TAMPA, Fla.-- The precision and accuracy that became trademarks of quarterback Tom Brady's game don't appear to have left him as he settles into his new home with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady joined teammates for his first practice of training camp that was open to the media Tuesday and their second one overall.
LeSean McCoy was impressed by Brady.
"I've scrimmaged Tom in the past. We're pretty cool, 'Hey, what's up?' and things like that. But to actually see him work -- he's like a general ... leading the troops. Teaching them what he wants on routes and things like that."
McCoy took notice of the perfect slants Brady was throwing.
"They looked good. They looked real good. And as he was throwing the ball, I hear a couple of the guys whispering, like, 'Dang, how many years do you think he'll keep playing?' That's how good he looked, seriously," McCoy said. Me and Gronk talked about it, like, his will to win, his will to go out there and still keep doing it -- once you see a guy like that kinda display that attitude, you want to be part of it. It's like, 'Man, how much longer can I do it?'"
Said tight end Cameron Brate: "[We] still have got to pinch ourselves, the fact that we have him at quarterback and everything that goes along with it. Everyone here is just super pumped."
The portion of the workout that was open to the media lasted 30 minutes. The Bucs are still in a ramp-up conditioning period -- much like OTA workouts, designed to acclimate them to football conditions -- where they spend mornings doing 60 minutes of weight lifting and 60 minutes of conditioning before a 60-minute walk-through in the afternoons. The length of practice sessions will increase as training camp goes on, and they will progress to padded practices.
Due to social distancing, the session did not feature the entire squad. Among the 23 players in the same workout group as Brady were McCoy, Brate, Mike Evans, Justin Watson, Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and Ronald Jones, along with quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin. Brady could be seen shouting encouragement to his receivers. He hugged McCoy, and with a towel over his hand, fist-bumped Evans.
They spent the majority of the time at the goal line, where Brady showed strong ball placement and timing before spending the final minutes on downfield throws.
Brady didn't look like a quarterback with no offseason who was just starting to get acquainted with new teammates. The timing already looked strong, with the chemistry not far behind -- some of that is because of the offseason workouts he organized with teammates at nearby Berkeley Preparatory School.
New teammates have taken note of his attention to detail, even in some of the early phases of him learning a new playbook.
"He was really on top of it in the spring," Brate said. "It's all the same game -- everyone runs, essentially, the same plays. You just have different verbiage for it. Just making those connections for him in his head because he was in New England for 20 years. He said it was definitely weird calling things [with] different terminology for him, but I think he's going to be up to speed in no time.
"It could seem like a perfect pass, a great ball -- everything seems spot on -- but if he doesn't feel it's 100 percent crisp, exactly where the ball should be placed, if you weren't efficient at the top of your route, you're going to run it again until you really perfect it. He definitely is meticulous in the way he goes about his business."
New teammates are also still adjusting to the awe factor of playing alongside a six-time Super Bowl winner. Rookie Chapelle Russell gushed on Twitter, "Tom Brady said 'What's up?' to me today. Yeah, that's the tweet."
Brate admitted to being "starstruck" by Brady the first time they worked out together.
"As soon as we got to start throwing and talking football, it was very natural," Brate said. "He's just got a great demeanor about him -- the way he leads. The way he talks about the game, it's really easy to understand in that regard."
He also didn't believe it when Brady texted him the first time.
"The first time he texted me I had to get double confirmation from other people that it was actually Brady. He said, 'Hey, this is Tom. Give me a FaceTime when you can,'" Brate said. "I had to reach out to Chris [Godwin] and Mike [Evans] and be like, 'Hey, is this Tom?' I didn't want to be calling some random dude thinking it was Tom Brady. He's just been awesome to work with."
Rookie offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs' family members and friends continue to hound him with questions about Brady, who turned 43 on Monday.
"The first time I met him, we were just coming around a corner and met each other. He said, 'What's up, big dog?' I thought it was kind of crazy because he's Tom Brady," Wirfs said. "Then he asked me how old I was, and I told him, '21,' and he kind of started laughing. He said something like, 'You think you have experience? I've got double your experience.' I was like, 'Yeah.'"