Jameis Winston vs. Tom Brady
Jameis Winston’s departure did come as a surprise. The Buccaneers moved on from a young quarterback who was coming off of a 5,000-yard season. Even with 30 interceptions, one had to wonder if the Bucs were leveraging their future to move on from the young player with potential for the older quarterback with the weaker 2019 season.
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Unfortunately for those who wanted to watch the Buccaneers collapse after moving on from their favorite player, rooting against Tom Brady, even a 43-year old Tom Brady, is a loser’s game.
Brady subverted even the most conservative expectations for the first year in a Bruce Arians offense. Even in his older age, Brady threw for more touchdowns and far fewer interceptions than his younger predecessor, and now, no one can question the Buccaneers’ decision.
Football is a team sport, and even a great player isn’t enough to take a team to the Super Bowl single-handedly, but Tom Brady has largely proven that belief false due to his success in a similar situation.
The offensive game plan is nearly identical to the one in 2019 with the same starting lineup other than Tristan Wirfs, yet the offensive success has been far different. Wirfs is likely a generational player, but does he really account for an 18-interception and seven-touchdown swing in Brady’s favor? Probably not.
The Buccaneer offense also added Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski, but neither player would have joined without Brady. While both are incredibly talented, Scotty Miller was still on the roster last season and O.J. Howard was far more athletic than Gronk.
In addition to a similar offense, the defense is almost exactly the same as last season’s unit. The Buccaneer secondary was still porous at times throughout the season, but it is undoubtable that defensive production improved dramatically over last year. Arguments exist from both sides that improved defensive success is why Brady is winning and the other way around, but it’s hard to argue when Brady has been the biggest change in franchise history.
At the end of the day, the quarterback is the most important player on the football field, and the Buccaneers improved with their quarterback change. People can question the decision or deride it all they want, but the Bucs are back in the Super Bowl this year because of the gamble they made at their most important position.
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