Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is already accruing doubters for the 2021 season.
NFL analyst Chris Simms ranked Brady at No. 10 in Top 40 QB Countdown behind Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, and Russell Wilson on his podcast, Chris Simms Unbuttoned last week. Additionally, Simms had to justify why he ranked Brady ahead of his 11th and 12th quarterbacks on the list.
“His talent, it’s not as good as Ryan Tannehill or Justin Herbert, but I gave a little bit more to leadership and edge and things like that — your team’s belief because of you,” Simms said via WEEI. “That’s where Brady’s special. He’s the greatest leader in the history of the sport.”
Simms explained it’s not “all-time ranks, this is for who I’d take for 2021.” This assumes every quarterback has an average supporting cast.”
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Simms, talking with co-host Ahmed Fareed, picked away at Brady’s issues/weaknesses in 2020 amid his success.
“Through 10 weeks he wasn’t great all the time,” Simms said of Brady via JoeBucsFan.com. “We saw a different Tom Brady last year. We saw a different one. Anyone who has been listening to me knows what I am talking about.”
Brady didn’t have a great start last season. He had 2,739 yards, 23 touchdowns, and six interceptions through 10 games. The Bucs had a 7-3 mark at that point. He continued hearing questions on making deep throws at the time because of ongoing struggles on passes for 20 yards or more.
“Brady’s arm strength has never been the question,” Simms said via JoeBucsFan.com. “The last few years in New England, you know my complaints about him. Unwillingness to stand there in the pocket. Take hits and do things in order to throw the ball down the field.”
“His arm is still a big-time arm,” Simms added. “And they became a dangerous football team when he started to go, ‘You know? I will stand back here and pat the ball an extra time and throw the ball to, a 40-yard rifle to [Mike] Evans. Or hit [Scotty] Miller on a deep go-route. Or Gronk down the middle.'”
Simms also handed out credit to Bucs offensive linemen, which included Pro Bowl candidate Alex Cappa and rising rookie Tristan Wirfs. Pro Football Focus ranked the Bucs line at fifth in the league, noting Brady experienced pressure 24 percent of the time on pass plays.
“Now he had great, great pass protection last year,” Simms said via JoeBucsFan.com. “And he of course had weapons and everything else. To me, that’s where he redefined himself.”
Brady ultimately threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns, and he led the Bucs to an 11-5 record followed by three-straight playoff road wins and a Super Bowl LV victory.
The Defining Moment
Simms also called the Bucs comeback at Atlanta in December 2020 the redefining moment for Brady and the team.
“They were losing 17-0 at half,” Simms said via JoeBucsFan.com. “And they were never the same offense after that. And [Brady] caught on fire.”
“They believed even when things weren’t going well last year because of one guy,” Simms added.
The Bucs won seven-straight games from that point on, scoring 31 or more points each time. Brady looked unstoppable with 2,198 yards, 20 touchdowns, and four interceptions during that stretch.
“That’s why they won the Super Bowl. Because he was willing to stand there in the pocket and push the ball down the field,” Simms said via JoeBucsFan.com.