Brady not thinking about past turnarounds

by Gary Shelton on November 24, 2022

in general

Brady had had slow starts before./TIM WIRT

Thursday, 4 a.m.

It was a lifetime ago. Before all the rumors, before all the money, before all the fame. Before Tom Brady was today's headline -- whether it was news or speculation. Before the trophies.

It was 2001, Brady's first year as a starter.

Ten games in, his team was 5-5. He had thrown all of 12 touchdown passes.

Sound familiar?

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

Back then, of course, Brady's Patriots caught fire. They won their last six regular season games. They won their three playoff games, including an upset of the Rams in the Super Bowl.

This year? We'll see.

"Every week is a new week," Brady said. "There's different challenges. I think we're relatively fresh and healthy, and we've got to go play well. We've got to play with great intensity and effort and enthusiasm and we've got to go execute well. We've got to throw and catch it, we've got to finish our blocks in the run game, we've got to make tackles, we've got to get to the quarterback. We've got to do all the things that winning football really demands.

"I think the hard part about football season is it's a marathon, and everyone's got to buckle down and give everything they've got. I think this time of the year, some teams get worse and stop believing and lose hope, and other teams do the opposite. And I think that's where you really see – whether it's a championship boxing match, whether it's football season, whether it's the middle of the third quarter of a game – that's when you begin to separate yourself. You can't really separate yourself four games in, but when you get to 12 games in you can start to do that. We've got to play well."

The Bucs have some hope. They've won two in a row, and they're favored Sunday against Cleveland. Still, there are challenges. The team doesn't run -- or run block -- very well. Other teams have been able to run against them. There hasn't been much firepower.

"We've just got to play hard, we've got to give everything we've got," Brady said. "[Offensive Coordinator] Byron [Leftwich] made a good point today: We've got seven games, we've got 21 practices. And we're 5-5 – it's obviously not a great record but it could be worse, could be better. It doesn't really matter. Our whole season's ahead of us and we've got to go out there and play well. If we do it, we'll feel good about what happens. If we don't, we'll feel very disappointed. It's all ahead of us. It's going to be up to us what we make of this season, and it starts this week."

The Bucs are coming off perhaps their best performance of the season, a win over Seattle in Germany. But that doesn't mean everything has healed.

"As good as that was, it was one game and you've got to build on it," Brady said. "You've got to put together a bunch of those games. So we've just got to keep the pressure on – practice hard, prepare hard and ultimately when you go out there, play your ass off and see what we can make of it. We've got a big stretch ahead and it starts this week in Cleveland. It's going to be a tough game [against a] tough, hard-nosed football team, [in a] tough hard-nosed city. They're fighting hard so we've got to figure out how to go out there and win it."

Reminded about the seasons of his best turnarounds, Brady simply shrugged. Still, he has been 18-0 and lost the Super Bowl, so he's seen both sides.

"You've got to think about what's in the moment and what we have ahead of us this week, and it's a tough game," Brady said. "It's a tough opponent. Everyone wants to jump ahead and think about things that are so far down the road. It's kind of a waste of time. Really, just focus on having a good practice, correct what we messed up, put together three good days of practice and then be prepared to play. Again, you can only win one game this week, and that game's on Sunday. So, build what we can to make sure we play our best on Sunday."

The Bucs travel to Cleveland to play at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Previous post:

Next post: