“I’m hoping this is my best year… If I’m not a championship-level quarterback, then I’m not gonna play. If I’m a liability to the team, I mean, no way. But if I think I can win a championship, then I’ll play.” – Tom Brady to King on continuing his career
“Brady has figured out that football is a collection of the things no one sees – like spending 20 seconds here, two minutes there, day after day, with an awestruck fourth-round receiver who might make it and might not.” – King
“Payton told me he hopes to name his starter before the final preseason game Saturday against Arizona.” – King on Saints head coach Sean Payton naming a starting quarterback
Falcons Host Browns this Sunday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock
STAMFORD, Conn. – August 23, 2021 – Peter King speaks with Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady and continues his annual training camp tour with visits to the Buccaneers, Saints, Jaguars and Vikings in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King provides insights from each camp and speaks with New Orleans head coach Sean Payton, Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer, Minnesota defensive back Patrick Peterson, and more.
This Sunday, Aug. 29, NBC Sports presents the final game of the NFL preseason when the Atlanta Falcons host the Cleveland Browns at 7 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
TOM BRADY& THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
King: “The story about the Bucs this summer is whether they can be the first NFL team in 16 years to win consecutive Super Bowls. The quarterback back then, for Super Bowls 38 and 39, was Tom Brady. The quarterback trying to win a second straight title now, almost a generation later…is Tom Brady, of course.”
Brady to King on continuing his playing career: “I’ll know when the time’s right. If I can’t…if I’m not a championship-level quarterback, then I’m not gonna play. If I’m a liability to the team, I mean, no way. But if I think I can win a championship, then I’ll play.”
Brady to King: “For me…I love playing football. [Buccaneers offensive coordinator] Byron Leftwich said something really good the other day: It’s a very simple game that’s so hard to execute. It’s a totally imperfect game that you’re trying to do as perfectly as possible. Every day I come out trying to do it. I’m hoping this is my best year.”
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians to King on Brady: “He is such an unbelievable coach to younger players. Not just on the field, but off the field, with TB12 and some of the things that he does to teach young players how to do it the right way.”
King: “Brady has figured out that football is a collection of the things no one sees – like spending 20 seconds here, two minutes there, day after day, with an awestruck fourth-round receiver who might make it and might not.”
Brady to King on mentoring younger players: “It’s really hard for a rookie receiver in the NFL. Everything is new. You have a play, then I change the play, then I look at you and I change the route, then I see a defense that we didn’t necessarily talk about. Every play I’m like, hey this is what I’m thinking…No one can fix it except the quarterback and receiver…We gotta literally have a bond, a connection between us. You gotta think what I’m thinking all the time.”
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht to King on offseason roster moves: “Our depth was huge in carrying us through the playoffs…In the end, we didn’t want to disrupt a good thing, and we could afford to use the credit card with the salary cap.”
Brady: “If you’re doing what you love doing and you’re with people you love doing it with, it’s all good…I love the guys I’m working with. This is nothing about New England. I love New England. I love the players. I love the coaches. It was magical.”
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
King on Saints head coach Sean Payton: “Payton is energized, truly, by the duel between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill to replace (Drew) Brees. He likes the life-goes-on part of this camp. He’s smitten with Winston’s arm, knowing how motivated he is to make the most of his second chance in the NFC South. Payton is a true believer, maybe one of the few, in the ability of Hill to be a playoff quarterback, especially after seeing him win three of four starts in relief of Brees last year.”
Payton to King on replacing Brees at quarterback: “But there are times, maybe not every day, when I’ll think about Drew. How can you not? The decision does weigh on me.”
King: “Who wins the job as heir to Brees – Winston, the classic pocket quarterback trying to overcome his turnover bug; or Hill, the spritely unicorn of a passer/football-weapon? Monday is a huge night for The Decision…Payton told me he hopes to name his starter before the final preseason game Saturday against Arizona.”
King on Taysom Hill: “Picking Winston would crush Hill, who went 3-1 at QB with Brees hurt last year, and is sure he’s ready to be Brees’ heir. But it would allow Payton to retain Hill as his Swiss Army Knife weapon on offense and special teams…It would be a cruel irony for Hill if he wasn’t named quarterback – and the reason was because Payton didn’t want to lose his snaps as a gadget/special-teams player.
King on watching Saints practice: “I’m always hesitant to make anything much about one practice – that’s what I see in most camps. But in this one slice of Saints 2021 camp life, Winston was the more impressive thrower, for sure.”
Jameis Winston to King: “One thing Drew blessed me with is that even though he didn’t have the [tools] last year that maybe he had early in his career, he was still one of the top quarterbacks in the league because he knew what he could do. For me, it’s been about believing that game plan to game plan, there’s different ways to beat a team. I had to learn there are 10 other guys out there counting on Jameis.”
Saints defensive end Cam Jordan: “We knew we could win at a high clip going 5-0 two years ago with Teddy Bridgewater. Then last year, Drew’s down again and we go 3-1 with Taysom. The change in the guard is shocking and hurts for sure, but at the same time, we know what we can do as a defense now. We know the identity of our team isn’t just Drew Orleans.”
King on attending Jaguars practice: “You can’t know whether Urban Meyer can turn around this wayward franchise, but judging by the effort I saw in a two-hour practice Thursday afternoon (109-degree heat index), 85 guys are playing hard for him in some unbearable conditions.”
Jaguars center Brandon Linder to King on Meyer: “We are all-in. He’s won everywhere he’s been. Now it’s on us to buy in and follow the plan, and we’re buying it.”
Meyer to King: “I’ve been in a laboratory with this game for 35 years. What I’ve come up with over those 35 years is when a player or coach is unsuccessful, it’s for one of three reasons. Number one, the player doesn’t trust me, their position coach, the weight coach, the organization. A player, if he doesn’t have trust, it’s the same reason relationships break up. Number two is their skill set is not developed or it’s not utilized…Number three: The player’s in conflict…So we’re on call, the coaches. I’m on call. There’s no time our phones are off. It’s a 24/7 business.”
King on watching Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence in practice: “Each throw was a rope. Imagine a Max Scherzer fastball, throwing without grimace or a groan. It was effortless and a bullet.”
Meyer to King on Lawrence: “The skill set’s as good as anyone I’ve ever seen. Very twitchy, athletic. Plays like a 6-foot guy, but can throw it over the top of people.”
King on the Vikings’ offseason: “GM Rick Spielman got the best defensive player in free agency, three-technique defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, late of the Giants, then addressed the secondary. Spielman didn’t have much money under the declining cap, and he never even called agent Joel Segal about (Patrick) Peterson, coming off a poor age-30 season in Arizona.”
Spielman to King on Peterson’s agent calling him: “He said Patrick wanted to play for us, and it wouldn’t cost as much as we thought…We had a deal done in an hour, maybe hour-and-a-half. It’s one of the fastest free-agent deals we’ve ever done. Joel just told us, ‘Zim, Zim, Zim. Pat wants to play for Mike Zimmer.”
Patrick Peterson to King: “I feel lighter, faster. You always hear that notion in this game that the older you get, the lighter you want to get. These brake pads [legs] have been taking a beating over the last 160-something games. I wanted to make the body as light as possible so I can get a little more agile, and come a little bit faster out of my breaks.”
King on Vikings running back Dalvin Cook: “Good health and a 17-game season could push Cook, if he stays healthy, far past 2,000 rushing-receiving yards this year.”
Kirk Cousins to King on the Vikings drafting QB Kellen Mond: “I think it’s just about going out and doing your job, whether they bring in a first-round pick, third-round pick, sixth-round pick, or they bring back the exact same room as the year before. You just go to work. You know that you’re always being evaluated. You’re never feeling like you’ve arrived as a player, so you’re always trying to prove it.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on Titans head coach Mike Vrabel testing positive for Covid: “Better now than in September, I guess, but this is just a sign of what’s dangerous this year for NFL – particularly those in high Covid-positive areas like the south.”
King on Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase: “This Ja’Marr Chase story bears watching, with all his early drops in camps and games. Per Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Chase dropped two more Sunday in practice, one a TD drop in the end zone from Joe Burrow. Too early to panic, not too early to be a concerned.”
King on Larry Fitzgerald: “I’ve asked a few friends of Larry Fitzgerald – who turns 38 next week, isn’t on a team but has not announced his future plans – if they think he is finished as a player. One told me he thinks Fitzgerald might stay in shape, then wait till late this season to see if a team wants him for the stretch run.”
King on Julio Jones: “We’ve reached the three-week mark since Jones landed awkwardly at Titans’ training camp and left practice, and he hasn’t returned. It doesn’t sound like a serious injury. Still, it’s another sign that the seven games Jones missed last year might not be a fluke at this point of his career.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continue the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.
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 PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.