The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have done the unthinkable and basically brought back their entire Super Bowl winning roster from the 2020 season for another run. All 22 starters from the championship team will return for Tom Brady's 22nd season.
Bruce Arians is faced with an unprecedented situation where he must repeat the success of last season and he doesn't have the advantage of fresh blood, hungry to win. It's just a bunch of guys who have been there before. Honestly, it sounds pretty boring. It sounds like complacency.
It sounds like four straight months of hearing how these guys are just going to turn it on in the playoffs. What can Arians do to combat this? Well, he says he's just going to kick their butts starting with training camp. Arians appeared on the Loose Cannons Podcast this week and said so. ViaJoe Bucs Fan:
"“When our guys come back, and that’s my job, I’m going to beat the sh*t out of them,” Arians told The Loose Cannons show on YouTube last night. “We’re going back to basics and we’re going to have one hell of a training camp and know what our foundation is.”"
That sounds great, but does it sound realistic? Here's what Arians told the Los Angeles Times following the Bucs' Super Bowl win. First, on Brady getting rest during the season.
"“It’s making sure he’s comfortable and feels good about the game plan and work week. He’d text me and say, ‘Do you mind if I don’t throw Wednesday?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t care.’"
"“Early on,” Arians continued, “I’d say, ‘Hey, are you taking a day off?’ And he’d say, ‘This will be the last day I ever take off.’ But after a while it was like, ‘Do you mind if I take off Wednesday?’ ”"
And here's Arians on Gronk's workload.
"“Even with Gronk I’d say, ‘Dude, you’re not practicing on Wednesdays. I need you on Sunday. I don’t need you on Thursday,’ " Arians said. “And he was like, ’Oh, man, I’ll be fresh. I’ll be like, super.’ I told him that if he ever needed a day off, he should just let me know. Because he never had days off before.”"
if you think that Arians is going to be beating the crap out of his about-to-be-44-year-old quarterback and pretty recently retired because of health concerns tight end during training camp when the only thing that matters is the Super Bowl, you're nuts. There is just no way this approach is what will work with all these veterans.
Which means there will be so many opportunities for stories about tension in the locker room - especially between Arians and Brady - to leak on a weekly basis. Any time the Bucs lose, Arians will say something and we'll all rush to wonder if Arians can survive this latest rift. Spoiler alert: He will.
We know he will. As long as most of the team stays healthy, they'll be there competing at the end of the season. We know that none of that stuff matters because we lived through it last year. And then another two decades before that in New England. Even if they do actually all end up hating each other like it seemed in New England, it doesn't matter.
It's going to be insufferable. It's going to be the quintessential Tom Brady experience. Constant signs that the end is approaching. Whispers that there is great discord in the locker room that the team cannot overcome. Reports that jobs are in jeopardy and rumors that someone will definitely end up somewhere else next offseason. And the worst part is it usually results in nothing but a parade.