After over two decades in the NFL, Tom Brady knows what he likes and what he doesn't like in a respective game plan going into a given week. Given how successful the seven-time Super Bowl champion has been throughout his tenure in the league, it'd come as no surprise to most to learn that Brady has a heavy hand in how that game plan is crafted. However, the way in which it has reportedly gone this season may.
A recent story written in the San Francisco Chronicle made note of Brady's involvement in the Buccaneers offense. In the story, it reports that Brady runs a separate meeting with Bucs skill position players where he goes over the game plan and makes tweaks to it. Harmless, right? Well, the report goes on to add that this comes without the inclusion of head coach Todd Bowles or offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, which leaves the staff to discover the changes in real time once the game begins.
When asked on Thursday if that report was true, Brady was noticeably irked.
"No," Brady said. "I have no idea. I mean, anybody can write anything, and say whatever they want. So, no. ... I'm not gonna respond to every -- next question."
If true, that's not exactly how you'd want to operate a tight ship and a cohesive offensive attack. Either Brady was perturbed by the idea that he'd take a red pen to the game plan on the eve of games essentially behind the back of the coaching staff, or he's irked that word go out.
For what it's worth, we have seen instances throughout the recent stages of the season where Brady and the Bucs coaching staff weren't exactly on the same page. A recent example comes in the comeback win over the Saints in Week 13. There was a moment when Brady wanted to stay on the field and attempt a fourth-and-10 try, but Bowles overruled and called him off for the punting unit.
Are these the smoking guns that suggest internal strife between the two sides? Not really. However, it has been a rocky season for Tampa Bay, who are in first place in the NFC South almost by default at 6-7. Alongside that under .500 record is an offense that hasn't exactly lived up to expectations as they rank 17th in the NFL in DVOA. That more than anything is likely to have Brady prickly.