Not that he needed it, but Tom Brady has added a new weapon to his game.
In addition to a quick release, pinpoint accuracy, an improved deep ball, and of course, a master command on the New England Patriots' offense, Brady is now a runner.
This season, Brady already has 63 rushing yards, his most since 2011, and he's played just six games. He's on pace to break his career high of 110 rushing yards, which he set in 2002.
After showing a willingness to use his legs in the Patriots' 30-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Brady told "Kirk and Callahan" of WEEI during his weekly spot that he's faster now than he's ever been in the NFL.
"I'm never going to run a 4.7 [second] 40 [yard dash]. I never have been able to do that, I never will be able to do that, but I've timed my 40 from what it was when I was coming out of college and what it is now and it's maybe two- or three-tenths faster."
When one of the hosts remarked that shaving two- or three-tenths of a second off of a 40 time is "much faster," Brady said, "I was really slow back then," referring to the 2000 draft combine, when he ran what he believes was a 5.25-second 40-yard dash.
He continued, saying while he'll never be a running quarterback, he's tried to get quicker so he can stay mobile in the pocket.
So much for me is just that initial step. If you can have a little quickness in the pocket to evade an oncoming defensive lineman you can extend the plays. ... I've really tried to work on the first step. I don't think my instincts in the pocket to move and scramble... those aren't really inbred in me just based on my style of play. It never has been. I've just tried to stay in the pocket and buy time in the pocket to allow my receivers to get open.
Brady has been lightly mocked for his somewhat sluggish 40 at the combine.
It would be a dramatic improvement if, 16 years later, he's now running five-second 40-yard dashes.
While Brady's runs don't exactly look like Ezekiel Elliott blasting through a defensive line, this year, he's gaining more yardage on his feet than ever before.
Against the 49ers, he also showed the quickness he was referring to, spinning out of the pocket to evade a defender before finding Danny Amendola in the end zone as he fell down. Pretty incredible for a 39-year-old.
Defenses have a hard enough time getting to Brady in the first place. If he's now quicker and more willing to leave the pocket than before, the Patriots offense will have a new dynamic that will be tough for opponents to stop.
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