Eli spent about an hour with the San Diego Chargers before he was traded to the New York Giants, so he wouldn't really know what it's like to switch teams and learn a whole new system and get used to playing with new coaches and teammates, but when asked, he did weigh in on some of the problems he believes Tom Brady will have in Tampa Bay.
“I think it’s going be tough for him, just the fact he can’t be doing everything he wants to be doing with the team and getting ready,’’ Manning told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday, per the New York Post. “Obviously they have some playmakers at receiver there, when you got talented receivers it makes it a little bit easier to get on the same page with them.”
The COVID lockdown has been a problem for a lot of teams, but for a guy like Brady it's even worse. Brady is smart enough to learn a new system, and I'm sure he's been pouring over the playbook since January…. I mean since he's signed with the Buccaneers. Here's where the issue comes to be, will Tom Brady be able to change his entire game to make up for his lack of time with his new teammates.
Brady is a very particular quarterback. Number one, you have to enter his circle of trust - Number two, to be a successful wide receiver with Tom Brady, you need to be able to think like him, you need to be able to break your route and go where he wants you. The only way you build that rapport is to play with him. Brady is not getting that time with his receivers.
Let's not forget, Brady was the entire offense for the Patriots for more than a decade, and the Pats’ front office constructed a team around Brady. For a couple of seasons, Belichick brought in guys that worked for Brady - Wes Welker, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell, Brandon LaFell. Now, all that changes. Brady is in a new system and an entirely new offense surrounding him. Brady is joining an already established offense.
That's where Rob Gronkowski comes in, outside of Julian Edelman, Gronkowski has been Brady's safety blanket, and even though he's no longer the Gronk of 2014, he's going to play a major role in the Buccaneers offense, at least until Brady is able to get on the same page as Mike Evans, Chris Goodwin, and O.J. Howard.
Before Brady fans blow a gasket and think that I'm taking a shot at the GOAT, I'm not. This is more about Brady's teammates catching up to him, and Brady figuring out who's in the circle of trust.
I would expect Tampa Bay's season to actually go very similar to a New England Patriots typical season. We should probably expect a slow September with close wins and maybe a loss here and there, but by the end of October, we should see the Buccaneers in full form.
It doesn't seem like Eli is as confident as I am in Brady's ability to lead the Tampa offense, but his answers were very vague and detailed all at the same time, so it's tough to really figure out which way Eli is leaning. He finished off the Brady conversation saying:
“It will be interesting how it all plays out and how quickly he can just adjust to a new organization and new players and new offense, all those new things, especially with the limited timing he’s gonna have being with them.”
Either way, it will be a fascinating season for Brady, Gronk, and the Buccaneers, and the entire NFL world will be paying close attention to the team.