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Buccaneers QB Tom Brady: 'The game is a little softer than it used to be'

Tom Brady continues to rail against certain aspects of the NFL evolution he's experienced throughout his 22-year career.

Before the 2021 season, Brady noted how penalties on the defense have allowed offenses to get away with mistakes -- this take was swiftly painted over by TB12's complaints about single-digit number changes.

During this week's edition of SiriusXM NFL Radio's "Let's Go!" Brady discussed the evolution of quarterbacks and how a "softer" league has allowed for more running QBs.

"I think there's probably a lot of shortsightedness," Brady said, via Pro Football Talk. "You know, when I hear that a lot, because I've heard over the years, you know, 'Oh, the game is changing,' and so forth. I think the game changes in different ways, absolutely. It evolves and changes and grows and hopefully it's getting better. And at the same time I think that there has always been, you know, incredible athletes playing professional football at the quarterback position. Randall Cunningham was an incredible athlete. Kenny Stabler was an incredible quarterback. Roger Staubach was. Michael Vick, I mean, I don't know if there's anyone more athletic that's ever played than Michael Vick. ... I think it definitely adds an element to the game.

"But at the same time, the name of the game is scoring points. So there's definitely more volatility, I would say, in that style of play over a period of time. You're definitely more injury prone because you're out of the pocket. You don't have the types of protection that you typically have in the pocket. And I would say the one thing that's probably changed over the years in terms of why it's probably gone a little more this way is, and I've alluded to this in the past, I think they're calling more penalties on defensive players for hitting, you know, for violent contact. And I think when you're out of the pocket, you know, we got called on a play yesterday where Ryan Jensen's going basically to protect our runner, and they throw an unnecessary roughness on an offensive lineman that I don't think would have been called, you know, five years ago. There's a lot of plays and hits that are happening on quarterbacks now, that are flags for defensive players, that probably weren't that way 10 or 15 years ago.

"So I'd say the game is a little softer than it used to be. I think the defensive players are more on the defensive when they go in to tackle. And I think that's probably adding to this element of quarterbacks outside the pocket and taking more chances, you know, than they did in the past."

Certainly, protections for QBs have helped allow for an evolution. But the 44-year-old Brady also benefits from those rule changes. Former signal-callers like Kurt Warner have said for years that he might have played into his 40s if afforded the same protections Brady enjoys today.

There are many layers to the "softer" discussion, from concussion issues to player safety. Also, the proliferation of running quarterbacks stems from a willingness of coaches to embrace different offensive concepts, and those signal-callers are getting a chance to play the position growing up and through college -- as opposed to constantly being funneled to WR, RB or CB.

There's also the fact that "softer" doesn't necessarily mean worse. There are currently more good young QBs than any other time in NFL history, which Brady noticed earlier this season. Keeping these faces of the league healthy is priority No. 1, as it should be, regardless of some seeing those motives as "soft."

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