Bucs Primed For Improvement Without Tom Brady

May 26th, 2023

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Quantity, not quality.

Tom Brady threw 733 passes last season, 34 more than Justin Herbert and 85 more than third-place finisher Patrick Mahomes.

As any member of Buc Nation can attest, the results weren’t pretty.

Tampa Bay went 8-9, good enough for a division crown only because the NFC South was pitiful. To call the 2022 attack plodding is far too kind. There was so much pressure on the defense to carry the day, a proud unit crumbled down the stretch.

Let us not forget that in seven of Tampa Bay’s eight wins, the Bucs scored 21 points or less. The only outlier was the 30-24 victory against Carolina that clinched the division title.

When the Bucs allowed 20 points or more, this franchise went 1-8. That’s as good a reason as any why Byron Leftwich won’t be working in the NFL this fall.

Now Brady is on the brink of a big-time completion, buying a minority stake in the Raiders. That’s his current passion and it’s clear playing football for the Bucs wasn’t his passion in 2022. He wasn’t fully committed … and it showed.

Minimal loss, explains Ira Kaufman.

Remember when Bruce Arians had the audacity at the bye week to suggest Brady wasn’t playing well? Brady supporters quickly blasted Arians, who was merely stating the obvious.

A month later, after Tampa Bay edged Arizona 19-16 in overtime, Rex Ryan took it a step further.

“I’ve coached against him more than any coach,” Ryan said on ESPN last December. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen Tom Brady play. Tom Brady was awful in this game. Guys were wide open and I’m like, ‘Dude, I can make that throw.’ “

Another ESPN analyst came close to promoting a change under center.

“We have to finally accept he is a large part of why the team is crumbling,” said Ryan Clark. “None of what he’s doing on the grass make sense that Brady deserves that job.”

Brady wasn’t terrible last year — he was pedestrian. His QB rating of 90.7 ranked 18th in the league. ESPN’s QBR for Brady (52.5) also ranked No. 18, just behind Justin Fields.

There’s many ways to gauge a quarterback’s effectiveness. One of the key metrics is net yards per pass attempt, where Brady’s 6.01 average ranked 20th.

You can’t say he lacked weapons.

Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage combined to miss only eight games, yet the trio reached the end zone only 14 times.

One mediocre season won’t diminish Brady’s unparalleled legacy, but you have to wonder whether Baker Mayfield could turn out to be an upgrade over a 45-year-old quarterback who finally showed his age.

Ira Kaufman Makes A Bold Mike Evans Call, Talks Behind The Scenes At OTA Day 2, Donovan Smith Chatter, And Much More

46 Responses to “Bucs Primed For Improvement Without Tom Brady”

  1. Alexandre Nascimento Says:

    Wow, Sage!!!
    That was acid!!!
    Thanks for that.
    Go Bucs!

  2. Smashsquatch Says:

    Agree 100% Ira! His stats were a mirage. My eyes saw a scared QB who was afraid to stand in the pocket and take a hit. As crazy as it sounds, the Bucs have upgraded their QB room with Traskfield!


    You fans are Delusional

  4. Bucsfan13 Says:

    He did show his age. That’s why some semblance of a running game would’ve helped. Only Joe seems to bring up how anemic our running game was last year. Does anyone think our OL was anything but below average? Ryan Clark is an idiot and he’s let’s his personal bias seep into his analysis.

  5. D-Rok Says:

    Brady always said he would play until “he sucked.” Last year, by his lofty standards, he sucked. So he stopped playing.

    Hopefully his retirement will unite the team into becoming just that – a team.


  6. Beej Says:

    It was agreed upon before the season that no- riskit was gone, and then Jensen and Stinnie got hurt

  7. KC Buc Says:

    Nah, the Brady groupies are delusional. Brady had plenty of throws that were just plain bad that weren’t happening in ’20 and ’21 and there were much fewer “wow” arm plays. Lebron was missing layups out there…not to say Leftwurst wasn’t also instrumental to a bad offense too. I think sports commentary was relatively generous by holding back and not questioning his performance as much out of respect and/or fear. The floor was always very high with Brady, but the ceiling got much lower last year.

  8. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    All true. But what is also true is that the defense was every bit as big a problem last year as the offense. What was the defense giving up the last 6 games or so? Something like 28 pts per game? It was time for a rebuild, or partial rebuild as we have done. I am excited to see what happens.

  9. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    TB12 was what he was last year: a 45 year old immobile QB. He could still process the field better than anyone, and his arm was still as good as ever. The problem was he did not want to take a hit, and when you are throwing 50 times a game behind a somewhat shaky offensive line and run long developing plays that lack creativity, the hits are coming. Brady did his best to get rid of the ball quickly to avoid hits, but the results were ugly because plays didn’t have time to develop, guys were not being schemed open, and there was no threat of a running game because Boron had no clue how or when to effectively call the run. With better offensive game planning, Brady still would have been an effective QB finishing in the top 10. Instead he was in the bottom half and the Bucs limped to a first round blowout in the playoffs. When the Bucs improve this year, it won’t be because of the change at QB; it will be because of the change at OC. Canales is going to bring serious juice. I doubt you will see Boron coordinating an NFL offense ever again, as the guy who made Brady look bad in his final season.

  10. K2 Says:

    Let just say the combination of things that include: Byron, Brady, divorce, injuries, and poor game management sank a ship that should have floated. Making a substantial improvement shouldn’t be that difficult.

  11. Dom Says:

    Yall are nuts. We had the worst player I’ve ever seen that constantly set up the offense in 3rd and long. How can you succeed as a QB when your your play sequences are a 1st down run for 1 or 2 yards, screen play that gains 1 or 2 yards and then chuck it down the field while having a pretty bad O-Line? It was such a predictable offense. Our no huddle offense and 5 4th quarter comebacks show the struggles on offense weren’t on Brady. We scored more TD’s in the season when we went no huddle and took the play calling off Leftw*ch hands but sure it’s Brady’s fault. Leftw*ich is still unemployed and couldn’t even get the Notre Dame TE coach job but yeah blame the GOAT. There was a reason teams were still interested in Brady before he retired.

    I will give you that you could tell he wanted to avoid getting hit, who wouldn’t at 45 years old, but the poor offensive line play only amplified that. Brady had nearly identical stats as Justin Herbert and he’s viewed as one of the best young QB’s in the league. Brady and the defense are the only reason this team didn’t go 3-14 last year. The Saints comeback 2X, Rams comeback, Cardinals comeback, and Panthers comeback victories all kept a pretty bad team afloat instead of having a top 5 pick in the draft

  12. Bucsfanman Says:

    At a minimum, you have to have the threat of being able to run the ball. The primary reason for our woes was a lack of a ground game. Whatever you want to attribute that to is irrelevant; play-calling, competent backs, injuries. It all points to not being able to run the ball.
    When you pair that to a QB who’s not quite got their head in the game, you end up with 8-9.

  13. Buddha Says:

    The truth at last. No training camp. Marital strife. No confidence in his offensive line. Poor vision. Trying to avoid injury. For the best of the team, he should have resigned during training camp. Still, he gave us two memorable, delicious years.

  14. HC Grover Says:


  15. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Don’t forget to mention all the over-the-hill ring chasers that just laid down when they realized no ring was forthcoming. Looking at you Julio, Akiem, Lenny. Not sure why Rudolph was allowed to occupy a roster spot all year. He laid down in pre-season.

  16. HC Grover Says:

    Welcome to Fantasy Football!

  17. TDTB2022 Says:

    ok, so we can agree on possibly having two upgrades this off-season.
    OC and QB are upgraded at the moment.
    We have a fair chance to achieve last year’s accomplishments. We still have a chance to win the division, which means going to the playoffs.

    Ira, you make this website better. Thanks!

  18. TDTB2022 Says:

    I agreed with Buddha.

    But we are also grateful to witness some great comebacks last year.

  19. BringBucsBack Says:

    “There’s many ways to gauge a quarterback’s effectiveness.”

    “There’s” is a conjunction for the words “there” & “is” and it’s usage in this sentence is incorrect.

    “There are” or it’s conjunction “there’re” is grammatically correct.

    I hope Ira didn’t perform the data entry. I hate to be this guy but, Ira is THE pro journalist & he should know better.

    Good article, otherwise.

  20. Sly Pirate Says:

    Why are we dedicating an entire article to bashing TB12? I think there was suppose to be more here. Like, TB12 wasn’t great and we won the NFCS. Baker/Trask don’t need to be miracal workers.

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Let’s face it….Brady was just average last year……many want to give him a pass because of the running game, Leftwich & the Oline…..along with his career greatness…..but time after time, he failed to convert 3rd downs and in the red zone…..the offense was impotent.
    The defense was actually quite good in comparison.
    I am one of those who thinks the Bucs can do better this year…..

  22. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Instead of quoting some talking heads, maybe Ira should’ve looked at the advanced metrics. Scoring was down all across the league. It was the worse since 2010. Defenses made adjustments. They weren’t just giving up deep passes anymore. Mahomes was throwing deep anymore. He threw short passes that were schemed open. Andy Reid was the mastermind. Folks are stuck on results and not process. It’s completely fair to criticize the run game. We lived on third and long. We were In predictable throwing downs and the DL just teed up.

    Brady had an impossible standard to attain. He’s 45! He shouldn’t even be out on the field. QBs age out at around 36!! Brady’s unprecedented ability to play at a high standard until his 40’s changed the perception of the league. That’s why people thought Wilson would flourish in Denver and why people think Rodgers will lead the Jets to the SB.

    I’m so sick of hearing about QBs. Games are won and lost in the trenches on both sides! The OL play a pivotal role in any success to an offense. Winston got killed under the OL when he played. The scheme called for him to take an absurd amount of hits. He took the hits and sacks. How did that work out?

  23. Dooley Says:

    Kurt Warners’ breakdown of the Ravens game basically serves as the blueprint for what went wrong with Brady as a QB in 2022, in spite of the OL injuries or the paltry run game there were plenty of instances facilitating our passing attack where Brady wasn’t making the routine plays he made in 2021 or 2020. Also, all of you passing on the screens and short dump offs as just being due to Leftwichs’ incompetence really need to go look at the Patriots 2019 offense after Gronk retired the first time around because that’s what our offense looked like more than any offense did since BA came to Tampa.

    “All true. But what is also true is that the defense was every bit as big a problem last year as the offense.”

    -We don’t win the season opener without the defense getting ball back in Dallas late in the 2nd half off of a turnover or knocking Dak out of the game.

    -We wouldn’t have won the Nola game week 2 w/o the defense scoring.

    -We held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 14 points while shutting them out in the 2nd half and still lost by 2 points.

    -Kenny Pickett & Mitch Trubisky outscored our Brady led offense, we lost that game by 2 points after our defense allowed 20 points but our offense score 1 TD in 60 minutes

    -Week after the Steelers game we lose 21-3, 3 points in 60 minutes of football the blame isn’t on just game planning, that’s an on-field execution issue.

    -Rams game the score was 13 to 6 LA after 3 quarters, the “comeback” in that game was largely due to our inactivity on offense. In any stage of football if you only allow 13 points to be scored on you, you shouldnt need a “4th qtr comeback” to win if your OFFENSE is doing it’s job and scoring points over the course of the game. Mind you neither team commited a turnover in that our offense just sucked.

    -Our defense also pulled their weight in Munich, allowing ONLY 16 points against an offense that averaged 23.9 points a game and finished 10th overall in scoring in 2022. We only won that game by 5 after holding them scoreless the entire first half. Also, our final go ahead score came off the back off a defensive tunrover with Seattle threatening inside the redzone. Hell our 2nd to last offensive drive ended in an INT in our own territory

    -2nd saints game, another “comeback” 3 quarters into the game the score is 13-3 Saints, again holding a team to 1 points credit to your defense, but if your offense can only manage 3 points in the first 45 minutes of the game, guess what? YOU’ll need to come back in dramatic fashion just to even the low score your defense allowed

    -SF game 3 turnovers by our offense, SF as good as their defense is and as bad as our OL some claim was didn’t sack Brady once, but he did throw 2 INTS to go along with Whites’ lost fumble. 0 first half points. Remember the slow starts from 2020?

    -Bengals game our offense turned the ball over 4 times!! 2 Ints & 2 fumbles, all Brady totally negating the 3 TDs he through and putting our defense back on the field prematurely on 4 separate occasions. Carlton Davis probably had his best game since @NO locking slant boy up back in 2020.

    Anybody seeing a pattern here? I could go on, but you guys watched these same games I did, our defense pulled it’s weight more often than our anemic offense. Tom Brady missed BA juast as much as Leftwich, stop revising history

  24. Fred McNeil Says:

    Brady HAD to fall off the cliff at some point.

  25. Allen Lofton Says:

    Mayfield will need to be an upgrade over Brady, plus OC will have to be a big upgrade to for the Bucs to win their division.

  26. Caleb Says:

    Many Bucs fans have forgotten what bad qb play looks like. They will remember again this fall.

  27. Steven007 Says:

    Brady is the goat at QB and that’s non-negotiable. But the honest truth is, if we had that kind of quarterback play last year and the guy’s name was anything but Brady, he likely would have been benched at some point. That’s also non-negotiable. Last year was when time finally caught up with Tom. You can add all the extracurriculars if you’d like, but that too is part of time and the fact that he’s a middle-aged guy with a very full life and a lot of distractions. Add to that a failing marriage and everything associated with that. We had a great run with him but it ended with a whimper. It also started with a super bowl, and for that we can all be thankful.

  28. realistic-optimistic Says:

    The offense scored 200 fewer points in 2022 (313) than they did in 2021 (511). That’s just an insane drop, and it cannot be blamed on any one thing.

  29. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Brady looked 45 last year, and anyone could see he was done.
    He was playing scared, and it showed.

  30. eric Says:

    Sir with all due respect stay out of Big Storm Brewery before you write and article! Baker Mayfield would never ever be and upgrade over Brady!

  31. eric Says:

    Sir with all due respect stay out of Big Storm Brewery before you write an article! Baker Mayfield would never ever be and upgrade over Brady!

  32. Brandon Says:

    I’ll take it a step farther… Brady led the league in lowest sack percentage at 2.9%. It was the second year in a row that he led the league and the only two years he ever led the league in lowest sack percentage. Which is funny, because he played sackless for most of the year. But the most telling statistic is that six of his top seven receivers averaged less than 10 yards a catch and eight of his top 10. Only Mike Evans and Julio Jones averaged more than 10 yards a catch. This was due to Brady’s number on objective being to get the ball out ASAP so he didn’t have to take any hits. Say what you want about the line or running game… they weren’t great… but Brady did ZERO to help them out by leading the league in passes and completions but also rarely throwing balls beyond the line of scrimmage. It was so obvious that Gisele took his manhood in the divorce. He should have stayed retired. He was the biggest reason for the offense’s failures… not the line, not the running game, not Leftwich.

  33. Duane Says:

    Whole lotta BS in this diatribe and in the comments here. It’s the same old, same old thing where the former guy gets the blame for everything that went wrong, because it’s easier to blame him (quarterback or offensive coordinator) than someone still on the team or in the organization.

    First of all, the reason our offense sucked was almost solely due to our offensive line that was made up mostly of scrubs, or formerly good players that lost it (Smith). Lost five of five starters for at least three or four of the games, and three of five starters all 18 games last season. Brady was left literally running for his life, behind and O line that couldn’t pass block and couldn’t run block either.

    And you doofuses want to blame Brady?


    Brady still managed to pass for 4,694 yards, threw 25 TDs to only 9 INTs, despite having the worst O line in the league last season. His left tackle was the worst left tackle in the league last year, with the most sacks given up and the most penalty yards of any LT in the league. His star center was out all but the playoff game, which he probably should not have suited up for. Everybody else were scrubs.

    And the OC cannot call effective plays when he has an ineffective roster, namely the most important part thereof – the O line.

    You guys, media writers and fair weather fans are all the same.

  34. Dwayne Cone Says:

    Brady said he was done when he ‘Sucked’. Based on his expectations of himself he sucked and hung them up. Some stay until they really suck. Some talking heads said Brady sucked his last year @ N.E. but he moved to Tampa and proved them wrong.

    Rams have 5 QB’s now. Stafford, a thee year guy with 88 Comp for 483 yards. 2 TD’s and 4 Int and 3 with no experience at all. Why did they let Mayfield and Wolford go? My bet is they suck and the best chance TB has for the coming season is if Trask lights it up in the Preseason and never looks back.

  35. Mike Johnson Says:

    I will Only believe when I see it. Be Primed all you like. No NFl team goes anywhere without an above average QB. Not one. I have zero confidence in our QB situation right now. I do believe our Defense will keep us in some games though. Simply put, Both Baker and Trask are gonna have to show us something. They are both unproven. Like Mike Tyson use to say, everybody got a wonderful plan..until they get hit.

  36. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    Had to be said, Ira. It had to be said! He wasn’t good last year. I love him for what he did for the franchise, and I would have handed him the ball for as long as he wanted it. But he wasn’t hitting open guys or willing to hang in the pocket and take the hits anymore. And I think the Bucs will improve with a less talented player who is able to do those things.

    The biggest weakness for the Bucs is absolutely their head coach. I don’t say that because I don’t like Todd Bowles. He seems genuine and smart. I say it because your record is who you are, and his is bad.

  37. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    It’s too bad, Baker ain’t as good as he thinks he is. Because he would be awesome, lol

  38. SlyPirate Says:

    Duane … Agreed

    TB12 sucked because the OL couldn’t block. This was the first time in a long time I thought Licht could have done a better job of getting talent.

    I’ll add BL was the worst OC. He’s so bad, he doesn’t have an NFL job.

  39. Dooley Says:

    “Brady still managed to pass for 4,694 yards, threw 25 TDs to only 9 INTs, despite having the worst O line in the league last season.”

    Our OL wasn’t the worst OL in the league, worse than 2021 for sure, but not the worst OL in the league and a simple google search can support that.

    9 INTs plus 5 fumbles lost, so 14 turnovers to 25 TDs in 17 games is really nothing to boast about unless you’re Jared Goff or Daniel Jones lol

    the yardage thing is a grasp at straws, you can celebrate marching up the field all you want, but 8.2 points scored in the first half or 18 ppg doesn’t mean you were making it to your final destination(the endzone) with all that distance travelled. Good for a 3K, but not so good in a game where scoring points or lack thereof determines the outcome of games. Not “blaming Brady” just holding him just as accountable as you guys hold Donovan Smith, Leonard Fournette, or even Russell Gage and all those guys played with injuries.

  40. Defense Rules Says:

    Ira … ‘but you have to wonder whether Baker Mayfield could turn out to be an upgrade over a 45-year-old quarterback who finally showed his age.’

    Et tu Sage? You’ve been hanging around Joe too long.

  41. Nick Ray Says:

    You guys. I’d like to see any QB in the league, even mahomes or burrow, try and go through a divorce, a ton of changes on the o line and be with a horrible coach and try to win. Brady has been hit more than any QB in NFL history. Of course at 45 I wouldn’t want to be hit either.

  42. kyle Says:

    since we are still paying him, id much rather have tom this year than the traskfield shenanigans..

  43. Darin Says:

    Bucs primed for improvement without Todd Bowles. Save that one for next year

  44. Ugotrobbed Says:

    Leftwich, divorce and age all tied in to Brady having a sub par year.

  45. Zoocomics Says:

    As far as the eye test was concerned, I can’t say I was hating on Brady last year, I guess because before he failed the eye test, he was getting rid of the ball 2nd fastest in the NFL, and he wasn’t throwing picks, or eating unnecessary sacks. The offense was so one dimensional with no running game, and no time for a route to develop, for me, contextual everything seem to make sense why we were so bad.

    The one game I point to that Brady did fail the eye test was against the Bengals, who were a top 4 NFL team… we looked amazing in the first half, and then came the 2nd half where Brady single handedly gave the game away with something like 3 straight turnovers, given the Bengals excellent field position on EVERY single one of those turnovers. It was dreadful given how good we actually looked to start that game. Not to mention those turnovers don’t help the def stay fresh.

  46. 5-12 Says:

    So dumb