Tom Brady Says Learning Buccaneers Playbook Has Been 'Really Tough'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2020

FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2020, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady speaks to the media following an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tennessee Titans in Foxborough, Mass.   Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is poking fun at last week's attention-grabbing incident involving Brady. Tampa didn’t exactly give Brady the best of welcomes when he was ejected from a downtown park while working out last Monday, April 20 .(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Tom Brady might be a future Hall of Famer, but he's still struggling to adapt to new surroundings for the first time in his NFL career.

Not only is Brady approaching his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the COVID-19 pandemic also limited the extent to which he could work out with his coaches and teammates prior to training camp.

The 14-time Pro Bowler acknowledged the process has been a challenge, per ESPN's Jenna Laine.

"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," the longtime New England Patriot said. 

"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."

In April after the Buccaneers had finalized the signing of Brady, head coach Bruce Arians downplayed how difficult an adjustment he'd have in Tampa Bay.


"He's going to know the offense in like 2 days." @BruceArians talks about his first interactions with his new QB. @JayGlazer | @Buccaneers | @TomBrady https://t.co/Ztnkx9qQoS

Arians followed up in July and told reporters that Brady was "way ahead of the curve" in terms of learning the playbook. He added that it was a two-way street in terms of Brady getting used to Arians' scheme and Arians learning Brady's tendencies.

A learning curve was inevitable given Brady spent two decades with the same head coach. His rapport with Bill Belichick is simply impossible to forge in the space of one offseason with Arians.

The transition is made a little easier by the fact the Buccaneers have a pair of Pro Bowl receivers (Mike Evans and Chris Godwin) and reunited Brady with Rob Gronkowski.

Nobody will be too worried about Tampa Bay's offense when the team opens the regular season Sept. 13 at the New Orleans Saints.