Bruce Arians spoke to the media on Saturday following the Bucs 13-12 victory over the Cleveland Browns the night before. While Arians claimed that the Bucs’ offensive line, “got their ass kicked,” in his post-game press conference, Tampa Bay’s head coach walked back on those comments the following day after a chance to look atthe tape.
“I thought Donovan Smith played really well,” Arians said. “Ali Marpet played solid, Ryan Jensen played solid, Alex Cappa got beat on a twist, he got beat on a spin move, and Demar Dotson got beat once.”
“I thought on that 10-play drive we had a nice run/pass mix, we moved the ball really well with a couple of third down conversions. Overall it wasn’t their best night, but it wasn’t their worst either.”
Arians added that two of the five sacks Jameis Winston took on the night, possibly three, were due to his quarterback keeping his eyes downfield too long when the offense could have converted multiple completions and two first downs had Winston checked the ball down to the underneath routes.
All in all, Arians stated that sometimes, after going back and looking at the tape, some things aren’t necessarily as bad as they look in the moment while other things aren’t quite as good as they look. One thing that the Bucs’ head coach said was just as good as advertised was the defensive performance, specifically from the team’s defensive backs.
“Defensively, last night I thought we played good,” Arians said. “After watching the tape I thought it was really, really good. It’s the best communication we’ve had on the field, on the sidelines, I thought our defense was outstanding. I’m singling out Jordan Whitehead, M.J. Stewart had a hell of a game, I thought Will Gholston had a good game and all of our corners.”
Another key development that Arians touched on was the injury to backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who suffered a dislocation in his throwing shoulder during his first series of action on Friday night.
“Blaine’s injury is not as bad as it looks,” Arians stated. “So we’ll see how that goes.”
Arians added Gabbert won’t be ready to go for Thursday night’s game against the Cowboys, but that he wouldn’t have played in the game even if he was healthy. As for bringing in a quarterback in his place, Arians believes the first option the team will look at is Vincent Testaverde, who knows the offense after working out with the team during rookie mini camp before being released and added for another short stint in training camp.
With just a week left for the NFL teams to cut their roster down to the regular season’s 53-man limit, Arians reiterated that the team is always looking to improve however that may be, with cuts inevitably looming while outside additions may be made after players are cut from other rosters around the league.
“I think at every position, if there’s a better player available,” Arians answered when asked which positions still had spots that weren’t finalized in his mind. “The fifth guy at every position, the seventh and eighth offensive linemen, the sixth and seventh defensive linemen, all of those guys. Don’t relax.”
One area that has been a thorn in Tampa Bay’s side for years at this point has been the kicker position, but now it seems that the Bucs are facing a good problem to have while Matt Gay and Cairo Santos continue their kicking battle into the team’s final week of the preseason. Arians commented that the kicking game, along with the defense, is the spot where he has seen the biggest improvement since taking over as head coach.
The Bucs will be back to practice on Monday as they prepare to head to Dallas for the team’s fourth and final preseason match up against the Cowboys on Thursday.