As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers season continues to totter on the brink of ultimately going off the cliff, the heat on Tom Brady continues to get warmer week by week.
Brady has been mediocre this season compared to his first two seasons in Tampa.
After Sunday’s debacle in Pittsburgh, Brady is completing 67 percent of his passes for 1652 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception. He has been sacked nine times this season after being sacked 20 times in 2021.
The difference between the first six games of 2021 and the first six games this season offensively is stunning.
Through six games this season, the Bucs are 3-3, scoring 121 points, and Brady has just been a shell of his former self.
Last season after six games, the Bucs were 5-1, and Brady was the best player on offense, no question about it. The offense had scored 195 points, with Brady passing for 17 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Is Tom Brady to blame for the Buccaneer’s offensive woes?
Brady has looked a bit disheveled at times when facing the media, and because of his decisions, he is facing more wrath for the Bucs’ slow start than anyone else on the team.
Brady missed ten days of training camp to take a ten-day vacation and be with his family as he tried to salvage his marriage.
Everyone in the front office, from Jason Licht to Bruce Arians and head coach Todd Bowles signed off on this and didn’t think it would matter much in the big picture.
Just as the season was starting, the team announced that Brady would not practice on Wednesday for personal reasons. However, since that announcement, there have been some Wednesdays that Brady has practiced and been with the team.
The weekend before the game in Pittsburgh, Brady flew to New York City to attend the wedding of longtime friend and Patriot owner Robert Kraft.
Brady decided to fly to Pittsburgh on Saturday and join the team there. However, while he was away, he missed the walkthrough and final team meeting on Saturday, where last-minute adjustments can be made to the game plan.
We all know how that game turned out. It was one of the worst performances of the Brady-led Bucs in Tampa.
Brady is now separated from his wife, Giselle, and both have hired divorce attorneys.
As much as Brady puts on that facade that he can block this out and focus 100 percent on football, it has to have some effect.
Personal issues sometimes affect us, and it does weave through all areas of our life whether we want them to or not.
Another question worth asking is whether Brady is committed to football? Is the commitment there, at 45 years of age, to put in the work to right the ship and get the offense going in the right direction?
According to his coaches and teammates, yes. He is putting in the work and seems to be engaged.
The truth is that only Brady can answer that, and the answers will play out on the football field weekly.
Has the offensive line reshuffle played a part in the collapse of the offense? Yes, it has.
No team could lose three Pro Bowl caliber linemen in Ryan Jensen, Ali Marpet, and Alex Cappa, and expect the offensive production to stay the same.
We were fooling ourselves into thinking that Robert Hainsey would step in for Ryan Jensen and it would not impact the offense or the offensive line.
Luke Goedeke seems to struggle every week, regardless of the opponent. As a result, he is one of the lowest-rated guards in the league, according to PFF.
The offensive line’s performance has contributed to the drop-off in run production and impacted the passing game.
The Buccaneers are averaging 332 yards a game on offense which is 20th in the league. The Bucs are still sixth in passing with 264 yards a game but are last in running the ball, averaging 67 yards per game.
Last season, the Buccaneers were second in the league in offense averaging 405 yards per game. They led the league in passing with 307 yards per game and were 25th in running the ball, averaging 98 yards per game.
Has the wide receiver position with the barrage of injuries affected the offensive output? Yes
Mike Evans missed a game serving a suspension. With a hamstring issue, Chris Godwin missed two games and the second half of the Dallas game.
Julio Jones has missed four games and is about to miss this week’s matchup with Carolina. Russell Gage has played in all six games but hasn’t been 100 percent and has not done anything spectacular on the field.
Kyle Rudolph has played in two games and has one catch. So why even sign the guy if you’re not going to use him?
The other factor that has impacted the drop-off in production is the retirement of Rob Gronkowski. Brady does not have the chemistry with any receiver or tight end on this team that he had with Gronkowski.
This is a much larger issue than many are making it out to be. For example, look at the red zone offense this year. Last year the Bucs were one of the top teams converting in the red zone.
The Bucs are 21st in the league this year at 50 percent. Last year the team converted 65 percent of their red zone chances into touchdowns.
The Bucs are 3-3 right now, and there is no one on the schedule for the rest of the season that is above .500.
Sunday, the Bucs will play a reeling Carolina team that fired their coach a week ago and just traded their best player.
No, the offensive drop in production is not all on Tom Brady. However, he has taken accountability for his poor play and called out the offense to play better.
The offensive line, the run game, the receivers, everyone has to up their game on the offensive side of the ball.
Let’s hope it starts this Sunday in Carolina.