Tom Brady Says Buccaneers Not Trying Hard Every Play, So No Wonder They're 4-5

The problem has not always been about blocking and tackling or how well Tom Brady plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season.

The reasons this football team has authored a disappointing 4-5 record is not always tied to having a great quarterback, or superior running back or lockdown cornerbacks.

Sometimes it's effort.


Want to.

And on that front the Buccaneers are in the crosshairs now because key people on the roster and coaching staff are questioning the effort by some individuals.

This, by the way, is stunning. Men who play professional football typically understand the difference between their talent and the opponent is razor thin. So the winner on any play and in any game can be decided simply by who tries harder.

And the Buccaneers apparently sometimes are not those guys.

“Well, it hasn’t been every down – we’ve had downs where we could be better from an effort standpoint," offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich told reporters Thursday. "It’s been addressed. I think we can get better and that’s what I mean about what we can fix.

"I think we can fix all the things that been in our way throughout the year. Obviously, it’s been a tough beginning of the year – a lot of things have been going on. I think as we’re beginning to settle down, we’re getting more into football mode, more aware of what we need to do."

Brady And Leftwich Say Effort Is Problematic

This is interesting because it comes days after Brady drew back the curtain on a team that doesn't try hard all the time. Speaking on his weekly Let's Go! podcast with Jim Gray, Brady painted the picture of a team that was "embarrassing" itself with its level of effort on game days.

"There’s definitely some things we do well,” Brady said on the podcast. "There’s a lot of things we don’t do well. I think too much of good, bad, good, bad, good, bad, leaves you average. And no one’s trying to be average. If you want to be a great team, you’ve got to be way better than average.

"So correcting our mistakes, improving our effort — which, that’s probably the most embarrassing part of our team is our effort level on game day -- and that's something we better fix." 

Are you serious right now?

The Buccaneers have an effort problem on game day?

It's actually not really a controversial question at this stage because Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp made that point very clear two weeks ago about linebacker Devin White.

Sapp, in the Buccaneers' Ring of Honor, did an All-22 film breakdown of White after Tampa's 27-22 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

White jogged to the ball from across the opposite hashmarks on a screen play to the right of the formation,


Sapp said White, who is a team captain, was "loafing" and should have the "C" on his jersey removed.

Buccaneers LB Responded To 'Loafing'

White responded by saying Sapp had a right to say whatever he wants but his teammates knew the truth what was going on.

White was not on the other sideline, as he said. He was on the opposite hashmarks. And White later took to social media to further explain what happened, saying he was fatigued.

White also apologized for it.

Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles, who's job it is to make sure his players give maximum effort, seemingly disagrees there's a problem.

Appearing this week on the Buccaneers Radio Network following a Sunday victory over the Los Angeles Rams, Bowles said effort is not an issue.

Buccaneers Effort Fine, Bowles Says

"It was huge after losing three weeks in a row, you get very sour and you have a very sour taste in your mouth for a long time, not from lack of effort, but lack of execution, lack of doing things right,” Bowles said.

Bowles addressed effort during the interview although it wasn't raised, per my friends at But here's the problem:

The offensive coordinator agreed with Brady even if the head coach didn't. And the Hall of Fame defensive tackle proved to everyone it's an issue by posting the film on social media.

So you know what the Bucs have? Two problems.

They have a problem with some players not giving maximum effort on every play. And they have a disagreement about it internally.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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Armando Salguero is a national award-winning columnist and is OutKick's Senior NFL Writer. He has covered the NFL since 1990 and is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a voter for the Associated Press All-Pro Team and Awards. Salguero, selected a top 10 columnist by the APSE, has worked for the Miami Herald, Miami News, Palm Beach Post and ESPN as a national reporter. He has also hosted morning drive radio shows in South Florida.