-Quarterback Tom Brady appeared on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Pat Kirwan and talked about what he's seen from Bruce Arians since Brady has been in Tampa. He talked about how competitive his new coach is on the golf course and how funny it was that the two of them had never really crossed paths before, except for on opposite sides of the white lines of course.
Now that Brady has gotten to get on the same side of those white lines with him in practice, he has a new appreciation for the long-time NFL coach.
"I'd say he's a very hard-nosed coach," Brady said. "You know, no one's entitled to anything. Everyone's working their tail off. He has high expectations for what we're doing. He wants everyone to go out there and work hard and lay it out on the field and be a great teammate; trust one another and develop a great relationship and chemistry. And he does a great job of that, in the short period of time that we've been able to be together, talking football and so forth. He's got great wisdom, and it's helped me quite a bit here in this transition."
-Each day of training camp so far, we've been treated to a host of players, assistant coaches and of course, Arians, every day in Zoom availabilities.
Here's a little of what we learned today:
Defensive lineman Vita Vea has been wearing a club on his hand after undergoing a procedure in the offseason. It hasn't slowed him down in the slightest from the looks of things so far in pads and Arians gave a little bit of a timetable on when we can expect Vea at 100 percent.
"I think he's having a hell of a camp," said Arians. "He's a load in the middle and he can run and chase. That [club] will come off. It's just protective right now [but] it will come off soon."
The other day, Arians also alluded to playing a couple scrimmage 'games' inside Raymond James Stadium before the regular season begins to get the players accustomed to a game-like atmosphere. He went into a bit more detail of what those will look like today.
"The scoreboards will be on, we'll do all that kind of stuff – instant replay," Arians explained. "Make sure the stadium's operational for the first home game and get a good scrimmage in. Live kicking, offense versus defense – kind of like we just did for the last 20 plays of practice [but] we'll do a full game's worth."
Those games will be the first time inside the stadium as a Buccaneer for a few players, including tight end Rob Gronkowski. We got to hear from his tight ends coach in Rick Christophel today and Christophel talked a little bit about the newest addition to his room. He's gotten to know Gronkowski a little bit more than most and while Gronk is perhaps most well-known for his personality, the one thing that's stood out to Christophel is actually his work ethic.
"I know he's portrayed as one of those guys that likes to go out and have a lot of fun and all that stuff, but when he's in the facility and when he's in between the lines, he is business," said Christophel about Gronk. "He knows that he has to get the job done and he's a professional. He's learning a new offense just like a couple other guys are. He's put his time in and that's what I respect about him. He wants to go out there and be good, be even better."
That personality was on full display as we got to talk to Gronkowski himself. He genuinely has fun with the media, turning on his shining personality over Zoom. But he used that time today to express how good he feels – even if he is getting used to the Florida heat and humidity still.
"Definitely no regrets," said Gronk about his return to football and subsequent move to Tampa. "I'm here, I'm supposed to be here – I feel like I'm supposed to be here. I'm glad to be here. Going out there and just playing ball – it feels good. Let me tell you, the first couple practices, it definitely felt weird. The game was really fast when I first got out there again. The defense felt really fast. As time goes on and as the days go on, I feel better about myself being out there. My confidence keeps going up, the game is slowing down, I'm starting to pick up the offense more. But overall, it's going good. I have so much more to work on and so much more to improve on, but I am really glad to be here."
Gronkowski has been getting his fair share of work going up against the young secondary, the safeties seem especially hungry to prove themselves this year. One of those safeties is second-year player Mike Edwards, who nabbed the first interception off Brady in practice this camp. Edwards talked about the overall competition in their room and how much he appreciates it.
"It makes everybody better," said Edwards. "Antoine [Winfield Jr.] is a real good player. He came in and he's real versatile. Andrew Adams, he's our vet in our room. He brings enthusiasm and can play all different safety spots. Jordan Whitehead, he's the vocal guy in our room. He's a hard hitter – that's my boy right there. We've got a lot of depth in our secondary, so we all can play different safety spots and we're just flying around, getting all the guys on the defense lined up and just playing football."
Speaking of Whitehead, he was especially welcoming to Winfield, talking to the rookie before he arrived in Tampa and giving him some tips to help ease the transition – especially after no spring ball to speak of. It was Whitehead's turn to gush about the young player on Thursday, saying how well Winfield has been doing so far in camp and if he seems to always be around the ball.
"Yes, he is," Whitehead said. "That man is smart. You could tell his dad played and he's been learning from him because just the way he handles himself, the way he carries himself in the building – he's all about business. He asks us questions, he makes his mistakes like everybody else, but he makes a lot of plays. That's the biggest thing from him – he's learning quick. He's getting thrown around and I just love to see him out there because he's definitely a great athlete."