Tom Brady’s impact and quirks continue at AdventHealth Training Center despite a revamped offensive line and quarterback depth chart.
Among them: Brady’s insistence that his centers wear towels stuffed down their pants to decrease sweat and slickness on the ball, but Brady’s extensive use of baby powder on the towels has now become optional.
“As of right now, it’s not looking as strict, other than the towels,” third-year quarterback Kyle Trask said following Day 1 of the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp. “We have towels, but we need more baby powder.”
Ball dampness aside, Tuesday morning’s workout—which featured all players on campus if not on the practice field—was a dry run for a line set to start four new starters. That first view showed a left side with size and wisdom, a right side with competition and problems, and modest hope at center.
The most notable change: Veteran center Ryan Jensen, who tore three knee ligaments less than 11 months ago and played only one game last season (the playoff defeat to the Cowboys), suited up and gave snaps at the start of practice without shoulder pads or full contact.
Jensen ran alongside fellow 2022 knee ligament injury victim Aaron Stinnie.
“Physically, we’re seeing where he is,” coach Todd Bowles said.
Jensen will likely be flanked on the left by tackle Tristan Wirfs, who is transitioning from right tackle to replace Donovan Smith, and 30-year-old left guard Matt Feiler, who was released by the Chargers in April.
Bowles said Tuesday that Feiler had won the left guard post. Trask called him a veteran. “I think he’s very solid up front; a lot of good tape, a lot of good experience, and I think he’ll really help us.”
Other depth charts are less clear.
Luke Goedeke, a 2022 second-round selection who struggled in eight starts at left guard last season, worked at right tackle on Tuesday. Next to him, the right guard competition includes second-round draft pick Cody Mauch, third-year players Nick Leverett and Robert Hainsey (still the first-team center until Jensen’s return), and possibly Stinnie, who played well in the 2020 postseason after Alex Cappa broke his leg.
No dust or particle will settle there fast. In 2022, a new system with more outside zone blocking could help revive running yards per game (76.9) and rushing attempts (386) in the competition.
“Obviously we’re all learning a new offense, so it’s very difficult, we’re learning new terminology,” receiver Chris Godwin said after Tuesday’s practice.
“As things start to gel, I think we’ll all like it. I think the coaches have done a pretty excellent job of making things digestible for people, encouraging players, and not necessarily harping on mistakes, and I think that’s going to really motivate the offensive linemen—new and old—to just want to continue to push forward.”