Future Hall of Famer Tom Brady spent the last three seasons of his storied NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In February 2022, he revealed his plans to retire, only to reverse his decision just 40 days later. He returned to the Bucs last season, but last February he revealed that he was retiring «for good.»
Brady’s arrival in Tampa Bay instantly changed the fortunes of the Bucs, and he led the franchise to a Super Bowl victory in his first year with the team. But Brady’s latest departure has resulted in very subdued expectations for the team’s 2023 season.
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Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask are in the running to take over the starting quarterback duties for next season.
Despite the loss of several key players this offseason and the uncertainty at the quarterback position, within the Bucs building, the team still expects to compete at a high level this year.
TOM BRADY FOLLOWS A STRICT DIET EVEN AFTER HIS RETIREMENT
«We’re about to do it to them,» Buccaneers corner Carlton Davis he told GoLongTD.com.
«Anyone who feels we lost Tom, and we lost something, is going to be in for a rude awakening. A rude awakening. Tom was a great addition to us, but obviously it’s a team sport. Obviously, you need components to be successful. Still we’ve got those components. And I’m only getting better.»
The NFC South was one of the worst divisions in the NFL last season. The Bucs won their second straight division title with an 8-9 record, then lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the wild card round.
«And our damn division is worse than it was before. So, we run through the division. We make the playoffs. We make it to the playoffs, and it’s the Super Bowl.»
It may be a stretch to believe that the division is in worse shape than it was in 2022.
The Saints signed veteran quarterback Derek Carr, while the Panthers hope rookie caller Bryce Young will be the long-term answer. The Falcons added former Texas Longhorns star running back Bijan Robinson to the roster in an effort to put more talent in skill positions around second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder.
Davis added to his bold predictions by confidently stating that the defense will wreak havoc on opponents.
«We’re going to smash m—,» Davis said. «Like, ruin s—. Interceptions. Turnovers. Plays will be made. I’ll say. Plays. Will be. Made.»
Even with the loss of Brady, the Buccaneers’ roster still features several playmakers.
Offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs is a two-time All-Pro and was named to his second Pro Bowl last season. Star wide receiver Mike Evans is reportedly in the middle of contract extension talks with the Bucs. Chris Godwin, Antoine Winfield Jr., Lavonte David, Devin White and Shaquil Barrett are all set to return to Tampa Bay.
Meanwhile, Davis re-signed with the Buccaneers earlier this offseason.
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It seems that Davis wants to show that the Super Bowl that the Bucs won a few seasons ago was not something unique. It will be interesting to see if his optimism will ultimately propel the team to a winning season.
«You don’t know shit,» he says. «Nobody knows s—until it happens.»