When the New England Patriots take the field for Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season, it will be the first time in two decades that they will be without quarterback Tom Brady. After how the 2019 season went down, it seems some Patriots’ players prefer it this way.
New England will head into the regular season with Cam Newton at quarterback and serving as a leader. While Brady is enjoying his new life with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he reportedly isn’t the only player happy with the historic change in scenery.
New England Patriots were ready to move on from Tom Brady?
After Brady signed with the Buccaneers, we heard all about how he will elevate the team after getting out of New England. Amid the rumors over the summer, his relationship with the coaching staff deteriorated and he was let down by a poor supporting cast of skill players.
It was evident in 2019 that Brady wasn’t entirely happy with the circumstances he was dealing with, even when the Patriots were racking up wins. The team started hot with an 8-0 record, but things unraveled in the second half. New England went 4-4 in its final eight games and then losing in the Wild Card Game.
After the team cut Antonio Brown, New England’s passing attack struggled without explosive weapons. Brady’s numbers took a hit and it seemed to influence the future Hall of Famer’s attitude inside the building, according to the Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard.
“I will admit to you that from what I’ve heard since Tom Brady departed, the Patriots did need a vibe change in the locker room because a dour Brady, which start to crop up at the end of 2018, took its toll on the Patriots last season,” Greg Bedard said, via the Boston Sports Journal. “It was so bad that some of his teammates have admittedly privately that it was better for all involved that Brady moved on if he was going to have the same attitude this season.“
It’s worth noting that Brady admitted he knew his time in New England was over even before the 2019 season began. He knew it would be his last chance to win a seventh ring with the Patriots and seemingly put everything he had into winning one more for the organization.
However, it didn’t take long before small cracks in his relationship with the team got worse. After New England released Brown following a string of disturbing off-field accusations, Brady was angered by the move and his frustration intensified when the Patriots cut Josh Gordon.
New England invested a 2019 first-round pick in N’Keal Harry, but showed little promise in his rookie season with Brady. Meanwhile, the in-season trade for Mohamed Sanu backfired and cost the Patriots a 2020 second-round selection.
Brady’s stats took a massive hit in the second half of the season with the loss of two impact receivers. He completed fewer than 57% of his pass attempts in his final eight games in the regular season. In his last game, Brady threw for only 209 yards on 37 attempts and tossed the game-sealing interception.
The 42-year-old seems to be much happier in Tampa Bay, enjoying life with a loaded cast of weapons and with a more relaxed coaching staff. But it’s clear many of his former teammates are just as happy with the quarterback change and enjoying the energy Newton brings to the locker room.
Tampa Bay will enter the season as the superior team and will have a great shot to win the Super Bowl this season with Brady under center. The same can’t be said for the Patriots, but they should at least be competitive and even more exciting with Newton at quarterback.