Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are back together and the hype train is starting to take off, but let’s pump the brakes.
Brady-Gronkowksi is one of the best quarterback-tight end duos in NFL history. They captured three Super Bowls in a span of six years, and they’ve made it to five Super Bowls in their nine seasons.
But what does that mean now? Brady will be 43 this year coming off a pedestrian season. Gronkowski’s injury history includes multiple back surgeries and multiple concussions. He hasn’t played 16 games since 2011, when he led the league with 17 touchdown catches.
The biggest difference is those Bill Belichick led defenses aren’t here to save the day anymore when the offense stalls. Instead, the Buccaneers’ 30th-ranked pass defense in 2019 has to do the job, and that didn’t work out too well last season. The Buccaneers were fourth in the NFL in points scored in 2019, but the defense was ranked 29th in points allowed.
Brady and Gronkowski teaming up with dynamic receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin is an upgrade over last season’s offense, but how much will that matter until the defense is fixed? Drew Brees and the Saints reside in the same division, and fellow NFC quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers will be licking their chops when they see the Bucs’ secondary.
Brady has given Tampa Bay hope that it hasn’t had since the Bucs’ last playoff berth in 2007. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves -- Brady and Gronkowski are nowhere near enough to make Tampa Bay Super Bowl favorites in the NFC.
Brett Brown explains why Ben Simmons hasn’t shot many threes
You have all seen the practice videos of Ben Simmons shooting three-pointers before the season. We saw Simmons take three after three, and he didn’t look bad while doing it. But that has only translated to six attempts in 54 regular-season games this year.
Simmons’ rookie season was with a 52-win Sixers squad. So because of all the talent around him, he focused on his strengths more than other rookies typically do, 76ers coach Brett Brown said in ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan feature story on Simmons.
“There was never any house money with Ben,” Brown said. “If Ben was with a team in his first few years that no one gives a rat’s ass about, and they were figuring out who the keepers were on their roster, he would have come in cranking threes. I’m sure of it.”
Simmons is in an odd situation for a young player. He is one of the best passers and defenders in the NBA, and his size (6-foot-10, 230 pounds) make him a nightmare matchup at point guard. But those talents sometimes get overshadowed by his lack of three-point attempts.
Brown’s point only holds validity for so long. It has been three years and Simmons has shown little development from three-point range. Just look around the league at his counterparts: Lonzo Ball has jumped from 30.5% made threes as a rookie to 38.3% in his third season, and even Markelle Fultz has progressed from 15 three-point attempts in his Sixers career to 30 made threes this season.
If practice is any indication, it’s no question that Simmons can shoot the three; it’s just a matter of when.
Percy Harvin attempting NFL comeback
Percy Harvin entered the NFL as one of its most dynamic players. He took home the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2009 and made his first and only Pro Bowl.
After four years with the Vikings, Harvin played with the Seahawks, Jets and Bills before retiring in 2016. Now the 31-year old is ready to return.
Harvin said his migraines and his anxiety disorder were issues that caused him to walk away. He told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he has been working out with a former Olympian, and he is feeling better mentally.
Harvin at his best is more than capable of being a team’s No. 3 receiver and a weapon in the return game. In his last two seasons with the Bills, Harvin played a total of seven games. He has topped 50 catches every season that he’s played more than nine games.
This is a low risk, high reward type player. He just wants an opportunity, so the cost won’t be much. His receiving skills plus a career 27.2 yards per kick return average are solid.