Tom Brady’s Play-Action Passing

April 18th, 2022

Drop in yards.

Some people get irked by suggesting Joe maybe the Bucs might be wise in drafting a receiver at No. 27. Understandable.

But with Chris Godwin down for who knows how long and Antonio Brown gone to the cushioned observation room in South Florida, Joe doesn’t think it is fair to compare Russell Gage to Godwin or Brown.

Last year the Bucs had a bunch of injuries to their top receivers, specifically Brown and Godwin. And Joe wonders if that is why Tom Brady’s play-action passing yards were down by a good chunk, despite playing more games.

In 2020, Brady was 11th in the NFL play-action pass attempts with 110 for 1,119 yards, an average of 10.2 yards per pass. (That was down from sixth (124) in his last year with the Belicheats (2019) through he only threw for 7.9 yards a pass.)

Last year Brady was 12th in the NFL in play-action pass attempts with one more (112) than in 2020, but remember the Bucs played 17 games. Brady’s yardage total was 912 for those 17 games, an average of eight yards an attempt. That’s a 21 percent drop in yards per attempt.

Brown missed 10 games last year. Godwin missed three. That makes 13 games, nearly the whole season, where Brady was missing one of his Pro Bowl receivers.

Joe wonders if the drop is as simple as Brown/Godwin missing so many games? And if that is the case, can Gage make up for this or should the Bucs play it safe and go get a speedy receiver at No. 27? After all, you cannot have too many weapons for Brady.

41 Responses to “Tom Brady’s Play-Action Passing”

  1. unbelievable Says:

    Those guys being out was absolutely part of it.

    Plus Evans was injured for a week or 2 as well.

    Oh and Grayson got hurt. And so did Perriman. It was insane.

    I wouldn’t hate drafting a WR in round 1, but it’s def not our biggest need. The amount of injuries we suffered with our DBs during the 1st half of the season, and to the WRs during the later half was simply crazy. I can’t imagine that happens again.

  2. Bucs Guy Says:

    You don’t draft a #4 WR in round 1. What you are referring to in this article is the need for a 1-year rental player. That sounds like a FA on a prove it deal to me.

  3. Goatfarmer Says:

    I think Byron is too stubborn to call play action more. He should. Obviously.

  4. Joe Says:

    You don’t draft a #4 WR in round 1.

    Not sure drafting a guy at No. 27 means he will be a No. 4 receiver. When does Godwin return, October? Will he be 100 percent?

  5. tampabayallday Says:

    We didn’t get close to the amount of PA we should’ve been calling last season. One thing that would excel this would be RUNNING THE DAMN BALL.

  6. Oneilbuc Says:

    Defensive line should be top priority if you can’t get to the quarterback you’re Defense will not be good !!


    Tom Brady has one of the best handoff fakes in the NFL when they go play-action…..

  8. firethecannons Says:

    Honestly, I think the Bucs need to take full advantage of our new guard Shaq. We need to design runs in mind with Shaq and our new top of the second round running back–our first pick. I am not sure which one is best because I am still waiting for the Joes to write that story. We have an excellent running game guard. LFG!!!!!

  9. Dooley Says:

    Waste of a pick Joe, that’s why it irks some of us. Also, if you’ll rag on Miller, Darden, & Johnson(who showed up to the voluntary workouts) then why draft a 1st round WR who’s going to just add to the crowd in our WR room already? just signed Godwin long term, just paid Gage in free agency, and throwing a #1 pick at the same exact position group would be folly.

  10. JL Says:

    Got to disagree on pass rusher. Show me a pass rusher in year one drafted bottom of first round that truly impacts that first season. Then show me a patriots team that Brady won a super bowl in his last 3 sb wins with them that had a dominate pass rush. They didn’t have one. Bucs lost to the rams for 2 reasons only.. injured oline and injured wr’s. Healthy Oline or healthy receivers and they win that game.

    If you look at Brady’s sb wins they had same thing in common.. strong cornerback play—Ty law, revis, stephon Gilmore/butler(bucs corners played lights out in playoff run), strong oline play(healthy) and atleast 2/3 difference makers in passing game— Gronk,Edelman,Vereen/James white—recent bucs team —- Evans,Gronk,Godwin,ab

    Bucs team was only team Brady has played with in last 4sb’s with any great pass rush.

    You got Brady for one year maybe 2. Make sure he has weapons for play off run and a strong healthy line and make sure your defensive backfield is good.. and you pretty much can count on a super bowl appearance 50% of the time with Brady.

    Imo based on history with Brady —draft wr,te,corner,og. Give him weapons protect him— and u win or make sb 50% of the time. He took middle of the road defenses to sb all the time with pats.

    Resign on the cheap a vet pass rusher—- Justin Houston or jpp
    Need Suh back.

  11. Infomeplease Says:

    The Buc’s play success rate has been very high when they do play action!! Hopefully this year they use it more than last season!!

  12. Infomeplease Says:

    The offense looks pretty good if Gronk is resigned!! Let’s shore up the D, at least in the first two rounds!!

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It’s hard to run play action with an empty backfield……we do that entirely too much.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It would also help to play action more on 1st downs…..

  15. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    “Antonio Brown gone to the cushioned observation room in South Florida.”


  16. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    Tampabaybucfan Says:
    “It’s hard to run play action with an empty backfield……we do that entirely too much.”

    Especially on 3rd and short. I hate this more than I hate bombs on 3rd and short. At least throw the bomb from play action.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘After all, you cannot have too many weapons for Brady’.

    You could say that about EVERY QB in the league Joe. No QB ever has all the weapons he’d like to have I’m sure. Even Tom Brady.

    What I’m hearing you say is that Bucs spent $20 mil this year to re-sign Chris Godwin, and you’re already making excuses for him in terms of his availability. THEN we sign Gage for another $10 mil this season to serve as our #2 until Godwin heals up, and you’re now making excuses for him too (and yes, we can compare him to Godwin & Brown BTW; he’s quite good).

    Bucs right now are missing Suh (Rnd 1 pick), JPP (Rnd 1 pick), Minter (Rnd 2 pick) and McLendon (undrafted but became a beast). Even IF we re-sign all of them for a year, we’d better have backups in-place to relieve those ancient warriors. Trying to replace them with Rnd 4 & Rnd 7 picks is a waste; picks like that rarely become starters & their average career longevity is right around 4 years. For a reason …

  18. Ontario Mike Says:

    Agree with the writer who said it’s hard to do play action with our all too frequent empty backfield! Watch a video of Brady’s greatest hits and you’ll see tons of play action to give TB12 that extra time to spot an open man, even if his OL has holes. Let’s do it more in 2022!

  19. Robert Says:

    Lets look at the depth chart at WR. Evans, Godwin, Gage, Perriman, Grayson, Johnson, Miller and Darden.

    Current depth on the D-line. Vea, Barrett, Gholston, JTS, Nelson, Nacho
    We should definitely be able to survive a 17 game season that 6 man rotation.

    Joe, should we give up our 2nd rd pick and move up to Olave?

  20. Mort Says:

    WR in round 1 sounds great till you realize there are a bunch of WR desperate teams ahead of us so most top group ones will be gone, and the fact that drafting a #4 WR 27th overall is stupid. They’ll rarely see the field barring injuries.

    We have positions that need to be filled that are starters. And our WRs are all locked up for a few years. 2/3 starting corners are FA after this year. We need a starting TE, and 3-tech

  21. Buc king Says:

    Honestly if you see a rare talent at wr like Mike evans randy moss Chris godwin Jerry Rice…I heard thier a wr that’s big like a te in the draft maybe him Jason loves big relievers..remember the dunkeers..
    Personally I think a few free agents are still out there who can help this team win… but I imagine the bucs think they got a stable of wr to determine…Miller perriman gray johnson…the top 3 when healthy have been determined…. I would be trying to get julio jones if he’s healthy n excited to be a buc..

  22. kyle Says:

    joe, drafting a 3rd or 4th wr in the 1st round would be wasting a pick. The bucs have over 50 million dollars invested in the WR position… If they cant figure out how to score tuddies with the guys they have until chris gets back then why are we doing this?

    Have to draft DL, DE or CB. Like to see a 3rd or 4th on a TE.

  23. Joe Says:

    Joe, should we give up our 2nd rd pick and move up to Olave?

    Tempting. Not sure. Third round, hell yes.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    DL over Any position in Rd. 1
    Unless something crazy happens and a generational talent falls to us at OL.
    (Which is far less unlikely).

  25. SB Says:

    I wasn’t trying to be anonymous!

  26. PSL Bob Says:

    No, no, no! We don’t need to spend a 1st round pick on a WR. Would it be nice? Yes. Necessary? No! Why speculate on Godwin’s absence? We obtained an up-and-coming WR in FA. That box has been checked. What we need to concentrate on in this year’s draft is defense. Not knowing if Suh will return, I’d say grab the best D-tackle available. I think it would be irresponsible to go WR at #27.

  27. Iistnfrmafar Says:

    Lenny got better, he became a prime receiver in absence of Godwin & AB, don’t forget Miller and Johnson got worse. Let’s not forget Grink was out as well.

  28. sasquatch Says:

    Again with the ignoring defense nonsense. I’m beginning to think the Joes, and in fact a lot of fans, literally don’t give a crap about playing defense.

  29. Bucanero Says:

    Depending on whose on the board at that point. Any premium position makes sense DE, DT, CB, or WR… We’ll see

  30. unbelievable Says:

    Bucs lost to the rams for 2 reasons only.. injured oline and injured wr’s. Healthy Oline or healthy receivers and they win that game.


    What about the 2 games before that, in 2021 and 2020, when they also lost to the Rams and didn’t have any injuries?

  31. BigMacAttack Says:

    I trust Licht and any move he makes. He’s earned that in spades.

  32. steele Says:

    You want to make Brady happy? How about building the most terrifying defense in the NFL? How about making the OL the most overwhelming and secure OL in the NFL, and adding a smashmouth running back who is better than Lenny (not difficult)?

    You make Brady happy by surrounding him with a team so complete and so deep, that he can enjoy his final seasons, relax and let him pick his highlight moments. Give him the same red carpet that Elway and noodle-armed Peyton got with their final years with Denver. Stop putting him in danger, making him pass, making him heroically save games.

    Defense and trenches must be the emphasis. The offense doesn’t need much more.

  33. David Says:

    I really think they need to go D line but the more I think about it I guess they could get a WR in round one who will have an immediate impact. As long as they can get a D lineman, specifically DT who can be part of the rotation within the top 3 rounds I wouldn’t mind it.

    I’m really worried about the edge rushers but we all know drafting one usually means production in 2 to 3 years. So here’s to hoping JTS takes a giant leap forward

  34. David Says:

    I know he’s not going to put up 60 catches but I am not discounting Grayson. I expect him to have an impact this year. The man is fast, big, and has shown he can run more than just a go route. He has also shown a ton a heart and work ethic to get where he is, which you know Brady loves.

  35. David Says:

    I want to see if Darden shows up in May 10 pounds heavier. If he adds 10 pounds of muscle that will show me he’s got the right mindset and knows he had to get bigger and more fearless.
    If he doesn’t, he’ll have a hard time making the team.
    Actually, him and Miller are fighting for the 6/7th spot in the WR corp, so if they draft a WR, one of them will be gone


  36. Goatfarmer Says:

    All the spackulators are going to spread their spacklling. I’m tired and I want the draft to be over. JL and staff have become dtop class at this since the Aguano blunder. I’m trsting them. I hope that they pick the guys per their well demonstrated process. Enough spackulating.

  37. BillyBucco Says:

    I guess no one remembers the New Orleans game where we DIDNT SCORE.

    So Godwin is hurt and they double Evans.

  38. brooks Says:

    who cares sign gronk

  39. firethecannons Says:

    we need to sign Suh and JPP and Gronk we need to draft a wideout but not 1st round we need to draft tight end, d tackle and guard and an edge and cornerbacks

    Isaiah Likely is a pass catching tightend that catches everything–ck out his tape

    1st round is zion johnson or devonte wyatt

    wideout late round and coach up cyril grayson and perriman and scotty miller

  40. Iistnfrmafar Says:

    Unbelievable no AB and Bucs lost Gronk in that game. The DB’s were putrid.

  41. Steve B Says:

    So he leads the league in passing attempts, pass completions, yardage, yards per pass, touchdown passes, etc… and your worried about play action. Really!