From his days of losing a high-school championship because of sprinklers to capturing six Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots, Tom Brady has certainly experienced the highs and lows of playing football. However, by joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL legend finally scored a critical coaching advantage he has waited 30 years to enjoy.
Tom Brady spent the last 20 years working for Bill Belichick
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Thanks to a violent hit from Mo Lewis on Drew Bledsoe, Tom Brady got his chance to prove everyone wrong for letting him slip to the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. Of course, that took plenty of faith from Bill Belichick. After all, nobody expected Brady to become a starter, let alone develop into the greatest quarterback of all time.
As fate would have it, that one brutal hit gave Brady the chance he needed. Over the next two decades, he continued to refine his game all while working with a revolving cast of weapons. Sure, he had Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman as his two trusted targets. However, Brady often made ordinary talents look like Pro Bowlers.
Part of that had to do with Belichick’s team-building principles. The defensive guru spent just one first-round pick on a receiver during Brady’s entire tenure. Ironically, that selection came in his final season in New England.
Belichick instead devoted ample resources to building a strong defense. That paid off early in Brady’s career, as the Patriots won three Super Bowls in a four-year stretch. New England won three more titles in a five-year span thanks to playoff heroics from Brady in 2014 and 2016. But in 2018, a dominant defense anchored by high-priced free-agent acquisition Stephon Gilmore paved the way for the Patriots’ sixth Lombardi Trophy.
Brady scores critical coaching advantage for first time in his football career
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Bill Belichick garners plenty of respect as a defensive genius. But even before Tom Brady came to New England, he spent his college years playing for another defense-first head coach in Lloyd Carr. The former University of Michigan HC spent his formative years coaching defensive backs before becoming the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator. Brady famously had to fight for his job in college, which seems insane given his NFL success.
But after working for two defensive-minded head coaches, the six-time Super Bowl champion scored a huge coaching advantage by signing with the Buccaneers. In fact, it’s an advantage he did not even enjoy while playing at Serra High in California.
“It’s my 30th year of playing football, including high school, and it’s the first time I’ve ever had an offensive head coach,” Brady explained in Peter King’s Football Morning in America. “That provides something a little different for the quarterback.”
To think that Brady played 29 years of football without an offensive-minded head coach still seems unfathomable. Perhaps that had something to do with his decent, but not elite, college career. At the same time, it shows that Brady has achieved incredible success without a head coach who specifically hails from an offensive background.
But by joining forces with offensive wizard Bruce Arians, the three-time NFL MVP now has a huge coaching advantage in his corner.
Will the Buccaneers live up to the hype on offense?
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As Tom Brady and the Buccaneers get training camp underway, all eyes will be focused on their potentially record-setting offense. From a personnel standpoint, few teams match the offensive firepower the Buccaneers possess.
At wide receiver, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin form a dangerous duo. Evans’ size makes him a tremendous red-zone threat. Plus, he should benefit greatly from Brady’s ability to hit back-shoulder throws.
Godwin broke out as one of the NFL’s brightest young stars in 2019. An explosive player after the catch, he has a chance to make last year’s numbers look lackluster with TB12 at the helm.
Tampa also has two talented tight ends in Gronkowski and O.J. Howard. Brady obviously has a tight relationship on and off the field with Gronk, which gives him an excellent chance to make his NFL comeback successful. Howard has all the physical tools teams look for in a No. 1 tight end; he just has to put them to use on the field.
Of course, Brady’s success hinges largely on his new head coach. Arians has established a reputation as an aggressive play-caller who has never been afraid to push the ball down the field. While that may seem counterintuitive to how Brady succeeded in New England, it’s clear that TB12 is ready for a change. And his upgraded weaponry should give him more confidence to take chances, which wasn’t the case in 2019.
If Tom Brady takes advantage of working with an offensive-minded head coach for the first time in his 30 years of playing football, he could score a seventh Super Bowl ring this season. Then again, perhaps a change in scenery won’t work out so well for the living legend.