Speculation of frayed tensions in the new partnership between Tom Brady and Bruce Arians has been rife in the NFL world following comments from Arians in the aftermath of Tampa Bay’s disappointing opening loss to the New Orleans Saints.
In his first game with the Buccaneers, Brady looked to have settled in well as his offense marched down the pitch during their opening drive and converted for the touchdown. However, the rest of the game was mired by mistakes by both Brady and the rest of the Bucs roster as head coach Arians looked on and saw special teams mix-ups, unnecessary penalties and two interceptions thrown by Brady.
The second pick was a poor throw intended to Justin Watson on the sideline and was taken to the house by the Saints defense. It was a stretch of play that reminded Bucs fans of their previous mistake-ridden quarterback Jameis Winston and surely would have left Arians seething on the sideline.
“It speaks for itself,” Arians said following the game. “If you throw an out route and you don’t throw it low and outside – that hasn’t been the case up until that one. [He] was a little bit late on it and it probably [would have been] a better decision to go somewhere else with the ball.”
“He’s had it before. I mean, he knows how to bounce back. He knew he didn’t play very well. It’s not what he expects from himself nor do we expect. I would expect him to have a little more grit, a little more determination this week.”
“He looked like Tom Brady in practice all the time, so it’s kind of unusual to see that in the ballgame because they didn’t do the things that we didn’t get ready for,” the head coach said Monday. “Everything they did, we thought we were ready for. Some wide receivers have to do a better job of winning one-on-one when (Brady) decides to go their way. He put us in the right run checks a couple times. It was a learning experience that way.”
“We can’t say we were out of sync because we started out as good as you can start out right down the field. Then we don’t get any more chunk plays other than pass interference penalties. So, yeah, I think it’s a great learning experience. It’s just Round 1 of a 16-round fight and we’ll learn from it.”
“It’s just a situation where all that verbiage, when you’re under the guns, it’s different,” Arians said. “And now you’re getting hit for the first time, too. So it’s all different.”
Many inside the NFL world were surprised with Arians strong comments towards his new quarterback, considering it was his first game in a brand-new team and offense in a year in which preparation has been unusually limited.
“Getting to Bruce Arians’ comments, true or not, I think the last person you want to call out after the first game of the year is Tom Brady,” legendary Packers quarterback Brett Favre said. “Now, maybe they had a mutual truce going into the game, going into the season. ‘Hey, I’m going to be hard on you. I want the guys to know we’re going to treat you the same even though technically I’m not, so are you OK with it?’ If they have that truce, great. If not, I think you are barking up the wrong tree.”
However, throughout his time in Tampa Bay, Arians has been critical of all of his players when the need has arisen, and it was not just Brady who felt the force of Arian’s wrath following the sloppy loss. Bucs wide receivers were also told by Arians that they needed to do a better job and the veteran coach spoke of his disappointment with the unnecessary penalties and costly special teams mistakes.
Brady seemed nonplussed by Arians’ post-match comments when asked for his response by reporters and chose to spend little time or effort on his reply.
“He’s a coach,” Brady said. “I’m a player. Just trying to win a game.”
Arians also chose to glaze over the media response to his comments after the Saints game and shut down any suggestion of trouble in the relationship he has with his quarterback. The 67-year-old will now turn his attention to next weekend, with the Bucs facing another NFC South divisional rival in the Carolina Panthers, who opened the season with a 34-30 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Arians may have further headaches as star wide receiver duo Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are carrying injuries and are questionable to face the Panthers.
“Tom and I are fine. I don’t really care what other people think. So it’s just what he and I think,” Arians said with a chuckle. “We left the stadium fine. We showed up today fine. There ain’t nothin’ to talk about.”