Does it really all depend on Tom Brady? Does the 2020 Buccaneers season ride 100% on the health of the 43 year old signal caller? recent poll showed that over 80% of fans think the Bucs would lose over half their games without him.
The Shiny Object
The conventional thinking this off season has been that Brady is the key to everything, but after thinking about this I am not so sure. The four-time Super Bowl MVP is the big story of the NFL off season. His arrival in Tampa along with Rob Gronkowski has dominated the storyline along with Covid news. This has inadvertently caused a bit of misdirection.
Magicians are experts at diverting your attention from where the trick is really taking place. An expert at slight of hand may draw your attention to their left hand while they do the real trick in their right hand. You never see it happen. The real magic happens where you weren’t even looking. It seems this may have happened with the 2020 Buccaneers.
The Real Magic
While fans and media have had their attention drawn to the flash of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski the real magic may be elsewhere on the team. The starting roster is flat out stacked with talent. It is difficult to find a weak spot at the skill positions and the defense has started to look more than a little formidable.
Some pretty pedestrian quarterbacks have taken their teams to the big game. There are some amazingly forgettable names that you may have forgotten that have played for the Lombardi trophy. Need an example? How about Stan Humphries leading the San Diego Chargers to their only Super Bowl appearance. Not Dan Fouts. Not Phillip Rivers. Yes, it was Stan Humphries in 1994.
If That Wasn’t Enough
Still not convinced? How about Craig Morton. He lead the Cowboys to two consecutive Super Bowls in 1970 and 1971 before being replaced by Roger Staubach. Kerry Collins quarterbacked the NY Giants, Rex Grossman lead the Bears to battle. Trent Dilfer, David Woodley, Joe Kapp also quarterbacked their teams to the Super Bowl.
Many of these names are completely forgettable. They were not Hall-of-Famers or superstars. They lead good teams into battle. Some even won the game!
Oh The Humanity!
So, what if Brady goes down with an injury or cannot play for whatever reason? Is the season over? Does it really all depend on the former Patriot? Is it time to declare a disaster?
Unless, somehow Bruce Arians somehow lost football IQ points when we were not looking, this team has a quarterback that is serviceable. No Blaine Gabbert is not a great quarterback by any means but an honest look at NFL history tells us that he does not have to be. He has to limit the mistakes the Buccaneers have seen in recent years and the rest of the team has to step up.
Take an honest look this roster. Can the defense step up? Do you have skill position players that can help compensate for an average -at-best quarterback? Is Blaine Gabbert a better quarterback than Rex Grossman or David Woodley? Is he at least close to that talent level? If you say “Yes” to that question you have to wonder if really does all come down to #12.
The Reason Why
Tom Brady is a massive upgrade at quarterback. Ask yourself why. Does he have a stronger arm than Winston did last year? No. Is he more mobile? No. Brady is actually a downgrade at arm strength and mobility. Where Brady is a major upgrade is in decision making and accuracy.
An honest assessment of the situation says that Gabbert may just be an upgrade over last season when it comes to those two factors. Maybe he is not an upgrade overall. He is certainly not an upgrade over Winston’s god-given physical abilities. They are off-the-chart.
What Brady Really Brings To The Table
A quarterback just needs to be good enough to not be the reason you lose if the rest of the team is very good. They don’t have to be the reason that you win. For that matter Brady might not be the reason the Buccaneers win, but he probably won’t be the reason that they lose.
Does it really all depend on Brady? Upon further review, maybe not. A team can win with a quarterback that is not a Hall-of-Famer. Don’t believe me? Just ask Brad Johnson. At least that’s how I see it here in the Cheap Seats.