FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who underwent tests on his non-throwing left shoulder after taking some big hits in the team’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, did not participate in the team’s practice Tuesday.
It was the first practice Brady has missed this season. Brady’s left shoulder isn’t expected to keep him out of Sunday’s road game against the New York Jets, according to a source.
After Thursday’s win over the Buccaneers, Brady described the hits as “just football” before saying, “I’ll be there next Sunday.”
The Patriots will submit their first injury report of the week on Wednesday.
Brady has been hit 32 times through the first five games of the season, including 16 sacks. Players acknowledged Tuesday those numbers are too high.
“We have to do a better job protecting him,” running back James White said. “We’re all accountable for that.”
Added starting left tackle Nate Solder: “We hate to see him get hit. Keeping him clean, keeping him upright, that’s our goal every week.”
In a radio interview on Westwood One on Monday night, Brady was asked how he can hold up taking those hits.
“I think that’s part of the conditioning that you do in the offseason, to prepare yourself for taking hits,” he said. “Some of those sacks, I’ve been holding on to the ball too long and I have to get rid of it. I think that’s decision-making.”
Prior to Thursday’s game against the Buccaneers, Brady had absorbed seven hits in a loss to the Panthers on Oct. 1. Two of those were sacks by Julius Peppers, and one of them seemed to affect Brady’s left shoulder, but he played through it and his level of participation in practice after the game wasn’t affected.
Then in the win over the Buccaneers, Brady was sacked by nose tackle Clinton McDonald in the first quarter and was in obvious pain before rising to his feet.
Brady recently talked about how he tries to land a certain way to protect his right throwing shoulder.
“You do have to learn how to find the way down in a way that you’ll be able to get up and try to play the next play, especially with your right shoulder,” he said. “I think for me more than anything I try to land more on my left shoulder than my right shoulder because you’ve only got one right shoulder and I need this for a lot of throws, and the more hits you take on it then the harder it is to take.”
Jimmy Garoppolo took all the practice reps on Tuesday, as he is the only other quarterback on the team’s roster. The team doesn’t have a quarterback on the practice squad after releasing Taylor Heinicke on Monday.
The Patriots usually hold three practices in the days leading up to Sunday games, but after playing last Thursday, the schedule opened up for them to have an extra practice this week. They are scheduled to practice again Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.