“I am so happy with the decision I made…I made a decision to do something different. It was a very thoughtful decision. It wasn’t a spur of the moment thing.” – Tom Brady on signing with the Buccaneers
“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. That provides something a little different for the quarterback.” – Brady
“The guy can make every throw. He threw a ball 60 yards the other day to [wide receiver] Scotty Miller that was on a dime.” – Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians on Brady’s arm strength
Full Conversation with Brady Available Now on The Peter King Podcast; The Rich Eisen Show Returns to NBCSN Today at Noon ET
STAMFORD, Conn. – August 17, 2020 – Peter King writes about spending two days at Buccaneers training camp and speaking one-on-one with Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who signed with Tampa Bay this offseason after 20 seasons with New England, in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also details how Brady has looked at Buccaneers practice and speaks with Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, and tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate.
Listen to King’s conversation with Brady on The Peter King Podcast here.
Across NBC Sports this week, King continues his training camp tour tomorrow with a visit to Kansas City Chiefs camp and The Rich Eisen Show returns to NBCSN today at Noon ET. PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms airs from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET every weekday on NBCSN, with NBC Football Night in America analyst Rodney Harrison making his weekly guest appearance this Wednesday. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and the Rotoworld Football Podcast and Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast prepare for the upcoming season.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
TOM BRADY & THE BUCCANEERS
King on his visit to Buccaneers camp: “A two-day visit in Tampa was the first stop on an abbreviated camp tour for me – four camps in eight days. Then home to Brooklyn for a mandatory 14-day quarantine…This was my routine Thursday: Watch practice at the Bucs 10 feet away from anyone else, then hustle back to room 416 of the Epicurean Hotel, 4.5 miles from the Bucs facility, to await phone and videoconference interviews.”
King on Tom Brady: “There’s a lot of the Brady story to sort through, watching him for two days. His arm, I thought, looked very good, better than it did late last season.”
Brady on his decision to sign with the Buccaneers this offseason: “When I added it up, Tampa seemed like it was a great opportunity. I am so happy with the decision I made…I made a decision to do something different. It was a very thoughtful decision. It wasn’t a spur of the moment thing. Really since the moment I got here they’ve embraced me. They’ve embraced me with the opportunity to go and lead the team – that’s a big responsibility for me.”
Brady on his motivation: “You know, I have a belief or confidence in myself, but I still have to go do it and prove it to myself too and I think that’s what motivates me and get me going each day. I don’t give a s— what happened yesterday, the day before. Today’s the day and that’s where you have to put your time and energy.”
Brady on how he feels entering the season: “I feel really good. I think my arm is strong and is good and is as in-shape as it has ever been.”
Brady on learning a new offense and the importance of continuity: “Being in one place and you have that familiarity, which is why I think continuity in the NFL is so important. When you look at Sean Payton and Drew Brees, they’re so on the same page with their belief of how to do that, it provides them with a lot of margin of error. In a really condensed format that we have, we’re really trying to get on the same page.”
King on Brady’s transition to the Buccaneers: “What’s different for Brady, besides everything, is the head coach. Bruce Arians is, well, he’s not Bill Belichick. Arians can bite heads off, but he’s a teaching pal to passers. He has coached Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer and Jameis Winston…That’s a wealth of quarterback-coaching experience right there, and Brady is trying to learn from it.”
Brady on head coach Bruce Arians: “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. That provides something a little different for the quarterback.”
Arians on Brady: “Tom’s used to audibling so much and we haven’t asked our guys to audible that much in the last few years. Going back to [coaching] Peyton, he’d have three plays in the huddle. And he might run a fourth one, because he saw something he liked. Tom can do those types of things. We’ll give him those types of things to do but right now it’s just, Let’s get it all down pat, which he probably has 90 percent of it in the book right now in his mind.”
Arians on the narrative that Brady’s arm strength doesn’t fit his offensive scheme: “The guy can make every throw. He threw a ball 60 yards the other day to [wide receiver] Scotty Miller that was on a dime. The thing about our offense is you throw it to the guy that’s open. If Tom [sees an open man deep], he takes the shot. If not, read it out. He and Peyton have that same characteristic. Like, I’m not gonna take a 50/50 shot when I got a 90 percent shot underneath.”
Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich on Brady’s fit: “He’s done everything we ask our quarterbacks to do in this offense. I’m just telling you, he fits us extremely well.”
Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate on Brady’s passes: “That’s probably the thing I was most surprised with…Man, he can still sling it. All the work we did in the offseason, that’s kinda the one thing I was really most impressed with, his ability to throw the football. He can still spin it.”
King on tight end Rob Gronkowski: “As for Gronkowski: He looked good, in excellent football shape. It’s early. I’d expect the Bucs to conserve him through the season, maybe using him regularly in the red zone where he has flourished for so long.”
King on O.J. Howard: “The big question about the skill-player group: Is O.J. Howard available? Answer: No, not over Tom Brady’s dead body. The Bucs are keeping him, barring a ridiculous offer which I doubt would be forthcoming with his lack of production. The brass has noticed a different Howard, an excited player with a more positive aura. Who wouldn’t want to play with Brady?”
Brady on playing at age 43: “It definitely, at this age, has its challenges. I just have to be so diligent with how I take care of myself. There’s really not a lot of room for error…I still physically feel like I can throw the football well and get the job done. Again, I’ve got to work hard at it. It’s not like there’s anything easy about football in general and certainly in your forties it gets tougher than when you were in your thirties.”
Brady on playing in the Tampa heat: “I feel like I mastered the cold weather because I’d, again, been up there [in New England] for so long and you know exactly how to do it. Here it’s a different type of inclement weather so it has its challenges because you sweat so much. But I’ll get used to that.”
King on the Buccaneers: “For now, all good on the southern front for Brady and the Bucs. There’s no reason he can’t play well with these weapons, and there’s no reason the Bucs can’t contend for one of the seven playoff spots in the NFC…If the early chemistry experiment on offense works, this is going to be an exciting team to watch. And, I predict, a playoff team.”
King on Washington QB Alex Smith: “I think there are many really interesting stories in the 2020 NFL seasons. There is only one amazing one: the possible comeback of Alex Smith from a broken leg 21 months ago, an injury that nearly caused the leg to be amputated. He’ll be on the field in Ashburn, Va., at the Washington training camp, trying to win the starting job over Dwayne Haskins.”
King on DE Everson Griffen signing with the Cowboys: “When I read about Everson Griffen to the Cowboys, my first thought was, This is starting to be unfair…That Dallas front, particularly if Aldon Smith can make the team and take some rotational role, is going to be an absolute monster. At their peaks, the players on this front are all Pro Bowlers, and that’s not hyperbole.”
King on 49ers WR Deebo Samuel: “I think the best bit of injury news around the league – aside from Alex Smith’s good fortune – probably came for the Niners on Sunday, with the slight opening of the window that Deebo Samuel’s broken foot could be healed enough for him to play in the opener…They’d be wise to err on the side of Samuel missing September, unless the scans of his foot are pristine. He’s just too important to that offense.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms airs from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET weekdays on NBCSN. NBC Football Night in America analyst Rodney Harrison will make his weekly guest appearance on PFT Live this Wednesday.
- The Rich Eisen Show returns to NBCSN today at Noon ET.
- com: ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and Rotoworld Football Podcast continue to preview and prepare for the upcoming NFL season.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.