While liberally dispersing culpability for Sunday night’s embarrassing loss to the Saints, head coach Bruce Arians pointed to coaching, quarterbacking, communication, even a concussion.
The absence of left guard Ali Marpet indirectly led to the Bucs' significant struggles in pass protection during their 38-3 loss, the second-year coach indicated.
Marpet remains in concussion protocol, Arians said Monday, leaving his status for Sunday’s game at Carolina uncertain.
Tom Brady was sacked three times — including on back-to-back plays — and hit nine total times in the prime-time debacle. On Monday, Arians indicated the struggles on the left side had to do with beleaguered veteran left tackle Donovan Smith playing alongside Joe Haeg, the fill-in for Marpet.
“It was a rough one (for Smith), but part of it was Joe Haeg next to him,” Arians said. “They were both getting hit with powerful twists and stuff, and they haven’t worked much together. That showed really quick.”
Arians also bore some of the blame for going away from the run early and leaving the Smith-Haeg tandem in perpetual pass-protection mode when the Saints built a 21-0 lead.
“Offensively, we got out of that game plan so fast, I felt terrible for the left side of the line because there was no threat of the run, and we had I thought a really good plan for the running game," Arians said.
"When you go down 21-0, we tried to jump-start with the two-minute drive even just to get something going, it just didn’t work. We got our (butt) kicked pretty good.”