Tom Brady hasn't had the ideal amount of practice time with his new Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates, but it sure does help that the Bucs offense is absolutely loaded with depth and talent.
Tampa Bay's skill position players are among the league's best. It's hard to find many wide receivers duos more productive than Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The Buccaneers tight end depth chart doesn't have one elite player, but it's a deep group with several quality weapons, including O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate and Rob Gronkowski.
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Brady met with reporters Thursday for the first time since reporting to Buccaneers training camp, and he was asked about the skill players in Tampa Bay's offense. It's safe to say the 43-year-old quarterback is pleased with what he's seen from his teammates.
“We’ve had different times to workout together. It’s been good being here in the building and actually being directed by the coaches -- ‘This is what we’re going to work on and these are the plays we’re installing’, so you have a better idea of how things are going to come together on the offense," Brady said on a video conference call. "The guys worked really hard and it’s been fun getting to know the receiver position. Obviously, none of the guys I’ve played with -- Gronk’s the only guy I’ve played with, and I know what he can do. It’s really up to everybody to go out there and earn their role. I’ve always believed that you get out of it what you put into it. A lot of guys are working really hard and have been working hard because this is their career and they want to do a great job. Regardless of who the quarterback was it’s important for all of these guys.
"Football matters to Mike (Evans) and to Chris (Godwin). I’ve loved being around those two guys who are not only great players, but great leaders. Cam (Brate) and O.J. (Howard) who have been here, have been really great, along with the other tight ends in the group. Dare (Ogunbowale), RoJo (Ronald Jones II), I met ‘Shady’ (LeSean McCoy) the other day on the practice field. It’s a good, hard-working group. Really smart players, and again, it’s going to be up to all of us to come together and to see how we can make it all work.”
The Buccaneers are among the top contenders to win Super Bowl LV next season. Brady, who won six Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots, understands better than anyone the type of commitment and hard work required to reach a championship level. But Tampa Bay has a lot of challenges in front of it. Not only has the team added a lot of new players, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the build up to the season in unprecedented ways, including zero preseason games being played.
So far, Brady doesn't seem to have any issues with the effort level from his teammates as they chase the ultimate goal in pro football.
“All those things are to be determined for all of us as we move forward and the type of buy in (we have). Really what you put into it is what you’re going to get out of it," Brady said. "You’ve got to work hard everyday to bring your best emotional energy, to be at your best physically (and) to learn to know what to do in order to be your best. The guys that I’ve been around -- it’s been just that. Guys are working really hard to get to know one another.
"Again, we haven’t had any practices yet, so it’s hard. Football, throwing the ball around or a workout or something like that is a lot different than real football, being in the huddle and getting to know people in that way -- knowing who you can really count on. I think you just have to do what you can with what we’re all dealing with, try to make the most of it and try to understand that the clock is ticking on all of us. We’ve got a lot of work to do in a very short amount of time.”