New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said quarterback Tom Brady is running the same offense with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that he did across 20 years with the Pats.
"100 percent," Belichick told reporters Wednesday. "You could call almost every play from the flare control to the protection, similar to the way we do it."
The comments come as Brady prepares to return to Gillette Stadium on Sunday night for the first time since leaving the Patriots in free agency to sign with the Bucs in March 2020.
In typical Belichick fashion, the future Hall of Fame coach also downplayed rumors of discontent between himself and Brady during their final years together.
"I think it's good," he said about his relationship with the superstar QB. "It's always been good."
Brady's return to face the franchise he helped lead to six Super Bowl titles has predictably generated plenty of attention heading into Week 4 of the NFL season, and the dynamics of his relationship with Belichick have garnered particular interest.
Alex Guerrero, the signal-caller's personal trainer, told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald last week the Patriots coach "never evolved with age" and continued to treat Brady the same throughout their entire time together.
"He's older, so he should be treated differently," Guerrero said of Brady. "And all the players, none of them would have cared that he was treated differently. I think that was such a Bill thing. He never evolved. So you can't treat someone who's in his 40s like they're 20. It doesn't work."
Meanwhile, ESPN's Seth Wickersham provided excerpts from his upcoming book, It's Better to Be Feared, which explores the Brady-Belichick era Patriots, and one section noted the quarterback told friends as early as 2017 he didn't "want to play for Bill anymore."
Their eroding relationship also caused issues between Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft, who referred to his team's coach as the "biggest f--king assh--e in my life" in a 2018 conversation with friends, per Wickersham.
It didn't take Brady long to find success after leaving New England as he guided the Bucs to a Super Bowl title during his first year with the organization.
A lot of the offensive concepts Tampa Bay used throughout its run to the championship were similar to those used by the 44-year-old University of Michigan product with the Pats. The Bucs merely had far better position players around him to make it effective, which is why his numbers have returned to their previous MVP level after a lull late in his Patriots tenure.
One thing Brady and Belichick shared during their 20 years together was a laser focus on winning that week's game, and it's something that won't change heading into Sunday despite the increased outside interest, especially since both sides are coming off Week 3 losses.
The intriguing aspect based on the 69-year-old coach's comments Wednesday is whether he can dial up any defensive calls to confuse Brady since it sounds like the Patriots should have a pretty good idea about what's coming from the Bucs offense in this marquee primetime matchup.
Kickoff for NBC's Sunday Night Football at Gillette Stadium is set for 8:20 p.m. ET.