FOXBORO (CBS) — With Tom Brady set to return to Gillette Stadium on Sunday as a member of the Buccaneers, this feels more like a Super Bowl week than Week 4 of the regular season. It is, of course, no Super Bowl, as the Patriots sit at 1-2 on the season.

But the hysteria will only grow as Sunday gets closer. The Patriots are doing their best to do what they do best, which is keep things focused on the task at hand.

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But still, it’s hard not to feed into the fanfare surrounding the return of a legend like Tom Brady. “It is what it is” simply won’t suffice this time around.

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels needs to worry about Tampa Bay’s defense against his struggling New England offense this weekend. But on Tuesday, he took time to reflect on all the years — and the all wins — that he shared with Brady, and look ahead to what should be one of the most interesting Sundays he has experienced in New England.

“It should be a lot of fun. We are obviously very good friends and close and that should never change. I know he’ll be excited to compete and try to win and play his best game. We’re preparing to try to do the same thing,” McDaniels said on his Tuesday afternoon Zoom with reporters. “I’m used to coaching against players I used to coach and coaches I coached with. There is an added sentiment to the game and I wouldn’t expect this game to be any different. I know he’ll be ready to go and I know we’ll be ready to go. Hopefully we can put our best performance of the out there and compete as hard as we can and try to win.”

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Brady left New England after 20 seasons and immediately adapted to Bruce Arians’ offense in Tampa. He put up some ridiculous numbers en route to leading the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl LV win over the Kansas City Chiefs, and now at the age of 44, Brady continues to play at a high level. He leads the NFL with 10 touchdown passes to just two interceptions, and has completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 1,087 yards.

After all those years by Brady’s side, McDaniels isn’t surprised with anything Brady accomplishes on the football field.

“Super impressed. Not surprised — I think there is a difference between those two. I would never put anything past him as far as accomplishing anything in this game,” said McDaniels. I’m not surprised he’s acclimated to their style of football and play as well as he’s played. His work ethic allows him to do accomplish many, many things.

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“I’m happy for him and his family and his career,” added McDaniels. “I’m looking forward to competing against him on Sunday.”

CBSBoston.com Staff