While the 2020 season won't be the first to open without Tom Brady under center, it will be the first since 1999 that he won't taking the field for the New England Patriots.
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, Patriots star Jason McCourty admitted that there will be "an adjustment" now that Brady's gone. He pointed out that Brady's leadership style was to lead by example and with his presence. But he feels that change is a big part of the NFL and the team's ability to adapt will be telling.
“Tom doesn’t have to say anything,” McCourty said. “As soon as he walks in, everyone’s watching the way he works, the way he prepares. So I think not having him will be an adjustment. I think that’s what our league is — change, and how you adapt and are able to move on from it.”
Brady's leadership enabled Jason McCourty to win his first ring at Super Bowl LIII. But despite going 12-4 the following the year and winning their 11th straight AFC East crown, they were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by McCourty's former team, the Tennessee Titans.
After the season, Brady became a free agent and promptly signed a two-year, $50 million deal with Tampa Bay.
Brady was quickly joined by Rob Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to reunite with his longtime quarterback.
It's hard to transition from two decades with the same steady hand at quarterback. 2020 could be the most interesting year for the Patriots since Brady's season-ending injury in 2008.