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When Given Time, Tom Brady Still Has The Goods To Be A Good Starting Quarterback in 2023

Julio Aguilar. Getty Images.

A lot of people are posting their gratitude towards Tom Brady and I'm not excluded from that. But as a guy who watches the All-22 and has seen every throw Brady has made as a Buccaneer from multiple angles, I can say with 100% certainty, that Tom Brady, when kept clean, still very much has the goods to be a great starting QB in the NFL.

The issue for much of the season was protection as the Buccaneers Offensive Line was ravaged with injuries. Pro Bowl Left Guard Ali Marpet retired after the 2021 season, Center Ryan Jensen missed the entire regular season after tearing his ACL the second day of training camp, Right Guard Alex Cappa became too pricey and left in Free Agency to play in Cincinnati, both Offensive Tackles Tristan Wirfs and Donovan Smith missed games this season with injuries. So we didn't really get to see Tom Brady operate in clean pockets like this very often.

When he did have clean pockets, he was a still a surgeon out there.

His arm strength and accuracy was never a problem.

His ability to identify what defenses were doing pre-snap is still top notch.

And can still make quick decisions and layer the ball in between defenders.

And while this is all spectacular, we didn't see enough of it on the field for a combination of reasons. The protection wasn't consistent enough, the play calling called for too much down the field stuff (requiring more consistent protection), and Tom Brady didn't want to take hits. That was clear on tape as he wasn't as willing to stand in there and take a big lick as he had been in the past, so that put even more pressure on the Offensive Line to hold up. It was all a recipe for disaster given the state of the Offensive Line this year, but with elite protection, I still believe Tom Brady would be a terrific Quarterback again if he chose to play in 2023.