In the midst of mounting pressure for him to get more involved in the Buccaneers' offensive game planning, coach Bruce Arians said Friday that his choice to delegate is more than just a matter of conscience. Arians's well-documented condition for returning to coaching was that he not call plays. He spent three seasons out of football after retiring as Indianapolis' head coach.
Arians did offer some insight into his decision not to get more involved in the offense, saying it has nothing to do with his desire to remain loyal to quarterback Jameis Winston or keep him from being "coached up" by other members of the staff. Instead, it's because he wants to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to calling the plays. "Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees," Arians said. "I want to make sure I know what they're thinking before they tell me something."
It's an interesting approach for a man who has been so heavily involved in every aspect of the Colts' offense during his three years back at the helm. But it makes sense given that Winston is still learning the offense and there are already five other players on the roster with significant experience calling plays.
Bruce Charles Arians (born October 3, 1952) is an American football coach who currently serves as the head coach of the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL). He formerly served as the Arizona Cardinals' head coach from 2013 to 2017. After the 2014 season, he was named a second time as Coach of the Year. He has also been nominated for NFL Coach of the Year three times.
Arians grew up in El Cajon, California and attended San Diego State University, where he played defensive back for the San Diego State Aztecs football team from 1970 to 1971. He then moved on to play for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1972 to 1977, where he started at cornerback for the first two games of 1973 before being replaced by the more experienced Wayne Smith. In 1974, he led all rookie defenders with seven interceptions and was voted to the Pro Bowl after the season. In 1975, he had another strong year with five interceptions and 57 return yards. In 1976, his role as a starter was reduced due to the emergence of fellow cornerback E. G. Green but he still managed to start 16 games that season.
Bruce Arians had previously "retired." The coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has no intentions to do it again anytime soon.
Arians said he was retiring after the 2017 season but changed his mind. He wants to continue coaching and has expressed an interest in returning to the Bucs' staff under new head coach Adam Gase. "I'm not going anywhere," Arians said. "I've still got a lot to give."
Arians is a long-time assistant under Tony Dungy and Greg Schiano who took over for Dungy after the 2005 season. He went 77-77 during his tenure and never had more than 12 wins in any season. After finishing 7-9 this past year, the Bucs hired Gase away from the Miami Dolphins. Gase will be able to call many of his former players such as Jason Licht (president of football operations) and Brian Flores (defensive coordinator) with whom he developed a close relationship while working together in New York.
Arians is one of the most respected coaches in the NFL and has been mentioned as a possible candidate for other positions within the organization including the open offensive coordinator job. He's also been rumored as a potential replacement for Dungy if he were to retire.
A decade ago, Bruce Arians was regarded as a career assistant whose finest achievement as a member of the Steelers' coaching staff was winning two Super Bowls. Arians has changed the narrative with two Coach of the Year awards and one Super Bowl ring. This year, he won his second Super Bowl title with the Cardinals.
Arians took over a 2-14 Cardinals team and led them to a 13-3 record down the stretch, including wins in each of their final seven games. He is only the third coach in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowls with different teams. The other two are Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin.
Arians turned around the Cardinals' offense when no one else would take them on. Under him, quarterback Carson Palmer had his best season as a pro, leading the league in touchdown passes (33) and passer rating (113.0). Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald also had a stellar season under Arians, catching 91 passes for 1,297 yards and 10 touchdowns. Other than Palmer and Fitzgerald, everyone else on the roster was part of previous Steeler teams. That's not surprising since Arians replaced Mike McCoy after the 2013 season when the Cardinals were 11-5 and were still in contention until late in the season.
Prior to becoming an assistant coach, Arians worked as a defensive back for the Steelers from 1990-2001.
On this night, Licht spoke first, followed by Bucs coach Bruce Arians. The chat lasted around 90 minutes. Brady did the majority of the talking. He's been friends with Licht for years and they stay in touch throughout the season.
In other news, SI's NFL Nation blog reported Sunday that Brady spent more than an hour chatting with Arians during the week leading up to the playoff game.
The two men have a history of connecting on games plans. In 2012, when Licht was the general manager of the Indianapolis Colts, he invited Brady to visit during the offseason. They stayed in contact through Licht's time with the Buccaneers and again this past season when Licht worked with the Cardinals coaching staff during Super Bowl LI.
It appears they are doing it again this year. After all, it wasn't like Brady needed an invitation - the Patriots play in every game. Instead, it seems like he is taking advantage of an opportunity to connect with a friend who may one day be his replacement.
Leftwich, Byron Many in the NFL, particularly Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, have long regarded Byron Leftwich as a rising coaching star. Pro Football Focus appears to agree, ranking the 41-year-old as the league's sixth-best offensive play caller heading into the 2021 season. Leftwich was named the starter after Dirk Koetter was fired following the 2018 season.
Arians said he and Leftwich have been in contact about multiple positions on the field during the offseason. The two-time Super Bowl winner has also expressed interest in returning for another year behind the Bucs' bench. It's possible that could happen if Leftwich gets his wish for more control over game plans. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Leftwich has "expressed interest" in becoming the team's full-time quarterback coach should Mike Vrabel not return next season.
In 2019, Leftwich called the plays for an offense that finished second in the NFC South while posting 4,428 yards and 28 touchdowns across 12 games. He also had six interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown by Atlanta's Keanu Neal) and a 95.3 rating from his quarterback position. Leftwich has been involved in game planning since Arians took over as head coach in 2013. Under Arians, who played for Leftwich in Pittsburgh, the quarterback coach earned the nickname "The Wizard."