Brady works hard at trying to fit in with Bucs

by Gary Shelton on August 7, 2020

in general

Brady playing catch-up with Bucs./TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Friday, 4 a.m.

More than anyone, Tom Brady knows that time is growing short.

He just passed his 43rd birthday, so the calendar would suggest the there aren't a lot of Sundays left in his career. And, with Covid-19 affecting the off-season, and with the preseason games canceled, there isn't a lot of time to adjust to new surroundings.

Nevertheless, this is Brady's team, and whether the team can make the leap into contention is, to a large degree, up to Brady.

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"I think every football season is a big challenge in one way or another." Brady said. "Obviously for me, changing teams after a long period of time (has) given me an opportunity to really look at myself and what I want to continue to achieve in my career and think that I can bring to a team.

"It’s been different having the opportunity over this time to move and to, for example, study my playbook. I mean I really haven’t had to do that in 19 years, so you forget, ‘Man, that’s really tough’ – like all of the different terminologies. You’re going back a very long time in my career to really have to put the mental energy in like I did. I have to work at it pretty hard physically still. I put a lot of time and energy into making sure I’m feeling good in order to perform at my best, but mentally I think that’s been the thing that’s obviously had its challenges.

"I think you couple that with the coronavirus situation and it became even more difficult. I think conversations we probably would’ve had in April, we’re having now. I think that part has been challenging too, but the only thing you can do is adjust to the situation, adapt the best way you can [and] put as much time and energy now as we can into it. I think the reality is, the clock is ticking on everybody. We’re going to have to work as hard as we can and not waste any minutes of any day trying to get used to one another. (We need to) embrace the challenge and see it as an opportunity to see what we can become.”

There is a difference for Brady after changing teams and coaches after so many years with the Patriots.

"Everybody sees football a little bit different," Brady said. "It’s about how we all see it together and how we can all be on the same page as we move forward. Ultimately, my goal is to go out there and do what I’ve always done, [which] is to be the best I could possibly be for the team. I’ve tried to catch passes in my career, I’ve tried to make blocks, I’ve had a few runs, but I’m not very good at any of those. I think my best ability is reading defenses and throwing the football. I think all of us being on the same page is something we’re really working hard at – to try to get on the same page after not having many opportunities.

"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. I think you just take these things one day at a time. I think we’ve all learned a lot over the last five or six months. I’ve always felt like taking care of my body was really important. Not just for football – because it has been my job – but my quality of life in the future. I’m under the belief that you either believe what you put into your body has an effect, or what you believe doesn’t have an effect. I think for me, in my experience, the better I’ve treated my body, the better I’ve eaten, the more hydrated I am, the better treatments I get, the more sophisticated my workouts have been, the better my body’s performed. For me it’s been, when something works, you do more of it. When you do more of it, you see better results. I’ve really tried to continue that throughout my career and build year after year. It’s given me a great opportunity to be at this age, still playing the sport that I love because mentally I still feel like I have all the ability. I’ve seen every defense, there’s [no] play I haven’t run, there’s no defense I haven’t seen. It’s just physically, are you still able to execute your job? I’m very fortunate to still be able to do that. I know it’s a contact sport and there are some things that are out of your control, but that’s a pretty good lesson for life, too. You don’t have everything in control in life, either. The best thing you can do is prepare your body, prepare your mind for whatever comes at it. You always have to be able to adjust and adapt as best as possible.”

For Brady, that means new teammates and new terminology.

"The guys worked really hard and it’s been fun getting to know the receiver positions," Brady said. "Obviously, none of the guys I’ve played with – Gronk’s the only guy I’ve played with, so 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.”

Soon, it will be Brady's team and Brady's town. That doesn't mean it's home yet.

"You’re trying to learn a bunch of different things and you’re trying to not only learn an offense, but learn your way to work or learn guys’ names," Brady said. "I didn’t even know where the quarterbacks’ room was or (where) the full team meeting room was. You get in here and your brain is trying to figure out a lot of different things. Every day that goes by it’s getting a little bit better. I’m glad we’re not playing a game this Sunday – I’m glad we have time to prepare. It’s been a good week or so being in here and I think I’m going to take advantage of the opportunity to improve myself so that I can be the best quarterback for this team that this team really deserves. These guys are working really hard and I want to come in here and do a great job for them.”

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