Tom Brady has “totally exceeded” expectations with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers according to head coach Bruce Arians, who has praised the veteran quarterback for his leadership qualities.
After 20 seasons and six Super Bowl victories, Brady opted to end his time with the New England Patriots, the 43-year-old instead moving on to Tampa Bay as he signed a two-year deal with the Buccaneers.
The coronavirus pandemic did not aid his acclimatisation period with his new team, as offseason schedules were heavily reduced due to the impact of the global health crisis.
A losing debut in New Orleans in Week 1 was a tough start, yet Brady has overcome the early obstacles and helped the Bucs reach the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Week 17 clash against the Atlanta Falcons, Arians revealed how the three-time NFL MVP has had to learn on a game-by-game basis, as well as talking up his influence on the team beyond just his responsibilities as a quarterback.
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Asked if Brady – who has thrown for 4,234 yards so far in the regular season, with 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions – has lived up to expectations, Arians said: “Totally exceeded.
“With having such a limited practice, we went to New Orleans [in Week 1] still learning words. When the quarterback calls a play, he should have a picture in his head.
“I don’t think that happened until November – just continuing to learn what words meant and what concepts meant, and then adjusting concepts as we went along. A guy might have a three or four-way go on a route [but now] we eliminated it to two. Things like that as we just kept evolving.
“I think right now when he calls a play, the picture is in his head and he’s really, really playing well.
“He’s exceeded it [expectations]. His leadership is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Peyton Manning is the only thing close.”
Brady’s current completion rate of 65.9 per cent is higher than he achieved in his final two years with the Patriots, while his 36 touchdown passes is already a franchise record for the Bucs in a single season.
He threw four of them before half-time in the 47-7 rout of the Detroit Lions in Week 16, the second-largest win in Tampa Bay’s history.