Could Tom Brady, Buccaneers be like 2019 Browns?

Ryan Hannable
June 18, 2020 - 6:00 am
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After landing Odell Beckham Jr. and pairing him with Baker Mayfield last offseason, the Browns were the talk of the NFL.

Remember everyone calling for them to open the year against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium? After all, they had the sixth-best odds to win the Super Bowl going into the year.

Well, things didn’t exactly go according to plan. Cleveland finished the year 6-10 and third in the AFC North.

This offseason, the Buccaneers are in a similar position as after landing Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski they currently have the fourth-best odds to win the Super Bowl.

Sure, Brady and Gronkowski are a lot different than Beckham Jr. and Mayfield, but who is to say everything will go according to plan in Tampa Bay this season?

Let’s start with the Brady-Bruce Arians connection.

Arians is known for his offensive mind and how much quarterbacks love to play for him. But, he’s always been known for his extremely relaxed attitude and way he coaches his team. Coming from Bill Belichick, one of the strictest and hardest coaches to play for, this will be a major adjustment for Brady.

What if Brady feels like Arians isn’t doing everything he can to get the team ready for a game? What if the offense is not 100 percent on the same page, but Arians still calls it a day?

While we’re not saying it will happen — because Brady could have a changed attitude on a new team at age 43 — but it’s hard just to assume he and Arians will see eye-to-eye on everything.

And then what about connecting with his receivers, particularly Mike Evans and Chris Godwin?

Not enough has been made of how few receivers actually connect with Brady, especially right away. The quarterback demands and expects a lot, and there have been far more receivers he hasn’t been able to connect with than receivers that he has.

Shouldn’t the lack of OTAs and minicamps this offseason be cause for concern with Brady and his ability to connect with his pass-catchers?

And what if things don’t go well? What if one of the receivers isn’t exactly where Brady expects and it leads to an interception on a given play?

We’ve seen this happen numerous times in the past and Brady has been known to get frustrated and phase these receivers out. 

Will Brady be more relaxed in Tampa Bay and more patient with his receivers? Given everything that’s transpired the last few months he might need to be, but it’s no guarantee.

And lastly, look at Tampa Bay’s schedule.

New Orleans is among the NFL’s best teams and it has to play them twice a year, along with all the other teams in an underrated NFC South. And then there are games against the Packers and Chiefs, which will be difficult no matter how good Brady is playing. 

This won’t be like New England where Brady can just show up and expect to go 12-4.  

When discussing the Buccaneers for the 2020 season, it’s all about assuming everything goes according to plan. That’s hard to just assume in the NFL where typically things do in fact go wrong. It’s hard to recall a season where everything went perfectly according to plan for a team.

So, while it’s fun to think how good Brady and the Buccaneers could be this coming season, just remember the 2019 Browns.

Winning the offseason doesn’t count for anything once the games begin.

Related: NFL insider suggests Eagles could be landing spot for Joe Thuney