Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians expressed his fatigue of criticism on Tom Brady.
The Buccaneers quarterback drew criticism over the past month or so due to his mistakes on the field, the team’s losses (2-3 in the past five games), ineffectiveness on the deep ball, and his off-field material gains. Arians, who didn’t shy away from commenting on Brady’s miscues in the past, didn’t want to talk about any Brady issues on Wednesday in the team’s press conference according to Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times via Twitter.
“I don’t know why anybody’s criticizing Tom,” Arians said per Knight. “If we finish the half with 17 points, I don’t give a (expletive) how we start. He don’t get enough credit for what he’s doing.”
Brady led the Bucs to 17 unanswered points in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in Week 14. It helped the Bucs prevail 26-14 as Brady finished with 196 yards passing, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.
Arians pointed out that not just any NFL team can do that, crediting Brady’s effectiveness per Jon Leyard of PewterReport on Twitter.
Arians also claims Brady still performs at a Pro-Bowl level according to FOX and NFL Network broadcaster Sara Walsh on Twitter.
Brady, 43, has 30 touchdown passes this season for the 8-5 Bucs. He could pass former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston for the most touchdown passes in a season according to NBC Sports’ Mike Florio.
With Brady under center, the Bucs look to end a 13-year playoff drought and accomplish more come January. The Bucs hold the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs with three weeks remaining in the regular season.
Wirfs: “It is Crazy”
Bucs rookie offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs, who protected Brady for 13 starts thus far, praised the longtime veteran quarterback’s leadership in Wednesday’s press conference.
“You hear stories about how great of a leader he is but being able to see it firsthand and experience it is crazy,” Wirfs said according to Buccaneers.com reporter Carmen Vitali via Twitter.
A rookie from Iowa, Wirfs excels at right tackle for the Bucs. He grades the fourth-highest among rookie right tackles since 2006 per Pro Football Focus College on Twitter.
Bucs assistant head coach Harold Goodwin spoke highly of the rookie in Wednesday’s press conference according to Vitali on Twitter.
“Righ now, you can’t imagine life without him,” Goodwin said per Vitali. “To me, he’s a Pro Bowl player … he should be an All-Pro.”
Bucs running back Ronald Jones III had surgery on his broken pinkie on Tuesday. Whether he can play on Sunday at Atlanta depends on his ability to protect his finger, Arians said according to Knight on Twitter.
Running back Leonard Fournette would fill in for Jones on Sunday if needed according to Knight. Fournette, who didn’t play against the Vikings, has 271 yards rushing and three touchdowns this season.
“He understood everything last week, and he understands everything this week,” Arians said according to Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud. “He had a great practice today and was into it, so yeah, Leonard’s a pro. Just like everybody else on our team. It’s a week-to-week thing.”