Two-time Pro Bowler and former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, an NFL analyst for NBC Sports, said New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick "knows the team will be motivated" to prove it can win without Brady under center.
“[Belichick] might bring up a couple articles … everybody saying it’s over, Brady this, Brady that,” Harrison told the Boston Herald on Tuesday. “Of course he’ll say something about that. But at the end of the day, whether he makes the point or not, he knows the team will be motivated to prove they can win without Tom.”
Brady, who won six Super Bowl titles and three NFL MVPs while in New England, led the Patriots to 17 playoff appearances in 20 seasons. Now, he will join a Buccaneers team that features talented wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, along with tight ends Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate.
“It’s not just talk, not with the Patriots. It’s a chip you carry in the weight room, you carry in the film room, in the dining room, you carry at home watching extra film, it’s a chip that motivates you,” said Harrison, who played alongside Brady from 2003 to 2008 and won two Super Bowls as a member of Belichick’s squad.
The question that both Brady and Belichick will face is whether or not one of them can win a Super Bowl title without the other.
Some people believe Brady was a product of New England’s system, but others think Brady was the reason Belichick had success as a head coach. Belichick was the head coach for the Cleveland Browns from 1991 to 1995. During that span, the team went 36-44 over five seasons before he was fired in 1996.
“It’s motivating for people to say you can’t win without Brady,” Harrison added. “I know I would be pissed. ... So these guys are going to be motivated, pumped up and ready to go.”