A Quarterback Challenge For Tom Brady, Russell Gage

May 25th, 2022

Believe it or not, a highly successful 30-year-old receiver playing with the Falcons and Matt Ryan made a surprise switch to Tom Brady’s Patriots and couldn’t find success.

That was Mohamed Sanu, who was traded from Atlanta to the Belicheats early in the 2019 season

Joe thought of the Sanu trade today when Colts head coach and former QB Frank Reich was raving about the “insane” throwing accuracy of Ryan, the new Colts quarterback.

It reminded Joe that freshly-signed Bucs receiver Russell Gage, who spent the last four years in Atlanta, was in a strong passing offense with an accurate quarterback. So it’s a lot harder to imagine Gage is about to break out and do uniquely special things with Tampa Bay.

Joe put in the research to find a receiver who left the Ryan-quarterbacked Falcons and succeeded elsewhere.

It’s a very short list considering Ryan spent 14 seasons in Atlanta.

Taylor Gabriel moved on from Atlanta to Chicago for the 2018 season and improved for the 12-4 miracle Mitch Trubisky season. Michael Jenkins was only slightly better when he jumped to the Vikings in 2011. Joe can’t count count Lequon Treadwell with the Jaguars last season because he was rarely on Atlanta’s active roster in 2020.

That about sums up the list of receivers who got better when they left the bosom of Matt Ryan.

Joe sure hopes Brady shatters the trend with Gage this season, and that Gage isn’t his 2019 version of Sanu.

39 Responses to “A Quarterback Challenge For Tom Brady, Russell Gage”

  1. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I thought Sanu didn’t like the culture up in New England and was injured his first season with him?

    Can’t really know if Gage will be healthy, but I don’t see Russell despising the culture the bucs have developed like Sanu apparently did with the Pats.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Gage was pretty good….we don’t need him to get a lot better…..but to maintain. Better would be a bonus.

  3. PassingThru Says:

    Ryan is very accurate.

    The NE trade for Sanu was a laughable panic move by Belichick. A second round pick for Sanu? Be serious. He ended up a cautionary tale for New England, he was injured almost immediately after the trade. That was the operative excuse, they overpaid for a so-so WR who wasn’t worth more than a 4th round pick.

  4. Yo Says:


  5. Bird Says:

    Ridley went bye bye early. So gage was their WR #1. And of course pitts got looks. But gage was matched against the other teams best corner most games. And safety help when needed

    Gage will go against the other teams #3 With safeties looking for evans / godwin / gronk.

    Pretty sure he is stoked. And will be just fine

  6. Goatfarmer Says:

    Does anyone think that Brady is less accurate than Ryan? Seriously?

  7. GOB Says:

    Passing, from my understanding, Brady is the one that wanted Sanu over Manny Sanders. Brady is also the one that pushed Bob Kraft to go get AB. Brady was pissed to no end when they cut him after the civil rape allegations. Bill had lost some power in the front office. Remember, he also wanted to trade Gronk to Detroit, and Kraft nixed it. Bill was also forced to trade Jimmy G.

  8. GOB Says:

    Passing, it was Brady who wanted Sanu over Manny Sanders. Brady was also behind the AB signing in NE. Bill had lost some power in the org. Remember he also wanted to trade Gronk to Detroit, before Kraft and Brady threw a fit. Bill was also forced to trade Jimmy G. Belichick ultimately won the power struggle, but his future with the Patriots was in serious doubt. The Giants wanted Bill badly, and Kraft was forced to make a choice

  9. Fansince76 Says:

    Sanu was too slow. Gage not so much.

  10. PassingThru Says:

    I didn’t know that, but given the disaster at WR that season, Brady and Bill were probably desperate. Edelman was on his last legs, Gronk had retired, and the first-round pick N’Keal Harry (selected over Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf, and AJ Brown) was a total bust. Belichick was transitioning the team into being run-heavy in order to steer the Patriots away from relying on the aging Brady. It probably had something to do with Bill’s ego too.

    That New England offense was terrible. A second-round pick for Sanu? Pure desperation.

  11. WhatTheBuc Says:

    Sanu was never healthy with the Pats.

  12. #99 Says:

    I would think Brady is more accurate than Ryan..so what is the real worry hear??

  13. Goatfarmer Says:

    Gage is going to be a stud.

  14. Tim R. Says:

    The best opposing defensive backs will be on Evans and Godwin. Gage with his ability is going to get open on most of his routes. He is a very good addition to the wr group. I expect him to have an outstanding year. He will be targeted often.

  15. GOB Says:

    Passing, Sanders was traded the same day as Sanu. Sanders was delt to the 9ers for a fifth round pick. But for a terribly overthrow ball from Jimmy, the 9ers probably beat the chiefs in the superbowl. A second round pick instead of a fifth? Does that sound like a belichick move to you? We’re talking about the man who treats draft picks like manhole covers

  16. Chacho Says:

    I think Ryan could possibly be better than Tom in underwear football at this stage of his career but if we’re talking about reading defenses and putting themselves in position to succeed, it isn’t a competition. Accuracy is irrelevant if u can’t preform as accurately with the known variables in the game. For that matter if we talking routes on air the commanders must think they are locks to win the super bowl with Wentz.

  17. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Brady and Matt Ryan are very different quarterbacks.
    Ryan is probably more accurate, and puts the ball exactly where it is supposed to be. Brady tends to throw his receivers open. So Gage will have to adapt to that, but because of all our talent at wide receiver, he will seldom face our opponents best coverage people, so he should be just fine.

  18. Tvan101 Says:

    Joe over here hunting for things to worry about.

  19. PassingThru Says:

    Belichick is terrible at drafting WR talent, I think his best WR draftee was Edelman, a college QB who Bill tried to develop as a CB before switching him to receiver. Deion Branch as decent, but that’s about it. That’s really not much to show after 20 or so years of drafting.

    He’s is better at trading for WR talent, but he messed up on Sanu, especially with Sanders available for a bag of footballs.

  20. Aceofaerospace Says:

    It’ll be alright.

  21. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:


  22. David Says:

    Sanu never gelled there. I think it was more of a personality thing. GAGE is just entering the prime of his career I expect his numbers to be the same or better.

  23. geno711 Says:


    Is there really anyone worse than Belichick in last 10 years on getting wide receiver value?

  24. BigMacAttack Says:

    Atlanta has had coaching problems for quite awhile. Their offensive line has problems too, be it injury or otherwise.

  25. steele Says:

    Sanu was overrated to begin with. On the slow side. By the time of the NE period, he was past prime, slow, and gimpy. And never figured it out. Gage is a different guy completely, in a different role, different time.

  26. GOB Says:

    You’re right about belichick’s blind spot when it comes to drafting recievers. Remember, Moss and welker were trades. When he did stab in the draft, he took the likes of Kembrell Tompkins, Josh Boyce and the bust of all busts N’keal harry. Can you imagine Brady throwing to deebo or Metcalf?

  27. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Sanu was a shock to NE, he lacked many of the basic WR techniques. Brady gave him many looks but eventually found out the hard way he was junk. Patriots cutting Brown was premature, he never did anything against the organization except work hard and make 5 catches & a TD the only.game he played. Belichick has turned into the arrogant joke.

  28. BigMacAttack Says:

    I believe Matt Ryan getting out of Atlanta was the best thing for him. He’s a great QB as stated but the Falcons have been cursed by bad leadership and bad decisions much like the Bucs were before Jason Licht got his feet under him and brought BA in to coach the team. Atlanta is always looking for a scapegoat or someone to blame for the garbage they put on the field. I believe it’s a culture cancer they can’t shed because it runs deep. Someone said you should use a system that fits your players’ skills. The Falcons didn’t get that memo. Someone also said the Florida Panthers’ players were out until 3am Sunday night at the TB gentleman’s clubs, knowing they had an elimination game Monday. That’s a culture problem. Deshaun Watson is another one that will fail because of his behavior. Those problems aren’t easily solved and don’t just go away.

  29. gotbbucs Says:

    Reaching and grasping for pessimism.

  30. sasquatch Says:

    Gage only has to be as effective as he was in Atlanta. He’s #3 here. 800 receiving yards from your third receiver would be excellent. I’m not worried about his adjustment here. He’ll be well coached and have ample opportunity. I actually expect him to have a 1000 yard season if Godwin is out as long as people are saying.

  31. SPARK Says:

    Anyone would look like a accurate passer after watching Wentz for a year

  32. Red-sparrow Says:

    Joe stirring up his anti Brady nonsense again.

  33. Brandon Says:

    Here’s the thing about Sanu… tough, quickish, strong… but super slow… 4.67 at the Combine. By the time he was 30 he could have been 4.75 and wasn’t quick or explosive enough to make up for it.

  34. Mikejp Says:

    Sanu was a Mike Evan-like WR with a slower speed. The best WR during the last decade Tom had is Brandin Cook for only one season. I can understand why Tom is not happy with Belichick after 20 years with only number 2 receivers like Egan and Welkers.

  35. BillyBucco Says:

    I think the main thing to think about here is that last year was year 3 for Gage.
    Year 3 is always when WRs break out for some reason.
    I use that strategy all the time in fantasy football to great success.

    I hope the terminology doesn’t set him back, but his year 3 season was basically served as the number 1 in Atlanta.

    Now he will have way less double teams.
    I’m excited about Gage and think he will have his best season yet.
    Provided he isn’t REALLY injured.

  36. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Joe has to be trolling. The fact that you could only name Gabriel is hilarious. Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell, Deion Branch, David Givens, David Patten, Julian Edelman, Jabar Gaffney, Troy Brown. Those guys sure had great careers after Brady. Brady made his living out of making more when given less. He almost made it to the SB in 2006 with Reche Caldwell as his number 1 receiver. Yes, that’s Florida product Reche Caldwell. One might also argue that Ryan became just a guy without Julio Jones. Sanu was a shell of himself when he arrived in NE. Of course Reich would sing the praises of Ryan after been saddled with Wentz. Gage will also be sharing targets with 2 Pro Bowl receivers. Ryan had no choice but to target Gage. And using Gabriel as an example is very curious.

    I like Ryan, but when has he been known to elevate the play of his receivers? I’ve always thought of Ryan as been consistently good, but he was never known as being someone who elevated the play of his receivers as Brady was during his prime. I would also add Aaron Rodgers as another guy who elevates other. Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings? Those two guys surely excelled after Rodgers.

  37. Cindy Says:

    Why Joe are you always dissing Tom, the Belacheat comment was a shot at Tom too. Tom being a Buc finally makes your work somewhat relevant. If he was gone we’d be lucky to be a 500 team.

  38. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @Red sparrow Joe has a personal grudge against Brady. [If you are going to accuse Joe of going after a player’s family you better be very specific as to what Joe exactly said when and where. Otherwise, this is a Crime Against Joe which can get you run. Tread very carefully. — Joe]

  39. Prbucsfan Says:

    I concur with TBBF. It’s been a minute lol sup peoples