poor offensive line in 2019 that was missing two starters for most of the season. The team’s 2019 first-round pick, tackle Jonah Williams, didn’t play a single snap due to a shoulder injury, and another tackle, Cordy Glenn, missed 10 games due to multiple issues. Also, let’s not forget that Dalton’s favorite receiver, A.J. Green, missed the entire 2019 season and has missed 23 games over the past two years. 

Although Dalton got benched in 2019, it wasn’t due to poor play, it was because the Bengals wanted to see what they had in rookie Ryan Finley. After Finley started three games and flamed out, Dalton was given his job back. The Bengals quarterback is now on the trade market and the team has already said it’s going to work with him to help facilitate a trade to a good situation, which ostensibly means they’d be open to making a deal with the Patriots. 

One other thing Weis likes about Dalton is that he led the Bengals to the postseason a total of five times. 

“How many years did the guy end up going to the playoffs? A half dozen? How many of these other guys have been there a half dozen times?” Weis asked. 

Dalton’s five postseason appearances since 2011 are the most of any quarterback that would potentially be available this offseason. Over the past nine years, Philip Rivers and Ryan Tannehill have been to the playoffs twice, while Jameis Winston has been there zero times. Even Cam Newton, who was drafted the same year as Dalton, has only been to the postseason four times over that span. 

Of course, Weis did admit there’s one wild-card option and that option would be to stick with Jarrett Stidham. Although Dalton is the best available quarterback for New England, Weis admitted that he didn’t know much about Stidham and that the Patriots could certainly move forward with the second-year quarterback as their starter if they’re comfortable with what they’ve seen from him. 

“Remember now, I don’t know what their true feelings are about Stidham, because they might believe he’s the next [Brady] already,” Weis said. “So I don’t know if they’d be looking at Dalton to be Stidham’s backup or to be ahead of Stidham. I just think Dalton would be the perfect person to go somewhere where the starting quarterback was uncertain, and go in there and earn your spot.”

The Patriots better start doing their quarterback homework now, because so far, things aren’t looking promising on the Brady front. Brady and Belichick had their first phone conversation about free agency on Tuesday and apparently, things didn’t go so well, which means the Patriots might want to start taking a serious look at their Plan B, whatever that is. 

If you want to stay up to date on every rumor and piece of news surrounding Brady this offseason, make sure to click here to check out our free agency hub for the Patriots quarterback. 





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