All is not right in the bay of Buccaneers these days.
Tom Brady has lost five of his first 12 games for the first time in a season since 2009, and he's thrown more interceptions in his first 12 games than he has since 2006. Bucs coach Bruce Arians hasn't been shy with criticism of his quarterback, who he said has just not found his open targets at times amid Tampa Bay's struggles.
It's not a case of internal strife, though, according to NFL Network's Michael Silver, who shed some intriguing light on the situation in Tampa on Monday.
"This is what Bruce Arians communicated to me," Silver said during Monday's episode of The Aftermath. "He said, 'Tom Brady picks all the plays now.' He's talking about during the week, in the huddle, at the line. He said, 'We call what he picks. We just have to get better.'
"Arians is a guy who has worked with very strong and knowledgeable controlling quarterbacks before: Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger among them. He's very comfortable with that. I know people are trying to kind of portray this as a disconnect between Arians and Brady, but these Arians quotes made to me were not reflective of some sort of negativity toward Brady. Arians told me, 'He's getting more comfortable every week. We're getting close.' He seems to be firmly in Tom Brady's corner.
"He wasn't despondent about it, a close loss to the Chiefs, where if they had gotten the ball back, they could've possibly won this game."
Brady's offense took far too long to wake up and establish a semblance of a rhythm in the loss to Kansas City, converting just 3 of 9 third-down attempts while turning the ball over twice (both Brady interceptions). Mike Evans caught just three of his nine targets, and although two went for touchdowns, it was Rob Gronkowski who ended up leading Tampa Bay in receiving.
Any type of stagnation is usually a recipe for a loss against the high-powered Chiefs offense, and it was again Sunday. But as Silver pointed out Monday, though Brady isn't exactly cruising through the NFC South as he often did in the AFC East while leading the Patriots to unparalleled success, he might be in a better position with Arians -- at least publicly -- as the postseason draws near.
"I just think if you're Tom Brady, trust me, you'd rather have a guy who's honest and maybe comes off a little blunt in his public comments once in a while than what you had before where behind the scenes, your coach was not always throwing rose petals at your feet even as you put together the best 20-year stretch in the history of the National Football League of any player," Silver said.
Brady's run in New England ended unceremoniously in 2019 with a pick-six thrown to a former teammate, and he's been on a quest to find success elsewhere ever since. The going hasn't been easy, as evidenced by the numbers mentioned above, but in the same vein, Brady's 28 passing touchdowns are his most through 12 games since 2016.
The only difference between then and now: He had thrown just two interceptions at that point, and he wore a different colored uniform.
Brady still has four games left to figure things out, and a week off to rest, recuperate and reenergize for the final month-long push for the playoffs. We'll see if the 43-year-old has some magic left in him with a coach who has shown he'll gladly push him to get there -- publicly and privately.