It's too early to tell if the Tom Brady-Joe Montana comparisons have merit. But if anyone can predict the future, it's Kevin Ross.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' cornerbacks coach was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs team that acquired Montana from the San Francisco 49ers in 1993.
Much like Brady, Montana was an All-Pro quarterback with multiple Super Bowl titles looking for a fresh start at the tail end of his career, and many questioned his move from the only team he'd ever known to Kansas City.
But Montana silenced his critics with a Pro Bowl 1993 campaign and helped lead the Chiefs to the NFC Championship Game (with help from Ross, who started 15 games at free safety).
Nearly three decades later, Ross believes Brady has what it takes to "pull a Montana" after 20 seasons with the New England Patriots.
"I had a very similar situation like this happen to me when I was playing in Kansas City when Joe Montana came there," Ross told reporters Monday in a video conference. "He gave us the boost that we needed to get over the top and end up getting to the championship game. It’s a very similar situation."
Tampa Bay's success in 2020 won't fall squarely on Brady's shoulders, and Ross' group in particular will need to improve after Tampa Bay ranked 30th in passing yards allowed last season. As such, Ross is trying to temper his cornerbacks' expectations.
After practicing against Montana as a player, though, Ross understands his cornerback group can gain valuable experience by trying to contain Brady, wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans and tight end Rob Gronkowski in training camp.
"You’re practicing against Pro Bowl receivers, you’re practicing against a Hall of Fame quarterback, you can’t help but feel good about yourself," Ross added. "If you do well against those guys, you can’t help but feel good about yourself going into game situations."