Are expectations of Bucs’ Brady too high?

by Gary Shelton on November 27, 2020

in general

Has Brady met expectations?/TAMPA BAY BUCCANNERS

Friday, 4 a.m.

He is the greatest quarterback of all time.

Alas, he is not the greatest quarterback of right now.

And that seems to be driving people nuts when it comes to Tom Brady, the immortal who seems to be quite mortal these days.

He hasn't played well in a month, really. But overall, Brady is having a nice enough season by ordinary standard. He's fifth in the league in passing yardage, fourth in touchdowns, seventh in passes of 20 yards or more.

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But is it enough? Like the Bucs themselves, is Brady a victim of fans expecting too much? Because he has won six Super Bowls in his past, was it win another one or be a bust for Brady?

Ask yourself this: What did you really expect of Brady, a 43-year-old quarterback that he Patriots, for whatever reason, weren't that hot on bringing back? Did you expect some slippage? This much?

Were we all expecting too much from Brady, to come in with little off-season and be a star? Did fans who have spent a long time out of the playoffs need a strong dose of reality as they expected the post-season this year? Were' our expectations of Brady as unrealistic as our expectations of the Bucs?

The funny thing is the glee in which some (non-Bucs') fans have taken in seeing the mighty slip. They mock him for skipping handshakes, for ignoring the NFLPA suggestion that he not practice, for losing count of downs. Peyton Manning suggested that on one of his passes against Green Bay, a highly praised pass, he was actually throwing to a different receiver. You could find fans who seem validated by his inaccuracies of throwing deep.

There are "theories" now that Brady is at odds with head coach Bruce Arians, although neither has said that. But Arians did say this week that the offense works "if the quarterback plays well." Of course, what team cannot say the same?

This week, dropped Brady to 10th in its quarterback ratings.

Still, he has won seven games of 11. It has been a decade since the Bucs had a quarterback who won seven games of his first 11. Criticize Brady if you will, and point out that he is not what he has been most of his career, but remember that he is still operating with injured receivers, a mediocre running game and a wobbly offensive line.

No, this isn't to make excuses for Brady. It's just to urge that you add a dose of realism. Bucs' fans like their roster, but the Bucs still have a lot of holdovers from a seven-win season of a year ago.

And how about the Bucs' other big-name imports? Leonard Fournette hasn't been much. Rob Gronkowski isn't what he was. Antonio Brown has been decent, but he hasn't been great.

And meanwhile, Brady is like leftovers of a meal that was once very, very good. But on re-heating, he isn't great.

Look, the first thing anyone would want from Brady is to be better than the old quarterback, Jameis Winston. He's done that. This time last year, Winston had three fewer wins, three fewer touchdown passes and 11 more interceptions. His rating was almost 13 points lower than Brady's.

Ah, but Brady has never been Jameis Winston. With him, the expectations were that he would not only be better than Winston, but better than anyone else who has ever played quarterback for the Bucs. He was supposed to be trophies-in-a-bottle, and head majorette in the parade through the post-season.

Instead, he has been flawed. The constant pressure allowed by the offensive line has affected him. He seems uneasy throwing deep. A lot more passes leave his hands awkwardly than in the old days.

But he's better, and on certain days, he's still very good.

Is that enough?

My opinion? The truth is in the middle. Brady isn't what he was, but he's still pretty good. His deep ball lacks accuracy, but he's still the biggest reason when the Bucs win. He hasn't orchestrated the talent around him, but that talent isn't as staggering as some would suggest.

He has five games left. My suspicion is that he'll be pretty good.

But is "pretty good" going to be good enough?

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