What will Bruce Arians be doing in 2022 with the Buccaneers?

NFL: JUN 08 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Minicamp
Getty Images

The vibe around the Buccaneers continues to be a little confusing, a little unconventional, and potentially more than a little awkward.

Bruce Arians is no longer the coach, but he’s still there. He’s at practice. He’s around. He’s looming. His title is generic (senior advisor to the General Manager), his duties are undefined, and his presence is unmistakable.

So what will he be doing as a non-coach in what, as he says, would have been his last year as the head coach?

“Let me stay and do what I want to do and have a big hand in it,” Arians said last week, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

Wait, what? A big hand in it? Arians realized he may have said too much, given the manner in which he quickly backtracked, in the very next breath.

“It doesn’t look like a big hand, but to me it’s a big hand because I’m here,” Arians added. “I’m on the field, I’m coaching. . . . I’m going to go to practice and see little things and go to [offensive coordinator] Byron [Leftwich] and say, ‘Look at this.’”

The question is whether the former coach’s input will be truly heeded, or whether it will be given perfunctory, respectful attention before being disregarded. The mere fact that Arians feels empowered to chime in makes his official title — senior adviser to the General Manager — even more unusual. If he’s the senior adviser to the General Manager, why would he be unofficially advising the coaching staff on anything?

How far will he go? A lot of it depends on how far the coaching staff lets it go. If Arians makes suggestions that they simply don’t adopt, maybe he’ll get the message, eventually. Or maybe at some point someone will say to G.M. Jason Licht that perhaps he should tell the senior advisor to the G.M. to stick to advising the G.M.

The near future is thus an unknown. The recent past remains unsettled, too. Arians said more to Stroud regarding the thought processes that culminated in Arians’s stunning, late-March decision to step aside. He made it clear that, if quarterback Tom Brady hadn’t ended a 40-day retirement, Arians would still be the head coach.

“I was going the other way,” Arians said regarding the prevailing belief that Brady would be back. “I was thinking he wasn’t going to play. I was thinking about who are we going to get? Who wants to trade? There wasn’t anybody to draft. That was obvious. Me, to the public, I was fine with the two we had: Blaine [Gabbert] and Kyle [Trask]. Because I’ve seen Blaine win with a good team behind him. Had Tom not come back, I probably would still be coaching. I couldn’t give Todd that situation.”

Arians said plenty in just a few words, beyond an implicit trashing of Kenny Pickett and the rest of the quarterback draft class. Arians firmly believes in Blaine Gabbert, but Arians says he couldn’t have given new coach Todd Bowles “that situation” of having Gabbert as his quarterback. Also, Arians glosses over the reality that the Buccaneers surely would have found another veteran, whether it was Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo or Deshaun Watson or someone/anyone other than Blaine Gabbert.

The timeline and the circumstances continue to invite speculation that Arians was nudged to step aside as part of the discussions that brought Brady back. Everything pointed toward Arians staying put, until he exited the league meetings before the NFC head coaches’ breakfast and then abruptly was out, via a carefully-engineered release that resulted in co-exclusives for Sam Farmer and Peter King followed minutes later by an official press release.

Consider this very telling line from Stroud’s story regarding Arians’s exit: “His son, Jake, spent several weeks coordinating the timing of the announcement.”

This was a slow and methodical process, and it was sparked by the unretirement of Brady. The same night Brady came back, someone told me that the next step would be Arians stepping down, and not because Arians would be choosing to do so. I was unable to nail it down, perhaps because the Buccaneers and Arians were so deliberate and careful in the crafting and selling of a narrative that Arians willingly walked the plank.

The reality is that he’s still standing on the plank. Still yelling back suggestions to the guys steering the ship. Will they listen to him? Will they act like they can’t hear him? Or will they eventually remove a sword from its scabbard and chop off the plank at its base?

29 responses to “What will Bruce Arians be doing in 2022 with the Buccaneers?

  1. So what will he be doing as a non-coach in what, as he says, would have been his last year as the head coach?


    What has he done the last 2 years except tell people to get off his lawn? Brady run’s the team, Bowles is just the colorful character complaining about everything and telling everyone how great he is.

    All the narratives out of Tampa in the offseason was that everyone was ticked off that Arians had been semi-retired the last few years and he let everyone else do the game planning, etc and then came in and tried to change things at the end of the week.

  2. He’ll be hiding at home during the week, and he’ll be seen up in the owners box on game day so that they can act like he’s actually involved in the day to day operation of the team when in fact he’s not. He’s going down as the only coach who was fired because of a quarterback who didn’t like him

  3. Hopefully stick around and keep Bowels from running this team into the ground..
    After decades, The Bucs are finally winners… Why let a losing HC coach undo that!

  4. It is really difficult to not believe that Arians is a self-absorbed narcissist. Obviously I do not know him personally, but all of the signs point to someone who is really in love with himself.

  5. Always great to see they are still cranking out new episodes of Bruce Arians: Clown Shoes.

  6. What will he be doing…very little and living off the SB that Tom won for him. He will get up, go to the gym, drink coffee, show up at the team facility about 10am, just in time to make some lunch plans. Then go to lunch for a couple of hours. Head home about 2pm after a long hard day. He’ll be doing almost nothing and getting paid for it. Something we all wish we could do.

  7. hopefully nothing, just let todd run the defense and tom and byron run the offense.

  8. The facts are he will be in hiding and not doing much. TB12 is most definitely sick of his antics and the reason he’s gone upstairs.

  9. Once Brady said he was coming back, Arians wanted back in too so he could ride Bray’s coattails again.

  10. The Glazers had a problem and they found a creative way to solve it for a year. Tom would come back if Arians was not the headcoach, they couldn’t outright fire a Super Bowl winning coach after one year, and they have the replacement HC sitting in the building. It will work as long as Bruce is in the press box and Tom Calls the plays.

  11. From what was reported, the other coaches did all the work last year anyway (which caused the resentment), so it’s hard to imagine he will mess things up this season.

  12. The worst super bowl winning HC in history. Listen to his own words and how and why he was sent packing. Brady couldn’t spend another minute with the guy.

  13. He doin same thing he been doin last couple years. Not a damn thing til Sunday.

  14. I’m not a Bucs fan, but I like Arians. He has consistently helped minority coaches, and he has consistently deflected praise for himself. Maybe we should take him at his word. He wants his successors to succeed. He’s going to do as much as he can to help, without getting credit for the success.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.