Brady’s Kryptonite

November 10th, 2020

Key to victory for opponents.

Some — no, many — will suggest there is no more important player on a football team than a quarterback.

In Joe’s eyes, there is no question about it (unless you happen to be sitting in a recliner wearing your cardigan sweater with “Gunsmoke” playing in the background, resting from playing a mean game of Scrabble while reading this story from a printout your grandson handed you — only 1960s single-wing high school coaches have the nerve to suggest a quarterback is no more or less valuable than a fullback).

Joe already wrote that Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is no dummy, And he apparently has solved the riddle to how to stop park-violating, home-invading, NFLPA-ignoring, down-forgetting Bucs quarterback Tom Brady.

And that would be pressure.

This isn’t a huge revelation. The Giants proved this years ago: Put Brady on his back or get someone in his face and he’s mortal.

But here is where Allen may have found the best way to get to Brady: Who is the most inconsistent starting Bucs offensive lineman? Donovan Smith.

Good guy Mike Tanier of Pro Football Network did some research and found that when Brady has time, he’s as lethal as he was 10 years ago. But when Brady doesn’t have time, he’s MVP Mitch Trubisky.

… when Brady is pressured, he’s starting to look like Joe Flacco: immobile and ready to eject the ball in any random direction at the first sign of trouble.

Entering Sunday night, Brady’s completion percentage when pressured was just 39.7%, the sixth-lowest in the NFL, and his on-target pass rate of 59.3% ranked 25th over in the league, per Sports Info Solutions. Those numbers, plus his interception rate, will only get worse after Sunday night’s off-target wobblers into the teeth of the Saints coverage are added to the tally.

The Buccaneers protect Brady from pressure by, well, protecting him from pressure: Their offensive line has played well all year. But quality defenses have been able to disrupt Brady. The Bears pressured Brady 17 times and knocked him down 11 times in their 20-19 Week 5 Thursday night win. The Saints pressured Brady 14 times in their 34-23 Week 1 upset. By contrast, the Green Bay Packers pressured Brady just four times in their 38-10 loss. Pressure data from Week 9 is not available yet, but Brady was hit nine times in Sunday night’s loss, according to the official gamebook.

So what is the best way to get to Brady? It seems the path is through Smith.

Unlike many, Joe is not anti-Smith. His problem is inconsistency. It is likely going to be the scarlet letter of his career and may doom him from returning to the Bucs in 2021 (next year, the final season of his three-year, $41.250,000 contract, is not guaranteed).

When Smith is good he is damn good. But when he is bad, well, try not to break out into involuntary convulsions remembering Smith’s play Sunday night.

(Look for Smith to ball out Sunday at Carolina. It’s his pattern. One horrific game followed by two excellent games following by another … you get the drift.)

The NFL is a copycat league. We all know this. So look for the decent-to-good teams the Bucs have remaining on their schedule to try to mimic what Allen and the Saints have done: Come at Smith heavy and hard and if he’s having his off game, Brady will crumble like a beer bottle dropped on a brick floor. And so too will the Bucs offense shatter.

The key, it seems, to stop Brady and the Bucs offense goes through Smith.

46 Responses to “Brady’s Kryptonite”

  1. WiscoJoe Says:

    A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Please move on from him after this year Bucs.

  2. Rod Munch Says:

    No think if we followed MY plan during the draft and spent a 3rd rounder on a tackle (and there was still some worth drafting). The idea is that Smith would be too expensive to keep, we already know that, so get ahead of the curve and start grooming some on so you know if they’ll be ready to go or not next season. Additionally that gives you some (hopefully) quality depth. Licht has done a really good job drafting offensive lineman overall, so I have no doubt he’d have gotten someone that wouldn’t be awful there, and perhaps they’d be good, and perhaps they’d even be good enough to play right now.

    But no, all the dopes here demanded we draft a RB – because we MUST have a RB because Ronnie stinks and you certainly can’t find a RB on the FA market for cheap…

    Just remember that for the future kiddos.

    Also, just an idea that is perhaps worth exploring, in practice you switch the tackles and put Smith on the right. Yeah, I know that no one wants to mess with the line in the middle of the season and when dealing with a rookie, you want to learn on position, but Wirfs has been excellent and seems to be a super fast learner. I’m just saying practice that way and see what it looks like, I’m not saying switch them as starters, yet.

  3. Frankinthe813 Says:

    We won a Super Bowl with Kenyatta Walker..

  4. Joe Says:

    The idea is that Smith would be too expensive to keep, we already know that, so get ahead of the curve and start grooming some on so you know if they’ll be ready to go or not next season.

    It’s going to be a buyer’s market for players this winter. *LOT* of teams will be shedding salaries. Bucs should be able to find a competent left tackle who won’t cost $14 million and won’t have the bipolar-like swings in level of play like Donovan Smith.

  5. Joe Says:

    We won a Super Bowl with Kenyatta Walker..

    Thank you. Joe always reminds people of this when they bellyache too much of the perceived subpar Bucs offensive line.

    (Joe is not saying they are subpar at all. Many fans will have you believe otherwise.)

  6. All lives matter Says:

    I wouldn’t be opposed to trying Wirfs at LT during practices to see if his youth can protect Brady more consistently than the slow reacting Smith. This team can only go as far as Brady can take them and if that requires a clean pocket and sitting down your highest paid lineman to achieve that goal then so be it. The reason I said sit Smith is because he has already gone on record that he’s against moving to RT. I wouldn’t want to put him where he’s adamantly opposed in fear he’d intentionally and purposely play bad in protest.

  7. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Yeah we won a super bowl with walker. That super bowl was on the back of one of the best defenses in NFL History.

    In the modern era the best place to invest is in the O line

  8. Joe Says:

    I wouldn’t be opposed to trying Wirfs at LT during practices

    Of course, if you move him to left tackle (Wirfs hasn’t played there in two years), then you have a hole at right tackle (no, Donovan Smith cannot play right tackle though people have been campaigning for this since the Bucs drafted him, smh).

    Wirfs is playing so well at right tackle, inclined not to fix something that is not broken. Don’t want to risk screwing the kid up.

    Wirfs could be one of the best right tackles in the game. Let him be.

  9. Robert Says:

    1st of all, who in the same hell doesn’t wear a cardigan?

    I missed the second half due to a Gunsmoke re-run, but I saw the look in Smith’s eyes on a close up early in the game before it got bad and he looked totally uninterested. I can’t imagine how he looked in the second half.

    It’s the penalties he draws that irks me…….I can understand if their down by 28 and teams are T-ing off on him, especially if he’s trying to cover for Marpet.

  10. Fernando Diaz Says:

    Listen how about that defense.
    Stop blaming they didn’t show up they got full of themselves
    You guys immediately reacting stop this crap any given Sunday.

  11. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Alot of BAD happened all at once
    Poor O Line play, poor play calling, pooor D scheme, poor DLine and Secondary.
    It’s one game – Bucs should be 8-4 heading into bye week.

  12. Bobby M. Says:

    Any QB that gets constant pressure will struggle. We raved about that fact with our defense harassing Rodgers, yet seem astonished that the same approach works on our guy. Watching Brees it was obvious, when we got pressure it was beneficial for us…..unfortunately we rarely got to him and he torched us. That’s every QB across the league.

    As for Smith…..he’s grossly overpaid. His current level of production would make him a solid RT but he’s no LT. Even if you got him for $5 million per year, he’s still ineffective. Right now….Wirf’s would play equal to or better then Smith and he’s being paid $10 million less AND has tremendous upside. Smith has peaked, just like Winston….they are what they are.

  13. All lives matter Says:

    RT is an easier fix than LT …remember we had stiff kneed Demar Dotson at RT for several seasons in decline and he was serviceable but in noway could he have flourished at LT. Plus if I were Wirf I would personally want to move to LT because LT’s historically make more money than RT’s.

  14. Conte Piscateli Says:

    I feel like part of this issue is on the coaches. Surely they are aware of the weakness of the o line, wouldn’t it be a good idea to protect that weakness especially against a good defense by calling plays to help him out as opposed to numerous big shot plays? Maybe I don’t know run the ball more than 5 times. The players we have are the players we have, now it’s time for the coaches to put players in position to be successful, not hang them out to struggle with known weaknesses.

  15. doctor_berto Says:

    Smith is never “damn good” lol what are you watching

  16. Vincente Says:

    BA and Leftwich need to stay out of Brady’s way. It’s clear when you run the plays he ran in NE he isn’t just successful he’s damn near untouchable. I don’t know what they are coming up with in the offense meetings but throw it away and let Brady work his style.

  17. All lives matter Says:

    As far as RT both Joe Haeg and Alex Cappa have experience at RT

  18. John Says:

    Kryptonite- Sean Payton use the strategy BA should have knowing his offensive line is not great against the pass rush. How do you win 6 SB’s while not having a dominant offensive line. A short passing game strategy. The TB’s QB DNA. TB is a chain moving machine with an occasional downfield shot. Unlike John Elway with Peyton, BA is stuck on doing it his way. Tom is not going to say anything and Byron would if he could. The results are in on the experiment. We wouldn’t win an SB with this blended offense. Tom needs to cook.

  19. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    The o line might get ripped more than they deserve but they get more credit than they deserve also. Brady got to see what Winston had to put up with for 5 years, and the final year of Arians no risk it no biscuit offense which requires the qb to hold on to the ball longer for the bigger plays to develop. Brady found out for himself that this line cannot handle pressure. It was obvious Sunday night but BL and BA refused to change the offense to fit the situation. Watching Brady, you can see he’s not used to can’t handle that kind of pressure. Don’t understand why they didn’t bring in an extra lineman to help.

    Winston has some serious flaws in his game, but he was tailor made for Arians offense, just this o line is not. Those of you with selective amnesia or simply hated Winston the person refuse to admit that he spent alot of time with opposing linemen in his face as consistently as having a good pocket to throw from. He held on to the ball because that’s what BL wanted, big plays down field but he was hung out to dry because of too many balls ended up in the wrong hands. If the rest of the games end up being the same as Sunday Brady will too.

  20. chris L Says:

    i mean any quarterback especially classic pocket passers that get pressured dont do well. the problem was the pocket collapsing. brady is still the best at those slight movements within the pocket but this is all stupid anyways. why didnt we provide help to that side when it clearly wasnt working and maybe our gameplan should have involved more quick throws and not long developing ones. yes. pressure causes turnovers just like we did with green bay. dennis allen has been good but this isnt like a new revelation. teams who win the line of scrimmage win football games. it really is that simple and us having all these wideouts doesnt matter if there is no time to throw the ball. this game reminded me of the jailbreak against carolina in london last year.

    my wife who doesnt know much but watches with me was confused but her comments rang true then and still now. she said “when he gets the ball he seems to have no time as people are all over him”. that was winston kast year against carolina and this year too.

    the saints build their teams well, great o-line and good d-line (at least against us). it was pitiful and shouldnt happen to a veteran line and team. overall we lost because there was absolutely no physicality.

  21. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Been saying this for years: 76 is not a championship quality LT.

  22. Robert Says:

    vincente nailed it. on point. let Brady run the show……..he knows more of switching game plans for opponents than all out coaches combined.

  23. Bucsfanman Says:

    If nothing else, Smith is consistently INCONSISTENT! Not exactly the best trait in a LT.
    Now Smith didn’t lose that game for us. We sucked collectively. HOWEVER, Smith continues to be a liability at a position that requires stability. The Bucs would be foolish not to be searching for a replacement, IMO.

  24. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Roman Oben played LT – While Kenyatta Walker played RT.

    During a period of time when most of the league (+75%) didn’t have two good edge rushers. Meaning he hardly faced elite competition.

    Note, this is the same reason why Warren Sapp belittles Michael Strahan’s career accomplishments. Since he predominately lined up over mostly subpar right tackles. While Simeon Rice lined up over the best past protectors at left tackle.

    So whats the point of the comparing RT Kenyatta Walker then to LT Donovan Smith now?

  25. LUVMYBUCS Says:


  26. $acbuc$ Says:

    If we don’t bench Donovan Brady will not make it thru the season. If we do make it to the playoffs we are 1 and done with gabbert grifffin or Rosen.

  27. Mike Johnson Says:

    I still say Bucs should have moved up in the draft and got their future QB, These young QB’s are very fast and agile..accurate too. They throw on the run from the left-right, name it. I’m impressed with the bengals Qb, Tua and the little man in AZ. They are gonna present problems for Defenses who can rush or whatever. Meanwhile, we got..the statue of Liberty sitting back there like a deer in the rifle sights. If Brady does not bring us a Superbowl then I say its been a big experimental bust for 50 mil. What say you?

  28. $acbuc$ Says:

    Smith is weak because when he signed his contract Cam Jordan tweeted we abouta eat y’all to the rest of the d line. Every other d line can do good against me but when I line up against Cam he would of got a fight. But that’s if I was Donovan. What the wrong with the real one. He totally disrespected dude. Did he do trai turner like that or Alex Mack nope. Donovan suppose to smash this dude but if he the strongest in the weight room at one Buc no wonder why we getting ragged dolled. Cam just tossed him around like a fat chubby kid playing a athlete.

  29. Joe in Michigan Says:

    The “Statue of Liberty” is the best QB the Bucs have ever had, even at 43. The Bucs didn’t trade up for a QB, there’s no way to change that, unless time travel is a reality. If you had a glass of milk, and you spilled it, would you cry over it? The same applies for Bucs draft picks.

  30. Architek Says:

    We knew this going into the season; nothing new here. Most of us complained about the inconsistency and inopportune Smith flops game to game.

    If you want to play in Tampa this February, better have a stellar ending to the season because a betting man would say if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…..

    You know the rest.

  31. Allbuccedup Says:

    Smith 8 Penalties, Wirfs 3 Penalties so much for experience. I hope Marpets back because I am sure the Panthers defense are watching game film.

  32. Lol Says:

    There’s got to be better talent out there either, right? D Smith has zero value. Trade him for a bag of cheetos

  33. Stanglassman Says:

    It was a lot easier when we could just blame Jameis for all the teams problems. Now we have to watch the games and parse out incriminate amounts of blame to each player/coach who didn’t perform except for Brady. Let’s just blame everything on Leftwich and D. Smith.

  34. Greg Says:

    Smith is not a problem because of talent, he’s a problem because of heart. It’s a lack of effort. You can expect that to get worse as the season progresses. When he understands that the broader consensus has turned against him he’ll say screw it and move on.

  35. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I do not understand the playcalling. Aren’t there things to slow up a rush like draw plays and screens?

    Maybe Fournette needs more snaps so we can throw it more to the back.

    And we should make our long bomb attempts at very specific times and hold down the number. Complete the short passes…slants..hooks whatever and simply move the chains.

    Brady is not mobile. There is nothing the playcallers can do to move him around much. But he is very accurate and we could get ball out of his hands more quickly.

  36. gotbbucs Says:

    Cam Jordan jumped for joy and ran straight to social media thanking the Bucs for re-signing Smith to a big contract. He knows what a marshmallow Smith is.
    With Smith at left tackle, teams can let their strongest pass rushers work against Wirfs and put lesser players against Smith knowing that every few plays they’ll get the best of Smith.
    He’s a garbage can with a jersey wrapped around it.

    If this season blows up, next year you will see Mike Evans possibly traded, Smith released, Brady retired, Gronk re-retired, and Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette allowed to walk.

    Then we can all get back to moderate to low expectations again.

  37. Sumosam Says:

    It’s no secret that the pass rush is the most important part of winning football games in the NFL. Why do you think great pass rushers are so highly paid? The loss of VV was huge. Can we fix that? No one is sure but we are seeing the affects right now. Our defense hasn’t been close to the same. On the flip side, are we keeping enough guys in to protect Brady? It sure doesn’t seem so. You can’t send everyone out for passes and protect too.

  38. Of course Says:


    GOT Beat 3 times in a row by a NOBODY!!!!

    Tired of him getting paid to be great when he’s a POS loafer that only plays for money. He has no desire no passion and it shows on the field. he almost opted out of the season. He was looking for a reason to quit. Sick and tired of wondering every game which player is gonna show up.




  39. Of course Says:




  40. Greg Says:

    When was the last time an NFl QB called his own plays? I believe this is what Vincente was suggesting. No disrespect to BL but Brady should have that opportunity! Call me crazy who could do that better than the GOAT?

  41. All lives matter Says:

    It’s getting scary watching Smith protect Brady’s blind side.

  42. Swampbuc Says:

    Smith has Ali Marpet next to him and plays ok. When Ali is out — you saw what happened. Smith blows. He will not be a Buc next year, but some dumb team will overpay to have him matador for their team.

  43. teacherman777 Says:



    Arians and Leftwich need to put their egos aside and let Tom Brady call the plays.

    I want a hurry up offense all game.

    We have the RB and WR depth to tire defenses!

    Let Tom Brady call the plays!!!

  44. teacherman777 Says:


    Peyton Manning had that power.

    Tom Brady should too!

  45. Anonymous Says:

    Protect Brady, play your best pass defense (especially against a QB like Drew Brees) which the Bucs didn’t do and quit badmouthing Brady when everyone else laid down for the Saints!it’s an 11 man game!

  46. Eric Says:

    Jameis was the lightening rod, now everyone can sees this is a garbage organization. I bet Brady is having second thoughts.