Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got some reinforcements on the offensive line ahead of Monday night’s NFC wild card game against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Buccaneers activated center Ryan Jensen from injured reserve prior to the game. Jensen had missed the entire regular season with a serious knee injury, which he sustained on the second day of training. The lack of a veteran like Jensen hampered the Buccaneers’ offense all season.
Although Brady played well in the 2022 regular season, the team still finished 8-9. Tampa Bay somehow managed to win the NFC South and get a playoff game after all the ups and downs.
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Brady talked about Jensen’s return on the series finale of “Let’s Go!” podcast.
“It was a big blow to us in training camp when he got injured, and we thought he was going to be out all season, and he was out all regular season,” Brady told sports reporter Jim Gray. “But it turns out he’s found his way back for this game. And it’s a big boost for us because he’s got a great attitude and he’s an incredibly talented player and he adds a great presence to the center of our attacking line .
“And his toughness and his attitude is second to none. And [Robert] Hainsey has done a great job for him all year. I don’t know who’s going to end up playing most of the game, you know, of course we hope Ryan can play the whole game. Who knows? I don’t know what’s going to happen. But you know, Hainsey is ready too, so we’re in a good position in the middle, which has been a challenge for us all year.”
Tampa Bay defeated Dallas 19-3 to start the season, but Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was injured in that game.
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Brady said he didn’t think Week 1’s result meant anything for Monday night’s game.
“I think our defense obviously played great, gave up three points against the Dallas offense, and they’re very talented,” said the superstar quarterback. “They have a really good coordinator. They put themselves in good positions. Dak is a great quarterback. They have good running backs, [Tony] Pollard and Zeke [Elliott], good receivers, a good line. They’re a little beat up on their o-line, but you know, I’m dealing with their defence.”
“Micah Parsons is a great player. [DeMarcus] Laurens is a great player. [Leighton] Vander Esch is a good player. They have Trevon Diggs in secondary. They are very talented. They make plays. If you screw up, these guys take advantage. And I think the most important thing for us is to play really good football. We’ve always said you can’t win until you can avoid losing. This is so evident in playoff football. You know, how do we just play a good solid, clean game, make the plays that are there, kick when we have to, you know, if we have to settle for a field goal, that’s okay. But this is a team that we expect to play their best football too. So it will be a tough, tough game and I certainly hope we make enough moves to take the lead.”
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Tampa Bay finished 15th in yards gained and 25th in runs scored on the season.