Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians started the 2020 season by calling out quarterback Tom Brady. Arians is ending the year by praising his quarterback.
During a Friday press conference, Arians was asked whether Brady exceeded expectations in his first year with the team.
“Totally exceeded,” Arians said. “With having such a limited practice, we went to New Orleans [in Week One] still learning words. When the quarterback calls a play, he should have a picture in his head. I don’t think that happened until November — just continuing to learn what words meant and what concepts meant, and then adjusting concepts as we went along. A guy might have a three- or four-way go on a route [but now] we eliminated it to two. Things like that as we just kept evolving. I think right now when he calls a play, the picture is in his head and he’s really, really playing well. He’s exceeded it. His leadership is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Peyton Manning is the only thing close.”
That’s high praise. Extremely high praise. Better leadership than even Peyton Manning.
So how does Brady do it?
“Just the way he handles young players and veteran players,” Arians explained. “He’s another coach on the field talking to Gronk about how he’s running his routes [and] talking to Scotty [Miller] how he’s running his routes. [Talking to] anybody about where [he] expects to see you [and] protections with the offensive lineman. It’s a never-ending thing with him – the perfectionist – to get everything right in practice. Also, his calmness on the sideline in games when we’re not winning, [saying], ‘We’re going to win.’ Those type of things. You put those in a bottle and you make a bunch of money.”
Making it all even more amazing is that Brady is 43 and five months old, and he’s still performing at a ridiculously high level.
“It’s a special thing,” offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich told reporters on Thursday. “That’s what makes him a special guy. He’s a very unique guy — not a lot of guys are built like him [and] not a lot of guys are even capable of doing the things that he can do right now. Shoot, I can’t do them right now and I’m a couple of years younger than him. I still can’t do some of the things that he’s able to still do. I think he’s been taking care of his body [and] he’s really been preparing for this moment for so long. It’s no shock to him, to be honest with you. He’s been preparing to play this long — just talking to him — for a while now. He’s done everything that he can possibly do to give him that opportunity to play like this at the age he’s at. It’s something that we don’t really talk about [and it’s] something that we’re not really surprised at because of the effort he puts in week in and week out to take care of his body and also to put us in position to win football games.”
The Buccaneers have won 10 games this season, and they’ve improved significantly since the bye week. As they close in on the postseason, they could be good enough to get to the Super Bowl — and they could be the one NFC team that could potentially derail the Chiefs.