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Tom Brady says pumped-in crowd noise will be a challenge

Quarterback jokes he will have to “draw from my earlier days” when he played Colts in RCA Dome.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) takes a snap while on the field during practice Friday at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) takes a snap while on the field during practice Friday at Raymond James Stadium. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Aug. 28, 2020
Updated Aug. 28, 2020

TAMPA — Tom Brady is getting used to his new surroundings with the Bucs, and as the team scrimmaged at Raymond James Stadium for the first time Friday, pumped-in crowd noise was yet another obstacle to overcome.

Teams try to simulate visiting crowds with artificial noise. But this season, with games played in stadiums closed to fans, the NFL reportedly is considering allowing pumped-in noise up to 75-80 decibels. The Bucs’ first regular-season game against the Saints in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sept. 13 will be played without fans.

And the unending noise that poured out of Raymond James Stadium’s speaker system, which surrounds the lower bowl, was loud. If fact, Brady joked with quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, a former Colts assistant, that it was as loud as the old RCA Dome in Indianapolis. There’s long been speculation that the Colts pumped artificial noise into the stadium.

Bucs quarterback coach Clyde Christensen, left, talks with quarterback Tom Brady (12) at the start of Bucs practice Friday at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs quarterback coach Clyde Christensen, left, talks with quarterback Tom Brady (12) at the start of Bucs practice Friday at Raymond James Stadium. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

“I thought it was one of the Colts’ old tapes when they used to pump all that sound into the RCA Dome,” Brady joked. “I was telling Coach Clyde that he must have pulled that one out of his basement for today’s practice.”

“We’re going to have to have to get used to that. I’m going to have to draw from my earlier days,” Brady said with a smile, quickly making it clear he was joking.

It wasn’t the first time Brady has made reference to the Colts pumping artificial noise into the RCA Dome. He also mentioned it when he appeared on Peyton Manning’s ESPN+ streaming series, Peyton’s Places.

Brady said there’s a lot to get used to with the noise. For instance, you can’t read lips from the sideline when coaches are wearing masks. And the noise he experienced Friday at Raymond James was constant. There was no quieting the fake crowd.

“It’s something to get used to,” Brady said. “If that’s how loud it’s going to be, that’s going to be tough for everybody. The communication’s tough and you don’t have a down moment, so you’re screaming the whole day to people on the sideline, which is very unique to a game because normally, it ebbs and flows. But with that pumped-in crowd noise, it doesn’t ebb and flow, it just flows.”

Kicking race heats up

Placekicker Elliott Fry lines up to kick at the start of the scrimmage.
Placekicker Elliott Fry lines up to kick at the start of the scrimmage. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Bucs coach Bruce Arians was looking forward to seeing his kickers perform in the stadium, and Elliott Fry, who is battling incumbent Matt Gay for the job, struggled in his first simulated game action at Raymond James.

Fry missed his first kick, an extra-point attempt, off the left upright and widely shanked a 49-yard attempt into the south end zone. He made a 25-yard attempt into the same end, the side of the stadium that gave Gay fits last season as a rookie.

Gay made both of his field-goal opportunities from 46 and 35 yards out, the latter coming into the south end zone.

Still, Arians was careful not to give Gay too much praise.

“Obviously, Fry didn’t have a very good day,” Arians said. “Gay was okay.”

Scrimmage injuries

Bucs running back Ronald Jones II (27) leaps to catch a pass.
Bucs running back Ronald Jones II (27) leaps to catch a pass. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Two Bucs starters — running back Ronald Jones and cornerback Carlton Davis — were injured in Friday’s scrimmage.

“I’ll wait and see,” Arians said. “I don’t think either one is very serious.”

Davis was making a downfield tackle on receiver Jaydon Mickens when he went to the ground in pain. He was seen on the sideline with his right shoulder wrapped.

Jones was sitting on a training table with his left foot wrapped, but there wasn’t a play where it appeared he injured it.

Undrafted free-agent safety Javon Hagan also was carted off the field with an undisclosed injury.

Undrafted free-agent cornerback Parnell Motley missed his second straight day with an undisclosed injury that Arians said could cost him the rest of camp.

“We’ll wait and see,” Arians said. “He was doing great. Everybody was trying to make him All-Pro, but he’s still a rookie trying to make the team.”

Quote of the day

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians walks down the field before the players come out at the start of the scrimmage.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians walks down the field before the players come out at the start of the scrimmage. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

“I don’t care what year you are. You’re not fumbling the damn ball and (expect to) be a running back here.”

— Arians on fumbles by rookie running backs Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Raymon Calais in the scrimmage