Morning sports update: How Buccaneers scouts graded Tom Brady before free agency

"Brady remained capable of elevating his teammates."

Tom Brady in the huddle with the Patriots' offense.
Tom Brady in the huddle with the Patriots' offense. –AP Photo/Nick Wass

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, has “100%” agreed to delay the 2020 Tokyo Olympics until 2021, according to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Also on Monday, the Patriots announced the team is releasing longtime kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

What Bucs scouts took away from scouting Tom Brady in 2019: Even before the 2019 NFL season began, Buccaneers scouts were already considering a simple fact: Beyond the season in front of them, Tampa had only one quarterback who would be under contract (Ryan Griffen, a career backup).

With that in mind, they began evaluating possible free agent targets. And, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, their scouting of Tom Brady produced some notable takeaways:

How did the scouts see Brady? They went back a couple years to trace regression in Brady’s arm strength, and didn’t see a discernible difference in that department in 2019, as compared to ’17 or ’18. He was still poised and patient and had great feel in the pocket. In fact, if one thing stuck out, and Licht did two tours as a New England personnel man, it was that what Brady was running, because of attrition around him, didn’t look like the Patriots’ offense.

That made it a little bit of a tougher evaluation. Still, it stood out that New England was producing despite all that—and showed that Brady remained capable of elevating his teammates to the point where an undermanned unit ranked 15th in total offense and seventh in scoring. And while Licht doubted Brady would make it to the market (Arians was more optimistic on that all along), there was resolve in the front office that the Patriots’ QB could still play.


Breer also noted that Brady was being “held back” in the Patriots’ offense, according to the analysis of Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians.

In 2020, Brady will have an array of talented options to throw to. With wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, as well as tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, the 42-year-old Brady could be poised to lead another high powered offense.

Trivia: Of the top five scorers in Patriots history, four were either exclusively kickers or, in the case of Gino Cappelletti, partly a kicker. Who is the highest ranking Patriots scorer who was never a kicker?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He was a second-round pick, and scored 10 touchdowns as a rookie.

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Trivia answer: Rob Gronkowski

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