A coach who curses like a sailor has probably found the right team to lead.
The Buccaneers, who have a pirate ship in their own stadium, launched their first training camp with Bruce Arians in charge. And he had a message during his first Tampa Bay training-camp press conference.
“Come have fun,” Arians told reporters. “We’re going to have fun. It’s going to be different when we put the pads on. There will be a lot of hollering and screaming and there won’t be any damn music. So you’ll hear some things. You know, maybe put some earplugs on the kids.”
Arians retired after the 2017 season, but after a year in the broadcast booth, where he once described a receiver as “wide-ass open,” he’s back on the sidelines, and he says his enthusiasm is “probably higher than ever.”
“I’m really excited about this team, about being back in it having been gone a year,” Arians said. “I came back early. I usually come back the day before. I was here early to get started.”
Arians promised a “really physical” training camp, with live tackling.
“That’s the only way to learn how to tackle,” Arians said. “You have to tackle some. Are we going to tackle a lot? No. Are we going to tackle certain guys? No. But we will tackle, yes.”
Arians also had a message for his players when it comes to dealing with the widespread belief that the Buccaneers won’t be very good.
“Don’t listen to the noise,” Arians said. “Go to work every day. I go back to my first year in Arizona, it was five, mostly six [predicted wins]. We won 10, and we had injuries, but we won games in the last two minutes. When you go back and look at the 5-11 record [from 2018], there were a lot of close games. We didn’t play smart enough to win, or we missed a kick, or we had a penalty or busted assignment. It was Bucs beating Bucs. Eliminate that. It wasn’t talent. It’s just play better in the final two minutes of the half and the final two minutes of the game and they’re at least 8-8.”
Former coach Dirk Koetter wasn’t able to get the players to avoid Bucs beating Bucs. This year, the task falls to Arians, a two-time NFL coach of the year who could be pulling off what he’d call a f–king trifecta if he can take the Buccaneers to 10 wins in 2019.