“Tom is an incredible leader and incredible person,” Wirfs said on the “Vikes Verified” podcast. “I would go to battle for Tom. He did a lot for me. My first couple of years in the league, it helped with the way I looked up to him and the way he looked out for me was incredible. I’d be forever grateful for that.”
To be sure, Wirfs doesn’t mean he can replace Brady but can impart the example of leadership the Bucs enjoyed for three seasons. Wirfs played the first three seasons of his career with Brady and only knows following the GOAT at the NFL level.
“I’m not even close to that level but I want to say a couple of things of how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking. Just the little things [are what] I’ve been trying to do more,” Wirfs added. “I’ve been trying to be somebody that the younger guys can kind of lean to or ask me questions about whatever. It is weird, I still feel young, but going into Year four, I’ve been to the Super Bowl, been to the playoffs, been to the NFC Championship, I’ve done stuff.”
It’s a change of pace for Wirfs, a former Iowa Hawkeyes standout who wasn’t a team captain there despite his on-field prowess. Wirfs played three seasons for the Hawkeyes before the Bucs took him with the No. 13 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and became an instant starter.
“I’ve really been doing my best this offseason throughout all these OTAs and throughout this minicamp just to be a little bit more vocal,” Wirfs said. “Because I feel like even through college, I’ve never been an extremely vocal leader. I’ve always been kind of a lead-by-example kind of guy — go almost under the radar. I feel like now it gets to a certain point where now I kind of got to take over.”
Tristan Wirfs Makes Bold Prediction for 2023 Bucs
Wirfs expects big things from the Bucs this season without Brady under center. Wirfs predicts a 12-5 record for the Bucs this season with either Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask at quarterback — a competition Wirfs didn’t get into much.
“We’ve got a new offense that everyone is trying to get dialed in,” Wirfs said. “The players we have is different than the ones we had the past three years, but I think it’s great. It’s very player-friendly. It’s good for offensive linemen. It helps us out.”
Tristan Wirfs Talks Transition to Left Tackle
As for Wirfs, he will make a major transition on offense this season as he moves from right tackle to left tackle. He indicated that the challenge is greater than one would think.
“Everything is backward – getting used to throwing my left hand instead of my right and not throwing with my right and opening up,” Wirfs said in a June press conference. “Or my weight distribution — I always used to keep my weight in my left leg, now I want to keep it in my right. It’s so similar — you’re doing the same stuff – but it’s all just flipped.”
Wirfs last played left tackle as a freshman at Iowa and in high school.