Tom Brady kicked off his 22nd NFL season on Thursday night with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an incredible achievement by the ageless seven-time Super Bowl champ.
Brady revved himself up for the season-opener against the Cowboys with a short highlight video and tweet that read, “Year 22…LFG!”
The funny thing at this point in Brady’s career is that he’s playing against some players who were not born when he made his debut with the Patriots back in 2000. One of those players is Browns receiver, Anthony Schwartz.
Schwartz retweeted Brady and wrote: “I just turned 21 a few days ago…”
With the start against the Cowboys, Brady became the oldest non-kicker ever to start a Week 1 game. He also became the first player with 300 career starts — extending his own record.
And as ESPN’s Field Yates pointed out, there have been three Hall of Fame careers that started after Brady’s first start (Troy Polamalu, Calvin Johnson and Ed Reed).
Browns Ready to Capitalize on Schwartz Speed
While Brady certainly has the experience factor on Schwartz, the Browns rookie has speed the Bucs QB could only dream of. Schwartz was the fastest player in this year’s draft, running a 4.25-second 40-yard dash.
The Browns like what Schwartz adds to their wide receiver room and his ability to take the top off defenses.
“It does. It definitely helps. You can’t play short on those guys or they can run right past you, and that is always a threat,” Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said. “That is something that we have in our offense is the ability to go right by you, as well. It definitely helps when you have multiple people who can do that.”
Schwartz is the fifth wide receiver on the Browns depth chart but should get some looks on deeps shots.
“He is a smart guy,” Van Pelt said of Schwartz. “I know he studies his butt off. Rarely makes mistakes. In the last few weeks, he has been out there enough. I feel comfortable putting him in and asking him to contribute in this game.”
In the meantime, he’s picking up some tips from Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and the other pass-catchers on the Browns roster.
“I see them in our meeting rooms talking all the time about little things I can do to get open,” Schwartz said. “Whether it’s me or whether it’s anyone in the room, they’ll see little things we can do to make it that much better, make that next step. It’s just been amazing to see and really eye opening.”
Browns Expected to Have Odell Beckham Back
The Browns are expected to have Beckham’s services for Week 1 against the Chiefs, although how much he plays is still to be determined.
“Obviously his catching ability speaks for itself,” Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said of Beckham. “But I think people forget how truly fast he is, to be able to take the top off defenses. Safeties have to worry about that. So teams are going to have to defend it — pick their poison. Because we obviously are a physical, run-first mentality team. And that’s not going to change no matter who we have out there at receiver. But he adds an element where teams are going to have to decide.”
Beckham played in just seven games last year before suffering the season-ending knee injury, recording 23 catches on 43 targets for 319 yards and three touchdowns.