NESN Diary: Unpacking Tom Brady’s Mid-May Practice In Tampa (And Other Random Thoughts)


May 19, 2020

You know what they say, never wear creamsicle orange before Memorial Day.

Tom Brady apparently missed that memo, as that was the shade of the quarterback’s practice jersey he wore Tuesday when he organized a mid-May workout with some new Tampa Bay Buccaneer teammates.

Of course, we’re not here to give Brady fashion advice. He has plenty of people who do (a great job with) that already.

Instead, we’re here to unpack into the fact that Brady got together with the team for an offseason practice in Tampa. As you surely will recall, Brady had not attended organized team activities (OTAs) during his final two years in New England.

Details of the practice
Admittedly, this was not an organized team activity. It really can’t be with the coronavirus keeping NFL facilities closed.

Brady essentially himself put together a captains’ practice of sorts, as many will remember from high school. According to the Tampa Bay Times, there were a handful of tight ends and receivers in attendance including Mike Evans, Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. Some of Brady’s other new weapons, like Chris Godwin and fellow ex-Patriot Rob Gronkowski weren’t in attendance, but Brady “would walk through the route, showing players exactly where to make their cuts.”

All told, it lasted about two hours.

Brady is all in… again
It’s just one practice, right? Wrong.

Brady putting in the work now shows he’s out for blood when the 2020 season starts. Maybe this is what it took for Brady to show his new-found dedication. Maybe it’s the fact that he has a new playbook to learn and new teammates to build chemistry with. That’s all true. But the fact is, he’s invested again.

He showed up in full shoulder pads and helmet while his arm looked “live,” per the Times. He’s eager to throw to a plethora of weapons. He’s confident he can put up big numbers with those around him. And perhaps more than anything, he wants to prove people — one former coach, for sure — wrong again.

Can we (finally) agree things changed over the last two years in New England?
Brady not showing up to the Patriots’ OTAs the last two years showed a change in demeanor, and more importantly, a change in drive and determination. Things got stale. It happens in many aspects of life after 20 years.

But things are different now. The 42-year-old quarterback reportedly asked for his teammates’ phone numbers as soon as he landed in Tampa. That hardly seemed the case with his younger Patriots teammates in 2019. Some will say Brady is simply doing what he should be doing now. And that may be true, too. But, then again, he should have been doing it the last two years in New England, and he wasn’t. Because things were different.

Here are some other random thoughts from Tuesday:

— Sticking with the Patriots, cornerback Jonathan Jones had some interesting comments about the preparations for the 2020 season.

Jones, who is entering his fifth season in New England, says he Patriots’ schedule hasn’t phased him as he’s “conditioned by Bill (Belichick).” As Jones noted, the Patriots take each year it comes. So just because they’re playing opponents who had a strong 2019 campaign, there’s not always carryover.

?I?ve been here for going on five years, so I?m conditioned to just know every year is a new year. Every team is a new team. Everybody has changes, and their win percentages from last year kind of don?t matter. Teams will go 0-6 to start and then pick up better. Just taking it one day at a time. The first thing we have to do is get in training camp and figure out who we are as a team. That?s when it?s really going to start. And then teams evolve as the season goes on as every year. We have to figure out who we are first and the other teams really don?t matter at this point.?

Jones also shed light on the Patriots’ virtual offseason meetings saying while it’s been a change of pace, they’ve been productive.

?It?s been fun,? Jones said. ?It?s definitely been a changeup. Just the coaches we have, to get the camaraderie of the group. The rookies just joined in with us, so just having that camaraderie, everyone getting to talk and spend time with each other, it?s a little different, but as with everything, you learn to adapt.”

— Providence Bruins coach Jay Leach on Tuesday explained who could fill some spots on the Bruins’ roster as potential call-up candidates should the 2019-20 season resume in some fashion.

“And this is really just my best guess ? it?s the guys that we always talk about, right? It?s the (Jack) Studnicka?s, the (Trent) Frederic?s, and then it just matters (the size). If you have five guys it?s Studdy, it?s Freddy, it?s (Jakub) Zboril, it?s (Urho Vaakanainen) and (Steven) Kampfer. And then you?ve got, I?m not even calling (Karson) Kuhlman in that mix because he was in Boston more. So it?s really tough to nail it down.”

Of those included, Leach noted how Vaakanainen took a “big leap” during the Providence season along with both 2015 first-rounders Zach Senyshyn and Zboril continued to take big steps.

Hopefully, we’ll get to see them in action again sometime soon.

— Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale on Tuesday provided an update on the rehab process since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March. And he seems to be doing well on his journey back to mound.

?I?m six weeks out. I?ve been doing a shoulder program and we?re doing soft-tissue stuff but I?m starting to get into some pushing stuff, some rows,? Sale told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. ?A lot of this actually is a lot of shoulder work too, which is good. I?m going off of what these guys have for me. They?ve done this a million times and I?m really happy with where we?re at.”

We can’t wait to see what he’s got whenever he recovers.

Video of the Day
Ex-Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett celebrated his birthday Tuesday. And the 2008 NBA Champion, who’s been named a member of the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame, was celebrated by a few different videos on social media.

(Caution: NSFW language)

Tweet of the Day
It was another bad day to be an Atlanta Falcons fan. Even ESPN owned the franchise, followed by Brady himself throwing some salt on the wound.

We’re sorry, Atlanta. (Not really, though.)

Stat of the Day
Jon Lester threw a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals on this date in 2008. (Wait, it’s been THAT long?)

More COVID-19: NFL Aware Positive Coronavirus Cases Will Arise During 2020 Season

Thumbnail photo via Joe Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports Images
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Previous Article

As Falcons Facility Reopened Tuesday, Business Was Anything But Usual

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler
Next Article

Gabe Kapler Thinks Not Spitting On Field Will Be ‘Tremendous Challenge’

Picked For You