Sunday night marked a low point in Tom Brady’s otherwise solid first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The quarterback threw three interceptions as the New Orleans Saints steamrolled the Bucs 38-3 in an important primetime divisional showdown at Raymond James Stadium.
All in all, it’s probably not enough to write off Tampa Bay as a legitimate Super Bowl contender, even though the Bucs were thoroughly outplayed and outcoached. However, it was enough for former NFL executive Michael Lombardi to wonder whether Tom Brady misses certain aspects of playing for the New England Patriots.
After all, Bruce Arians of the Buccaneers and Bill Belichick of the Patriots are two very different coaches, with the former being much looser than the latter, for better or worse.
“I think Brady does miss the structure, the consistency,” Lombardi said Monday on “The Pat McAfee Show.” “He was in a marriage for 19 years and every time he got ready to play a game, he was used to it. Now, it’s completely different. This is what we all learn, people from the Belichick Mafia, we all learn that it’s not the same somewhere else as it is in that building. And when you go somewhere else and you think it is, you learn the hard way it’s not.”
Lombardi, who worked alongside Belichick with both the Patriots and Cleveland Browns, doesn’t believe Brady would have thrived this season in New England, as there simply isn’t enough talent on the roster. The Bucs, meanwhile, are 6-3 despite Sunday night’s embarrassing loss.
So, it’s hard to say Brady should have stayed where he won six Super Bowl titles over two decades of dominance. The 43-year-old probably notices stark differences in how the organizations operate, though, perhaps even to his on-field detriment in certain instances.
“The preparation for the game. The game situations. Got-to-have-it plays,” Lombardi explained of the difference between playing in New England versus playing anywhere else in the NFL. “What plays are we going to run? What is going to happen in this situation? What is the offense going to run when they have to have a play? What is the defense going to run? What’s the best third-yardage plays? All the situations in the game. What’s their onside kick look like? What happens if they try to run a fake punt out of this formation? All that stuff gets covered and you feel really prepared going into a game. That doesn’t happen all the time because most of the time, head coaches are looking at their play sheets, so they’re not really looking at everything that’s going on, they’re relying on their assistants. Not in New England.”
The Patriots, led by Cam Newton, enter their Week 9 game against the New York Jets on Monday night with a 2-5 record.
They, too, have had some low points this season that probably have them wondering whether they made the correct call at quarterback.