The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic related to the Tampa Bay Bucs each week.
This week’s topic: Biggest concern about Bucs hiring Arians
Scott Reynolds: That Arians Won’t Be Able To Fix Winston
New Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians is considered to be a home-run hire for Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht. There is a lot to be excited about when it comes to the 66-year old Arians, who has a proven track record as a winner and a developer of quarterbacks in the NFL. Arians has the personality and charisma to change the losing culture in the Tampa Bay locker room, which is desperately needed.
But let’s take an objective look at this hire and identify a few reasons to be concerned. When the Bucs hired two former Super Bowl coaches in Sam Wyche and Lovie Smith there was also plenty of optimism back in 1992 and 2014, respectively. But neither hire panned out.
So what about the Arians hire concerns me? I know the plan is for Arians to come in and be the guy to take Jameis Winston to the next level, but what if that doesn’t happen in 2019? This season is so pivotal to Winston’s future. The Bucs have picked up his fifth-year option for the 2019 campaign, but he’ll be learning a new offense for the first time since his rookie season in 2015 and Winston will probably have some growing pains in that process.
My concern is probably more about Winston’s ability to adapt and actually listen and follow Arians’ developmental instructions than it is about Arians himself. I know Arians will do his part, but his arrival in Tampa Bay won’t automatically make Winston a better quarterback. Although that’s the expectation, that’s not how it works.
Outside of another double-digit losing season, a potential worst-case scenario is that Arians gets the Bucs to 7-9 or 8-8 in 2019 but Winston keeps piling up the turnovers and not enough wins to warrant a contract extension. Then Year 2 under Arians begins with a new quarterback under center – perhaps from the 2019 NFL Draft – or a retread veteran like he had in Arizona with Carson Palmer, and the future at the QB position in Tampa Bay is murky.
And perhaps Arians’ future is too if he doesn’t win enough games in 2020 because the Glazers have shown to have a quick trigger finger when it comes to firing head coaches. Raheem Morris and Dirk Koetter lasted just three years, while Greg Schiano and Smith only got two years in Tampa Bay. If Arians can take Winston’s game to new heights with fewer turnovers and more wins, the future looks bright for the Buccaneers. But if that doesn’t happen in 2019, who knows what the future holds in Tampa Bay?
Mark Cook: Staying Healthy
Bruce Arians loves football. It has been a part of his life since he was in high school, and not being in the game in some form or fashion is most coach’s or players’ nightmare.
But there was a reason Arians stepped down after the 2017 season in Arizona. There was a reason Arians was happy he was let go at Temple as a young, first-time head coach in the 1980s. The stress, and then later with his body fighting him, were two things that forced him away from the game, which is something he loves.
Make no mistake, turning this Bucs team around comes with immense pressure and lofty expectations. And cancer, which is something Arians has had to deal with three times over the last decade or so, is no joke. It is an evil, sneaky bastard and does what it wants no matter how many times you beat it. That doesn’t mean it will ever show itself again, but at age 66, I would imagine every scan or blood work appointment comes with a few days of anxiety.
Hopefully Arians’ health issues are behind him and he has a couple more decades left on this side of the ground. The Bucs were smart to do their due diligence and request he get a full physical when he interviewed over the weekend. That reassurance from doctors most likely was a huge determining factor in offering Arians the job. The last thing this franchise needs is to get some sort of momentum going in a year or two, only to see another health concern derail things. I am not being callous at all. In fact, at age 48 myself, I have come to realize football is just a game and at the end of the day, family, friends – and your overall well being – is way more important than who wins a game on Sunday.
In an ideal world Arians would be coming aboard as a 45-year old football wiz with the same credentials he has now, and no history of health issues. But that isn’t the case, and those are facts. Fingers are crossed that Arians’ health continues to stay good and he leads this team out of its long playoff drought.
Bucs fans deserve it – and Arians does too.
Trevor Sikkema: Top Down Chemistry
I don’t know how to say this other than if Bruce Arians can’t get this Buccaneers ship back on track, I don’t know who can.
The biggest problem with the Buccaneers hasn’t been talent. It hasn’t been destination. It hasn’t been any one thing – it’s everything. One year, it’s the players, the next it’s the coaches, the next it’s the salary cap, the next it’s injuries, the next it’s the kicking game, the next it’s just terrible luck. The Bucs have tried young coaches, old caches, experienced coaches, disciplined coaches, players coaches; they’ve tried young quarterbacks, old quarterbacks, a featured running game, a committee running game – you get the point.
With this Tampa Bay team it has always been something. Sometimes you start to wonder if there’s something in the water down here.
But Arians could be different, and he should be different. Arians comes in with a winning background and a winning mentality from every spot he’s coached at over the last 10 years. If there is any coach since Jon Gruden who would know how to set up a real winning culture in Tampa Bay, it’s Arians.
To win, you have to win from the top all the way down. The Buccaneers have never had that. It’s always been something to snag them along the way. With Arians and Licht having a previous relationship, with Arians and new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles having a previous relationship, and with Arians and quarterback Jameis Winston having a previous relationship, you pray to God that this is when the Buccaneers finally move as one.
There are no guarantees in this business. Every time you start somewhere new, even if it’s with similar people, there’s always a chance chemistry could go awry. But the table is set. Just string it together and the wins will come under Arians.