Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians is not one to use “coach speak” all that often, if ever. He’s quite literally known for being the type of coach that will say what’s on his mind, which is exactly what he did on Monday in response to what he saw from his offense during practice.
After the team had a day off on Sunday, it came back to the AdventHealth Training Center for its first practice of the week leading up to Saturday’s preseason opener against the Bengals. Arians was clear that he liked what he saw from the Tampa Bay defense, but he was none too pleased about the offense’s performance throughout the morning:
“Really good practice defensively today. I thought it was one of our best start-to-finish practices defensively, and probably the worst offensive practice we’ve had in three years. Kind of a pattern of behavior now: after a day off, our offense just stinks. They’ve got to break that habit. Defensively, they answered the bell. They came out and dominated the entire practice. It was good to see.”
Amid the praise for Todd Bowles’ defense, the head coach had some pointed words for his offense and pointed out that it’s become a trend for that unit to come out sluggish after a day off. When asked if he could say why that’s become an issue, he had this to say:
“Ask them. You can’t be warned more than every week. Dropped passes, missed assignment on basic plays – it’s just a lack of concentration.”
According to reports from media members in attendance for practice, it was a lighter kind of day for Tom Brady, who returned to Tampa around 2 a.m. after attending Sunday night’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Ceremony. In fact, Arians said that he did speak with his starting quarterback about a day off, but the seven-time Super Bowl champion wanted to be out there.
However, whether it was Brady or another one of the team’s quarterbacks out there leading the offense, things went wrong. And it sure sounds like quarterback play wasn’t necessarily the issue. Jon Ledyard of Pewter Report mentioned on Twitter after practice that there were drops from several receivers, and not just from guys near the bottom of the depth chart:
Brady was great today, but got less reps than usual. Most first team reps I’ve seen from Gabbert.— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) August 9, 2021
Lots of drops today. Evans, Howard with a couple, Darden, Tyler Johnson, Fournette, Gronk… https://t.co/oIkP6kzSGX
Arians noted the drops and missed assignments from a number of guys and chalked it up to a lack of concentration. And while these days happen throughout the course of camp, it sounds like the two-time NFL Coach of the Year is tired of these sluggish days becoming a habit for his offense. When asked what he can do to put a stop to such a trend, he continued to deliver some sharp criticism:
“Well, back in the day we’d be out here running the sh-- out of them, but that don’t work anymore. You go to jail for that stuff now. They’ve just got to grow up and man up. It’s been identified so they’ve got to fix it. I’m not going to fix it, you’ve got to fix it.”
You have to think the Buccaneer offense will want to respond in a big way after such heavy criticism. We’ll have to wait and see what that unit has to offer on Tuesday against a defense that is certainly full of confidence.