Tom Brady will have a new receiver to throw to during the 2021 season, and getting him assimilated into the offense as quickly and cleanly as possible is one of the many tasks for him and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay selected wide receiver Jaelon Darden out of North Texas in the fourth round. Brady told NFL writer Peter King in his “Football Morning in America” column on Monday he knows how difficult it is for a rookie receiver to come into the league.
“It’s really hard for a rookie receiver in the NFL. Everything is new. You have a play, then I change the play, then I look at you and I change the route, then I see a defense that we didn’t necessarily talk about. Every play I’m like, hey this is what I’m thinking. And you gotta have someone who can take the critique,” he told King.
“No one can fix it except the quarterback and receiver. Doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I’m throwing the ball. You’re catching it. We gotta literally have a bond, a connection between us. You gotta think what I’m thinking all the time. The more you talk and the more you do it, the better it is. The longer I play with guys, the better it is. The shorter you play together, you can’t cover everything in five weeks of training camp. Or in two years together. Five years together? Maybe. Seven years together, okay, that’s pretty good. You play seven years together with a receiver, you can make a lot of magic happen. But after a year or two, there’s still things. There’s so many variables that you gotta get right. We’re playing a chess game.”
Darden played four years with the Mean Green. He had 230 catches for 2,782 yards and 38 touchdowns in 47 collegiate games.
Darden told King he was “star-struck” when he finally met the seven-time Super Bowl champion.
“The first time I met him after the draft, I was star-struck. He said, ‘Hey Jaelon. Happy to have you on the team. I studied your film.’ What an honor. Then he took time to teach me how to win against coverages. Like, ‘When the corner plays you here, I’m gonna have the ball at this exact spot.’ Every day, I put my hard hat on and work and learn,” Darden told King.
The defending champions will take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 9 – the NFL’s first night back.