NFL Analysis: Is Patriots Tom Brady's Shoulder Really Injured?

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New York Giants QB Eli Manning had to leave practice early Wednesday with what head coach Tom Coughlin called a “stomach bug.” Manning was in meetings all morning, and participated in the jog-through period of practice, but went inside when he felt ill after taking a few reps. Manning hasn’t missed practice all year, so today when Giants right guard Chris Snee looked back and saw backup quarterback David Carr walking to the line and calling signals, he teased, “Are you sure?” Carr took about 75% of the reps.

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady missed practice Wednesday too, but his ailment was an injury to his left shoulder as backup Brian Hoyer took the snaps. This is the same injury that kept Brady out of practice on Dec. 28, four days before he played all but the final offensive series in a 49-21 win over the Buffalo Bills. In last Saturday 45-10 divisional playoff win over the Denver Broncos, Brady played every New England offensive series and there was no indication that his shoulder was injured further in that game.

While both of these absences made headlines, neither one of them appears alarming. There isn’t anyone who expects David Carr or Brian Hoyer to step on the field with their helmets strapped on except in pre-game warm-ups or in the event either starting QB gets taken off on a stretcher. Hoyer couldn’t get in to last week’s game in the 4th quarter with the Patriots up 35 points, he’s not getting into this one.

By all accounts, before Wednesday’s practice, Brady was smiling and appeared to be in a good mood while speaking with reporters. So what’s going on here? Why would head coach Bill Belichick let word get out that Brady is resting his shoulder? What kind of mind game could he be playing? Surely he wouldn’t want to put a bullseye on Brady’s left shoulder; the Ravens would be taking shots at it all game. Is it reverse psychology? Double reverse psychology? This is totally uncharacteristic of a Belichick pre-game strategy as he’s usually tight lipped about injuries during the week, often making a mockery of the process by listing numerous players on the injury report. It’s all fagazy of course as almost all other than the obviously injured end up playing.

Eli had the runs, I get it… Go sit on the toilet and relax. I don’t get this Brady shoulder thing. Belichick left Brady in the entire game last week with the game well in hand. He even had Brady punt the ball exposing him to unnecessary injury in that manner. Now, four day’s later, Brady is too hurt to practice? I’m not buying it. Belichick’s s up to something; and it’s usually no good.

The founder and former owner of MC3 Sports Media, Mike Cardano is the Sr. Business Administrator for RotoExperts and the Executive Director here at You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.