The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and quarterback Tom Brady have not met expectations in 2022, going from a projected Super Bowl favorite to a team struggling to hold off the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South.
Things only got worse in Week 14. Facing the No. 1 defense in the NFL, Tampa Bay’s offense managed just seven points and Brady threw two interceptions with a 63.7 quarterback rating. As frustrations grow and it becomes more evident that there are numerous issues on the team, it now appears that the future Hall of Fame quarterback is going against the coaching staff.
According to Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle, Brady holds private meetings with the skill players on Tampa Bay’s roster without the coaching staff in attendance. Furthermore, he reportedly makes changes to the game plan before the game, which the Buccaneers’ coaches don’t see until kickoff.
“The night before each game, Brady runs a separate meeting with the Bucs’ skill players during which he goes over the game plan, makes tweaks to assignments and formations and provides a revised blueprint — one which first-year head coach Todd Bowles, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and the rest of the staff are left to discover in real time once the game begins.”Michael Silver on Tom Brady’s meetings, game-plan adjustments (H/T Bleacher Report)
A year after Brady and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich helped execute one of the best offenses in the NFL, things have changed. The on-field chemistry between the seven-time Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans also seems to have faded this year.
Changes by Tom Brady aren’t saving the Buccaneers’ offense
Whatever adjustments Brady is making aren’t leading to improvements. In Week 14, Tampa Bay averaged just 4.6 yards per pass and it finished with a 25% third-down conversion rate. While the future Hall of Fame quarterback threw a touchdown, it came in garbage time when the Buccaneers already trailed 35-0 late in the third quarter.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense stats (2022): 17.2 PPG, 265.7 net pass ypg, 38.1% third-down conversion rate, 348.7 total ypg
Many in the NFL believe that the Buccaneers’ coaching staff and the absence of an effective ground game are part of the Buccaneers’ issues this year. With Brady reportedly making changes without the direct knowledge of the offensive coordinator, though, it indicates everyone is to blame.
Entering Week 15, Tampa Bay averages the third-most offensive players (68) per game. However, it is doing very little with those opportunities, averaging the seventh-lowest yards per play (5.0) and the third-worst points per play (0.253).
- Tom Brady stats (2022): 88.9 QB rating, 17-5 TD-INT, 65.8% completion rate, 51.0 QBR
Heading into a pivotal matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, Brady is on pace to finish with his lowest ESPN QBR in his career with his worst yards per attempt (6.2) since he became a starting quarterback in 2001.
If Tampa Bay continues to struggle as it closes out the regular season, more changes will likely come. While that could start with a change at offensive coordinator, it’s now extremely likely that Brady doesn’t return in 2023.