TAMPA — After three days of practice in the searing heat and humidity, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and several other veteran players took Wednesday off.
There is no practice Thursday, meaning that coach Bruce Arians is taking it easy on some of the older stars the Bucs must count on during the regular season.
Brady covered receivers during warmups and shouted encouragement to them in 11-on-11 work.
“I think Tom is very, very comfortable in our locker room and with our coaches and our fans,” Arians said. “I think that personality is showing more and more. I love seeing it. I told him driving in the other day, put your coaching hat on today, this is a coaching day for you. When he can sit back and watch, he sees a lot of things that he didn’t see playing and he can coach those other guys up. So it’s a win/win situation.”
With Gronkowski taking the day off and Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard still not practicing due to injuries, Arians noted the standout performances of Codey McElroy and Jerrell Adams.
“When you have guys 30, 32 or 43 (years old), you’ve got to manage it for them or help them,” Arians said. “You know, for us right now, it’s not important right now. It’s get them to those games healthy and fresh. So yeah, I guess the NBA coined the term ‘load management.’
“You know, I always said a vet day off. But I think it’s a very smart thing for those guys who hit that certain age of experience. It might be a repetition day of something that’s already in, so they don’t really need it.”
Gronkowski said he can’t help but be impressed with the talent in the tight end room.
“They’re all great guys, first off,” Gronkowski said. “I love being here with all of them. We’ve got a great group. We all feed off each other in many positive ways and just the football aspect, too, man. We can all play. All those guys can play. Codey, you saw him out there today, he had a couple very nice catches over the middle.”
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