Brady ‘fired up’ in Raymond James scrimmage

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady led three scoring drives — two of them culminating in touchdowns — in the Bucs’ first scrimmage of training camp, Brady’s first time playing at Raymond James Stadium in a Bucs uniform.

There were no fans, but there was crowd noise and cannons fired as Brady’s team — the first-team offense and defense — defeated Blaine Gabbert‘s second-team units, 15-6.

“He was fired up. He was ready to go,” coach Bruce Arians said. “It was his first time in a game atmosphere. He had great command. He was getting ’em in and out, forcing his will on some guys that were tired.”

On his first drive, he led a 16-play series that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run with Ronald Jones diving over the goal line.

“No butterflies… I’ve been in a lot of moments on the field, but it’s more excitement than butterflies,” said Brady, now 43 and entering his 21st season. “You’re on the field, prepping with your teammates. We all got to dig a little deep — a 16-play drive to start the scrimmage, guys were getting hit, going in and out. There was a lot of great things to learn from what we were doing.”

Arians added, “When you get the first long drive of the year, guys start dragging. He got their ass in the huddle and he got them rolling and keeping it under the 25-second, 45-second clock pretty good. They weren’t close at all. But he was commanding that pretty good.”

On Brady’s second scoring drive, he hit a leaping Cameron Brate for a 2-yard touchdown, followed by a two-point conversion run by LeSean McCoy.

On his fourth series, Brady fired off a deep shot to Scotty Miller from his own 25 that brought the first-team unit to their opponent’s 28. But he fired off passes that were too tall intended for O.J. Howard on second-and-4, and Brate on third-and-4, with the drive stalling at the 7.

“I would have expected him to snap a little bit harder on some guys when they were struggling with the heat,” Arians said. “But he was solid… he was everything I thought he’d be.”

Brady’s unofficial stats: 13-for-18 for 170 yards and a touchdown.

For Brady, it’s been about striking a balance while still learning the right buttons to push with his teammates.

“I’m trying to just feel it out. When we need a little spark, try to provide that. When we need a little pick-me-up, provide that. I try to get a feel on a daily basis and I try to keep a really consistent level of intensity,” Brady said.

“I think the competition’s on. It doesn’t start in two weeks. It’s already started. So every day that goes by, we’ve gotta learn from what we’re doing, we’ve gotta learn with each other — the plays, the corrections, all the different things that we’re trying to get up to speed with because it’s very different with no preseason games. … It’s coming fast. And I think today was a good indicator for all of us that it’s right around the corner and we’re gonna have to tighten some things up so we can be ready to go against a great football team in a couple weeks.”

The season opener at the defending NFC South champion New Orleans Saints is two weeks away. The entire offense has been installed and now Brady is just relying on repetition, including making up for lost reps this offseason, although watching him in the scrimmage you wouldn’t know he was playing in a new offense for the first time.

“You’ve gotta focus on what the process is, and that’s a daily basis. Today was the most important day because it’s the only one we had,” Brady said. “And it was in our stadium, pads, hitting, live contact. It was some learning for us and we’ve gotta take it, understand what we did wrong, learn from it and move on and get back to work tomorrow and try to be better tomorrow.”

For the most part, Arians was pleased, although he joked he wished it was hotter so his players could “wilt a little in the heat” as part of their acclimation to game conditions. He was particularly happy about Brady’s performance on third down but wishes he could have scored in their two-minute situation instead of settling for a field goal.

“I thought Tom was very, very efficient. Good job of leadership,” Arians said. “Overall, he had a hell of a day.”

Original article: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/29759928/tampa-bay-buccaneers-qb-tom-brady-fired-1st-scrimmage-raymond-james-stadium

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