Steelers' Clark Talks Trash About Amendola, Brady
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark made a guest appearance in Bristol, Conn., at ESPN on Monday as an analyst for NFL Live, and had a lot to say about Tom Brady and the correct way to play the Patriots.
He also called new Patriots receiver Danny Amendola "fragile" because of his inability to stay healthy throughout his career. Although Clark is accurate with his message of Amendola's health concerns, the term "fragile" doesn't fit Amendola's situation.
A non-contact injury can hint at a fragile bodied athlete. Amendola, on the other hand, suffered some pretty gruesome dislocations as a result of some serious contact. A dislocated elbow in 2011 caused him to miss 15 games, and a dislocated clavicle in 2012 nearly killed him. Clark, who has a history of being verbose off the field, prefers to use a big mouth to disarm opponents, rather than to do so with his play on the field.
“I know they think Danny Amendola can come in and have the same type of numbers he had with the Rams, but we also have to remember he's fragile,” Clark said on NFL Live. “He's not a guy who has completed a whole season, especially playing inside in what can be a physical AFC East.”
Amendola did in fact play all 16 games in the 2010 season, Mr. Clark.
He added that Brady “sees ghosts” when opposing defenses put pressure on him, forcing him to make rash decisions.
Clark brought up the last time the Patriots played the Steelers during the 2011 season – a 25-17 Steelers victory in Pittsburgh. He said the defense used man-to-man coverage on the Patriots receivers and tight ends, and had the 6-foot-1 physical corner Cortez Allen shadow Rob Gronkowski.
“In 2010, we saw it start with the Jets in the playoffs,” he said. “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.
“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.”
The thing is, he's not wrong. Every loss the Patriots have suffered in the past few seasons, namely the most recent AFC championship game and the Super Bowl XLVI loss to the Giants, has largely been due to the fact that Brady doesn't handle pressure well.
That's been well documented. But the purpose of Clark's comments on ESPN wasn't a blueprint to the rest of the NFL on how to dethrone the Patriots. Clark's intent was to get under the skin of players and fans in New England – something Clark has been prone to do.
Finally, he said when Brady doesn’t get the ball out of his hands on time, he panics and starts flinching and ducking, anticipating sacks.
“When you get Tom Brady doing that, the whole New England Patriots mystique goes away,” Clark said.
In Brady's defense, the Patriots have had some outstandng offensive line play over the past several seasons. The team allowed 27 sacks to opponents in 2012 while the defense recorded 37 sacks. So it's understandable that Brady would get a little fidgety when his pocket is almost uncharacteristically collapsing.
Clark knows the Patriots will be one of the teams to beat this season if his team is to earn a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII. And, in his mind, the earlier he is given a national stage to talk some trash, the better.
Clark and the Steelers meet the Patriots in Foxboro on Nov. 3 in week 9.