Following a 2019 season of disappointment, Tampa Bay coach, Bruce Arians, made it clear that a quarterback change was inevitable. During the offseason, the Buccaneers signed Tom Brady to a two-year contract making them Super Bowl favorites. Ten games into the season, the Buccs are 7-3. However, a Cold War-like tension lingers among the star QB and Head Coach.
Coach Arians’ Remarks
Following a blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints in week 9, coach Arians publicly ridiculed Tom Brady’s decision making. During his press conference the Monday after the week nine loss, Arians repeatedly slammed his quarterback’s decision making. When asked why wide receiver Mike Evans wasn’t involved in the offense, Arians flat out stated that he wasn’t targeted.
Coach Arians historically does not pull his punches, even on his players. Following the week nine matchup with the Saints, Brady had an interception on an attempt to wide receiver Chris Godwin. Coach Arians had this to say:
“The one to Chris [Godwin] — Chris read the route properly, [but] Tom thought he was going deep,” Arians said. “He stopped [and] those things can happen sometimes when you’re doing it on the run.”h/t ProFootballTalk
For a team still building chemistry on offense, these criticisms seem unfair, considering the criticisms are surrounding one of the greatest to play the position. Coach Arians would be wise to tone down his verbal flare-ups for the betterment of his talented team. If memory serves correctly, Tom Brady just left a situation where his head coach no longer believed in him.
Tom Brady answered questions regarding his coach’s criticism following the week nine loss to the Saints. Being the professional he is, Brady all but dismissed his Coach’s words. Brady said, “He’s the Coach. I’m a player. Just Trying to win a game”.
Brady has never been one to criticize anyone publicly; instead, he internalizes it. A player of his calibre doesn’t reach GOAT status from worrying about the negative things people may or may not say.
For a player like Brady, shutting out the negative noise is second nature. The same may not be able to be said about his teammates. For the team’s sake, it would be wise for Coach Arians to tone down his remarks regarding the rest of his team, namely the team’s new star wide receiver.
Arians’ Effect on the Rest of the Buccaneers
A fascinating variable for the Buccaneers this season is their addition of Antonio Brown. The trials and tribulations of Brown are well-known and well documented by head coach Bruce Arians.
Back in March of 2020, Coach Arians solidified his stance that Brown would not be a member of the Buccaneers. Chances are Tom Brady asked the team to sign Brown, which would explain Arians’ ridicule of Brady’s play in week 9.
One thing is sure, Coach Arians’ reservations about Brown were evident in his interview with NBC Sports’ Peter King:
“Mike [Evans] never bi***es,” Arians told King. “I love Mike. Today he didn’t touch the ball till the fourth quarter, but he just wants to win. Chris Godwin, same way. Gronk, same way. If AB’s not that way, then we’re going to have a problem.”
“I don’t foresee any problems. I don’t anticipate any situation where he and I are gonna have a problem. He knows that if there is, it’s a very short-lived contract.”h/t Sporting News
Arians is an old school coach, and that type of mentality won’t jive with many players in today’s NFL. The fact that Arians is so open and honest with his opinions and perspective on his own players, does not bode well for team success.
It is not out of the realm of possibility that other players on the roster see this and wonder if they’re next. Arians has opened the door to this possibility in his dealings with Brady and Brown; he needs to be aware of this. Any small divide in a locker room can grow into something much bigger; and a bigger issue is not something the Buccaneers are looking for. Hopefully Arians rights his missteps before it’s too late.