Bruce Arians Sounds Off on Tom Brady Amid Bucs’ Struggles

Tom Brady

Getty Tom Brady has backed Bruce Arians on multiple occasions.

Tom Brady appears to have turned the corner in Germany with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense displaying one of their best offensive performances of the season against the Seattle Seahawks. Former Bucs head coach Bruce Arians did not hold back when asked about the team’s early-season struggles, brutally remarking that Brady “was playing bad” while also placing blame on the offensive line.

“I don’t think it was fair to Byron,” Arians told Joe Bucs Fan’s Ira Kaufman for a November 15, 2022 story. “Nobody is going to say that Brady was playing bad, but he was playing bad. We also had growing pains on a young offensive front and we weren’t running well. There comes a time as a play-caller when you’re losing yards running the ball and you say, ‘Forget this, I’m putting the ball in Tom’s hands.'”

Arians admitted that Brady has not looked happy during practices this season but believes things are changing. The longtime Buccaneers coach explained that Brady “smiled at practice last week for the first time this season.”

“I’m really optimistic about the rest of the season,” Arians detailed. “First off, we’re getting healthy. Tom smiled at practice last week for the first time this season. He’s going to be fine. I love the swagger we played with Sunday, especially defensively. It’s been missing. Seattle’s a good running team, but that kid [Seahawks running back Ken Walker] went nowhere.”

Arians on Leftwich: ‘He’ll Be a Damned Good Head Coach’

Arians appeared to back both offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich along with head coach Todd Bowles despite the team’s slow start to the season. The former Tampa Bay coach continues to praise Leftwich as a potential head coaching candidate.

“I talked to Byron every day when that [losing streak] was happening,” Arians said. “He doesn’t read the papers and nothing bothers Byron. That’s what I love about him and that’s why he’ll be a damned good head coach one day, because he weathers everything. And Todd does, too.”

Brady’s 78.1 Grade From PFF Is by Far His Lowest Number With the Bucs

Brady is still playing at a high level but has not been as sharp this season as his first two years in Tampa. Through the first ten weeks of the season, Brady has earned a 78.1 grade from Pro Football Focus.

Brady’s grade is down considerably from the 92 and 92.4 the star quarterback received the previous two seasons. Despite the early season struggles, PFF has Brady as their third ranked free agent for 2023, slotted just behind Lamar Jackson and Geno Smith.

“Brady has an argument to be the top player on this list, but given he may very well retire, we’ll let the young bucks go ahead of him this time around,” Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger wrote on November 15. “Brady’s 77.9 passing grade ranks eighth on the season, and the 18 drops by his wide receivers are the third-most on the year. Granted, he has thrown a league-leading 427 passes this season, averaging over 48 attempts per game from Week 3 to Week 9.

“Brady’s 2.3% turnover-worthy play rate is the sixth-lowest among qualifying quarterbacks, further illustrated by his streak of 399 consecutive passes without an interception that ended in Germany when Seattle Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton picked him off over the middle.

“…Even at 45, Brady is still among the league’s best. Just don’t line him up out wide and throw him the ball. Otherwise, things should continue to go quite well.