The Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcomed the 12th head coach in franchise history on Thursday afternoon, as Bruce Arians was formally introduced.
The former two time NFL Coach of the Year with the Colts and the Cardinals is coming off a one year retirement and will be trying to breathe life into a franchise that’s only had two winning seasons in the last 11 years.
And, make no mistake, Arians “won the press conference” with his cool demeanor flashing a Superbowl ring on his right hand (above), and talking about what it will take to turn the Bucs into a winner:
LIVE: Tune in for Head Coach Bruce Arians' introductory press conference. https://t.co/DYy4Th2hDf
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 10, 2019
Now the question becomes: what’s next?
Yes, Arians has put together much of his Cardinals coaching staff, including former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles agreeing to rejoin him. And yes, the Bucs have great optimism that they will be able to lure free agents and change the view of a franchise that has floundered, since firing Jon Gruden.
And speaking of Gruden, Arians is arrival and debut in front of the microphones for the Tampa Bay media and fans was much like the fan fair around Gruden 17 years ago.
The Glazer family had famously traded two number one and two number two draft picks, as well as $8 million to pry Gruden away from the Oakland Raiders. However, from the first day he stepped behind that podium and spoke to the Buccaneer fans, Gruden looked and felt in charge.
And, in storybook fashion, the Bucs won the Super Bowl later in his first year and his credibility was validated.
Recent history though, has shown the other Tampa Bay coaches had impressive press conferences, too. But, not much else.
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano preached about “Trust, Belief and Accountability” to the media upon his hiring. However, the Buccaneers quickly unraveled at the end of his first season, and he was fired after a disastrous 0-8 start in year two resulted in 4 – 12.
Former Bears coach Lovie Smith came back to coaching to clean up after Schiano’s mess and he too was impressive in his opening day, talking about linking to the past. That’s when, he was an assistant under Tony Dungy in the late 1990’s and the Bucs turned their fortunes from laughingstock around.
Unfortunately for Smith, all the talk about turnarounds fell flat. The Bucs on the field were a disaster at 2 – 14 his first season. He was gone a year later.
His offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, however was promoted largely based on his work with rookie QB Jameis Winston in 2015.
And Koetter too, was impressive at his opening news conference. Koetter not only promised more improvement with the offense, but announced that he had hired former Falcons head coach Mike Smith to come in and run his defense. That got Tampa Bay fans excited about the future.
But while the Bucs did have a winning 9-7 season his first year, it all unraveled, again, especially on defense in year two. The Bucs never recovered, as Koetter lost 22 of his final 32 games (firing Smith mid-season this year), and he became the latest Buccaneer coach to be shown the door.
And that leads us back to Thursday. And, Bruce Arians taking to the mic, and talking about one of his favorite phrases “No risk it, no biscuit,” which means: if you’re not willing to be bold, not willing to take chances and have some confidence in what you’re doing, you’re never going to succeed at the highest level.
Arians knows exactly how to succeed, but there are question marks about his age and his health, and whether or not he can pull Tampa Bay out of the perennial losing that’s going on for over a decade.
That’s going to take a lot more than just winning words for the media and fans on your opening day.
Buccaneers fans have seen that all too many times already.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.