It may seem like old news, but there was a time when Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians’ relationship with Tom Brady was under high scrutiny. The Bucs are releasing new episodes of a season-long docuseries entitled “In the Current,” which debuted on June 16, 2021, giving viewers a look back at the Buccaneers’ Week 1 loss to the New Orleans Saints in 2020.
Arians was critical of Brady’s two interceptions during his postgame press conference. During a separate interview with the team’s camera crew, Arians admitted he was not going to treat Brady any differently than the other players on the roster.
“I just answered the question, they asked what happened,” Arians said, explaining his comments on Brady. “I told them what happened. If that’s criticism, people have really, really thin skin because the truth never hurts. So, if it was different for the quarterback than where he had been in the past and his friends in the media, then tough s***.”
Here is a look at the debut episode of “In the Current”:
Arians Blamed Both of Brady’s Week 1 Interceptions on the Legendary QB
In particular, Arians’ comments on Brady’s two interceptions went viral as the Bucs coach essentially put the blame for both picks on the quarterback. One of the interceptions resulted in a pick-6, which Arians described as a “bad decision.”
“One was a miscommunication between he and Mike [Evans], and he thought Mike was going down the middle,” Arians noted in his postgame press conference on September 14, 2020. “It’s a different coverage, Mike read it right. It should have been across his face, but Tom just overthrew it. And the other one was a screen pass with an outlet called, and he threw the outlet and it was a pick-6. Bad decision.”
Despite Brady and Evans connecting for their first touchdown of the season late in the fourth quarter, it was too little to overcome New Orleans’ 17-point lead. Brady’s 78.4 quarterback rating in Week 1 wound up being his third-lowest of the year, which saw the 43-year-old signal-caller lead Tampa Bay to eight consecutive wins and his seventh Lombardi Trophy.
Brady on Arians’ Criticism: ‘He’s Just a Straight Shooter’
Brady seemed to take the comments in stride as he described Arians as a “straight shooter” in an interview on the Bucs documentary. Despite the rocky start, the Buccaneers offense would eventually hit their stride on the way to the Super Bowl.
“I don’t want to make mistakes out there. I want to be a great player for this team every week and I gotta be able to play with confidence,” Brady responded. “I gotta be able to play with discipline. I gotta play with a great focus and determination. I think when you know Bruce and you know him well, he’s just a straight shooter. When I make a play and we throw an interception [that is] returned for a touchdown, you should hear about that from the coach. There’s no excuse for that. He’s gotta hold the quarterback to a high standard. The quarterback’s got to hold a lot of the players to a high standard, and that’s what football is all about.”
Brady on the 2021 Season: ‘I Believe That Continuity in Football Is the Key to Winning’
It is interesting to see new interviews from the Bucs’ early-season struggles as Arians’ coaching of Brady clearly only helped the team. There are plenty of reasons for Bucs fans to carry this optimism into the 2021 season.
We now know that Brady dealt with a knee injury throughout his first season with the Buccaneers — one that dated back to last April and required offseason surgery, according to CBS Sports.
Brady is also completely familiar with Arians’ offensive system with a year under his belt.
“I think last year I was trying to figure out what to do, and I think this year it’s more like, ‘No, these are the things we’re going to focus on, these are the things we’re going to try to improve,'” Brady noted in June, per Buccaneers.com. “A lot of it is just being on the same page and understanding timing and steps and non-verbal communication. … There’s a lot of those things you can gain over the course of a long period of time. We’re starting at that place now as opposed to [last year]. Now we’ve got 15 months invested in one another, as opposed to three months. I’d much rather be 15 months than three months because I believe that continuity in football is the key to winning.”