Tom Brady became the king of killing defenses by completing short passes across the middle during his days with the Patriots.
But Bruce Arians believes his air-it-out offense will fit the Buccaneers’ prize addition just fine.
“I think the perception is just wrong,” Arians, regarding the idea that Brady can’t throw the deep ball, told ESPN on Wednesday. “I thought his deep ball was outstanding last year. Through their play-action game, they hit a lot of deep balls. And our quarterback — I thought he put it as good as anybody — throw it to the guy who’s open.”
The Buccaneers will gladly take a quarterback that throws it to the open receiver after a season in which their starting quarterback, Jameis Winston, threw 30 interceptions to match his 30 touchdowns.
But after stunning the NFL and landing Brady on a two-year, $50 million contract, Arians wanted to clear up another misperception as well — insisting that his offense is not just about the deep ball.
“We do have reads that start deep and come in short, but I’ve had a couple quarterbacks that just keep looking deep — they won’t throw the checkdown,” Arians said. “[Offensive consultant] Tom Moore has the best saying in the world: ‘You don’t go broke putting money in the bank. Take the damn checkdown.’
“We don’t have to teach Tom that. But I think the freedom of looking downfield on certain routes and in certain situations, when the matchup’s perfect — take it, don’t be afraid to take it — some quarterbacks are afraid to take it. I’m not looking for a ‘checkdown Charlie’ quarterback.”
Brady’s top targets in New England were often slot receivers like Julian Edelman, Wes Welker or Troy Brown, not to mention a handful of shifty running backs he could often hit on a checkdown.
The 42-year-old Brady rarely had a pair of deep threats like he will with the Buccaneers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but he hasn’t exactly lost the ability to air it out. Brady completed 43 percent of passes of 20 or more air yards in 2019, according to ESPN Stats & information, which was good for the seventh-highest clip in the league. He also threw seven touchdown passes that went 20-plus yards through the air last season, his most since 2006.
“He can make every throw,” Arians said. “He can do everything we want to do in our offense”
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