Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got some offensive line reinforcements ahead of Monday night’s NFC Wild Card game against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Buccaneers activated center Ryan Jensen from injured reserve before the game. Jensen had missed the entire regular season with a serious knee injury he suffered on the second day of training camp. Not having a veteran like Jensen hampered the Buccaneers’ offense all season.
While Brady played well in the 2022 regular season, the team finished 8-9. Tampa Bay somehow managed to win the NFC South and get a playoff game after all the ups and downs.
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Brady opened up about Jensen’s return on the latest episode of «Let’s Go!» podcast.
«It was a big blow to us in training camp when he got hurt, and we thought he was going to be out all season, and he was out all regular season,» Brady told sportscaster Jim Gray. «But it turned out that he found his way back for this game. And he’s a huge boost for us because he’s got a great attitude and he’s an incredibly talented player and he adds a great presence in the middle of our offensive line.»
«And his toughness and attitude are unmatched. And [Robert] Hainsey did a great job filling in for him all year. I don’t know who will ultimately play the majority of the game, you know, obviously we’re hoping that Ryan can play the entire game. Who knows? I do not know what is going to happen. But, you know, Hainsey is ready to play as well, so we’re in a good position at the center position, which has been a challenge for us all year.»
Tampa Bay beat Dallas, 19-3, early in the season, but Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was injured in that game.
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Brady said he didn’t think the Week 1 result meant anything as far as Monday night’s game was concerned.
«I think our defense obviously played very well, giving up three points against the Dallas offense, and they’re very talented,» the superstar quarterback said. «They have a very good coordinator. They’ve gotten into good positions. Dak is a great quarterback. They have good running backs, [Tony] pollard and zeke [Elliott], good receivers, a good line. They’ve been banged up on their offensive line a little bit, but, you know, I have to deal with their defense.»
«Micah Parsons is a great player. [DeMarcus] Lorenzo is a great player. [Leighton] Vander Esch is a good player. They got Trevon Diggs in high school. They are very talented. They do plays. If you mess up, these guys take advantage. And I think the important part for us is playing really solid football. We have always said that you cannot win until you can avoid losing. This is so evident in playoff football. You know, how can we play a good solid clean game, make the plays that are there, punt if we have to, you know, if we have to settle for a field goal, okay? But this is a team that we also expect to play their best football. So it’s going to be a tough, tough game, and I certainly hope we make enough plays to get out there.»
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Tampa Bay finished 15th in yards gained and 25th in points scored for the season.