Tampa Bay’s offense has struggled all season long. Despite Jameis Winston’s fantastic play, the Bucs rank dead last in points per game and yards per game, while tied third-to-last in passing. On the flipside, they’re tied third-to-last in sacks allowed per game, tying with the New York Giants for the most in the league.
Tom Brady understands more about what it takes to succeed in the NFL than anybody who has ever played the game. Since joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the future Hall of Famer has placed a strong focus on building trust with his offensive weapons during the season.
Brady has taken rookie wide receiver Jaelin Darden under his wing ahead of the 2021 season, making it a point to teach him something new at every session. So, of course, we should start creating Darden’s Hall of Fame bust right now.
The Buccaneers’ offense may benefit from Jaelon Darden’s game-breaking speed.
During a preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady waits for a play | Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images
Darden may not yet be a household name in the NFL, but he’s a bright young prospect who ran circles around opposition secondaries throughout his college career. Darden racked up 2,782 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns in four years at North Texas.
During his NCAA career, the fast receiver increased his performance each season, culminating in a dominating senior season in which he racked up 1,190 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns. Darden came in third in receiving yards and second in receiving touchdowns behind Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith in the 2020 season.
Darden’s key to success is speed. At his Pro Day, the rookie ran a 4.46 40-yard sprint and a 6.66 in the three-cone drill.
Tampa Bay took a gamble on him in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft after seeing his incredible speed. Darden’s propensity to break huge plays may still carve out a spot in this system, even with the top-notch weapons Brady has at his disposal this year.
Darden has already been taken under Tom Brady’s wing.
According to Bruce Arians, rookie wide receiver Jaelon Darden is gradually improving and understanding the pace of the game.
August 22, 2021 — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs)
When the Buccaneers invested a fourth-round selection on Darden, they recognized something unique in the North Texas product. Brady, it seems, has done the same.
Brady has been tutoring Darden throughout the summer and spending extra time with him at every practice, according to King, Peter of NBC Sports’ Football Morning in America.
Brady was a personal teacher for tight end O.J. Howard throughout camp last year. Every day, up close and personal, coaching points This year, smurfy receiver Jaelon Darden, a fourth-round selection from North Texas, is that man. Brady is beside him in practice almost every day, giving him teaching notes about where he wants him on each route in the route tree. He does this so that in the most important games, he has weapons he can trust other than Mike Evans and Chris Godwin (who are likely to face blanket coverage). Consider the Super Bowl comeback victory against Atlanta. Down the stretch of a 25-point comeback, who are Brady’s most crucial wide receivers? Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan.
Could Darden be an unsung hero in another Brady Super Bowl run this year?
Darden was “starstruck” when he first met Brady, but he’s ready to give it his best for the GOAT.
Working alongside a living icon like Brady may be daunting for new guys. When Brady was selected by the New England Patriots in 2000, many of these rookies couldn’t even speak, so they’ve spent their whole lives watching and idolizing him.
When Darden first met Brady, he was “starstruck,” but now he’s working harder than he’s ever worked to please the GOAT.
“Hey, Jaelon,” he said. We’re glad to have you on board. ‘I saw your movie.’ Darden told King, “What an honor.” “After that, he spent time teaching me how to beat coverages. ‘When the corner plays you here, I’m going to have the ball in this precise position,’ for example. I put on my hard helmet every day and work and learn.”
Brady obviously sees something unique in Darden, and it wouldn’t be shocking if the youngster emerges as the Buccaneers’ next great receiver.
Sports Reference provided all stats.
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