What Tom Brady can learn from Peyton Manning’s transition

What Tom Brady can learn from Peyton Manning’s transition

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can teach a great quarterback a new vocabulary.

Peyton Manning proved that much.

As reality sinks in that Tom Brady is leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers, the challenge ahead of him is crystalizing: After 20 years in the same offense, with the same head coach and just three coordinators (Charlie Weis, Bill O’Brien, Josh McDaniels), Brady needs to learn a new playbook.

And it probably won’t be as easy for Brady, 42, as it was for Manning when he left the Colts for the Broncos in 2012 under a special set of circumstances. Brady finalized a $30 million-per-year contract, according to NFL Network, but the league is prohibiting signings from announcement until physicals are passed.

“The big selling point from [Broncos coaches] John Fox, Mike McCoy and Adam Gase was they really wanted Peyton to focus his extra time on his rehabilitation from a neck injury,” former Broncos quarterback Brady Quinn told The Post. “What allowed him to do that was not having to worry about learning a new system. Instead, he was teaching them his.”

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning
Tom Brady and Peyton ManningGetty Images (2)

Now a host on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Quinn finished a two-year stint in Denver just as Manning arrived.

Manning just had to learn new Broncos-specific terms for the concepts he wanted to emphasize, so the returning players could catch up to speed faster. After early growing pains, the Broncos’ passing attack looked similar to the Colts’ by midway through his first season, with four verticals, deep crossing patterns and curl routes.

By Year 2, Manning had won his fifth MVP award and had his best statistical season (5,477 yards, 55 touchdowns, 10 interceptions).

The smart thing for the Buccaneers to do is to blend aggressive coach Bruce Arians’ deep passes with the concepts Brady prefers. There is a limit to how much even a six-time Super Bowl champion can learn in a shortened offseason.

“To have recall in the moment of a game, your mind is going to revert to your greatest form of training,” Quinn said. “If you have been making a certain audible or protection check for 20 years, you better believe it’s going to be hard to reintegrate what the new call is going to be.”

A hallmark of Brady’s offense is reliance on mismatches created by slot receivers (Troy Brown, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman) and pass-catching running backs (Kevin Faulk, Dion Lewis, James White). The Patriots spread out the defense and control possession with high-percentage completions.

The Buccaneers’ strength is on the perimeter, with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Even though the Patriots won their 17th AFC East division title of the Brady era and the Buccaneers went 7-9 last season, Brady is upgrading his supporting cast when he needs it most.

“The hard thing with watching Tom last year was you kept coming back to, ‘They are not really providing a lot around him,’ ” Quinn said. “The running game wasn’t as good as it’s been in the past, the protection wasn’t as good and … they really didn’t have much help on the outside. But there still were times you saw him miss some throws he normally doesn’t, and I think you have to chalk up some degree of his play declining to age.”

Another way to ease the transition is to add familiar weapons.

The Broncos signed security blankets Jacob Tamme and Brandon Stokley for Manning. Lewis is a free agent, and Brady reportedly wants to bring with him Antonio Brown, briefly a Patriots teammate.

“There will be a learning curve there, no doubt,” Quinn said. “And the NFC South will be more competitive than what he’s dealt with the last 20 years. Especially with the change to the playoffs — seven teams and only one team getting a bye — his path to the playoffs and the Super Bowl just got a lot harder.”

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