-The Buccaneers have just four days to turn around and play another game – this one on the road – as they travel to Philadelphia for Thursday Night Football. It comes a week after the Bucs seemed to have put it all together on both sides of the ball but perhaps most productively, the offense. Quarterback Tom Brady seems more than comfortable now in Head Coach Bruce Arians' scheme and it's showing to the tune of 411 passing yards and five touchdowns with a 144.4 passer rating.
"Much better," Arians said of Brady's understanding of the offense. "He has total understanding of it now. When he's saying things there's pictures now. I say when a quarterback calls the plays, he sees a picture. Last year, they were just words. Now, there's pictures and he can think about coverage and put the whole thing together. Well, we're talking about 1.5 seconds, two seconds before all of that has to happen and yeah, he can do that now."
-Brady leads the league in passing yards and ranks second in passing touchdowns, currently. The understanding he has directly correlates with the productivity sure, but so does the fact that he has a plethora of weapons to throw to – all of whom he has faith in, to boot.
"That's a great thing to have as a quarterback, to just try to read the play out and find the first guy that's open and let him have it," Brady said. "Sometimes you're trying to force the ball to certain guys and you recognize that there's certain players on the team that are head and shoulders above everyone else. I think we have a lot of really talented players, obviously, that have all made a lot of plays. I think from my standpoint, it would be like being on a basketball team and if you've got to kick it out to a three-pointer, you kick it out there because he's open and he makes it. It would be tough if you knew that if you kick it out he's going to miss it, you don't really want to pass it out there. In this offense I've just got to find the guy that's got the winning route and I know that he's going to come down with it, make the catch and make the play. It's been really fun. I hope we keep playing like we did the other night. It's going to take a lot of work. It's one game, but I think we're showing some improvement every week."
-That improvement doesn't come without a lot of work, as Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich is quick to point out. And that work takes time – which is something the Bucs are short on this week. But that's where the continuity and understanding come even more into play.
"You wish you can make the day 30 hours," Leftwich said of the short week. "You wish you can have a few 30-hour days. I think the most important part is the preparation standpoint of it. Have a good idea of who we're playing against. Don't allow the short week to be an excuse to not do what we do week-in and week-out. This group does a great job of preparation and getting prepared for who we're getting ready to play. Each Sunday is going to be different – or each Thursday is going to be different – each game is going to be different, and we need to know what we need to do to give ourselves the opportunity to win that game that day. That's what we're trying to do now, making sure we're doing all the preparation from our standpoint to make sure we can try to play our best football. Our goal is to try and play our best football every time we step out there."
-The Bucs not only have to contend with the short week but will also have a challenge in their actual opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles. Namely, their quarterback, Jalen Hurts, who is the first true dual-threat quarterback Tampa Bay will face this season.
"Well, it's tough because he keeps you honest – anybody that can throw like a pro quarterback and run like a running back," said Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles. "He has elusiveness, as well, and he's very bright and he's very tough to bring down. If you try to attack him too much, he's going to hurt you down the field and if you don't attack him enough, he's going to hurt you with his legs. He keeps you very honest and that's a great thing."
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