Ronde: Brady "Makes Football Relevant In Tampa"

The Buccaneers haven't made the playoffs since 2007 and haven't won a playoff game since winning the Super Bowl in 2002

Tiki and Tierney
March 19, 2020 - 9:22 am
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It remains to be seen whether Tom Brady will win a Super Bowl, or even an NFC South title, with Tampa Bay, but he does make the Buccaneers something they haven’t been in a long time: relevant.

“When was the last time . . . Tampa had a team that anybody outside of Tampa cared about watching?” former Buccaneers DB Ronde Barber asked on Tiki & Tierney. “There’s been some good players in Tampa over the past couple of years but no real marquee names. Mike Evans is a fantastic football player, but he’s not marquee across the league. Is he respected across the league? Absolutely. But I think Brady coming here changes the dynamic. It makes football relevant in Tampa – and it’s been a long time since football has been relevant down here on a national sense.”

The Buccaneers haven’t made the playoffs since 2007 and haven’t won a playoff game since winning the Super Bowl in 2002. Can Brady play at an elite level and turn this franchise around?

“Absolutely, I think so,” said Barber, who played for the Bucs from 1997 to 2012. “Anybody that has seen Tom Brady practice knows what that does to a football team. That accountability raises the tide of everybody in an organization. . . . It’s a culture change. Everybody talks about culture change. Culture change can change with one player if that one player is as impactful as I think a Tom Brady will be here in Tampa.”

Brady will replace Jameis Winston, who led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards and threw for 33 touchdowns – second only to Lamar Jackson (36). Winston, however, also threw a league-high 30 interceptions. Only two other quarterbacks – Baker Mayfield (21) and Philip Rivers (20) – threw more than 16.

Why was Winston so hit-and-miss in Bruce Arians’ offense?

“Jameis Winston, those same throws that I saw Carson Palmer make, they were hitting the other team in the face,” Barber said. “That was the problem with Jameis Winston. He would drop back, hit his back foot, let the ball go, and he knew he was right in his head, [but] he misread the defense or they read his tendencies and [he threw an] interception. . . . There has to be a coordinator and a coach that’s going to protect him from himself and make it easier.”

Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in 2015, will surely find a team, but he may be relegated to backup.

“The guy has talent,” Barber said. “But his inability to get out of his own way, I think, is what really facilitated them starting to look elsewhere for a quarterback. It appears that guy is TB12.”