Is Tom Brady’s arm strength a concern? Not for the Buccaneers.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers apparently dont think theyll need to make concessions to fit their offense around Tom Bradys arm strength.
In fact, they think Brady is a perfect fit for coach Bruce Arians deep-passing preference.
Theres a prevailing thought that Bradys arm has diminished as he enters a season in which hell be 43, although it didnt matter in the Patriots efficient short-passing offense. The Buccaneers are going the other way. Theyre convinced his arm is as good as ever.
The Buccaneers aren’t worried about Tom Brady’s arm strength. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Bucs not concerned about Tom Bradys arm strength
Arians offense has always been heavy on deep shots downfield, and conventional wisdom is that a 43-year-old quarterback doesnt fit that.
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht was on ESPNs Get Up Monday morning, and he gave a thorough answer about Bradys arm strength and how it would fit in Arians offense.
“The tape showed to us that he had plenty of arm. In fact, we thought that he had an ideal arm for Bruce in his system,” Licht said, via ESPN.coms Jenna Laine. “He can still throw it deep. We felt like the mobility was still the same as he’s always had, which, he’s never been able to outrun anybody. But he certainly is good in the pocket in terms of eluding pressure and with his poise and his instincts. We did not see a decline in his arm talent whatsoever. And, in fact, we feel like he could still play for over two years for us, and hopefully that’s the case.”
Whether we want to blame the Patriots lack of weapons, New Englands scheme or Brady himself, the numbers show Bradys strength is not as a deep passer.
Bradys average depth of target (Pro Football Focus aDOT metric) has declined from 9.5 to 8.3 to 8 over the past three seasons. His percentage of deep passes among all his throws, via PFF, went from 13.8 to 11.4 to 10.1. In the Buccaneers favor, Brady wasnt bad last season when he threw deep. His adjusted completion percentage on deep passes (20 yards or more) was 14th of 30 passers with at least 25 attempts, and his rating on those throws was 13th according to PFF.
Thats fairly average, and hes going to have to throw deep a lot more often if Arians history is an indicator. Last season the NFLs leader in deep throws was Jameis Winston, Arians quarterback, with 99. Brady tried 62.
Can Brady thrive in Bruce Arians offense?
Presumably, Brady understands the fit as well as anyone. The story that is starting to take on a timeless life of its own is that Brady courted the Buccaneers, not the other way around. Licht repeated that on ESPN.
“It was almost like a recruitment on his part, telling us why it would make sense for him to come to Tampa Bay, Licht said.
Brady has better receivers to throw to. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are among the NFLs best. O.J. Howard hasnt done much in the NFL but is one of the rare tight ends that can stretch the field. Perhaps Brady will show, with much better targets, hes still a great deep passer (he clearly once was; he threw 16 touchdowns on deep passes alone in 2007 when Randy Moss was his top receiver).
Like everything else with Brady at his age, its a gamble. Theres no positive history among quarterbacks his age through NFL history. Yet Brady is a historical outlier in many ways and is already the greatest 40-, 41- and 42-year-old quarterback in NFL history. Its not like the Buccaneers throw deep every play, and theyll be happy to have a quarterback who wont throw 30 interceptions. Maybe hell be just fine at 43, too.
The Bucs are banking on it. They believe Brady has the arm strength to thrive in Arians offense at age 43, and 44 too.
More from Yahoo Sports: