TAMPA, Fla. — One week after Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians suggested quarterback Tom Brady might be in more of a coaching role during mandatory minicamp after undergoing offseason knee surgery, Brady practiced in full on the team’s first day of minicamp Tuesday.
It was his first time this offseason taking part in a workout in front of the coaching staff after Arians told the returners to stay home for OTAs. Arians said the most impressive part was that Brady played “full speed.”
“He looked fine. I had to pull him out a couple [times],” Arians said. “That first period, I said, ‘OK, you can have four [reps].’ And he kept begging to go back in. But the only thing I didn’t want him in was the blitz period, where some guys might get around him too quick.”
Wearing his usual knee sleeve on his left leg, Brady participated in individual drills, 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s and showed no signs of injury or rust. He made a beautiful 15-yard touchdown throw to Chris Godwin on a fade route, slipping it past a defender, and had several connections with Rob Gronkowski.
The decision to do more than expected came down to an assessment from doctors and how Brady felt.
“They both said he was good to go,” Arians said. “We’d still be careful with what we’re doing with him. Trying to stop him from playing is pretty tough.”
Even with the time off, Arians didn’t see a drop-off in Brady — or in any of his starters — and believes his comfort level with the offense now is paying off. Everything is much more automatic.
“It’s that second, third and fourth read, knowing where the guys are gonna be. He had some really good third and fourth options to Jaydon Mickens today. That’s a guy he hasn’t worked with all the time. He was spot-on in that stuff. All that verbiage isn’t new now. He can spit it out. He knows what it means. He knows where they’re gonna be.”
First-round draft pick and outside linebacker Joe Tryon (knee) practiced for the first time Tuesday since undergoing a knee scope this offseason.
“He’s full speed now,” Arians said. “He looked really, really good. He’s obviously everything we thought he was. We’re learning more in pads, but he’s slippery in shorts. A lot of guys aren’t. He showed a really good skill set.”
Some key players were held out because of injuries, including Ndamukong Suh (wrist), Jordan Whitehead (shoulder), O.J. Howard (Achilles) and Antonio Brown (knee). Rookie Jaelon Darden tweaked his hamstring, so he was held out. Brady had played a role in Darden’s selection in the NFL draft.
“O.J. is really close. We’re gonna be really cautious with him, but he’s not far away,” Arians said. “[Brown’s] probably got two more weeks. He doesn’t need to be rushed into it. [Whitehead’s] a little bit farther off. He’s a little farther off. He’ll be fine. None of those guys will have any problem for training camp.”