For the first time in his nine-year career, Giovani Bernard is playing for a new team. Since it’s a new scenario joining the Bucs, Bernard is treating this situation like he’s entering the league again.
Bernard is actually pulling double duty in his fresh start in Tampa Bay. On Monday, he was training with Tom Brady, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and others at the Yankees’ practice facility. On Tuesday, Bernard joined his other Bucs teammates for the first day of OTAs, where he was one of the only veteran players in attendance.
“Quite honestly, if I can do both, I’m going to try and do both,” Bernard said. “I’m definitely going to see if I can get back for another throwing session with Tom. Obviously you want to have reps with as many quarterbacks as possible just because you never really know what is going to happen. For me, I do consider myself, in a way, a rookie. Coming here to Tampa, obviously not knowing that many people on the team, getting accustomed to a new football team. Not even only that, but just with the precautions of COVID and everything it’s just a little different, and just how OTAs are working out this year. It just makes it a little more difficult.
“So for me, the more I can be around the players, the more I can be around the staff, the more I can be around the facility, the better I’ll be. Obviously I’m just going to really consider myself a rookie just because in a way I am. Just very new, but at the end of the day, it’s still football. The more reps, the more repetitions that I can get with anybody, I’m all for it.”
Monday’s workout was Bernard’s first on-field experience with Brady under center. So what was the big takeaway of playing with the GOAT?
Bucs RB Giovani Bernard – Photo by: USA Today
“Going into it I didn’t have much of an expectation about who he was,” Bernard said. “I try not to read this or do that or hear of this from somebody or this or that. One of the things that I really noticed, I’m not going to say that it caught me off guard, but it was very unique, was the positive reinforcement that Tom was giving the guys during those little throwing sessions. There’s no yard markers, there’s no this, no that, it’s just a couple of cones and a guy, three quarterbacks and some receivers, some tight ends and some running backs. It was super casual, but yet he was still handing out positive reinforcement. Not only him, but everybody. Everybody was very communicative on that aspect. It’s one of those things that I noticed that he gave positive reinforcement to everybody.”
Playing for just one other team in his whole career, there’s a process when learning a new scheme. Bernard said he’s coming along well with the new playbook in front of him. By the time training camp comes around, he should be ready to roll.
“There’s always an adjustment that comes with an unfamiliar situation,” Bernard said. “So for me, obviously learning the playbook is key. Then obviously going out and applying that playbook on the field and playing fast. There’s always a learning curve with learning something new and everyday I’m going to continue to keep getting better, hopefully. Continue to keep learning and things will continue to come easier for me. By the time mini-camp or training camp rolls around, I’ll be full tilt and ready to go. I won’t really have to think so much on the field. Right now obviously there’s plenty of thinking going on, it’s a new system, but just make the best of all the opportunities and learn from the mistakes. Just continue to keep getting better everyday.”