Bruce Arians showed confidence in Tom Brady Tuesday, a day after Brady’s interceptions stymied the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ chances in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
“We have Tom calling a lot of his own [plays], or picking his own on the sidelines from the game plan,” Arians said in Tuesday’s press conference, per ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “I don’t think it’s a confidence problem whatsoever. It’s not lack of trust — it’s lack of continuity within the offense, of the whole picture.”
Brady played for Bill Belichick in New England for 20 seasons before joining the Buccaneers in March via free agency. Arians sees the challenges of a new setting for Brady and other offensive additions, plus limited offseason preparation due to COVID-19.
“You don’t have a spring at all or a real training camp, it’s hard on the quarterback, especially when you’ve done something for 20 years and then throw all these guys at him,” Arians said in the press conference according to Laine. “I think the lack of practice time and everything, and learning of everything, from spring through camp is still showing up.”
Arians didn’t say in the Tuesday press conference who called the play where Brady threw his second interception, but the Bucs coach said he talked with Brady about the pick. Arians told reporters in Monday’s postgame press conference that the pick, “was just a misread of the coverage,” according to NBC Sports’ Mike Florio.
Deep Ball Issues Again
Brady couldn’t connect consistently on deep balls again in the loss to the Rams. Pro Football Focus reported the grim stats via Twitter.
Tom Brady on throws 15+ yards downfield:
▪️ 18 yards
▪️ 2 INT pic.twitter.com/G3YkOE2T9W
— PFF (@PFF) November 24, 2020
Arians said the problem doesn’t show up in practice but happening in the game instead, according to Florio.
“We’ve had the guys open, we’ve just missed them,” Arians said in Tuesday’s press conference according to Florio. “There are times when coverage dictates you go to that guy. I think we can do a better job of utilizing the deep ball in our game plan … When they’re there, we need to hit them. We can’t have them going off our fingertips, and we can’t overthrow them.”
The Real McCoy
Brady also had trouble with short throws to running backs Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II against the Rams as both backs dropped passes.
Fournette finished with a catch for nine yards and Jones went without a reception. Running back LeSean McCoy’s name popped up in Tuesday’s press conference. He has 537 career receptions according to Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud. McCoy has played sparingly but had five catches for 26 yards against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2.
“We look at every option every week,” Arians said in Thursday’s press conference, per Stroud. “Leonard has never had any problem dropping the ball. He’s got excellent hands, and he’s a little bit better protector. We’ll see how that goes.”
Rookie Slows Donald
Arians praised rookie offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs as one of the bright spots in Monday’s loss to the Rams. Wirfs helped keep Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald away from Brady and out of the box score — literally.
“I don’t think he had a tackle, so I think he did a pretty good job,” Arians said of Wirfs in Tuesday’s press conference. “Tristan’s been playing really well all year.”
The Bucs took Wirfs out of Iowa with the No. 13 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.