-The Buccaneers were in the headlines this week because of their quarterback and tight end, but the motivation they had was all their own. After suffering their first loss of the season in Los Angeles against the Rams, the players have all the incentive they need to bounce back this weekend in New England that have nothing to do with the 'Return.'
"A hell of a week of practice," said Head Coach Bruce Arians. "You could really feel the difference in intensity this week. It doesn't have a damn thing to do with [Tom] Brady, it has to do with losing. I like the way we bounced back on the practice field."
Defensive lineman Will Gholston echoed the same sentiment.
"I would say everything was more mentally crisp this week," he said. "The physicality and the work ethic are always the same, but mentally we were crisp. We were doing everything that we had to do. It was dope."
Hopefully 'dope' translates to a breakout performance on both sides of the ball. The matchup is conducive to it with the Patriots sitting at 1-2 behind a young quarterback at the helm. The Bucs also got some good news on Friday when outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul returned to practice. Only cornerback Jamel Dean and running back Giovani Bernard have been ruled out. It also opens the door for cornerback Richard Sherman to see the field, despite only arriving on Wednesday, though Arians said that remains to be seen.
"Yeah, we'll have him up, just in case," Arians said of Sherman's status.
-And since there is no escaping the storylines that swirl around Brady, not least of which is the likelihood that he breaks the NFL's all-time passing record this Sunday in New England, surpassing Drew Brees, Arians offered this up on Friday.
"For me, any time they say 'in the history of,' you're the first to do it, it's big," he said. "It's huge, especially in the history of the NFL. So yeah, it's going to be a big, big moment. Hopefully it's a long touchdown, we get it over with and he scores a bunch more."
That's exactly how it happened for Brees when he surpassed Peyton Manning for the record. It gave everyone a chance to pause, stop the game, acknowledge the moment and then move on. It was pretty seamless that way. Here's to hoping it goes the same for Brady.
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