The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Tom Brady's team now. But will the Bucs run Brady's offense or stick with what they have in place?
That's been a popular question since the 42-year-old left the New England Patriots to sign with Tampa Bay this offseason. One of Brady's wide receivers believes the situation isn't so black and white, however.
"I think it’s been a little bit of both, honestly," Scotty Miller told JoeBucsFan.com when asked if Brady has been adjusting to the Bucs' offense or making his new teammates adjust to his style of play during informal workouts this offseason.
"Tom, obviously, has run like every offense you can possibly run, run every play you could possibly run in his 20 [years] in the league. So Tom will do a great job coming in and learning. It’ll be no problem for him.
"And then Tom has little things that he likes. So I think it’ll be a healthy mixture of both. I think with Tom’s knowledge and our coaching staff’s knowledge, we’re going to be put in a great situation to be successful."
Miller seems to be in line with Bucs quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, who recently predicted Tampa Bay will run "(head coach) Bruce (Arians)'s offense with a Brady influence."
It's too much to ask the entire Bucs offense to learn a new system with new terminology, so it will be on Brady to study up after 20 years in New England. As Miller noted, though, the six-time Super Bowl champion has preferences that his offensive teammates will have to learn as both sides get on the same page.
Miller also reiterated that Brady isn't trying to recreate the Patriots' offense and hasn't tried to turn the 5-foot-11, 174-pound receiver into the next Wes Welker or Julian Edelman.
"A lot of guys are comparing me to Edelman, Welker, all those kinds of dudes," Miller said. "But I’m a little bit different than those type of guys. Those guys play more in the slot; I play a little more outside. So I want to definitely play like those guys, but also have a little twist on it. I’m my own player, you know. I’m a different kind of guy.
"He hasn’t really said anything specific like that. You know, he’s just giving me tips on my game and I’m just going to try and learn from it."
That's a pretty steep discount for the 29-year-old running back, whose four-year, $26 million contract with the Houston Texans (with $14 million guaranteed) expired this spring.
Miller made the Pro Bowl in 2018 and has two 1,000-rushing-yard seasons under his belt but missed the entire 2019 campaign after tearing his ACL in the preseason.
Miller actually has the same base salary as Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, who took an even bigger pay cut to join New England in free agency. Newton's contract has more incentives, though: The three-time Pro Bowler can earn up to $7.5 million this season.
Starting running back Sony Michel is still recovering from ankle surgery and may not be ready for Week 1, so Miller has the opportunity to revive his career in New England, while the Patriots are hoping to find value in another talented player coming off an injury.
There’s one sentiment shared by everyone who’s covered the New England Patriots for the entirety of their dynastic run. Gratitude.
It might not show up in the day-to-day coverage of reporting on the nitty-gritty of where the team is and where it’s headed. It might not seem like it when we probe and analyze the interpersonal relationships and shine a light on where the agitations are.
But to have had a front-row seat to history for 20 years? To watch a once-failed head coach, an overlooked quarterback and an idealistic and sometimes naïve owner combine to lift the Patriots from NFL afterthought to the most successful team in the history of America’s most beloved sport? Right place, right time for me.
I coulda been born in Saint Augustine, Florida, and spent my career covering the Jaguars. I wasn’t. I got to cover the team I loved first. The team I cried over when it lost in the 1976 playoffs to the Oakland Raiders. I can still remember the sense of accomplishment I felt at the 1997 NFL Draft, the first event I covered in person on the Patriots beat. It was all I wanted to do.
The Patriots drafted Chris Canty in the first round. It’s gotten better since then.
When you cover the team this long, you develop a sense of “ownership.” A belief you know the story as well as anyone possibly could. It’s probably not healthy. Really, it’s a barrier to learning. But I’ll admit it lurks. So when it was announced that author Jeff Benedict would have a book called, “The Dynasty” coming out in September, there was a flash of, “I already know the story…” combined with a twinge of “Why’s he writing it? What’s he know that I don’t?"
Well, as it turns out – and as I expected from an author of Benedict’s ability – there’s a lot he knows about the Patriots that I didn’t.
I’m more than 200 pages into the 525-page book. Benedict spoke to 250 different people. He got everyone who matters on the record – Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft, Tom Brady, Roger Goodell … the list goes on. I’m learning a lot.
Benedict, who along with Armen Keteyian wrote the best-selling book, “Tiger Woods,” is a master at digging for details and anecdotes and putting his reader in a fly-on-the-wall position because he’s such a terrific reporter and storyteller.
”The Dynasty” won’t be released by published Simon and Schuster until September 1. There’s an embargo on the content until then. But I did get to speak with Benedict on “Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk Podcast” about the two-year process of writing this book.
“To me, we’re talking about the greatest sports dynasty, certainly of this century in America and it’s in the conversation as being the greatest sports dynasty in America ever,” said Benedict. “I did feel a tremendous sense of being overwhelmed, a sense of foreboding because it’s such an epic story.
“I’m not an insider,” Benedict said. “I know all these guys who have been around this franchise forever. I wasn’t there for any of it. I’ve literally never covered a Patriots game … And here’s an army of men and women who’ve been around the team, so it was sort of this idea of, ‘What can you bring that would actually add value and be different?’
“I tried to look at it from the perspective of the one thing I can relate to is, I’m a New Englander to the core. What I do feel is I really understand my audience. And the core audience for this book is people who live in New England and people who have followed this team and are in love with this team.
"It’s not to say I don’t want to write it for people in other parts of the country. I want them to read it too and there’s a great story there even if you’re a Jets fan or a Steelers fan. But the core audience is us who live in New England.”
The start of the book is Kraft-centric. The first 100 pages cover the machinations he went through to purchase the team, keep it in Foxboro and build a stadium, which have been somewhat been taken for granted around here and are laid out in detail by Benedict. I learned a lot.
“I have a wonderful editor,” said Benedict. “My editor gave me the same challenge with this as he did with Tiger Woods and that was, ‘I want the reader to learn something new on every single page of this book.’ So if the book is 500 pages long, that’s at least 500 things you need to find that no one else knew.
“That’s really hard in the New England market,” Benedict added. “The Patriots are the most beloved team in New England. They’re the kings. They’re covered the most. It’s saturation coverage. So I took the approach that, this is not a book about a person, this is a book about a team, about a franchise.
"I went into it with two central questions that all Patriots fans are interested in. First, how was this dynasty built? How was it made? What distinguishes this team from all of those others is they ran their course in about a decade. And after that, their ship had sailed. This dynasty has doubled the length of any of its predecessors. And the second question is how did they sustain it?”
The book is current. It gets into the departure of Brady, the machinations that led to it and the sentiments of everyone involved. Again, I know the story and what I’ve been told. But nobody told me exactly what was said, where conversations took place and how people reacted.
Benedict has that in The Dynasty. Which serves as further proof that, in life, you think you know. But often you don’t really know.