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.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston and Bruce Arians
Bucs QB Jameis Winston and Bruce Arians – Photo by: Getty Images

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.

Former Cardinals HC Bruce Arians
Former Cardinals HC Bruce Arians – Photo by: Getty Images

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.

Todd Bowles and Bruce Arians
Todd Bowles and Bruce Arians – Photo by: Getty Images

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.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

31 COMMENTS

  1. Good thoughts Scott, Mark, Trevor. My opinion is it’s about winning now and making it to the Playoffs. We needed some coaching improvement and some player improvement, I believe we have made the first step as to coaching improvement. I’m on the train! Go Bucs!

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    • Glad you didn’t stay away long my friend.

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  2. To all you Winston fans Bruce Arians is known for being a mathematician and a historian he starts watching Tampa Buccaneer film for the first time starts looking at the statistics of Jameis Winston and the 21 million dollar contract he might have other thoughts and couple that for the first time in years the Bucs free agent phone might start ringing from players in NFL that might want join the winning that Arians should bring. NEXT year’s roster is not set until next year after preseason.

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    • You do know he’s worked with Winston before, don’t you? I’m sure he more than knows what jameis is capable of and what he needs to fix. It’s part of the reason people believe he even wanted to coach here. Jameis has a very good second half of the season. His problem has been being consistent. Arians is a preacher of technique and forming a bond with his quarterbacks unlike Koetter who repeatedly called jameis our yet would defend his terrible offensive line. If jameis reverts back to his turnover prone ways, then yes, the team needs to look elsewhere. But don’t be foolish enough to think Winston is going anywhere this year. Not sure why that’s so hard to get through to you.

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      • When did Arians work with Jameis? This is news to me. Obviously Arians has seen Jameis play. All he needs is a TV to do that. I’m just wondering when he “worked” with him in a coach/player capacity.

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        • He worked with Winston when Winston was in the ninth grade when he conducted a quarterback camp that’s it

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        • In high school Winston attended a camp that Arians was attending and they worked a few weeks together. Not saying it seems as much but Arians has brought it up himself so obviously jameis stuck out in his mind

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      • You do know that Winston has done nothing but lost since he’s been in this league and owns the record for the most turnovers you think the coach might be a little concerned about that

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        • Yes, he doesn’t worry about Winston’s win loss record because people who understand football know a quarterback does not lose or won a game by himself. This is a tired conversation you keep talking about. Guess what, they lost to Atlanta last game of the season. If you count that as jameis fault then your clearly his against the man. I’ve never said he’s perfect and he’s certainly lost games by himself in his career, but if you think it’s all on him for this teams woes than you’ll just never learn

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  3. I truly hope this works out, but past success is never a good indicator for future success. It is dealing with the present problems that will determine if they win or not next year. At a high level they are turnovers, the sometimes lack of a running game, and defensive breakdowns. Fix those three things and the chances for success skyrocket.

    The only scary thing is this is something the Bucs have done many times before – taking former head NFL coaches and then having a disaster. They are:
    Leeman Bennett – First Falcons (47-44 with multiple playoff appearances) then Tampa (4-28)
    Sam Wyche – First Cincinnati (61-66 appeared in a Super Bowl, multiple playoff appearances) then Tampa (23-41)
    Jon Gruden – First Raiders (40-28, lost Super Bowl, multiple playoffs), then Tampa (57-55, won Super Bowl, multiple playoffs – one very successful Tampa transfer, and only other winning coach besides Tony Dungy, who won AFTER Tampa with the Colts)
    Lovie Smith – First Chicago (81-63 with multiple playoff appearances and one Super Bowl loss), and then Tampa (8-24).

    So overall, Tampa’s history at picking up winners is pretty terrible. Bennett won extensively in Atlanta but was a disaster in Tampa. Wyche won a lot in Cincinnati and made a Super Bowl but was mediocre in Tampa. Gruden was a winner in LA and then won in Tampa (the only one on this list to do this). Lovie Smith won extensively in Chicago making a Super Bowl but was a disaster in Tampa. See the general pattern? Only positive – the last time we gave up draft picks for a coach it did work out well- that was Jon Gruden.

    I admit this has to do a lot with the management as well as the coaching. If the management and the coach do not have the talent on the field, no matter who the coach is you are going to lose. This list is a little slanted because back in the earlier days when Culverhouse was making the decisions, he was bankrupting the team while his rental/building empire got a lot of the money his football team made. It made it hard for ANY coach to succeed. If you look at the Glazers alone only hiring former NFL winners, Gruden and Smith, they are 1 for 2 in success.

    It is why I wrote before and I will write again now – this is a good move, but if the talent is not on the team he will fail just as badly as Smith did most likely. We are now going to find out if Jason Licht is a good GM and his draft/talent evaluation team is good or not. We also will find out once and for all if Winston can be a consistent QB or not. Either way we will know the true value of the current management structure by December next year. The team’s record will say it all.

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  4. Health is obvious greatest concern, but yes biggest concern is that Winston isn’t the answer at QB. (I must say I personally have written him off and would be looking to deal with Gruden for Raiders QB Derek Carr since he appears itching to get new QB). My answer to limits of Arians power to develop QBs, specifically Winston, is to draft one this year, or bring in Carr, Foles, other? (thinking with 2nd pick, Will Grier?), if available or possibly Duke QB to develop this year while implementing new offense! If Winston fails can be grooming new QB in wings to take over next year if Bucs move on from Winston project. But has to be now, this year, might even require using 1st pick on best available QB per Arians wishes? Then Arians would be developing the future QB, one way or the other!! If we don’t invest in additional QB now, yes Arians hire will be another failure! And we should have been hiring young coach, like Dallas guy, Coach Richard, who I preferred anyway. {I played against Arians Temple team in 80’s, against Todd Bowles when played at U of Delaware with Rich Gannon as our QB and we one everytime!, D1AA team beat D1 team!}

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  5. 10 minutes after the hire you’re talking about concerns? Come on. There are no concerns until concerns develop under the new coach. This is the best situation the Glazers could have ended up with. The real concern for them was no one buying tickets for 2019. That was a concern. Now that is no longer a concern.

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  6. I’m surprised none of you at P.R. are concerned that we may be switching to a 3-4 defense, and have never run that, nor do we currently have the personal to do so. I watched his football life piece, and my biggest take away from it was he wanted Bowles as his D.C. in Chicago who runs a 3-4, and the Bears were set, and wanted to continue to run the 4-3 Tampa two. I don’t see Bowles wanting to switch now for players we have. I do agree with Scott for a change that Arians go for it mentality might not work for Winston, who needs to take less risks, not more.

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    • An even bigger concern is that Arians named as his offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich .. that would be the guy who coached his Arizona offense last season to no. 32 out of 32 teams this year in scoring offense. Considering that we already had under Koetter and Monken the no. 3 ranked offense by yards, but only the 12th ranked offense by points, we’re going the wrong way in the area that is most important- scoring points.

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  7. So much for the honeymoon! LOL

    I love this hire, the addition of Bowles as DC. Let’s see how this new staff evaluates and builds the roster.

    I’m on board! Go Bucs!!!

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  8. Nothing like a negative article to excite the fan base.

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    • What excites the fan base is winning.

      Nothing else matters.

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      • Downvoting winning.

        You voters are nuts, sorry.

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  9. Two things happened this past season for Winston that have a bearing on his turn-around. First, he was benched for the first time in his life. Second, he took up the practice of meditation.

    Those of you who have never learned any meditation techniques will not realize how significant that is. Meditation practises give you tools to acquire a self discipline that you might not have had before. It also allows you to “exorcise” those inner demons (sometimes well hidden) that would take years of expensive psychiatry to accomplish.

    Having maneuvered my way to a reasonable high degree of success in a high stress career I attest to the value of having learned meditation at a relatively young age. I came upon meditation after a after a string of failures and personal crises in my early youth. I was one of those “troubled youths” throughout my teenage years and into my mid twenties.

    Now I am retired and approaching seventy-two years of age. I have had no migraines, no ulcers, no heart problems and no cancer to this point.

    My point is I have seen Winston turn the corner this past year. Arians won’t have to “fix” him so much as guide him to that highest level his potential will allow. Arians will be able to focus on finishing the build of offensive support around Jameis. He will also be able to focus on fixing the defense and turn the Buccaneers into a winning franchise again. Arians will change the culture here by dint of who he is. Realism and optimism can merge in this situation.
    _____________
    Go Bucs!!!!

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  10. You want to fix Jameis? Fix the crappy defense and special teams and watch the wins pile up. Oh yea, and a running game would be nice. This town is so clueless as it relates to turnovers etc. Nick Foles throws two ints in the “PLAYOFFS” and the Eagles still win and he is called a hero. Why? Because their defense does not suck out loud for the past 4 YEARS and are able to pick the offense up sometimes if the offense makes a mistake!!! The qb can’t win all by himself every game. It would be nice to have a defense that does not give up 70+% completion, 95% red zone TDs and 30+ points a game (many times in a half 30+ pts). No, Jameis is not perfect but he has played well enough for the bucs to have way more wins if you only want to look at wins to determine the success of the Qb because obviously this town feels as though the defense, special teams etc plays no role in the w/L record.

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    • They just want to blame the QB instead of any other factor contributing to a loss.

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  11. Fixing Jameis…. Once again. Very least of the issues. Look at the facts

    Defense 27th Total
    Rushing attack 29th (this is with Winston leading the team in 3 games)
    FG% made 29th
    Winston total QBR.. 8th (including the most horrific game of his entire career)

    One of the biggest things Arians will do as a coach is publicly show confidence in Winston. Koetter, and many of you liked this, didn’t mind placing all of the blame on Winston. Arian has watched the film. He knows what he has in Winston. Winston should, can and will improve under Arians. My question is can the rest of the team catch up.

    Biggest concern with Arians: Can he develop the rushing attack/O-line so that play action means something.

    My biggest concerns more in line with Trevors. Even with his huge personality, can he quickly change the culture of this group.

    And also with surferdude, how is switching to a hybrid defense going to affect the personnel. Can JPP stand up as an outside LB, I think he can but does this suit his skillset best. Will Beckwith be stout and healthy enough to man the MLB in a 3-4 (because he can also operate as a 4-3 interior LB), Kwon isn’t an interior 3-4 MLB by any stretch, could he transition to an OLB. Will Noah Spence finally settle in on a weight and show up as a rush 3-4 OLB? Then GMC.. can he evolve into the Calais Cambell type that transitioned between the 3 tech and a 3-4 end in AZ?? On the secondary, can the Bucs lure Tyrann Mathieu over? How will VHIII react to playing press on the outside with Davis? The defense has serious questions on every level in a Todd Bowles scheme.

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  12. Aside from the silly giddiness of some Bucs fans over this hire, it is worth noting that Arians has been a popular guy with the media and some fans because of how he talks and acts. His results on the scoreboard are good, but not outstanding – his record at Arizona is about the same as was Lovie Smith at Chicago, with the exception that at least Lovie got his Bears to a Super Bowl, which Arians never did.

    Thomas Bassinger at Tampa Bay Times has a excellent summary of Arians’ results per DVOA, which really aren’t that good- mediocre to bad all but one season at Arizona, which seemed to happen mainly because Carson Palmer had his best season ever, from which he went retrograde thereafter as did Arians.

    Arians is obviously capable of winning in the NFL … exactly like Lovie Smith proved he was capable of winning in the NFL at an even higher level. But what did hiring Lovie buy the Bucs but terrible results.

    The other concern is that Arians, once his bubble burst after his first three seasons of success, his results went down hill to mediocrity and he quit on his team. This may be a four year contract with a fifth year option, but if Arians comes out and produces more like the last two years he coached, chances are pretty high that he retires again, whether due to physical health or just weariness of the NFL grind, which is a very heavy load for any head coach, let alone someone in the twilight of his career.

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    • Just what, if anything, do you like about the team for which you profess to be a fan? You’re like Mikey, the kid who hated everything, from the old cereal commercial.

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      • And yet he calls everyone a troll for making valid statements when all he ever does is complain. The only way Naples will be happy is if he himself is the coach, quarterback, and GM. Only then will he talk positive about this team.

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        • No – stop confusing yourself with “everybody” – you are a unique troll and your comment here is absolutely prototypical of your trolling which focuses entirely on going after other commenters instead of adding to the conversation which non-trolls – who make up the vast majority of commenters here – do as a routine contribuition.

          You are a troll and nothing but a troll, all the time.

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          • Again, your confusing yourself with what I comment on. Your constant “I’m always right” attitude screams of a young man who was always picked last in sports. You constantly tell everyone their opinion is wrong and that you are the higher power here. Well your not, troll, so keep with the negative comments and me as well as all the other posters can continue to show we care with down votes. Stay thirsty troll

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      • I liked the Buccaneers when Malcolm Glazer ran the franchise. It’s been a freaking disaster ever since he suffered his stroke and his incompetent sons took over.

        Of that there is no doubt, cannot even be debated at all. The only metric is wins and losses, and whether a team makes the playoffs each season or doesn’t.

        The Arians hire is not a bad hire – but it is a mediocre hire. We continue to have a bad owner, and a bad GM. 27-53 – that is the score.

        I don’t support or cheer mediocrity or badness. The Baby Glazers had yet another chance to stop messing up the Bucs, and chose instead to stay the (bad) course.

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  13. I didn’t even read this article. BA hasn’t even done a press conference yet and your writing an article about concerns. SMH
    GO BUCS!!!

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    • There were concerns before Arians was hired .. in case you didn’t notice. Arians is not a miracle man, he is a retread coach who went downhill on his last and only head coaching gig.

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  14. i would argue the wyche hire worked in that it laid the foundation for future success

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