Dilfer: Buccaneers Need to Be 'More Tom, Less Bruce'

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After watching Tom Brady struggle for much of his Buccaneers debut Sunday, NFL analysts around the country weighed in on the 43-year-old’s subpar performance.

Some, like Tiki Barber, were alarmed by what they saw. Others, like JR SportBrief, weren’t quite as worried.

Either way, the reaction was as vast as it was varied.

“It was almost as if yesterday was the opportunity to stand on your soapbox for all the talking points you had during COVID when there was no football, when there was nothing else to talk about except what was going to happen with the Bucs and Tom Brady,” Trent Dilfer said on Reiter Than You. “I think you have to have perspective on this thing. It’s one week. There’s no training camp. He’s the greatest that’s ever lived. He’s working with a bunch of guys that could never even comprehend the level of precision and expectation that he has. He’s working with a coach that sees offensive football through a very different lens than him, Bruce Arians. So there’s a lot going on in Tampa.”

Brady threw for 239 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another against New Orleans. But he also had two interceptions, including a pick-six, and three sacks in the 34-23 loss. 

The bulk of Brady’s production came when the game was out of reach, but Dilfer was nonetheless encouraged by what he saw.

“I don’t think Tom Brady’s skills have diminished one bit,” Dilfer said. “That’s my opinion. I think that the mix of him and Bruce Arians was always going to be an interesting thing to follow. I think it needs to become more Tom, less Bruce, to be quite honest with you. I think the modern-day passing game is more where Tom Brady and his core values of it are – working it up, completion-based, not chunk throws all the time. I think eventually they’ll come together and in Week 5, 6, 7, 8 – somewhere in there – it’s going to click. 

“They just have to hold on and stay .500 before it does click because it is not something that’s going to mesh together quickly,” Dilfer continued. “It’s going to take time, it’s going to take conversations, it’s going to take a lot of practice reps, it’s going to take some failures in the game. But eventually, because it’s Tom, it will work.”

Brady will try to right the ship this Sunday against Carolina (0-1). Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.

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