RICHMOND, Va. — Quarterback Tom Brady celebrated his 37th birthday Sunday as the New England Patriots traveled south for joint practices with the Washington Redskins.
A day later, Brady was on the field showing that while he me be getting older, age is doing little to slow the future Hall of Famer.
Sharing the practice field at the Redskins’ Bon Secours Training Center with Washington’s young star passer, Robert Griffin III, Brady put on an impressive showing that left every other quarterback on the field paling in comparison.
Age be damned, TB12 showed that RG3 has a long way to go to be among the elite passers in the league, a position Brady has held for more than a decade.
Over two days of practice with the Redskins, including plenty of work in no-huddle and red zone situations, Brady carved up the Washington defense. He delivered quick, accurate strikes to receivers Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell and Kenbrell Thompkins. The success came even with the perceived centerpiece of the Patriots’ passing attack — injured Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski — back in New England.
It is not exactly the same as carving up a team in the playoffs, but Brady’s early summer work against the Redskins would seem to be an early indication that reports of his declining skills may be a bit premature.
“It’s been two fun days to go against another team and have a different kind of energy out here than a normal training camp practice. It’s been a lot of fun,” Brady said.
Part of that fun was an increased comfort with his targets, a group of pass-catchers that went through a total overhaul a year ago.
“The experience is very helpful, and I think having the opportunity to play with Danny and KT (Kenbrell Thompkins) and Aaron (Dobson) and Josh (Boyce), and Brandon LaFell comes in this year and he’s done a great job since he’s come in and done things, ” Brady said. “(Running back) James White has done a great job. The more guys that we have on the same page, doing the right thing, that do their job really well dependably and consistently, the better we’re going to be.
“We’ve got to have an offense where you can dish the ball to really anybody, and that person is going to make the play.”
The chances of all that coming together will only increase when Gronkowski takes the field. For now, though, Brady is enjoying another somewhat big target with the addition of LaFell, who left the Carolina Panthers as a free agent.
“He keeps making more plays,” Brady said of LaFell. “He’s done a great job. … He made a lot of plays out there. He’s understanding better and better. He’s a veteran. He’s savvy, knows how to run the routes, big body, big frame, makes a lot of tough catches.”
After praising LaFell, Brady took a little poke at his little corps of receivers.
“I’ve got some of the little pygmies out there like Julian and Danny, and it’s nice to have a little bigger guy out there from time to time who has a bigger catch radius,” the quarterback said.
“Hopefully, Danny and Julian don’t get mad at me for saying that. They won’t. They know I’m joking.”
Brady was all business on the field, though. And that is good news for the Patriots, as they likely still will go only as far as the gracefully aging No. 12 can take them.