Broncos hope to put pressure on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady

Tom Kensler, The Denver Post

New England’s Tom Brady doesn’t rank among the NFL’s most nimble quarterbacks, and at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, he has good, but not exceptional size for the position.

So how does Brady always seem to rank among the best at avoiding the pass rush?

“It’s his awareness,” Broncos coach John Fox said Thursday. “You don’t have to be real fast to be efficient. He has a good feel for how to slide away and find the soft spots in the pass rush.”

Brady was sacked 32 times during the regular season. That seems like a lot. But considering he attempted 611 passes, New England ranked ninth-best in the NFL for fewest sacks per pass play.

“The key ingredient is a quarterback has to be smart,” Broncos linebacker Mario Haggan said. “He studies the game. He knows what to do with the ball. He’s been around a long time. He’s seen about every pass rush you can imagine.”

The Broncos sacked Brady twice during the 41-23 Patriots victory at Sports Authority Field at Mile High last month. Denver’s defense figures it had better put even more pressure on him Saturday night.

That’s never easy.

“Brady understands the game,” Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil said. “He’s at his best in presnap. So we have to do a good job of not giving him a clue about what we’re going to do.

“You don’t have to be fast (to avoid sacks). You just have to be smart and have good pocket presence. Just the way he moves in the pocket makes him one of the greatest quarterbacks.”

The key for the Broncos’ defense is to be patient, Haggan said.

“We just have to trust each other,” Haggan said. “The pass rush and the pass coverage work together. When a defense goes against Tom Brady, the only way to get good results is to work together.”

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