Two days after banging his right thumb on the helmet of a Miami Dolphins pass-rusher, Tom Brady took a moment to state the obvious about his chosen profession: The throwing hand is a pretty important thing for a quarterback.
"It's not like it's your left hand," said Brady on Tuesday, two days before he's going to have to use his right hand again in a game. "If it was my left hand I wouldn't even think two seconds about it. The fact that it's your throwing hand, there's not many things that are that important to a quarterback, other than probably your right shoulder, your right elbow and your right hand. So any time you get banged on one of those it could be an issue, but like I said I think it's…there's nothing, no serious injury at all. It's more of discomfort but I think that should be fine in the next day or two."
The Buccaneers have had to adjust to a number of new injuries in the past couple weeks but obviously don't want to be without the NFL's current leader in passing yards. Brady suffered his injury in the second quarter of Sunday's win over Miami but went on to throw three of his five touchdown passes afterward. Obviously, he made it through that game alright – Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich said he didn't even realize his quarterback was hurt until very late in the contest – but injuries can sometimes worsen in the days that follow. And the Bucs don't have many days to work with in the short week leading up to their Thursday night contest in Philadelphia.
Fortunately, Brady is just dealing with a little discomfort and thinks that will lessen by Thursday night.
"I think it's just a little bit sore, but I'd expect it to be," he said. "But I think I should be fine for Thursday.
"This is just, you play a game and you get hit and you deal with different bumps and bruises over the course of the year. It's just this bump and bruise just happens to be on my hand. Like I said, I'm just trying to be preventative and precautious and be smart. It's only been less than 48 hours since it happened, so it's not like it's had five or six days to do it's thing. But, again, I feel confident that I'll be able to go out there and do what I need to do."
Brady came to the podium with his right hand taped on Sunday night after the game, and he came out to Tuesday's press conference the same way. The tape covers his wrist, the bottom of his hand and his thumb, but he says it's not a big deal, nothing like the extensive taping he went through on his injured knee all of last season.
"This is pretty simple, this tape job," said Brady. "The knee is a lot tougher. It feels like it should be fine. I don't anticipate having a problem."
The thumb injury is not the only challenge this week facing Brady and the Buccaneers. Brady compared the short week of preparation to cramming for an exam, where you have to focus on one thing for an intense but limited amount of hours. As an example, Brady said the offense had most of the game plan for Thursday night already installed by late Tuesday morning, whereas that process usually starts on Wednesday. Adding another degree of difficulty is the Eagles' defense, which Brady says is very challenging.
"It's a really tough defense, he said. "They get a lot of pressure with those guys up front; they have one of the best D-Lines in football. They're doing some different things with their coverages. They have a talented group of players, no doubt. I think they're kind of an ascending football team. I think it's a team that…they're a very dangerous football team. Dangerous – they're very explosive on defense. Fletcher Cox, [Javon] Hargrave, they're great players. Derek Barnett, I've played against him, great player. They've got a lot of guys that can rush, they've got a few real tricky blitzes. In coverage, they really make you earn it, they don't give you anything. It's a challenging game, absolutely."
The various challenges of a short week and a Thursday night game eventually give way to a very helpful long weekend. Brady will be able to give the thumb a little extra rest during that time, as will all Bucs players who are dealing with injuries. However, the 'mini-bye' only feels like an advantage to the players if they are able to take care of business on Thursday night. The memory of a Week Five Thursday night loss at Chicago is still fresh in their minds.
"You've just got to flip the switch in your mind [and] get ready to play another team," said Brady. "[We] put a lot of work in Sunday night, put a lot of work in yesterday, obviously it's a busy day today, busy day tomorrow, kind of getting ready all the way up to game time. The good part is, if you win the time on the back end is really helpful. But you've got to win. Last year we lost, so we've got to play good."