TAMPA — Tom Brady has been busy collecting all the negative things that have been said or written about the Bucs’ young offensive line.
Every time someone has suggested they “suck” or “can’t do anything,” Brady has made the entire position group aware, he said Monday on the debut of his weekly podcast.
Brady figured if he is going to be protected on the field, blocking out the criticism was not going to motivate players such as rookie guard Luke Goedeke and second-year center Robert Hainsey.
‘’It’s a tough, hard-nosed group,” Brady said Thursday. “Those guys really take every bit of challenge and use it as motivation. They take things to heart.”
If there is a concern about the Bucs entering Sunday night’s regular-season opener at Dallas, it’s whether their rebuilt offensive line can keep the Cowboys defense off their 45-year-old quarterback.
Hainsey, a third-round draft pick from Notre Dame in 2021, was pressed into service when Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen suffered a significant knee injury in the second practice of training camp that eventually landed him on injured reserve.
Goedeke, a second-round pick from Central Michigan this year, won the starting job at left guard left vacant by the retirement of 28-year old Pro Bowler Ali Marpet. Goedeke had two holding penalties and allowed a sack in his first preseason start at Tennessee but played better the next week against the Colts.
The Bucs in March traded for Shaq Mason, who blocked for Brady in New England, to play right guard.
The Bucs will be tested by a Cowboys defense led by linebacker Micah Parsons, the NFL’s reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Brady said he has been impressed during camp and the preseason by the improvement of the linemen. How have they convinced him they can be trusted?
“I think showing up every day and not making the mental errors and, you know, taking things to heart when things don’t go well for them,” Brady said. “Not blaming other people for mistakes. Leaning from the mistakes and improving and showing every day that you really care about what you’re doing.”
They also understand that their job affects.
“They want to show up and do a great job for everyone because football is a dangerous sport,” Brady said. “If they don’t do a great job, they put other people at risk. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it could be dangerous for the back, for the quarterback. No one wants to be hung out to dry. We’re all there together; we’re all trying to protect each other.”
Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said the outside concern about the line has been overblown. While the plan was never to replace Jensen — Hainsey would have competed at left guard instead — he said that inside the walls of AdventHealth Training Center, the young linemen have earned everyone’s trust.
Stay updated on the Buccaneers
Subscribe to our free Bucs RedZone newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.
The young O-linemen have been earning the trust of their QB and coaches pic.twitter.com/Ow0f9K2Tb0
— Sports by Tampa Bay Times (@TBTimes_Sports)
“I trust anybody in that huddle,” Leftwich said. “So whoever is in that huddle, I have the ultimate trust in them that they can get the job done. Obviously. It’s hard to replace a Ryan Jensen. You’re talking about a Pro Bowl center. But we’ve got confidence in the guys that will be in there, and we live by that.”
In the season opener against the Cowboys a year ago at Raymond James Stadium, Brady remained clean in the pocket. He wasn’t sacked once despite attempting 50 passes, completing 32 for 379 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Parsons on Wednesday praised Brady for having a killer instinct.
“You just see his competitive nature. He has that fire inside,” Parsons told The Dallas Morning News. “He looks to kill you. He wants to step on your throat like you (are) a roach. That’s what you look for in competitors. That’s why if you (are) a real competitor, you look up to Tom Brady. You look up to Kobe Bryant, that ‘Mamba’ mentality. You look up to Michael Jordan.”
When told of Parsons’ roach analogy, Brady laughed.
“I just try to go win, so at the end of the day, that’s what I’m trying to do,” he said. “I’m not trying to hurt anyone. I’m just trying to go out there and do my job the best that I can. But I’m going out there with a lot of good players.
“That’s the best part for me as a competitor. Going in to compete is going with a group of teammates you really believe in. It’s not one player they’re dealing with. They’re dealing with all of us. The more we can communicate, the more we can be on the same page and play together as a team, the tougher we will be to beat.”
Contact Rick Stroud at email@example.com. Follow @NFLSTROUD.
Sign up for the Bucs RedZone newsletter to get updates and analysis on the latest team and NFL news from Bucs beat writer Joey Knight.
This content was originally published here.