Tom Brady insists he still has a ‘great relationship’ with Bruce Arians

Meantime, national criticism over the Bucs’ offensive scheme is reaching a crescendo.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with head coach Bruce Arians on the sidelines after going three-and-out during a first quarter drive on Sunday.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with head coach Bruce Arians on the sidelines after going three-and-out during a first quarter drive on Sunday. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Dec. 1, 2020

Though Bucs coach Bruce Arians hasn’t been shy about publicly criticizing the play of Tom Brady from time to time, the 43-year-old quarterback hasn’t yet fired back.

On Monday night, Brady remained diplomatic, even amid a deluge of criticism over the offense he’s being asked to engineer.

Asked by Westwood One radio’s Jim Gray about Arians’ penchant for publicly calling out players including himself, Brady said, “I’ve got a great relationship with B.A. (Arians), and we talk every day. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and how he runs the team and so forth.”

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Brady’s comments, on his regular Monday Night Football pregame segment, came in the wake of Tampa Bay’s 27-24 loss to the Chiefs that sparked another round of national criticism. Former players, general managers and talking heads have blasted the Bucs’ coaches over an offensive scheme that seems ill-suited for the six-time Super Bowl champ.

“Any time you lose games, a lot of people want to place blame, especially in the media, and they want to pit one player against another player, or a player against a coach and so forth,” Brady said.

“That’s not been my style. ... And I just think about it from a player’s standpoint. I always think about what I need to do better, and I certainly haven’t played to my level of expectation, and I’ve got to do a better job, and that’s what it comes down to for me.”

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Brady, who threw 11 interceptions in a season only twice in the previous eight years, already has 11 in 12 games. The widespread criticism of Tampa Bay’s offense centers on its of lack of pre-snap motion and play-action to help Brady, and a heavy reliance on deep throws. Not helping matters is a run game that ranks 28th in the NFL (96.3 yards per game).

Brady wasn’t about to target any of those specifics Monday.

“We’ve put in a lot of work in over the last three or four months, and it’s a production-based business,” he said.

“So when you win, you get to deal with all the great questions and so forth, and when you lose, you’ve got to deal with the questions of why you’re losing and who’s to blame for losing and all that. But when you’re on the outside, that’s just what you deal with. When you’re on the inside, we don’t think like that.

“I don’t think I’ve ever thought, ‘Man, this is the problem.’ I think you try to critically evaluate how your performance is, how you think you can help the team in a more detailed way, and then you’ve got to go put it to work.”