For the first 20 years of his professional football career, Tom Brady only knew one thing: the New England Patriots’ offense. When Brady made the decision to pack his things and move down south to Tampa Bay for Year 21, he wasn't about to leave the only offense he knew behind.
When speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Bill Belichick shared that the current Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense bears Brady’s imprint.
“It’s the offense he’s run his whole career,” Belichick said. “Well, I mean, as it evolved here. The running game is the running game. The running game’s different, but the passing game’s the passing game. It’s pretty similar. I mean, you could call almost every play, from the flare control to the protection, similar to the way we do it.”
It’s no surprise that Brady implemented some of the offense he was familiar with in Foxboro down in Florida, especially as Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians allows Brady himself to “coach.”
“I allow him to be himself,” Arians explained before last year’s NFC Championship Game. “Like, New England didn’t allow him to coach. I allow him to coach. I just sit back sometimes and watch.”
After a Week 11 loss last year to the Los Angeles Rams, Arians put Brady on blast, explaining that the veteran was “getting confused a few times with the coverage” on deep passes. Following Tampa’s Week 13 bye — in which their offense reformed with Brady’s help — they did not lose another game en route to a Super Bowl victory. The similarities to New England’s offense was noticeable.
When asked about Belichick’s comments on Wednesday, Arians provided a simple reason for the offensive similarities.
“I think (the Patriots) copied a lot of ours, so it’s probably the same,” said Arians, who began as an NFL coordinator in 2001 with Peyton Manning and the Colts. “Ask them which film they watch every week, they’ll know. They always picked ours up and watched it, so it’s the same thing.”
Belichick noted, however, that the Buccaneers’ offense “totally” varies schematically from Arians’ teams in the past. The Patriots have had several matchups with offenses coordinated by Arians, specifically five encounters with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In the two’s only previous meeting as head coaches back in 2016, the Patriots — with Jimmy Garoppolo under center — defeated the Arizona Cardinals 23-21. We’ll see if Belichick can shut down the Buccaneers’ offense he is familiar with and get the best of Arians again Sunday night.
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