Bruce Arians didn’t mince words.
As the 2022 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season looms, his first in a front office role alongside general manager Jason Licht, the former Super Bowl-winning coach set a high bar for expectations for his team.
“The talent is there. It’s the most talented roster we’ve had,” Arians told Heavy, during a phone conversation promoting his work with Leqvio, as part of his Coaching Cholesterol campaign.
Two years removed from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy inside Raymond James Stadium, and eight months after the Buccaneers’ 2021 campaign came careening to a halt against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Rams in the NFC Divisional Round, Arians is fully confident the pieces are in place for quarterback Tom Brady to lead Tampa back to the promised land.
Health the ‘Biggest Key’ for Buccaneers, Other Contenders
Things just have to break the Bucs’ way, in a way they didn’t down the stretch in 2021.
“You have to be lucky,” Arians admitted. “Injuries got us last year at the end of the season at receiver and defensive back. So far this year, we’ve had one, so we just have to stay healthy. That’s the biggest key to a lot of teams getting there.”
The players Tampa lost due to injury over the second half of last season could fill a Pro Bowl roster; running back Leonard Fournette, wide receiver Chris Godwin, and linebacker Lavonte David were all integral pieces to the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl win over the Chiefs, all missed significant time in 2021. So, too, did defensive back Richard Sherman.
This has already been a nightmare of a training camp for the Buccaneers, losing center Ryan Jensen for a significant period due to a knee injury, and Week 1 is in doubt for Jensen’s backup, Robert Hainsey, who injured his ankle.
Still, with Todd Bowles leading the charge and Brady back with a full complement of weapons, Arians’ confidence is high that the Buccaneers are primed to make another run.
“Todd is a heck of a coach,” Arians said. “He should have been a head coach at least during these past two hiring cycles. He’s going to do a heck of a job.”
Arians Tackling His Toughest Opponent Yet
This won’t be the first NFL season that Arians won’t be on the sideline since he was the Kansas City Chiefs’ running backs coach in 1989.
Back in 2016, Arians, who was 64 at the time, was hospitalized due to chest pain while he was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. He stepped away from coaching and into the broadcast booth at CBS in 2018, at least in part due to health concerns.
“It was a total wake-up call,” Arians said of the incident.
While he won’t be spending hours dissecting game film or putting together game plans and schemes, Arians’ coaching days aren’t over. These days, he’s helping to raise awareness of the perils of high cholesterol and heart disease.
“That’s why I’ve jumped into this thing with coachingcholesterol.com,” Arians explained. “I’m trying to get everyone to get their blood tested and their numbers checked, especially those people in stressful jobs.
“It’s a silent killer when you have stress and bad cholesterol. I’ve found out that I had heart disease, and got it fixed with diet and exercise, medication, and got it fixed.”
Just as Arians’ and Bowles’ game plan was against the Chiefs in the 2021 Super Bowl, what he called “historic,” the 69-year-old stresses that beating bad cholesterol comes down to having a solid game plan.
“You have to have a coach,” Arians advises. “You have to get with your doctor and stick with a game plan. For me, I had a great doctor, we got a game plan together. I lost weight. It comes down to diet and exercise. You have to make time to exercise, but the diet part’s easy, and then getting the right medication for yourself.”
Bruce Arians spoke to Heavy on behalf of Novartis, the maker of LEQVIO®, on the Coaching Cholesterol campaign to talk about his experience with bad cholesterol (LDL-C).