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Tom Brady uses negative assessments of new-look offensive line to motivate them

From a team with a new starting QB and head coach on the hot seat to a team that's upgraded on both sides of the ball, Mike Florio and Chris Simms dive into the NFC South to assess win totals for the 2022-23 season.

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is the GOAT in more ways than one. He’s definitely among the best of all time when it comes to finding ways to affix a gigantic chip onto his shoulder.

In the debut episode of the second season of his Let’s Go podcast with Jim Gray on SiriusXM, Brady explained that, in lieu of telling his patchwork offensive line to ignore the noise, he’s telling them to embrace it.

“I’ve showed it to them and used it as motivation,” Brady said. “Every time someone says they suck, and they can’t do anything, I’ve tried to show it to them and say, ‘This is what they’re all saying about you. What do you guys think? What are you going to do about it?’ And make sure they know what everyone’s saying. I think that’s important. You know, I think I’ve always used little different spites as motivation for me. And I’m [a] really motivated person. But it always helps when someone says something that’s not flattering. Or someone that still doesn’t believe in you after all these years, you try to prove them wrong. And they still don’t. So you’re going, ‘You know what? Thank you. You know, thank you very much. Let me keep going and proving them wrong.”

Are people really saying that his offensive linemen suck? It’s fair to point out that center Ryan Jensen is out indefinitely and guard Aaron Stinnie has been lost for the year. It’s fair to note that Brady has shown vulnerability in the past to pressure up the middle. It’s fair to ask whether the backup players who were backups for a reason are ready to be not backups when it comes to keeping Brady from dealing with pressure up the middle. No one is saying those players suck. It’s fair to ask whether they’re ready to show they don’t.

But that apparently hasn’t stopped Brady from twisting any potential criticism into a diss. He’s done it before. For example, after a 2018 divisional-round win over the Chargers during his final Super Bowl run with the Patriots, Brady played the card alluded to above, when he tells the world that no one believes in us. The truth was that pretty much everyone believed in them. But that doesn’t provide much motivation for Brady, or for anyone.

Moreover, Brady acknowledged that the situation with the offensive line will “be a challenge.”

“We lost Alex Cappa to the Bengals,” Brady said. “We lost Ali Marpet, who’s a great player, to retirement. And then Ryan got hurt in training camp. So we got Shaq Mason, who I love him to death. I’ve played with him a long time. I know what he’s all about. Robert Hainsey from Notre Dame earned the respect of his teammates with his work ethic and him showing up every day last year even though he wasn’t playing, to be prepared. He’s gonna step in and try to do a great job. And we got a left guard that’s battling every day. Luke [Goedeke] has done a great job for us in training camp. We drafted him to come here and play, and we’ll see if he can get in there and be prepared to go do a great job.”

That’s all that anyone is saying. Brady, however, knows he needs something more to fuel the young players.

“I hope they take it to heart, all the things that people have said about them, which is, you know, not always the most flattering things,” Brady insisted. “But they got to go out there and they got to, again, like all of us, we got to go out there and earn it and prove people right or prove them wrong.”

Prove them wrong. Even if they’re not really wrong because they’re not saying what they’re supposedly saying. It’s a neat trick if you can pull it off. We’ll see whether it works if/when the new-look offensive line holds its own against the Cowboys on Sunday night.