TAMPA — Tom Brady has said he can envision every detail of what will transpire Sunday night in his de facto homecoming in Foxborough, Mass.
Turns out, so can Bill Belichick, at least as it pertains to the Bucs’ offense. Or so he suggested Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters during his weekly news conference, Brady’s former longtime boss said Tampa Bay’s current offense “totally” bears Brady’s imprint.
“It’s the offense he’s run his whole career,” said Belichick, who coached Brady his first two decades in the NFL.
“Well, I mean, as it evolved here. The running game is the running game. The running game’s different, but the passing game’s the passing game. It’s pretty similar. I mean, you could call almost every play, from the flare control to the protection, similar to the way we do it.”
When presented with Belichick’s comments later Wednesday, Bucs coach Bruce Arians said there’s a simple reason for the similarities.
“I think (the Patriots) copied a lot of ours, so it’s probably the same,” said Arians, whose own system evolved over three stints as an NFL coordinator (with the Browns, Steelers and Colts) starting in 2001, and even before that as Peyton Manning’s position coach with the Colts starting in 1998.
“Ask them which film they watch every week, they’ll know. They always picked ours up and watched it, so it’s the same thing.”
On the field, Arians and Belichick have waged some classic battles, most notably during Arians’ tenure as Steelers coordinator (2007-2011), when the Patriots won three of the five encounters. Their only previous meeting as head coaches occurred in 2016, when New England topped Arians and the Cardinals 23-21 in the season opener in Arizona.
The Bucs (2-1), behind Brady and fellow former Patriot cornerstone Rob Gronkowski, enter Sunday night’s showdown ranked eighth in the NFL in total offense (406 yards per game) and second in passing (349.7). New England (1-2) comes in ranked 22nd (317.7) and 20th, respectively, in those categories.
Contact Joey Knight at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls
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