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Tom Brady Reportedly 'Went to Another Level' in Bucs Practice This Week

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. The Saints won 34-23. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)
Brett Duke/Associated Press

Publicly criticizing his star quarterback might have been all part of Bruce Arians' plan to get the best out of Tom Brady.

NFL Network's James Palmer spoke to a Tampa Bay player who said Brady "went to another level this week in practice" ahead of Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.

"He doesn't want to lose at anything, especially a football game," the player said. "So we've seen him come out to practice just locked in and focused."

The Bucs dropped their opener, 34-23, to the New Orleans Saints. Brady went 23-of-36 for 239 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Arians told reporters after the game that Brady "knew he didn't play very well" and put the blame for the second interception squarely on the future Hall of Famer.

Brett Favre questioned whether Arians should've placed the onus on Brady, saying the 14-time Pro Bowler is "the last person you want to call out after the first game of the year."

Brady will surely have been subjected to plenty of criticism during his 20 years with Bill Belichick on the New England Patriots. Granted, Belichick's style gradually wore on the 43-year-old.

Constantly harping on a player's mistakes is a recipe for disaster. As Palmer's report alluded to, Brady might have seen Arians' assessment as a challenge, though.

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To some extent, the coach was also probably trying to show how Brady will be scrutinized just like everybody else on the roster. The passer's legendary resume won't save him from a negative appraisal on occasion.

Sports are a results-based business, so Sunday's result will likely determine the general perception around the Buccaneers. A win will allow them to move on from any Week 1 drama. Falling to the Panthers, on the other hand, could only raise the level of doubt about whether Brady's arrival made Tampa Bay a legitimate title contender.

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