It’s Batman vs Superman, that’s all the media wants to talk about. Who is the greatest! What Tom Brady is accomplishing is remarkable. At age 44, Brady has defied the aging process and is producing at an amazing rate. He won the Super Bowl last season, proving that he could win without Bill Belichick.
The reason that Brady left the Patriots is that he wanted to prove that he was the reason the Patriots won the 6 Super Bowls and not Belichick. He was tired of the hard coaching by Belichick, sometimes treating him like a young, inexperienced QB. If I was at the game, I would cheer Brady when they show his highlight film, for what he has done for the franchise. He left the Patriots, left them high and dry by saddling them with a $25M dead money cap hit, ruining the ability for the Patriots to sign any Free Agents last year, and stealing Rob Gronkowski, whom the Patriots couldn’t sign because they were up against the salary cap. For that reason, I would boo him. I’m a Patriots fan, not just a fan of Tom Brady!
QB Tom Brady, Blaine Gabbert
Will the Patriots stop the game when Brady breaks Drew Brees yards passing record? How awkward is it that Drew Brees is the color analyst for NBC when his record is broken?
RB Leonard Fournette, Ron Jones, Giovanni Bernard
Solid runningbacks. I expect Fournette and Jones to have a big game. The Patriots will play cover 2 and probably with Nickel coverage from the jump. Brady will see this and be audible to running plays. Bend don’t break. The key to this defense is putting pressure on Brady, not necessarily sacking him, but perhaps hitting him. Bernard took a big hit late in the game versus the Rams and is ruled out for Sunday. Ke’Shawn Vaughn
OL LT Donovan Smith LG Ali Marpet, C Ryan Jensen, RG Alex Cappa, RT Tristan Wirfs
This is a solid, experienced unit. Smith and Marpet were drafted in 2015, both in the 2nd round #34 and #61 respectively. Marpet played for DIII Hobart (Liberty League), the same league my son played in. Jensen, in his 9th year, is a tough and nasty blocker. He is a little dirty and plays to the whistle (and beyond). Cappa was a 3rd round pick in 2018 and is in his 4th year, Wirfs is a former 1st round selection in 2020. Tampa Bay invested in their future by selecting and developing their Offensive Line with high premium draft picks.
WR Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown Jaelon Darden, Scotty Miller (IR)
One of the main reasons Brady chose to sign with Tampa Bay was the experienced O-line and the outstanding receivers The Bucs had. Evans is a huge downfield target. Godwin is a quick and elusive receiver. They will miss Scotty Miller who was added to the IR this week. Antonio Brown is unquestionably a great WR. Forget what he does off-field. It’s on-field with Brady that matters. Jaelon Darden is an exciting rookie. He is extremely quick (6.67 3-cone) and scored 19 TDs in just 9 games.
TE Rob Gronkoski, OJ Howard, Cameron Brate
Gronk has missed the first two practices this week after taking a shot to the ribs vs the Rams. Coach Bruce Arians said Gronk and Jason Pierre-Paul will be game-time decisions, according to the Athletic’s Buccaneers beat writer Greg Aumon. Howard and Brate are excellent TEs and there is little drop-off if Gronk can’t go.
DL LDE Ndamukong Suh, NT Vita Vea, RDE William Gholston
The front seven of Tampa Bay is outstanding. Suh is still a disruptive force. Vea is an immovable object in the middle of the field. He cannot be blocked one-on-one. Gholston can make plays and he has one sack so far. These guys don’t make a lot of tackles, but they keep the blockers off the Linebackers, which do make all the plays.
LB Lavonte David, Devin White, Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul (game-time decision)
An absolutely great LB group. White and David are tackling machines. Pierre-Paul can still put the pressure on the QB, but doesn’t have a sack so far this season.
DB SS Antoine Winfield, LCB Richard Sherman, RCB Carlton Davis, FS Jordan Whitehead
Winfield is a star in the making. The Bucs are desperate for secondary help and signed Richard Sherman this week. Sherman is not projected to be in the starting lineup but will dress and travel with the team. The remaining players are marginal at best and very susceptible.
Look for the Patriots to employ a no-huddle / 2-minute type of offense to tire out the big D lineman of Tampa Bay and put pressure on the Tampa Bay secondary. Jones has thrived so far in this type of offense.
ST Ryan Succop is the placekicker and he is consistent if unspectacular. He is 2 of 3 so far with a long of 36 yards. Bradley Pinion has 12 punts for a 44.3 average. The return men, Jaydon Mickens is averaging 29 yards on 4 Kickoff Returns, and Darden also has a couple of returns, averaging 24 yards.
Replacing James White
White is scheduled to go on season-ending IR due to his hip subluxation. Who will pick up the slack and fill the void left by White? Running backs coach Ivan Fears stated that it will be spread around the other players. I have no confidence that Harris, Stevenson, or Taylor can block against the blitz. Here are two suggestions that might be able to solidify the position. Outside help could come from Duke Johnson. The former Browns and Texans’ 3rd down back had 307 receptions and 2,289 yards in his career. He can block and catch out of the backfield. Johnson is the same size as White and is just as successful as a receiver.
An alternate solution in-house is to elevate FB Ben Mason from the Practice Squad. No question Mason cam block. How good he would be as a receiver remains to be seen? He only had a few catches in college but worked out well after an impressive week at the Senior Bowl practices where he did catch the ball. Mason is faster than most of the Middle LBs he will be matched up against. He also had a 6.89 3-cone drill which indicates his quickness. White was a 4.57 40 yard dash vs 4.77 for Mason. However “Sweet Feet” ran only 7.05 3-cone. If mason is given that 3rd down role, I guarantee you he will be putting some of these blitzing defensive players on the ground.
Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Season
Tags: 2021 Patriots Season Brady vs Belichick New England Patriots Tampa Bay Buccaneers