“He’s playing as good as he ever has. I think he’s improving. I think he’s improving,” Christensen told the Buccaneers Radio Network via JoeBucsFan.com. “Not to sound like a coaching cliché here again, but you practice, you work hard at what you do, you tend to improve. I think that goes for 45-year-olds, as well. … He’s throwing the ball at a high, high level.”
Brady’s quality of play remained a debate through at least the first nine weeks of the season amid 10 touchdown passes and averaging less than seven yards per completion. He produced one of his best games of the season in Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks with 258 yards, two touchdowns, and a 75.9% completion rate. While he threw an interception, it marked only his second of the season.
“Nobody is going to say that Brady was playing bad, but he was playing bad,” Arians told JoeBucsFan.com’s Ira Kaufman. “We also had growing pains on a young offensive front and we weren’t running well. There comes a time as a play-caller when you’re losing yards running the ball and you say, ‘Forget this, I’m putting the ball in Tom’s hands.'”
Christensen believes Brady still matches film from his New England Patriots days in terms of throwing quality, per the Buccaneers Radio Network via JoeBucsFan.com.
“This is not the year. This is not the year,” Christensen said.
Brady’s competitive drive hasn’t waned either despite a rocky 1-5 stretch that left the Bucs at a stunning 3-5 through eight games. Brady called out his team for a lack of effort after the Week 9 win over the Los Angeles Rams, but based on Christensen’s comments, Brady still sets the example on the practice field. That’s despite the swirling questions of how all-in Brady has been this season amid his 11-day absence from training camp and dealing with off-field marital issues.
“He’s always looking to improve. He’s never ever looking to get by and slide by on the easy side,” Christensen told the Buccaneers Radio Network via JoeBucsFan.com.
Brady Still Has a Deep Ball
Brady also doesn’t tone it down on throwing the ball in practice, Christensen told the network. The 23-year veteran “will not limit his practice throws”, and “he’s launching 65-yarders on Friday afternoon”, Christensen added.
“He thrives on it,” Christensen told the network. “We constantly work on those.”
Brady notably hasn’t connected big on deep balls this season, and his longest completion in Week 10 came on a 31-yard catch and run touchdown to wide receiver Julio Jones. The tandem connected on a 48-yard shot in Week 1, but Bucs receivers have mustered three receptions of 35 yards or more since then.
Tampa Bay relied more heavily on the run in Week 10 with 44 rushing attempts for 161 yards and a touchdown. It helped open up play action for Brady, where he went 6-7 for 74 yards, per FootballOutsiders.com.
Arians Believes Brady, Bucs Have Turned the Corner
Arians sees things as coming around for Brady and company.
“I’m really optimistic about the rest of the season,” Arians told Kaufman. “First off, we’re getting healthy. Tom smiled at practice last week for the first time this season. He’s going to be fine. I love the swagger we played with Sunday, especially defensively. It’s been missing. Seattle’s a good running team, but that kid [Seahawks running back Ken Walker] went nowhere.”