Tampa Bay Buccaneers head football coach Bruce Arians has never been shy to criticize his quarterbacks, but he has also never worked with a guy like Tom Brady. Heading into this season, there was an expectation that the 68-year-old would tone down the “spirited feedback” a bit.
That hasn’t happened.
On Tuesday, one day after throwing Brady under the bus for the team’s 27-24 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams, Arians bashed his quarterback once more.
“Offensively, it’s just a matter of each and every week if the quarterback plays well or not,” he said.
“We have Tom calling a lot of his own [plays], or picking his own on the sidelines from the game plan,” Arians observed.
“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.”
As far as Arians is concerned, receivers are getting open – it’s just a matter of Brady being able to find them.
Yikes LeBron. https://t.co/EXINAEaMp0
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 24, 2020
“We’ve got the guys open. We’ve just missed ’em,” Arians said. “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. … But when they’re there, we need to hit ’em. We can’t have ’em going off our fingertips and we can’t overthrow ’em.
“Other than the deep ball, I think he’s getting confused a few times with coverage that might be causing some inaccurate balls, but I don’t see it at all in practice. We’re not missing the deep ball in practice, that’s for sure, so it’s just a matter of, on Sundays, hitting ’em.”
Brady, for his part, owned his issues from the Rams game. After recording 216 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on 26-of-48 passing, he admitted that his second pick (in particular) was especially egregious.
“Just a bad read,” Brady said. “Cam was running up a seam, and at the last second I saw the safety coming over and just popped it over Cam’s head. Just a bad read, a bad throw, decision, everything. Can’t happen.”
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 23, 2020
Reading disguised coverages has been particularly difficult for Brady this year. For the season he is completing 58 percent of his passes against disguises – good for 29th in the entire NFL. Between 2016 and 2019 he completed 69 percent of his passes against disguises.
Brady’s role in his team’s woes is undeniable, but at a certain point a head coach needs to figure out how to put his quarterback in a position to succeed. If you see your guy is struggling with the deep throws and reading certain disguises, why not implement a quicker passing game like he had with the New England Patriots?
One way or another, the Buccaneers need to figure this out. They’ll make the playoffs no matter what. But beyond that, if Super Bowl contention is the goal, things cannot continue the way they’ve been going.