Brady: ‘Playoff football is pretty special’

Tom Brady got the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the playoffs for the first time since 2007, and now he is hoping to get this franchise a second Super Bowl title. The journey begins on Saturday night when Tampa Bay(11-5) travels to D.C to battle the Washington Football(7-9) in the wild-card game.

As they enter the playoffs, Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense has been rolling. Tampa Bay has averaged 40 points a game, and in those three contests, Brady has thrown for 1137 yards with 10 touchdowns and only one interception.

The 43-year-old Brady looks comfortable in this offense, and they are flourishing on that side of the ball at the right time. 

“I’d say every week is getting a little bit better and a little bit more consistent [with] better communication,” Brady said about the offense on Thursday. “We’re all understanding each other a little bit better each week. Football season is tough – there’s a lot of things to coordinate, there’s a lot of moving parts, different players, and in and out, you’re running different schemes. But I think we’ve just tried to not take the foot off the gas pedal [and] tried to understand each other a little bit better each week and try to put ourselves in a decent position.”

According to Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay will be tough to beat if they continue to score at this level.

“I don’t think with our defense we’re going to lose too many games if we can score 37,” he said. “I’m really satisfied with 30.”

During his 20 seasons with the Patriots, Brady has missed the playoffs only once, and according to the six-time Super Bowl winner, being in the playoffs is a privilege.

“Any time you make the playoffs, it’s a good feeling, and it’s a great opportunity to be playing this weekend. A privilege, I think, for all of us, he said. “I think we want to go make the most of it. Playoff football is pretty special to be a part of, and I’ll be excited to be out there Saturday night…

“I think it’s a different newness, but the same excitement to be ready to go out there and take a bunch of teammates. Going on the road in the playoffs is a tough thing to do. We’re a team that’s made a bunch of improvements over the course of the year, and we have to be at our best. That’s what this part of the season is all about. Regular season is what it is. You put it in the books [and] we’re here to win playoff games.”

Tampa Bay should beat Washington on Saturday; they are just the better team. However, it’s one game, and anything can happen, but with Brady at the helm, expect the Buccaneers to make it to the divisional round of the playoffs.

 

Bucs’ Arians on Brady: ‘I envisioned 40 [touchdowns]’

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady gave the team everything they could ask for in 2020. He led them to 11 wins after Tampa Bay(11-5) defeated the Falcons 44-27 on Sunday. The 11 wins are tied for the second most wins in a single season in team history and the first season with at least 11 wins since 2005. With the victory, the Buccaneers will be the 5th-seed in the NFC playoffs and play the Washington Football Team on Saturday night.

Brady also threw 40 touchdowns this season, a franchise-record, and the second time Brady has thrown 40 or more touchdowns in a season. He also surpassed Peyton Manning (37 in 2012 with Denver) for the most touchdown passes in NFL history by a player in his first season with a team (includes rookies).

After the game, the 43-year-old Brady discussed throwing 40 touchdowns in 2020.

“Whatever happens for me as a quarterback is reflective of what our group does on offense,” Brady said. “I love playing with the guys I play with. We’ve got a great group of receivers, great group of tight ends – very selfless – the backs have done an incredible job. The way the offensive line is playing and protecting gives any quarterback a great opportunity. It’s a team sport – those are great team accomplishments. Just proud of all the guys [for] what they put in this year. Now we’re moving into the playoffs. We have a great opportunity ahead of us, and we’ve got to go try and take advantage of it.”

According to Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, he expected Brady to throw 40 touchdowns this season.

“I think he broke Peyton Manning’s record for [touchdown passes] being [in the first season] with a team [by] throwing 40 touchdowns,” he said. “I think Peyton had 37, so I know he’ll like that [and] Peyton will be pissed. When we first met, that’s really what we talked about – the guys that we have and what he could do with the players that we have. Adding Rob Gronkowski to the mix just helped. I envisioned 40 [touchdowns]. When he first signed, I said, ‘OK, we’ll be a 40 [touchdown] and 10 [interception] team.’ I was expecting practice; I was expecting OTAs and those things. What he’s done with none of that – especially this last half of the season – is incredible.”

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans also had a milestone on Sunday before leaving the game with a knee injury in the second quarter. Evans surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the seventh-straight season. Evans is the first player in NFL history with at least 1,000 receiving yards in seven consecutive seasons to begin his career, surpassing Randy Moss (six straight seasons). Evans finished his seventh season with a franchise-record 13 receiving touchdowns.

Regarding Evans, Arians did say after the game that he does not think Evans has any “serious damage” to his knee.

if Tampa Bay can win three games, probably all on the road, they will be the first team to play a Super Bowl at their home stadium. It won’t be easy, but you have Brady, so anything is possible

No matter what happens, the next few weeks should be interesting!

Buccaneers’ McCoy: ‘I’m going to play my role and keep going’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got a big home win on Sunday by defeating the Vikings 26-14. With the victory, the Buccaneers continue to be the 6th-seed and remain one of the NFC’s three wild card teams.

Sunday marked the first time we’ve seen RB LeSean McCoy since October 18. The 12-year veteran had four carries for 32 yards against Minnesota.

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians explained why he decided to make Leonard Fournette inactive and bring up McCoy.

“I love Leonard(Fournette),” Arians said. “I think he’s a heck of a kid and a great player. We just wanted to get ‘Shady’ (LeSean McCoy) back involved. He’s fresh, and he showed it today. He made it all pay off for me. I took the risk, and he made it pay off. He made the best of his opportunity, but it’s nothing against Leonard.”

Tom Brady added: “It was great for him to be in there and contribute. I know he’s been itching to get back in there and make plays for us, and he did today. Everyone appreciates how hard he works, the pro that he is, his mentality to practice, and his prep for the game. It was great to see him make plays.”

Even though he has not played much this season, McCoy stayed engage, which he said the coaches encouraged him to do while not playing. 

 [They](coaches) encouraged me to stay focused but just be a professional,” McCoy said. “I’m always dialed in because we have a lot of young guys with Rojo [Ronald Jones II], [Ke’Shawn] Vaughn, and Leonard [Fournette]. So, I’m constantly coaching and teaching and looking for things to watch after. Even when we’re watching tape, I’m always dialed in enough. But the hardest part, like I said, is just waiting, even when coach tells you you’ll get your shot. All I ask for is the opportunity, and I’m going to play my role and keep going. Hopefully, I think it may improve, so we’ll see.”

Buccaneers are trying to solidify their playoff spot, and according to the 32-year-old McCoy, Tampa Bay has a playoff mindset with three games left in the season.

We have that playoff attitude and mindset right now, and we know that the time is now if we want to get a shot [at the Superbowl],” McCoy said. “The biggest thing is just getting there, that’s it. Once we get there, then things slow down. You dissect different teams, and you play the game. Just got to get there.”

Expect Tampa Bay to the playoffs, and maybe McCoy can help this team in the postseason.

Bucs’ Arians on home-field advantage in playoffs: ‘I don’t think it’s going to be an advantage this year’

If the season ended today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers(7-5) would be one of the three wild card teams in the NFC and would have to travel to Los Angeles to battle the Rams. A team Tampa Bay lost to at home on Monday Night Football.

Coming into the season, the Buccaneers, like most teams, wanted to have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but 2020 is not like any other year. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, most teams are playing in front of little to no fans, which on some level, takes away some of the advantages of playing at home. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians discussed home-field advantage on Tuesday. According to Arians, whose Buccaneers host the Minnesota Vikings(6-6), home-field advantage won’t matter as much as it did in the past, so for him, it’s all about just making the playoffs.

“Just getting in the dance. We’ve been a one seed and won it [and] we’ve been a six seed and won it,” AriansThis year especially – with no fans – the home-field advantage is really going to be out the window. It’s just going to be lining up and playing in empty stadiums. What has been a big, big part of the playoffs in the past is home-field advantage [but] I don’t think it’s going to be an advantage this year. It’s just a matter of getting in.”

Arians may have a point. What made playing at home such an advantage is the fans. The fans help create the atmosphere in the stadium, and the players feed off the home crowd’s energy. Plus, with the increase of COVID cases in America, you wonder if the NFL will go to a bubble come playoff time, which minimizes home-field advantage even more. 

So, for Tampa Bay, it’s about making the playoffs, and hopefully, for them, they are playing their best football in the postseason.

Bucs’ Arians: ‘Everybody tried to hand us the Lombardi Trophy in August’

The Buccaneers started slow on Sunday against the world-champion Kansas City Chiefs. After one quarter, Tampa Bay(7-5) was down 17-0 and trailed 27-10 going into the fourth quarter. The Buccaneers were able to cut the lead to three, but Kansas City(10-1) would run out the clock and defeat Tampa Bay 27-24 at Raymond James Stadium.

As they enter their bye week, Tampa Bay has lost two straight games and three out of the last four. With the loss, the Buccaneers are now 2.5 games behind the Saints for the top spot in the NFC South, but since New Orleans has beaten Tampa Bay twice this season, the Saints essentially have a 3.5 game lead on the Buccaneers.

Coming into the season, with the addition of Tom Brady, many thought the Buccaneers would dominate this season, and at times, they have, but other times, it’s been a struggle. After the Chiefs’ loss, Arians was asked if he thought the team should be better than their 7-5 record; he said the following.

“Yes and no,” he said. “I think defensively, we’ve had our chances to be better. Offensively, it was going to be a work in progress all season. I thought our kicking game has been outstanding for us, which was a problem in the first game only. I’ve seen us get better throughout the season. We’ve just got to win the next one and stay in this playoff hunt. Everybody tried to hand us the Lombardi Trophy in August. You don’t just throw guys out there with names – you’ve got to practice. You’ve got to learn to get in sync with each other – that takes time.”

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who threw for 345 yards with three touchdowns, but two interceptions on Sunday. According to Brady, he has to play better in the final four games.

“I love playing for the guys that I play with and the coaches; the whole organization has been unbelievable,” Brady said. “I certainly have to do a better job the last four weeks of the year. I appreciate it; let’s have a good week.”

It did not help that the Buccaneers’ defense allowed Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill to have 13 receptions with 269 yards and three touchdowns, but these are the Kansas City Chiefs, so everybody knows they’re going to put a lot of points. Maybe the Buccaneers are a work in progress, or perhaps this is who they are as a team. Who knows, but even with the struggles, no one wants to see Tampa Bay in the playoffs, but now, they have to get there.

Bucs’ Arians on playing world-champion Chiefs: ‘You always want to beat those guys’

On Monday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers(7-4) suffered a very disappointing home loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Now, they have another formidable opponent coming to Raymond James Stadium in Patrick Mahomes and the world-champion Kansas City Chiefs(9-1) on Sunday.

Every team gets up for the world champions, and usually give their best effort. According to Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, it does not mean much to the coaches, but it does matter to the players.  

“I think the players get up for it. For coaches, it’s just the next game, but the players get up for it,” Arians said on Friday. “It’s something special– you always want to beat those guys and prove something to yourselves.”

One of the reasons the Chiefs have been very competitive over the years, including a Super Bowl last season, has been their head coach Andy Reid. In eight seasons with the Chiefs, Reid is 122-86 in the regular season, and Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady thinks continuity has helped Kansas City be successful over the years. 

“They’ve had some continuity on that side with that system, with those coaches [and] lot of their key veteran players,” Brady said on Friday. “That’s always important – I feel continuity is the most critical aspect to consistent performance because you have to build on year after year, not just game after game or week after week. They’ve been in that system for a while – Coach Reid’s been there for a while [and] he’s a great coach. They do a great job. They’ve got a lot of good things going [and] they’ve been tough to beat for a lot of years now, including when Alex Smith was there. They were pretty good too [and] I played them all those years, as well. They’re doing a good job, and they have some dynamic players.”

At this point, the Buccaneers have little margin for error if they want to have an opportunity to win the NFC South. The Buccaneers are currently one of the three wild card teams(6th seed) in the NFC, but if they’re going to win the division, they have to win and hope the Saints(8-2) without Drew Brees will falter. However, it all starts by beating the Chiefs on Sunday.

 

Bucs’ Brown on offense: ‘We still didn’t put our best effort out there yet’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have so many weapons on the offensive side of the ball. It’s an offense that can beat you in so many ways, which was on full display on Sunday against the Panthers.

Tampa Bay finished with 544 yards of total offense, which is the fifth-most recorded in a game by any team this season and the third-most in team history. Brady completed 28-of-39 passes in the game for 341 yards and four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing), RB Ronald Jones ran for 192 yards, including a team-record 98-yard touchdown run, Chris Godwin had six receptions for 92 yards, and Mike Evans had six grabs for 77 yards and one touchdown as the Buccaneers defeated the Panthers 46-23.

Even with all the success on offense, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians believes the team could have scored more. 

“The staff – we feel like we left 20 [points] out there, so I’m never satisfied,” Arians said on Sunday. “I was really, really happy to rush for 200 [yards]. I thought that was huge for us, and the O-Line takes a lot of pride in that. The tight ends did a great job and the receivers [in run blocking]. Tom [Brady] played great, and we still see where we can leave things out there and still get better.”

Antonio Brown, who caught seven passes for 69 yards against Carolina, thinks this offense could be special.

“[I’m] super grateful, and it’s an honor to be here around such a great group of guys,” Brown said on Sunday. “Like you said, we were hitting on all cylinders, but we still didn’t put our best effort out there yet. It’s going to be something special when things start to come together, and we could be 100 percent. I’m just extremely grateful for the opportunity and just week-by-week taking it all in.”

Rob Gronkowski is rounding into shape, Brown is getting acclimated to the offense, so this offense, if healthy, should only get better. Obviously, they will not score 46 points and accumulate 544 yards of total offense every week, but with all the talent on offense, expect many more good days for the Buccaneers.

Bucs’ David on loss to Saints: ‘Guys were pissed because we know we’re not that type of team’

You got the sense that ever since they lost to New Orleans in Week 1, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going to do everything in their power to defeat the Saints in the rematch. However, in their worst performance of the season, Tampa Bay(6-3) was blown out by the Saints(6-2) 38-3 at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday night.

The Saints intercepted Tom Brady three times, and Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes. It was an embarrassing night for Tampa Bay, and one head coach Bruce Arians, was surprised to see. 

“It was shocking. To watch us practice the way we practiced all week and the confidence we had coming in — we have to go back and look in the mirror as coaches, players, everybody, from yesterday to today,” Arians said after the game. “Another [game] where we go three-and-out and give up a touchdown [to begin the game]. Second half, I thought we got the turnover, and we don’t score a touchdown. I thought that kind of was the end of it right then and there. Give New Orleans credit — they kicked our [butts] in every phase.”

Because of the signing of Tom Brady, the Buccaneers were must-see TV, but they have struggled in primetime. The Buccaneers are 1-2 in primetime and have struggled offensively on the big stage. Tampa Bay is averaging 15.6 in those games, which Arians hopes to fix.

“That’s one of the things we have to look at because that’s what we just addressed in the locker room,” Arians said. “We have stunk in those games. We won one of them [and] we should have won [against Chicago], but we didn’t. This one, we just basically handed it to them.”

According to Buccaneers LB Lavonte David, the team was furious after getting dismantled by the Saints.

“Guys were pissed,” David said on Monday. “You saw it on the sidelines, you see it today [and] you saw it after the game. Guys were pissed because we know we’re not that type of team, especially against a team who we obviously wanted to really beat. To go out there and put on a show like that on Sunday night – guys feel some type of way about it. All you can do is move on from it. It’ll show how we prevail from it this week. Like I said, we’re focusing on the Carolina Panthers right now. They’re a pretty good football team with some talented weapons. A lot of guys took it to heart yesterday. We came in today, and the good thing about it is [I] didn’t have to go to [anybody]. Guys were coming to me [and saying], ‘That’s unacceptable. We can’t have [a] performance like that again. We have to do find a way to get better.’ That’s going to start this upcoming week, and I’m really excited to get to work this week, move on from last week and get back going.”

It was surprising to see Tampa Bay get beat up by the Saints on Sunday, but it’s clear that at this point, the Saints are the class of the NFC South and maybe the NFC. There is a lot of football left, but the Buccaneers have to fix some things if they want to be the team many thought they would be when the season started.

Buccaneers’ Antonio Brown practices with team for first time on Wednesday(VIDEO)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown has a great opportunity. Not only does he have a chance to get his career back on track, but he has a chance to play with Tom Brady again(played with Brady in New England last season) and an opportunity to possibly win a championship. 

The 31-year-old Brown, who was suspended eight games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, is expected to make his debut on Sunday night when the Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints. 

On Wednesday, Brown, who signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay last week, practiced with the team for the first time, and according to Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, Brown looked good.

“He was going full speed,” Arians said. “Everybody else was walking, but he was going full speed – that’s him anyway. It was good – guys were helping him [and] he’s got a really good handle on what we’re trying to get done [with formations] and everything. It was great interaction with all the guys, and it was a good start to the week.”

Brown was happy to be out there on Wednesday, which he discussed after practice.

“I’m extremely grateful to be here with such a great organization [and] to be around some great players,” Brown said. “For me, first and foremost, being away from the game for a year and a half – just to be able to be a part of the process. To be out there with the guys today was surreal – something I’m not going to take for granted, something I have a great appreciation for, a better perspective about, and a lot of gratification. To do what I love – it’s a blessing.”

Brown has had his share of issues over the past year, but according to the 10-year veteran, he used his time away from football to evaluate his life.

“I took a lot of time off from the game to re-evaluate myself, to look within, to get a better perspective of myself and working on myself within and without,” he said. “To be in this position, we followed the mission, and to get back on track is what I’m here to do.”

It should be interesting to see how Brown handles this opportunity with the Buccaneers.

Here is footage of Brown from Wednesday’s practice: 

Photo/courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers sign wide receiver Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown to the Buccaneers is now official. On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that they had signed seven-time Pro Bowler. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’s a one-year deal. 

The 32-year-old Brown was suspended eight games by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy and can return in Week 9. 

In Tampa Bay, Brown will be reunited with Tom Brady and Bruce Arians, his offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, which should help him.

The 10-year veteran, released by the Raiders and Patriots last season, ranks in the top five all-time in receptions per game (second, 6.4) and receiving yards per game (fourth, 86.0) players with at least 50 games played. Also, he ranks 28th in NFL history in receptions (841), 29th in receiving yards (11,263), and tied for 35th in receiving touchdowns (75).

Over 131 regular season games for the Pittsburgh Steelers (2010-18) and New England Patriots (2019), including 103 starts, Brown recorded 841 receptions for 11,263 receiving yards and 75 receiving touchdowns, averaging 13.4 yards per catch. He owns the longest streak in league history with 35-consecutive regular season games with at least five catches and 50-or-more receiving yards. He has recorded seven seasons with 1,000-or-more receiving yards, six seasons with 100-plus receptions, and four seasons with 10-or-more touchdown receptions.

With Chris Godwin out with a fractured finger and Mike Evans struggling with an ankle injury, Brown can help. In addition, when right, they’re not many wide receivers better than Brown.  We’ll see what happens, but this move seems like a win-win for Tampa Bay. If Brown behaves, Tampa Bay gets a great football player. If not, they can cut him and move on.