Bucs coach Bruce Arians: ‘Tom and I are fine’

Hall of Famer Brett Favre questioned whether Arians should call out Tom Brady for two interceptions.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with head coach Bruce Arians on the field during a scrimmage last month at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with head coach Bruce Arians on the field during a scrimmage last month at Raymond James Stadium. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Sept. 16, 2020|Updated Sept. 16, 2020

TAMPA ― Tom Brady fans from the Berkshires to Bradenton were shocked ― a few were outraged ― when he was called out by Bucs head coach Bruce Arians for throwing two interceptions in the team’s 34-23 loss at New Orleans Sunday.

They have wondered aloud if there is trouble in paradise brewing between Brady and Arians.

But on Wednesday, Arians put that to rest.

“Tom and I are fine, so I don’t really care what other people think," Arians said. "It’s just what he and I think. We left the stadium fine (and) we showed up today fine, so there (is) nothing to talk about.”

The scrutiny began right after Sunday’s game, when Arians described Brady’s two interceptions.

“One was a miscommunication between (Brady) and Mike (Evans),” Arians said after the game Sunday. "He thought Mike was going down the middle — it was a different coverage ― Mike read it right. He should have been across his face, but Tom overthrew it.

“The other one was a screen pass with an outlet called. He threw the outlet and it was a pick-six. Bad decision."

Arians doubled down on Monday, saying he needed to see more “determination" from Brady in practice this week but admitted Evans had run the wrong route.

Those comments lit up social media. Apparently, in 20 years with the Patriots, Brady was never criticized publicly by coach Bill Belichick.

Radio hosts on WEEI in Boston said Arians had thrown Brady under the bus. Even Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre said Arians had made a mistake.

“I think the last person you want to call out after the first game of the year is Tom Brady,” Favre told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “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 okay with it?’ If they have that truce, great. If not, I think you are barking up the wrong tree. Dissension could easily enter quickly.”

It’s important to note that Arians has coached Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer, to name a few. You can bet Brady did his homework on Arians before choosing to play for him over Belichick in 2020.

Arians was asked Wednesday if he was amused by all the criticism of his public critique of Brady.

“I was amused when they handed us the Lombardi trophy in July," Arians said. “It’s part of the business. You go with it and it’s one week at a time (and) one day at a time. We win a few games in a row and everybody will be back on the bandwagon (and) happy. It’s just part of the game. If we lose this week, the world will come to an end.”

Turnovers are missing ingredient

The Bucs defense did a pretty good job overall against the Saints considering the poor field position they were given.

Tampa Bay had a field goal blocked and muffed a kickoff Sunday.

But the defense held Saints quarterback Drew Brees to 160 yards passing, receiver Michael Thomas to three catches for 17 yards and running back Alvin Kamara to 12 carries for 16 yards.

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter

We’ll send you news and analysis on the Bucs, Lightning, Rays and Florida’s college football teams every day.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

What was missing were turnovers.

“Overall, as far as a defense, I feel like we executed Coach (Todd) Bowles' game plan,'' linebacker Devin White said. "The only thing was I felt like we should’ve been able to get more sacks and a couple turnovers. That’s what we kind of pride ourselves on is getting takeaways, so if the offense comes out and struggles early, we kind of get them back in the game and get them going.

“I don’t think we did that well, but we ended up making up for it, playing hard and just being sound. I think that helped us out a lot. As far as the things I think our defense needs to continue doing — that’s just dominating and limiting the mental mistakes, like jumping offside or (getting) a PI (pass interference penalty called) when we could’ve had a pick ― just little stuff like that. It was the first game and the first jitters. At the end of the day, I felt like we played well. But from the way we practiced today, I know we still know we’ve got more to prove.”