One of the most surprising developments from Week One came in the aftermath of the Buccaneers-Saints game, when Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians publicly called out quarterback Tom Brady, not once but twice. That’s something Patriots coach Bill Belichick has never done, to Brady or to any other quarterback.
“I think the last person you want to call out after the first game of the year is Tom Brady,” Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre said Tuesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Now maybe they had a mutual truce going into the game, going into the season, ‘Hey, I’m going to be hard on you. I want the guys to know we’re going to treat you the same even though technically I’m not, so are you OK with it?’ If they have that truce, great. If not, I think you are barking up the wrong tree. Dissension could easily enter quickly. Maybe the Saints didn’t do anything that they were not ready for other than we didn’t protect very well, Tom gets hit a couple of times, you get a little jittery, it happens. First half of the Super Bowl against the Falcons he was getting nailed, played lackluster at best. They went in, had a ‘Come to Jesus’ at halftime, they don’t even come close to touching him in the second half, and he’s flawless. So they clean up the protection, the timing, the chemistry will come. Will it come overnight? I highly doubt it but it will come pretty quickly though and they very easily could be 4-1 after five weeks.”
Favre sees plenty of good in Brady’s first game with a team other than the Patriots.
“Tom’s performance was not what we’ve come to expect from him but I’ll say this, it wasn’t far off,” Favre said. “And you’re right, the first drive I think most people said, ‘Well, he hasn’t missed a beat. That’s typical Tom.’ I was a little bit surprised at how he started. I was not surprised with how the rest of the game unfolded. New team. He’s been in a familiar environment forever. And then all of a sudden not only is he with a new team, football itself is totally different right now. No preseason. Yeah, we saw, we heard where he was getting some kind of workout in, whether it be virtual or in the parking lot. But, look, its not even close to the equivalent of real bullets. And they protected OK. Tom, you know, if you protect him he’s gonna pick you apart, I don’t care if it is new receivers or not. And it just wasn’t typical protection. I’m not blaming the line, I’m not blaming Tom Brady.”
Here’s the reality: The Buccaneers got a tough draw to start the year. They have much easier contests on the horizon with a home game against the Panthers, a trip to Denver (which actually has been a house of horrors for Brady), a visit from the Chargers, a trip to Chicago, and a visit from the Packers followed by games at Las Vegas and the Giants.
A 5-3 record at the turn seems the minimum. Either 6-2 or 7-1 are attainable. Regardless, a loss in Week One means only that Tampa Bay’s best possible record is 15-1.