Tom Brady had a pretty good first season as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. He threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns and the Bucs went 11-5 in the regular season. They also won the Super Bowl. Combine all that with the fact that they didn't lose the Lombardi Trophy in a river and it was an overall success. Now for the scary part: Brady struggled for half the year according to Brady on a recent podcast appearance (via Joe Bucs Fan):
“Midway through the year, I was still trying to figure out how to call the plays,” Brady said of learning Arians’ playbook. “I just read [the plays] off my wristband and tried to visualize what was going to happen.
“It’s like learning a completely new language. You’ve spoken English for 20 years and someone goes, ‘Hey man, let’s speak some Spanish.’ And you are like, ‘Huh? That makes no sense to my brain.'”
Bruce Arians confirmed Brady's assessment, saying things didn't actually come together for the team until their Week 12 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. After that game they had their bye week and never lost again. So just how good was Brady after he figured out the offense?
Obviously, extrapolating that to 17 games instead of 16 is a bit of a cheat, but that's still an incredible pace. Brady's career-high of 50 touchdown passes came all the way back in 2007. Yes, that season. His career-high for passing yards was in 2011 when he threw for 5,235. Basically, Brady late last season was as good as Brady has ever been. Considering he's arguably the greatest quarterback ever, that's pretty scary.
Expectations for this season should be sky-high. If the Bucs stumble out of the gate, people should ask what's wrong. It's only fair if we get to hear about how things didn't actually go perfectly during a Super Bowl winning season. Now they return everyone and the GOAT knows the playbook. I'd say anything less than 20-0 would be a disappointment.