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There has been some debate in the media after the Patriots sloppy victory against the Jets Thursday night about quarterback Tom Brady yelling at his rookie receivers. The receivers were not the only ones receiving heat at the end of the game as Brady came under fire for his treatment of his rookie receivers, mainly for the way he yelled at them on the sidelines. Was it a good thing for the Patriots that Brady yelled at the rookies to send them a message or was it bad in terms of destroying the receivers’ confidence?
Tensions between Brady and his rookie receivers, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, were extremely high after a quarter of dropped passes and errors in route running by the receivers. Brady targeted the young receivers a combined 17 times but only connected for five passes, which would leave any quarterback fuming. Brady’s mounting frustration with his rookie receivers became apparent to the world as he publicly yelled at them on the sidelines after a disappointing first quarter.
Although Brady was absolutely justified in chewing out his receivers, his approach of reprimanding them was not good for building team morale. It is one thing to yell at receivers for not doing that job, but another to embarrass them on national television (which they did fine on their own). Brady stated that players need to be sent a stern message, whether it be from a teammate or coach. As a leader of the team, it is Brady’s responsibility to send that message. The rookies do need to be held accountable for their actions and as grown men, they should not have to be coddled by Brady. However, as a leader, Brady needs to establish trust and chemistry among all his teammates and that starts with his actions.
Even though the receivers deserved being yelled at, Brady should have taken the receivers aside out of respect for them. It is only natural to express frustration when things go awry, especially for Brady, who expects perfection from all his teammates. After a good stern talking to, Brady, as the leader of the team, should have explained to the receivers what they did wrong and how to improve moving forward because the job of the leader is to motivate the rest of the team not to decimate their confidence.
Another job of the leader is to build team morale and chemistry. By putting his receivers on blast on national television, it demoralizes them because they feel even more embarrassed than when they were dropping passes. It probably did not feel good for them to be, as some may argue, degraded, by a teammate who they admire and respect. These receivers are Brady’s soldiers that he will be going to battle with for the rest of the season and by demeaning them, Brady essentially deflated his receivers’ confidence and made his receivers not want to work hard for him. If Brady wants his receivers to work hard for him, he needs to become that leader and really guide young players, no matter how frustrated he feels.
Another reason Brady yelling at the receivers is not good for the team is because not only does it look bad but it shows weakness to their opponents. Eyes are always on him and by showing frustration, Brady is passing blame onto his receivers. Although some may argue Brady is just passionate about winning, his outburst and poor body language throughout the game was similar to that of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, when he used to sulk on the sidelines away from his teammates plays were not being executed. Brady needs to show better poise during games and learn to control his emotions better. Yes, football is an emotional game and can be extremely frustrating when teammates are not doing their job, but as a leader, Brady needs to lead by example and rally, rather than deflate his teammate.
Even Brady himself understood that he needs to do a better job of separating emotions from the game. In a post-game conference, Brady took responsibility for his actions, admitting he needs to control his emotions better during the game but saying it is a natural part of the game. Brady admits, “I think it’s just overall important to show poise. I think being frustrated is one thing, letting that affect how you play is another.”
It is hard to be mad at Brady for letting his receivers have it because any of us probably would have done the same thing. However, as the most respected player on the team, Brady needs to control his emotions just a little bit better. Let’s hope the receivers can get it together, or we just might see a very angry Brady this season.