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‘Hopefully our best is ahead of us’

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The Buccaneers’ 2022 season hasn’t been smooth sailing compared to 2021, when the team finished with a 13-4 record and clinched their first division title since 2005.

Tampa Bay currently sits atop the NFC South heading into Monday night’s home matchup against the New Orleans Saints with a 5-6 record. With the Atlanta Falcons (5-7) creeping behind the Bucs, the divisional tilt is huge for Tom Brady’s squad as they prepare for the stretch run.

During Friday’s press conference, Brady didn’t hold back discussing what the Bucs can do more to finish the season strong.

“I think practice is very important for all of us,” Brady told reporters. “The more we can do in practice to simulate what goes on in the game, the better we do and gain confidence in one another. I think the passing game is certainly about confidence and anticipation. You know you get a lot of those reps in training camp. Then you get into the season and there’s a balance between keeping guys fresh.”

The Bucs have averaged 18.2 points per game this season so far, scoring less than 24 points in 10 of 11 games and boast the lowest-ranked rushing offense in the league, per NFL Research.

Tampa Bay has had the same offensive unit from last season, with stars like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Leonard Fournette leading the way. But injuries have played a factor in the offense’s struggles with each missing a game or two, including newcomers Julio Jones and Russell Gage. It will be a challenge to get back on track as All-Pro offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs suffered an ankle injury in Week 12 and is expected to miss three or four games. But Brady-led squads have a proven track record in the winter months.

Brady is 9-1 in Week 13 or later since joining the Bucs in 2020, per NFL Research. The 45-yard-old QB explained why he believes the best football is still achievable for Tampa Bay.

“Football is a very humbling game for all of us. You can’t take anything for granted,” Brady said. “There’s times when I walk in there and think I’m the worst quarterback to ever play and that’s just the way it is. You try to go out there the next day and do a better job and you get it back. It’s just the way football goes. So, when I think you’re losing everything is horrible and when you win, you think everything is great, even though not everything is great. When you are losing, you think everything is horrible, even though it’s probably not all horrible and it’s just not good enough. There’s a long season ahead for all of us and still a lot of football left to be played and hopefully our best is ahead of us.”

After Monday’s game, Tampa Bay is set to face the 49ers, Bengals, Cardinals, Panthers and Falcons.

Image & Story Credit: nfl.com

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