The Athletic pulled together opinions from a group of 50 NFL personnel—coaches, general managers and other executives—regarding the league's top 34 quarterbacks.
Based on the responses, the quarterbacks were split into four tiers. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady topped Tier 2, finishing No. 3 overall. Not everyone was completely complimentary of Brady's efforts, however, with one offensive coordinator saying the following, per Mike Sando of The Athletic.
“Brady is a 2," the OC said regarding which tier he believed Brady should be in.
“There were too many games where they weren’t really doing a whole lot, and the defense or somebody made a big play. I think he’s really good. I just don’t think he can carry a team now.”
As Sando noted, that OC's sentiment isn't shared by him alone among those surveyed.
"That is a point made even by some who still place Brady in the top tier," Sando wrote. "They point to a mental resilience that carries him and his teams."
One voter offered effusive compliments, though.
“Tier 1, you have to have that physical component, that team-leading component and that instructional component, where if the quarterback coach gets sick, you do the rest of the season without a coach and that guy runs the room because he’s running the clicker half the time anyway. That’s what a Tier 1 quarterback is.”
Brady turns 44 years old in August as he heads into his 22nd NFL season. The seven-time Super Bowl winner is looking to return the defending NFL champion Bucs back to the Big Game, and the team is well-positioned to do so thanks to the return of all 22 starters.
Regardless of Brady's ability to put a team on his back at this stage of his career, the onus may not necessarily be on him to carry the Bucs.
The defense notably dominated during the playoffs, holding the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs' offense to just nine points in the Super Bowl. They have a ferocious pass-rushing unit capable of wrecking any team's offense.
Brady may not be slinging the ball like he was when he tossed a then-NFL record 50 touchdowns for the 2007 New England Patriots, but he still excelled last year en route to a 65.7 percent completion rate and 40 scores. He finished ninth in quarterback rating and QBR.
Expectations are still high for Brady, too. Bruce Gradkowski of Pro Football Focus notably ranked Brady second among all NFL quarterbacks behind only Chiefs signal-caller Patrick Mahomes.
Brady and the Bucs will start their campaign for a return trip to the Super Bowl beginning Thursday, Sept. 9 when they host the Dallas Cowboys.