Bengals center Ted Karras, who spent four seasons with the Tom Brady Patriots, has high praise for his old quarterback in advance of Sunday's game (4:25 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12) in Tampa Bay
"I would put him on a list of top five Americans all-time," said Karras Wednesday of his still evolving list that includes Teddy Roosevelt.
"When we look at how the lens of history looks at American football, he's obviously the premier player of that. To win seven championships in the ultimate team sport speaks not only of his individual greatness, but how he's able to lead men and be on the same page and he's been doing it for almost two-and-a-half decades."
Karras didn't just pump this out as he held post-practice court with the media. He's been thinking about it. He thinks the NFL has grown so much that it's going to have a prominent spot in the history of the country.
"I'll be interested to see how history looks like in 200 years," Karras said. "How (the NFL) has taken over the culture of entire communities based on the football team winning. It's very unique, very cool. I'm really happy to be a part of that. He's been at the apex of a lot of things He's been winning championships since I was eight years old."
JOE AND TOM: Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow dislikes comparisons ("I like to be my player, my own person"), but they're coming pretty quickly this week when it comes to Tom Terrific and Seamless Joe.
"I don't really pay attention to it. He's Tom and I'm Joe," Burrow said after Wednesday's practice.
"I really just think that I play the game my own way. I kind of have a little bit of everybody. I wouldn't say there's one thing I do the best. But I would say that I do everything with the best of them. I wouldn't say I really have a glaring weakness."
As part of that composition, Burrow thinks he shares three traits with Brady: "I have the quick release. I've become really efficient with my lower body, getting the ball out and seeing the defense."
Karras is another good resource here.
"Tom is way taller. He's bigger than you think. He goes about 6-6." Karras said. "When he puts those moon boots on he's about 6-8. That's probably the biggest difference. They both throw an unbelievable ball. Very soft ball. Very knowledgeable of the defense. Tom's got 25 years' experience. Joe has all the ability to be a guy like Tom. You obviously need to win, though."
Karras, born in 1993, says you can definitely tell that one guy was born in 1977 and the other guy was born three weeks before 1997.
"Tom's a little more high strung than Joe," Karras said of the huddle. "Which is fine. Different era. Different culture.
"They're both superstar quarterbacks. With the access Joe allows to his teammates, and we had great rapport and great friendships (with Brady), but it was different because he is 20 years older. Not that we can take Joe to a dive bar, but you certainly couldn't take Tom."
BORROWING SOUND BITES: Maybe it's not so ironic that the title of the documentary Brady made about his life last year, "Man in the Arena," comes from a Teddy Roosevelt quote. Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan borrowed from the show liberally last season when he put some clips together to show the offense.
"He had a lot of great players go on there and talk about his teams and what it meant to win championships. The trials and tribulations along the way. It's fantastic," Callahan said. "I enjoyed every second of watching that. I shared as many of those snippets as I could in my meetings with our guys last year just because I felt it was relevant to what we were trying to get to. Hearing a bunch of guys that have done it by a bunch that really talks about what it takes to get there. I can say it all I want. I've done it before. I've been there, but when you hear guys like Tom Brady and Tedy Bruschi and all those guys talking about it, you tend to listen a little more, so I thought that was pretty cool."
MIXON AND PERINE: While running back Joe Mixon carried 14 times for 96 yards last Sunday after missing two games with a concussion and Samaje Perine carried four times for 22 yards after going for 106 yards the week before, Callahan said there is no set ratio of carries between the two.
It's going to depend on the defense, the day, the game and how the back is doing.
"There's probably a place for a carry or two more for Samaje depending on the situation ... If we can keep both of those guys looking the way they have played in the last three weeks between Samaje and Joe, you have a pretty formidable one-two punch at running back,: Callahan said.
"I think Samaje will continue to probably get a little bit more here or there depending on the flow of the game but Joe certainly performed fantastic on Sunday. We are going to keep rolling them through and finding things they keep doing well and finding runs that fit their style and keep going from there and growing each of their packages of plays that come up."
SAM SACK: When Brady was here the last time with the Patriots in 2019, he beat the Bengals, 34-13, playing a defense that has three players back: End Sam Hubbard, safety Jessie Bates III and nose tackle Josh Tupou. Hubbard got a sack and it meant something.
"Great honor. He's the greatest quarterback to play our game," Hubbard said. "It's a memory I'll have forever. I would like to have won the game, but we'll get an opportunity to do that Sunday."
He says Brady looks pretty much the same: "He does what he does. Being in command of the offense. He's going to be on his spot, throw the ball quick, getting the ball out quick."
He didn't realize that Burrow and Brady are the two fastest guys in the NFL getting the ball out of their hand (according to Next Gen Stats) and sees similarities such as "pocket presence and decision-making."
Hubbard knows how frustrating that quick release is.
"As a defensive lineman you're trying to get your hands up and get batted balls," Hubbard said.
Batted balls at the line seem to be the only way Burrow can throw an interception these days. But head coach Zac Taylor isn't concerned.
That's probably something other teams focus on cause you know the ball can come out so quickly," Taylor said. "The guys that get it out quickly, that's something that teams emphasize. You might not get to the quarterback, but you try to affect them. That's part of playing the game. We don't spend a lot of time talking to Joe about finding different windows. He does a great job of that, it's part of the price doing business and operating the way he does.
"There's going to be some tipped balls and you hope the other team doesn't end up with them in their hands, obviously, but he does a great job and those are some of the incompletions are the ones we end up throwing. Some of them are a great job by the D-line waiting to see the ball go up and sometimes they are in the middle of the game and they throw up their hand. There's been a little bit of both of that. Not something we are too concerned about."
INJURY UPDATE: Burrow had a full practice before he showed up on the injury report (throwing elbow). Everybody else sounds day-to-to-day, like wide receivers Tyler Boyd (finger) and Tee Higgins (hamstring) after they went limited. Edge Joseph Ossai (shoulder) and slot receiver Trent Taylor (hamstring) also went limited while edge Trey Hendrickson (wrist) cornerbacks Mike Hilton (ankle) and Jalen Davis (thumb) and tight end Hayden Hurst (calf) didn't work.