The general expectation, articulated in a specific report from NFL Media, is that 2022 will be Buccaneers QB Tom Brady‘s final season. He neither confirmed nor denied that in his own podcast but he did offer a little bit of insight into how his mindset this season is different.
“I’m feeling more than things in the past for some reason,” Brady said on his “Let’s Go!” podcast via ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “You know, I’m just really feeling intensely my emotions. And I feel like I always have that, but I think when you get close to the end — and I don’t know exactly where I’m at with that and there’s no decision to be made, it’s not like I have 10 years left. I definitely don’t have that. So all these, I just am never gonna take for granted, you know?
“… So, yeah, it’s a love that Kobe had for basketball, that Michael Jordan had for it, that Tiger Woods had for golf, that so many athletes have for the sport. And the question is how long are you willing to commit with discipline, to doing the right things, to allow those things to take place over a period of time? And that’s what guys’ careers are judged on.”
Brady added the physical toll of the game is also harder to deal with now than it was a decade or two ago.
“So what am I dealing with now? I woke up today going, ‘Holy s—!'” Brady said. “There was a few hits and you look at your arm and you got bruises, you got cuts and you got, the way it is and you’re like, ‘How much longer do I wanna make this commitment?’ And I honestly made the commitment for this year and everything’s gonna be, you know, like always — continue to evaluate all these different aspects of play.”
So why did he come back at all? Brady says the love of the game and the dynamic with his teammates were all part of the pull, as well as obviously his innate competitive drive.
“I think, for me, the ability to play and love what I’m doing in year 23 with a new group of teammates and a really committed team — it’s really fun for me,” Brady said. “And I still enjoy [it], I feel it out there, I feel the joy, I feel the happiness, I feel the camaraderie.”
- Bucs HC Todd Bowles said WR Chris Godwin‘s hamstring injury isn’t as bad as initially feared and they hope to have him back sooner than later: “I don’t think it’s as serious as we thought it was, but it all depends on how his treatment goes and how he heels. Hopefully we’ll have him back sooner than later.” (Adam Schefter)
Falcons HC Arthur Smith earned his current job in Atlanta in large part to his strong performance as an offensive coordinator with the Titans, where he earned a reputation as an excellent play-caller. Smith’s calling cards were his creativity and unpredictability, and it’s something he puts a lot of effort into maintaining.
“I don’t want people to say, ‘Oh, he ran this play in 2019 out of this set. I know this is coming again,'” Smith said via ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. “That’s the part of the strategy I like about it. As you sit there and you’re watching, you have to be careful. There’s a fine line of being too cute and looking for that perfect play, perfect opportunity.”
Smith also has a knack for trick plays, which was on display throughout his tenure with the Titans and his first year in Atlanta.
“I even look back at myself and I cannot believe, first of all, the play design, but also to have the nerve to call those plays in that situation,” former Titans HC Mike Mularkey said. “But Arthur, I’ve watched him. I watched him in Tennessee. Some of the things he did, final plays of games, the gadgetry of it, call it and win it, that takes a lot of nerve.”
- The Panthers worked out OL Jean Delance and OL Zach Johnson. (Aaron Wilson)