Buccaneers’ Game Day: Despite Offseason, Don’t Bet Against Brady

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Via Sports Talk Florida
Special to Bucs Report

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady’s 11-day absence from training camp following a 40-day retirement earlier this year has some people doubting the seven-time Super Bowl champion’s focus entering his 23rd season in the NFL.

The 45-year-old Brady didn’t come back to be mediocre.

“Unfinished Business”

After leading the NFL in yards passing and touchdowns last season, Brady returned to chase “unfinished business.” His goal is an eighth ring and second in three years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I’ve always been very confident in our team, from the day that I got here,” Brady said Thursday. “That hasn’t changed at all. We’ve still got to go do it. It doesn’t matter. You’ve still got to go out there and execute under pressure, which is when the fans are watching and the TV is turned on. You’ve got to go out there and do a great job.”

The Buccaneers fell short in the playoffs against the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams last season. They lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement — for now — and added wide receivers Julio Jones and Russell Gage. Losing Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen to a knee injury and Pro Bowl left guard Ali Marpet to retirement is a big obstacle they must overcome.

Protecting Brady is Key

“In our offensive line, you protect the quarterback no matter who it is,” left tackle Donovan Smith said. “When you’ve got the GOAT back there, you have got to do a little better. So, we’re going to go out there … and do what we’re supposed to do. It’s just one of those things that we get paid to do. We’re out there to protect and have fun.”

For Brady, anything less than a boat parade in February isn’t a success. He has hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy every other season since 2016.

FanDuel Sportsbook gives the Buccaneers the second-best odds to win the Super Bowl at +750 behind only the Buffalo Bills, who are +600. Pro Picks has both teams reaching the Super Bowl but takes Brady and the Buccaneers over the Bills.

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