Friday, December 9, 2022

Tom Brady set to start Buccaneers’ preseason finale just days after returning from mysterious 11-day hiatus

After a bizarre training camp that included an 11-day hiatus from the team in the middle of August, things are starting to get back to normal for Tom Brady. That will continue this weekend when he gets his first game action of the preseason. 

Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles revealed Thursday that he plans to play all his healthy starters, including Brady, when the Buccaneers travel to Indianapolis on Saturday for their third and final preseason game of 2022. 

“Everyone who is healthy will play,” Bowles told the media when asked directly if Brady would play against the Colts.

 The Buccaneers coach also downplayed Brady’s absence, which started Aug. 11 when he left the team for 11 days for a reported vacation to the Bahamas with his wife, Gisele. Brady returned to the team Monday. 

Bowles noted that it wasn’t a big deal that Brady missed the team’s first two preseason games because he was never going to play in them. He also pointed out that Brady really only missed three practices during his absence due to the way the Buccaneers practice schedule was structured and due to the fact that he would have been given several veteran rest days over that period. 

Since this is Brady we’re talking about, one of the most competitive people alive, the Buccaneers aren’t concerned that he fell behind on the playbook or that his conditioning might have fallen off while he was out. 

“He’s fine with everything,” Bowles said. “His conditioning is fine.”

One reason Bowles likely wants to see Brady on the field is so he can build some chemistry with his offensive line. The Buccaneers line has taken some major hits during training camp with left guard Aaron Stinnie (ACL) and center Ryan Jensen (knee) both suffering injuries that will keep them out for months. Right tackle Tristan Wirfs is also dealing with an oblique strain that could keep him out of the opener. 

Brady rarely misses a third preseason game. During last year’s preseason, he went 11-for-14 for 154 yards and a touchdown in a 23-16 win over the Texans

Brady’s action Saturday will mark the first time he’s thrown a pass in a game since January, when his Buccaneers lost, 30-27, to the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams in the divisional round of the playoffs. 

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