Buccaneers’ head coach Bruce Arians does not care which players are vaccinated and which players are not. He will be setting the rules for what players can and can not do this season in order to minimize the risks that we’ve already seen start to creep into the NFL landscape.
On Tuesday, Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop tested positive for COVID-19 following a dinner he had with some former Tennessee Titans teammates. The Titans’ head coach, Mike Vrabel, tested positive Sunday following the joint practices and preseason game in Tampa last week.
The Bucs’ first week opponent - the Dallas Cowboys - now have six players on the reserve/COVID list just fifteen days away from kickoff.
When speaking to the media, Arians laid it out in black-and-white for his expectations this season when it comes to the way players conduct themselves;
“For us, life is not normal. We’re pretty much under the same protocols as last year. Just because that’s the way it is, especially living here. With Tennessee coming in and going out to dinner, they found out the hard way and so did Ryan. We can only tell them so much but once we get to 53 – even this weekend, our guys are going to make a bunch of sacrifices that you have to make now. Families at the hotel, all of those things are all out the window.
There’s league rules and then there are my rules. They aren’t going anywhere. We’re doing the same as last year. I don’t give a crap if they’re vaccinated or not. They’re not going anywhere.”
Following the strict guidelines of last season, the Bucs fared pretty well on the COVID front. Devin White and Ronald Jones missed games at the end of the season, but that was the extent of the issues the team had. Following those same guidelines this year makes sense if the team wants to take steps to replicate the outcome of the 2020 season.
On COVID protocols: "I don't give a crap if they're vaccinated or not. They ain't going anywhere." pic.twitter.com/yDJA7688mX— Sports by Tampa Bay Times (@TBTimes_Sports) August 25, 2021
You’d like to believe that players that took team friendly deals to return for a shot at a second consecutive Super Bowl wouldn’t have any problem adhering to the restrictions Arians is putting in place. The motto has been “One Team, One Cause” and if this is the route the head coach believes they need to follow in order to reach that plateau, the players are likely to get on board.