Bruce Arians moves to front office; Buccaneers name Todd Bowles head coach

Super Bowl-winning head coach Bruce Arians will be transitioning from his coaching duties to a role in the Buccaneers’ front office as Senior Football Consultant, advising General Manager Jason Licht, the team announced Wednesday.

In addition, the team named defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as the franchise’s new head coach.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Buccaneers are doing away with the remaining two years on Bowles’ defensive coordinator contract and are giving him a new five-year deal.

Bowles takes over the Buccaneers following a three-year stint as the team’s defensive coordinator, where he transformed the unit into one of the most productive, opportunistic defenses in the NFL.

“I am appreciative of the Glazer family and Jason Licht for having faith in me to take on this role, and to Coach Arians for his support and guidance over the past four decades.” Bowles said via a statement from the team. “Tampa has become home for my family, and we are excited to remain part of this community for years to come. As an organization, we have all the pieces in place to continue the winning standard that has been established here in recent years. I am eager to get started with our players, coaching staff, and front office in preparation for the 2022 season.”

The 58-year-old Bowles joined the Buccaneers after spending the previous four seasons as the head coach of the New York Jets (2015-18). Under Bowles, the Jets posted one of the best run defenses in the NFL, holding teams to just 4.00 yards per carry, the sixth-lowest figure in the NFL during that span, and allowing only 44 rushing touchdowns, tied for the eighth-fewest in that timeframe. Bowles’ Jets defense also allowed opposing offenses to convert only 36.0 percent of third downs, the fourth-lowest mark in the league. Opposing passers completed just 60.6 percent of their passes against the Jets under Bowles, the third-lowest mark in the NFL.

Arians, 69, concludes a 46-year coaching career, including his last nine leading NFL franchises. With the Buccaneers from 2019-2021, Arians amassed a 31-18 (.633) regular season record and a 5-1 (.833) postseason record, including a victory in Super Bowl LV following the 2020 season. In 2021, he directed Tampa Bay to its first NFC South division title since 2007 and victory in the Wild Card Round. The Buccaneers’ 36 combined regular season and postseason victories over the last three seasons are the fourth-most in the NFL.

He is a two-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year, winning the award following the 2012 season with the Indianapolis Colts and the 2014 season with the Arizona Cardinals. Including his 9-3 record as interim head coach of Indianapolis in 2012, Arians’ .635 winning percentage (89-51-1) ranks eighth among coaches who have coached at least 100 games in the Super Bowl era.  Arians is Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in regular season and postseason winning percentage, while his .619 regular season winning percentage as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals is the best in that franchise’s history.

Here is a statement from Arians on his retirement:

“I have spent most of the last 50 years of my life on the sidelines as a football coach in one form or another. Today, I have made the decision to move from the sidelines into another role with the Buccaneers front office, assisting Jason Licht and his staff.

“I love football. I love the relationships, the strategy, the competition—everything. It has been one hell of a ride, but I know this is the right time for me to make this transition.

“So why now?

“The simple answer is that I have accomplished more than I ever dreamed I could during this incredible coaching journey. Winning Super Bowl LV at our home stadium, with my mom and family in attendance, was really the last item I wanted to check off my career bucket list. For me, this is about more than just trying to add more wins to my coaching record.

“This team is in a much better place than it was three years ago due to Jason’s great work and the Glazer family’s commitment to winning. Before you start thinking this is about my health, don’t. This is the best I have felt in many years and I’m looking forward to helping this team continue winning through my new role. 

“I want to focus on what I can give back to this incredible game that has provided so much for me and my family. I really began thinking about my personal transition plan earlier this offseason. I wanted to ensure when I walked away that Todd Bowles would have the best opportunity to succeed. So many head coaches come into situations where they are set up for failure, and I didn’t want that for Todd. Tom’s decision to come back, along with Jason and his staff doing another great job of keeping the core of this team intact during free agency, confirmed for me that it was the right time to pass the torch to Todd. I began conversations with Jason and the Glazer family a few weeks ago about a possible succession plan. Their understanding and support mean the world to me. 

“Todd is a great football coach and I know he will do excellent things here with the Buccaneers. The coaching staff has been crucial to the success we have enjoyed here the past few seasons. Coaching is about teaching players, and this staff has some of the best teachers in the business. 

“Professionally, I have been blessed to work for many great organizations. I’d like to thank Michael Bidwell for turning my dream of being an NFL head coach into a reality in 2013. I would especially like to acknowledge the entire Glazer family for bringing me to Tampa Bay in 2019 and providing all the support and vision a coach could ask for. None of this success would have been possible without their complete buy-in and backing.

“There are too many people who have played a part in my coaching career to mention them all now. To all of them, I say: Thank You. I could not have made it here without your support, hard work and belief in me.

“I can’t end this announcement without a nod to all of the players I have been fortunate to coach along the way. I have been part of some special teams and those are always composed of exceptional players who put the needs of the team before their own. They made me a better coach and a better leader.    

“Lastly, I want to thank the fans of Tampa Bay for their unwavering support over these past three years. Chris and I arrived here in 2019 and were blown away by their enthusiasm and passion. I am happy we got to share that Super Bowl season together and I look forward to contributing to even more championship moments with this special organization.”

Go Bucs!

BA

Davis on return to Tampa: ‘Who wouldn’t want to come back and compete for another ring with the G.O.A.T?’

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers today re-signed cornerback Carlton Davis III.

According to Josina Anderson, it’s a three-year, $45 million deal.

In 2021, the 25-year-old Davis started all ten games in which he played for a defense that finished fifth in fewest points per game allowed (20.8) and seventh in fewest yards per play allowed (5.16). Davis did miss seven games last season due to a quad injury.

“Carlton is a fantastic player. I’ve said for a few years that I thought he was one of the top cornerbacks in this league, and he has continued to grow,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians via a statement from the team. “He’s a great tackler, excellent in man-to-man defense, a very physical corner, and has the length you want. He has everything you are looking for to be a shut-down corner. He’s also developed off the field so much, leading our social justice program and all the things he’s doing for our organization. He’s a huge, huge asset to our football team.”

According to Davis, the return of Tom Brady played a role in his decision to rejoin the Buccaneers. 

“ObvIously, having Tom come back automatically makes us a contender again. Who wouldn’t want to come back and compete for another ring with the G.O.A.T? When I heard the news, it definitely played into some of my thought process going into my decision.”

Davis’ 48 passes defensed since the start of the 2019 season are the most in the NFL during that span. He is also tied for the league lead in games with multiple passes defensed (13) and has the most games with at least three passes defensed (six).

Over his four seasons with the Buccaneers, Davis has amassed 205 tackles (nine for loss), 52 passes defensed, six interceptions, three fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles. He has also started all six of Tampa Bay’s playoff games over the past two seasons, including Super Bowl LV, recording 28 tackles and four passes defensed.

Davis has appeared in 51 regular-season games, making 50 starts, for the Buccaneers since the team selected him in the second round (No. 63 overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.

 

 

 

Bucs’ Arians on Brady: ‘He is still playing at a championship level’

Tom Brady is back!! The seven-time Super Bowl winner announced his return to the game via Twitter Sunday night.

In February, the 44-year-old Brady officially announced his retirement, a few weeks after the Buccaneers lost to the Rams in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

In 2020, Brady led the Buccaneers to the franchise’s second Super Bowl title.

After the announcement of his return to football, Buccaneers GM Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians reacted:

Statement from Licht:

“We are thrilled that Tom has decided to come back this season. We said we would leave all options open for him should he reconsider his retirement and today’s announcement is something we have been preparing for in recent days. Bruce and I have had plenty of conversations with Tom recently that led us to believe there was a realistic chance he would want to come back. Tom is the greatest quarterback of all time who is still playing at an elite level. With this decision now made, we will continue to move forward with our offseason plans to reload this roster for another championship run.”

Statement from Arians:

“Tom Brady loves to play football as much as anyone I have ever been around. As Tom said, his place right now is on the football field. He is still playing at a championship level and was as productive as anyone in the league last season. We are ecstatic that he decided to continue playing and working toward winning another championship.”

Tom Brady, Le’Veon Bell, Rob Gronkowski react to Antonio Brown

It was fun while it lasted, but now it’s over. Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown quit on his team as he ripped off his jersey, waved to the crowd, and left Tampa’s 28-24 victory over the Jets Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

The 33-year-old Brown, who signed with Buccaneers last season, has had his share of issues over the years, including being suspended three games this season for having a fake vaccination card, but he’s talented, and he helped Tampa Bay win a Super Bowl last season. However, on Sunday, he waved goodbye to the fans and maybe his NFL career.

After the Buccaneers'(12-4) comeback win over New York(4-12), head coach Bruce Arians, who cleared COVID protocols to coach Sunday, said AB’s time with the team is over.

“He is no longer a Buc,” Arians said. “That’s the end of the story. Let’s talk about the guys that went out there and won the game.”

Tampa Bay got off to a slow start Sunday and trailed for most of the game until Tom Brady, who, according to ESPN Stats & Info, tied Drew Brees for the most game-winning drives(53) of any quarterback since 2000, connected with wideout Cyril Grayson on a 33-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds left.

Back to Brown, Brady, who lobbied for Brown to be a Buccaneer, asked people to have compassion for the wide receiver.

“I think everybody should hopefully do what they can to help him in ways that he really needs it,” Brady said. “We all love him. We care about him deeply. We want to see him be at his best.”

Le’Veon Bell, who played with Brown in Pittsburgh, has nothing bad to say about his former teammate.

“He’s still one of my close friends,” Bell said. “Like you won’t hear me talking bad about AB at all. Obviously I understand things happen, but he’s one of my closest friends that I’ve been around. Close teammate, overall good person. Obviously, some bad decision-making sometimes but you know, he’s human. He’s not perfect.”

Brown’s refusal to play will cost him a lot of money. According to Spotrac, Brown needed eight  catches to unlock a $333,333 bonus. He also needed 55 receiving yards to unlock another $333,333 bonus. He also needed just one receiving TD to unlock another $333,333 bonus.

No matter how you feel about Brown, this is sad. He clearly has some issues that he has to work through. The hope was that he could work through those issues while playing football, but it’s clear, he may need to step away from the game to get right.

For Buccaneers, their focus is the playoffs, as they hope to repeat. 

Sadly, they will be doing it without Brown.

Watch below as Rob Gronkowski, Bell, and Brady react to Antonio Brown:

 

Bucs’ Bruce Arians to coach Sunday against Jets after clearing COVID protocols

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and wide receivers coach Kevin Garver have returned to their respective roles, the team announced Saturday.

Earlier in the week, Arians tested positive for COVID-19, but he cleared COVID protocols Saturday.

Assistant head coach/run game coordinator Harold Goodwin served as interim head coach in Arians’ absence.

The Buccaneers will battle the Jets Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

In addition, the Buccaneers have made the following moves for Sunday’s game:

  • Designated running back Kenjon Barner and wide receiver Cyril Grayson as Contagious Disease PracticBucs’ Bruce Arians to coach Sunday against Jetse Squad Elevations

  • Designated punter Sterling Hofrichter and outside linebacker Elijah Ponder as Standard Practice Squad Elevations.

  • Activated cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting from the Reserve/COVID list. Both players are questionable (illness) for the game.

Buccaneers’ Arians tests positive for COVID-19

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently isolating at home, the team announced Tuesday. Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin will serve as interim head coach in Arians’ absence.

“I tested positive for COVID-19 this morning but have only experienced mild symptoms to this point,” said the 69-year-old Arians. “Harold Goodwin will take over my duties during my absence. I have complete confidence in him and the rest of our coaching staff to prepare the team for this week’s game against the Jets. I look forward to rejoining the team and being back in the facility as soon as I can test back in.”

The Buccaneers also placed cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

In addition, Tampa Bay signed outside linebacker Elijah Ponder to the practice squad and released safety Chris Cooper from the practice squad.

Ponder  entered the league as a college free agent with the Buccaneers this offseason. He spent training camp and preseason with Tampa Bay and spent four weeks on the team’s practice squad earlier this season.

The Buccaneers travel to New York to play the Jets on Sunday.

Bucs’ Arians on Fournette: ‘He’s just playing at a really high, consistent level’

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette had a massive game for the Buccaneers on Sunday. He had 17 carries for 100 yards and three rushing touchdowns, including the game-winning 28-yard touchdown run, while adding seven receptions for 31 yards and one touchdown as the Buccaneers defeated the Colts on the road 38-31.

Fournette’s four total touchdowns in the game marked a career-high and matched the most touchdowns from scrimmage by any player in franchise history.

After 11 games, Fournette has 631 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns on the season and eight total, which is the most in a season since his rookie year in 2017 (10).

On Monday, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians discussed Fournette’s big day against the Colts.

“Well, I think our blocking units did a hell of a job. He finds the holes,” Arians said. “He’s a 240-pound back that can run, and usually he’s coming out the back of Mike Evans’ side. You know he (Evans) is being doubled, so you’re going to have soft coverage. Those four and five-yard check-downs turn into 11 [yards] real quick, and then he breaks a tackle – like he did in a two-minute drill – and it is a 13-[yard gain]. So, don’t force it down the field. He’s doing a heck of a job in the passing game. It was a nice catch and a run on the touchdown and a really good throw by Tom [Brady]. He’s just playing at a really high, consistent level. He’s doing a good job as a pass protector also.”

Fournette is a weapon and making a lot of plays for the Buccaneers right now as Tampa Bay, the world champions, are looking to get back to the Super Bowl, and for that to happen, getting home-field advantage would be ideal. 

Last season, Tampa Bay won all three playoff games on the road, but that was with a limited amount of fans in the stadium due to the COVID-19 restrictions. However, there will be fans in the stands this season, which means teams will have a true advantage at home.

“There’s no doubt about it. It’s back like the old days. It has only ever happened a couple of times in the history of the league (where teams advance to the Super Bowl while playing every playoff game on the road),” Arians said. “When I was in Pittsburgh, we went to the Super Bowl and won with all the road games. I think the Giants may have done it, but that’s not very easy. It’s a very hard thing with fans. People forget – everybody talks about our road woes – we’re .500 on the road right now, and that’s pretty damn good in the old days. When there are fans in the stands, and you go and win in a place like Philly, and you go win in a place like Indy – those are hard stadiums to win in. Home-field advantage in the playoffs is a huge, huge advantage.”

Currently, the Buccaneers are a game behind the Cardinals for the top spot in the NFC, so with six games left, Tampa Bay has time to make up ground.

 

 

 

 

Bucs’ Arians: ‘Obviously, Frank(Reich) trusts Carson(Wentz)’

In 2017, Indianapolis Colts QB Carson Wentz had an MVP caliber season. Before tearing his ACL late in that season, Wentz had the Eagles in a position to be the top seed in the NFC. Ultimately,  the Eagles would make and win Super Bowl 52.

Wentz threw for 3296 yards with 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions in 2017.  Colts head coach Frank Reich was Wentz’s offensive coordinator from 2016-2017 and would take the Colts head coaching  job in 2018. The sixth-year quarterback had solid seasons in Philadelphia after Reich left before it all fell apart for him in 2020, where he threw 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Wentz would get benched and lose his starting job to Jalen Hurts.

In the offseason, Wentz and Reich were reunited when Philadelphia traded him to the Colts, and after 11 games, Wentz is having a solid season with 18 touchdowns and only three interceptions. After starting the season 1-4, the 6-5 Colts have won three straight and five of their last six and are 1/2 game behind the Chargers for the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC.

On Friday, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, whose team will travel to Indy to battle the Colts, sees a bond between Wentz and Reich.

“It’s huge. Trust is the whole thing,” Arians said about Wentz and Reich’s relationship. “Obviously, Frank trusts Carson. He went out and got him and got [him] the contract. There is a ton of trust, and you see Carson – you can see the way he is playing that he knows somebody that trusts him is calling the plays.”

For Tampa Bay to get the win on Sunday, they must contain the NFL’s leader in rushing yards and touchdowns in Jonathan Taylor(1122 yards and 13 touchdowns). The second-year running back had 185 yards and four touchdowns in Indy’s rout of the Bills last week, but Taylor also does damage outside of the backfield as he has 32 receptions for 322 yards and two touchdowns, which concerns Arians.

“Big, big – he is great in the screen game, but he can go out and run routes,” Arians said about Taylor. “He had a lot of David Johnson in him when we worked him out. He could be a wide receiver if he wanted to be – he’s got the size and speed. [He is a] tremendous athlete. He is dangerous anywhere in space.”

Tampa will have to limit both Wentz and Taylor if they hope to defeat the red-hot Colts on Sunday.

Brady on 6ooth touchdown pass: ‘I just think about all the guys that are sharing it with me’

On Sunday, the Buccaneers defeated the Bears at home 38-3, moving to 6-1 on the season – the team’s best start through seven games in franchise history. Tampa Bay led 21-0 at halftime and 38-3 at the end of the third quarter.

Also, Buccaneers QB Tom Brady achieved another milestone on Sunday. Brady became the first player in NFL history to throw 600 touchdown passes when he connected with Mike Evans on a nine-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

After the game, Brady reflected on touchdown pass number 600.

“I just think about all the guys that are sharing it with me – that’s the reality,” Brady said. “There’s nothing about this sport that you do by yourself – it’s the ultimate team sport. It challenges you physically, mentally, emotionally every week, every day of practice. This I not a sport; you can just go out there and mail it in. It takes 100 percent of what you have every single day to go out there and be successful. I’m just grateful to have amazing teammates, coaches. To be able to do it for as long as I have is really an incredible blessing in my life. I have great family. I’ve got my little baby girl; she’s the biggest cheerleader in the world, and her two brothers, who are great cheerleaders, and mom who was out there today rooting. Great to have the family here and win a football game feels really good.”

Brady is playing at a very high level at age 44, and according to his head coach Bruce Arians, he’s not surprised by what Brady is doing.

“No, because every day he comes to practice looking like he’s 12,” Arians said about Brady. “I’ve played against him for so long. Yeah, the numbers, they’re staggering, and they’ll probably never be broken. I say that but who knows when the next Tom Brady is going to come. They are staggering, but when you watch him practice every single day, you don’t see the age.”

After Evans caught touchdown number 600, he unknowingly gave the ball to a fan. Ultimately, Evans got it back for Brady, which the seven-time Super Bowl winner appreciated.

“That was really cool,” Brady said. “I’ve got it in the bag over there – Mike Evans gave it away and said, ‘I’m sorry man, I’ll get it.’ I said it’s alright. I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to get it back. I don’t actually keep too many things, though, in that circumstance, I just felt like that might be a good one to keep.”

After seven games, Brady leads the league in passing yards(2,275) and touchdown passes(21), so what he’s doing is impressive, but are we really surprised?

Bucs place CB Carlton Davis on IR

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed cornerback Carlton Davis III(quad) on the Reserve/Injured list, the team announced on Thursday.

On Sunday, Davis injured his quad on special teams in Tampa Bay’s 19-17 victory over the Patriots. The fourth-year corner is expected to miss at least three weeks, but it could be longer. Tampa Bay has been decimated by injuries in the secondary this season, including injuries to Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting. 

Last week, the team signed free agent corner Richard Sherman, who made his debut Sunday night.

“I’ve been coaching in this league over 20-21 years, and I’ve had a healthy secondary in maybe three or four of them, so it’s next man up,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said on Thursday. “Nobody is going to feel sorry for you. You’ve got to get them ready to play. It’s our job as coaches to get everybody ready to play when they come in the building. You survive and advance. It’s early in the season. I thought those other guys did a good job stepping in.”

Davis is Tampa Bay’s best corner, so he will definitely be missed, but as Arians said, it’s next man up.