Accidents. A stalled offense. Loads of frustration. In a couple of key methods, Tom Brady’s season with the Buccaneers resembles his remaining season with the Patriots.
Tom Brady is shaking his head at one other failed third-down conversion. It’s not the identical Brady on the sector, and for some, the blame comes down exhausting on the forty-something quarterback.
The place’s the quarterback who simply led his crew to a Tremendous Bowl? The one who may seemingly make it work with any and each receiver?
The higher query is that this: Are we in 2022, or 2019?
Other than sharing the well-known quarterback and the cachet that comes with it, each Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots followers now have one thing else to bond over: a disappointing season with Brady on the helm. The numbers aren’t fairly, however neither is the truth that the issues are complicated and interconnected, making it reductive to push the quarterback towards early retirement.
Related although they’re, there are distinctive variations between Brady’s final season with the Patriots and his present one with the Buccaneers. The first similarity is that in each cases, the chemistry with receivers is off and the groups lacked tight finish assist, making it a problem to finish throws and run a productive offense. Additionally, each of those groups have struggled mightily with out the assistance of Rob Gronkowski, a key chess piece who made the cross and run perform easily.
Right here’s the place the 2 seasons overlap and the place they differ, with the 2022 Bucs ideally hoping for a distinct final result.
Tom Brady and the 2019 Patriots
Wanting on the schedule alone, it’s amusing that anybody would have panicked over the 2019 Patriots. The crew completed the yr atop the AFC East with a 12-4 file, boasting a league-leading protection that dubbed themselves “The Boogeymen.” The crew started the yr with an 8-0 file for the third time in franchise historical past, getting into the month of December with a 10-1 file. That’s when the wheels started to fall off the Patriots marketing campaign.
The Patriots misplaced three of their 5 video games that month, ending the common season with an uncharacteristic loss to the 4-11 Miami Dolphins at residence. The Patriots went on to the playoffs solely to lose to the 9-7 Tennessee Titans within the Wild Card spherical, which noticed Brady wrap up his New England profession with an interception. It was a bitter finish to a season that fell aside bitterly within the colder months.
The Patriots broad receiver core, well-known for making stars of neglected gamers, relied on Julian Edelman and some trades that didn’t pan out properly sufficient. Edelman was flanked by Phillip Dorsett, Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas. Jakobi Meyers, the efficient successor of Edelman, was an unestablished rookie on the time. So too was Damien Harris, nevertheless it was James White and Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel who performed extra outstanding roles within the run sport. Ryan Izzo and Benjamin Watson performed tight finish, however neither was in a position to replicate the Gronk impact.
Within the final three video games of the season, two of which registered as wins for the Patriots, Michel rushed for 89 yards, 96 yards, then 74 yards in every respective sport. In those self same three video games, Brady accomplished 15/29 passes, then 26/33 and 16/29. Passing for 128 yards, then 271 yards and 221 yards was markedly completely different from the 341-yard, 264-yard and 306-yard video games that opened up the season’s passing assault.
Rob Parker, who has made a profession hoping Brady’s would quickly take a nose-dive, questioned whether or not or not Brady’s cliff had lastly come that December.
Lengthy earlier than Parker introduced the “destruction” of Brady, Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier had performed all of it the best way again in January 2019, a couple of weeks earlier than the Patriots gained their sixth Tremendous Bowl. Taking a look at Brady’s stats through the 2018 season, Tanier surmised that Brady’s numbers declined as a result of he “is getting previous.”
“He posted his highest interception complete and lowest landing charge since 2013 this season and his fewest yards per try and yards per sport and lowest passer ranking since 2014,” Tanier noticed.
The Patriots’ reliance on the run that yr backed these numbers, and since Brady is an anomaly, it was troublesome to suss out whether or not or not it was Brady’s inefficiency or a damaged system. However Brady may nonetheless make passes, a undeniable fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been in a position to precisely assess after they watched the tape. Lars Anderson’s “A Season In The Solar” opens with how Brady’s transfer to Tampa got here to be, and Tampa’s scouts rapidly realized that the seasoned quarterback nonetheless had it.
A yr later, the Bucs gained their second Tremendous Bowl and Brady’s seventh. However the subsequent two seasons would show way more troublesome to make it to the highest.
Tom Brady and the 2022 Buccaneers
In a sport largely birthed out of the love of the run, the 2022 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are failing miserably at soccer’s most important offensive part. Regardless of wielding Leonard Fournette, a seasoned veteran who has confirmed to be simpler than Sony Michel, the Bucs are posting traditionally abysmal numbers with regard to their run sport.
NFL analyst Warren Sharp makes key observations, notably that the Bucs must name simpler performs on early downs, a degree that journalists have repeatedly proposed to Bucs teaching employees in current weeks. Per Sharp, when the Bucs get in third and lengthy conditions, they flip into former New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold beneath Adam Gase. It’s that unhealthy.
And it creates issues down the road, too. The Bucs are one of many worst groups within the NFL relating to crimson zone alternative resulting from a excessive punt charge, which is what occurs when a crew retains failing to transform on third and lengthy.
As soon as once more, Brady’s offense isn’t working, however the Bucs have confronted quite a few obstacles this season which have made a nasty state of affairs inconceivable. Shedding Ryan Jensen and Ali Marpet has devastated the offensive line; dropping James Pierre-Paul and Ndamakong Suh — and now Shaq Barrett — has devastated the line of defense. And let’s not neglect that when once more, Brady is with out Gronk, who typically prolonged his huge arms to transform these third and longs and persistently drew double protection.
Devin White has been overtly criticized for jogging to sort out a participant and for not sticking to his task, however in White’s protection (at the least for the jogging critique), the Bucs protection is disproportionately stored on the sector as a result of the offense is failing.
Similar to in 2019, Brady’s throwing isn’t the issue. At the very least, it’s not the one drawback, and it’s undoubtedly not the supply of all these issues. There’s no noodle arm, only a wrestle to collectively pool noodles collectively and devise an efficient gameplan with what they’ve acquired.
The one factor that’s working within the Bucs’ favor is that in contrast to the 2019 Patriots, the 2022 Bucs are seeing their struggles early on. They do have extra losses than the 12-4 Patriots, however as they proved in 2020, hitting a sizzling streak late within the season may imply they squeak into the playoffs and certain towards the massive sport.
If Tom Brady and the Buccaneers can discover a technique to make it work within the coming weeks, perhaps they will guarantee historical past doesn’t repeat itself.
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