It’s All On No. 12 – – Tampa Bay Bucs Blog, Buccaneers News

Where is he?

For Joe, there are very few ways to spin it.

The Bucs are painted into a corner. When have you ever heard a head coach openly admit that he doesn’t know (in the middle of August) when (or if?) his allegedly healthy franchise quarterback will return?

When have you ever heard of a healthy franchise quarterback just up and leaving in the middle of training camp and everyone from the head coach down to the dude on his fourth Bromosa sitting in the bar has no idea what’s up?

As the creator, curator and overall guru of Pro Football Talk, the great Mike Florio, often says, “Silence invites speculation.” So let’s speculate:

If you believe what Brady’s camp leaked last week to select national NFL scribes, Brady’s family is healthy, so what else could this mysterious vacation leave of absence be about?

Either Brady doesn’t want to deal with preseason, he’s holding out for a veteran center to come to Tampa Bay or he’s waffling about returning to football.

Without diving into the deep end of the pool, it seems pretty clear to Joe if the Bucs hope to be in the thick of a return to the Super Bowl, No. 12 must return. Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports types the Bucs’ hopes this year rests on Brady’s shoulders.

The Buccaneers are contenders as long as Tom Brady, still defying time at age 45, remains the QB, because the reality is he doesn’t just throw the ball but impacts the fabric of the organization with his aura, his history, his preparation and, somehow, still, his arm. Bruce Arians’ retirement as coach, leaving the reins to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, could present some hurdles. So could lingering or new injuries to key starters up front (Ryan Jensen) or out wide (Chris Godwin). But this club has come together at the right times under Brady, who’s still got top-10ish weapons and support at almost every position on the roster.

Joe thinks the Bucs could still win the division with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback. Yes, he has looked that good in practice and yes, the Bucs offense has that many weapons. And yes, the division is that lousy.

Super Bowl? Ah, not without Brady.

Joe is trying not to freak out about this Brady situation. But when the head coach, less than a month before the season opener, doesn’t know when his franchise quarterback plans to return, that’s enough to begin day drinking.

Panic? Joe’s not there yet. But Joe will not sleep comfortably tonight.

This content was originally published here.

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