Tom Brady's Knee Injury Changed 'Everything' Last Season, Buccaneers QB Coach Says

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 12, 2021

TAMPA, FL - AUG 12: Tom Brady (12) throws a pass during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp on August 12, 2021 at the AdventHealth Training Center at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In 2020, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady played through a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, which he had surgery to repair in February. While he still had a very good season, leading the Bucs to a Super Bowl title, he was never completely himself. 

"If you have a headache, it's just a headache, but you just want to feel good," the team's quarterback coach Clyde Christensen told Judy Battista of NFL.com. "I think it's hard to get your knee, you're throwing a football, and you've got the knee taped so tightly, you don't have mobility, you can't step through it. It just changes everything."

Carmen Vitali @CarmieV

Tom Brady said he feels the best he’s felt in a long time. “For the first time in 14 years, I don’t have to wear a knee sleeve.”

Brady, 44, still threw for 4,633 yards, 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last year, completing 65.7 percent of his passes. But the 12 picks were the most he's thrown since 2011. Brady was good last year, no doubt, but there were times when he didn't look like the Brady of old.

Put another way, without the weapons he had at his disposal in Tampa Bay, might his stats have looked much worse? 

To be fair, playing through an injury and adjusting to an entirely new roster and offensive system after two decades in New England, while still throwing for 40 touchdowns, is an impressive feat. 

PewterReport @PewterReport

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bucs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bucs</a> QB Tom Brady speaks on where he’s gone from in terms of all the terminology on offense after being in it for a year. <a href="https://t.co/4RlxI1K8AI">pic.twitter.com/4RlxI1K8AI</a>

"There are some years you don't want everyone back, you need fresh blood, you need change," Christensen said. "On this team, because we still haven't had a lot of time on task and we're still deficient in reps, and we have such good guys, we had a good thing going on. And football was the last thing to come."

While Brady has missed some time in the offseason rehabbing his knee, time he might have otherwise used to get work in, he has full familiarity with the scheme and weapons at his disposal this time around.  And the Buccaneers are almost fully running it back, returning all of their key players from a year ago. 

Repeating as Super Bowl champions is no easy feat. But if Brady stays healthy—at some point you'd logically expect his body to no longer be capable of dealing with the wear and tear of an NFL season, though it hasn't happened yet—the Bucs have a great chance to pull it off.