Turning The Risk-Reward Ratio On His Head

July 18th, 2022

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There were plenty of pundits who predicted Tom Brady wouldn’t be the same quarterback after leaving Foxborough.

Turns out they were correct.

He’s better.

Yes, a man who turns 45 in a few weeks has somehow raised his game during two seasons in Tampa Bay. You can credit his dietary regimen, his workout routine or the excitement of a new challenge, but for whatever the reason, No. 12 appears to be operating at peak efficiency.

And you know who knows it? Byron Leftwich. Brady led the NFL with 719 pass attempts last season, even though the Bucs averaged a healthy 4.3 yards per rush. Granted there was an additional game added to the schedule, but in the 102-year history of this league, only Matt Stafford (2012 Lions) ever threw more times during a regular season.

And by the way, Detroit finished 4-12 that year.

Tom Brady doesn’t finish 4-12. That’s because he has basically taken virtually all of the risk out of throwing the football.

We all acknowledge negative things can happen when you don’t hand the ball off. You can throw incomplete. You can be sacked. Worst-case scenario – you are picked off.

Let’s see what Brady has to offer in those categories.

His career completion rate (64.2 percent) is tied for 19th all-time. His sack rate (4.58 percent) is the eighth-lowest in league annals. His interception rate (1.8) is tied for fifth lowest. He’s even better in those metrics since signing with Tampa Bay, completing 66.7 percent of his throws, with a sack rate of only 3.1 percent and the same 1.8 percent interception metric.

No wonder Brady is averaging 43 pass attempts during his two seasons with the Bucs, compared to 35 throws during his New England stint.

For this particular franchise at this particular time, it’s a winning formula.

Including the postseason, the Bucs are 29-10 with Brady under center. That’s a remarkable record, especially when you consider Brady is 0-4 against the Saints during the past two regular seasons.

The Bucs will be a different team this fall, maybe a lot different.

New cast. Same director.

They’ve replaced a head coach and two starting guards. Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul and Jordan Whitehead have departed, along with the punter and No. 2 back Ronald Jones. Rob Gronkowski continues to insist he’s done.

Even if Gronkowski keeps his word, don’t be surprised if Leftwich asks Brady’s right arm to launch another 700 or so passes. If Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage are healthy, Tampa Bay should boast a dynamic trio of targets. And it would shock no one if Tampa Bay’s ground game is not as effective without Gronkowski standing shoulder to shoulder with Tristan Wirfs on the right side.

Simply put, Tom Brady has basically taken most of the risk out of a prolific passing attack.

What a contrast from 2019, when Jameis Winston threw 30 picks, two less than Brady has accumulated in the past three years.

Brady has turned the risk-reward ratio on its head and Leftwich is mighty grateful. The numbers are even better in the postseason, where the Bucs are 5-1 with Brady throwing 13 TD passes and only four interceptions. His 94.9 passer rating in the playoffs the past two years dwarfs the 89.8 rating he forged over 41 postseason games with Bill Belichick.

Somehow, someway, Brady reinvented himself at the age of 43 and he may not be quite done reaching new heights. On the brink of camp, he says he feels great.

That’s terrible news for the Cowboys in Week 1 and every other opponent standing in Brady’s way.

Is he near the end? Perhaps. Then again, he may just be getting started.

Ira loves that lifetime warranty on new and used vehicles!

Enjoy Monday’s Ira Kaufman Podcast. … …

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13 Responses to “Turning The Risk-Reward Ratio On His Head”

  1. Mike C Says:

    L F G!

  2. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    “…a man who turns 45 in a few weeks has somehow raised his game during two seasons in Tampa Bay…”.

    You mention a lot of possible reasons for how TB raised his game, Ira, but how about the most obvious one. Arians was a better coach for Brady high completion %, Low LOs. Arians and Brady made a better team than what TB had in NE. I know that will draw a lot of flack, but isn’t that obvious?!

  3. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    LO = TOs ^^^

  4. Goatfarmer Says:

    Great piece, Ira.

  5. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Brady is the best thing that ever happened to Byron Leftwich.
    He makes him look like a genius, same as he did for Belicheat.
    His time in Tampa is short, so lets all enjoy him while we can.

  6. DBS Says:

    Still can’t believe Tom Brady decided to come to what was the garbage pile of the NFL and turned it into what it is now. Enjoy it while it lasts. I am sure the constant coaching changes and losing smell will return once he leaves for good.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Great work on the stats, Ira……you are second only to Defense Rules in that regard.

  8. Oddball Says:

    A lot of “if’s” in the middle of this article Ira. However, I remain grateful and like others I will savor this last season with the GOAT.

  9. D-Rok Says:

    Brady has said he will play “until he sucks.” He isn’t sucking; rather, he’s getting better, as the illustrious Ira detailed so definitively. We Bucs fans are so lucky right now.

    GO BUCS!!!

  10. Mike C Says:

    DBS Cleveland, Detroit Texans and Jacksonville would have a strong case for the NFL dumpster fire. Miami has been bad for a while, Dallas hasn’t won anything in 25 years. So ease up on calling out my Bucs like that.

  11. Lt. Dan Says:

    “His sack rate (4.58 percent) is the eighth-lowest in league annals.” I would be curious as to had the lowest sack rate in history – Danny Marino with is insanely lightning quick release or maybe Dan Fouts?

  12. teacherman777 Says:

    MJ said his mind was sharper and better the older he got.

  13. Eddie Marz Says:

    Brady isn’t any better now. He’s in a different offense. I can’t tell you the number of times he had 250 yards and three touchdown passes at halftime and barely finished the game with 300 yards passing and still with three touchdowns. Didn’t he throw three touchdowns against Kansas City in the SB and finish the game with the same amount. If Brady wanted just rack up numbers he’d have 800 touchdown passes by now. He’s all about winning. GOBUCS