Tom Brady trying out new helmet, eyes tweaks to face mask

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady might be calling his first audible of the season -- to a new helmet.

Citing a combination of improved comfort and potentially more safety, Brady has reluctantly kept his old Riddell VSR-4 helmet in his locker for an updated model. Brady could still have worn his old helmet for one more season, but under new NFL safety guidelines, the model wouldn't be allowed after that.

"I've been wearing a very old helmet for a long period of time, but it's worked pretty well, too. That's why I've been a little hesitant to change," he said Wednesday.

"I think there are still a few little tweaks I'd like, but for the most part, it's really comfortable. I asked the guys, 'Do I look any younger or faster in it?' They said yes, so I feel like I might keep it."

The tweaks Brady referred to are more specific to the face mask on the new helmet.

"You've seen something a certain way for a long period of time. I like as much vision as possible, the peripheral vision, it's all important, it all matters," he said. "Just making sure it's similar to what the experience has always been.

"Like I said, there are still some tweaks to go, and I'm working it out, but overall, hopefully the helmet provides more protection."

After the Patriots' preseason victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 16, in which Brady played 39 snaps and finished 19-of-26 for 172 yards and two touchdowns, Brady described the new helmet as being a "little heavier" than the old one.

Specific to the face mask, Brady was asked about the importance of peripheral vision, and the balance of having a bigger mask against a wider opening to see.

"There has to be, obviously, some protection over here, because fingers can get [in there]," Brady said, bringing his left hand to the side of his face. "It hasn't happened often in my career, but I've had a few hands get through the mask a little bit. Typically quarterbacks have much more open [areas], like receivers probably do, with the vision. The more you can have, the better.

"It's not quite going to be the Sean Landeta punter one, where he had the one bar. But [the new helmet] provides enough. I really like it. It's been a good transition, a smooth transition, which is all I can ask for."