Six Tidbits From The Arians Family Foundation Fundraiser

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On Sunday and Monday, Bruce Arians held his annual Arians Family Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic Fundraiser. The two day event includes a gala dinner the first night and then a round of golf on the second day. With a who’s – who of players and celebrities usually in attendance, this year included Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Jason Pierre-Paul and country artist Chase Rice. The Fundraiser raised over $400,000 which will go to helping children in troubled environments.

With players and coaching staff in attendance, as well as media, a few questions were asked about the offseason and upcoming season. we’ll get into some of the top takeaways of the fundraiser below.

Bringing The Band Back Together


[per Greg Auman of The Athletic and Rick Stroud of Tampa Bay Times]

One recurring theme of the charity event was the realization that the team was returning all 22 starters and key depth with Godwin saying “it blows my mind”  and Gronkowski exclaiming “it’s unbelievable.

The fact that they were to bring not only all 22 starters back but also key depth players was equally impressive. These players are still realizing the fact they are Super Bowl Champions, have really bought in, and realistically see a chance at repeating as world champions.

Everybody wants this feeling again,” Evans said. “To me, it doesn’t really feel real but it feels good, and I want to feel this again and everybody else does. That’s why you see guys signing for less money, and we want the team back to try and do this because this doesn’t happen often.”

While the Chance to repeat is there, as well as the familiarity, even Coach Arians admits that anything that happened last season is just that, last season. This team will have new challenges and obstacles placed before them and will have to go back to basics.

We have to start at the bottom with our fundamentals,” Arians said. “But there’s no strangers in the locker room right now. … But getting everybody back just showed the bond that team had. And I say that team because this is a new team.”

The buzz and positivity in the building at One Buc Place right now is off the charts.

Oh, it’s totally different,” Arians said. “You can see how [the players’] walk is different. The look on their faces is different. They’re actually being recognized as a champion.”

This team is optimistic that they can build upon the previous season in a new year that looks to see Covid-19 restrictions dramatically decreased. That comradery and bond will only strengthen this year as the Bucs bring back what is almost an identical roster in 2022.

Bowles Says Defense Hasn’t Scratched The Surface Yet


[per Greg Auman and Rick Stroud]

The Defense was certainly a bright spot for this team last year. Especially during that playoff run. You saw big plays and contributions from all over the field. They ranked number one in rush defense for the second straight year and improved their pass defense. But according to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles they’ve only just begun.

It’s great to have familiarity in your defense, and with these guys coming back, obviously we can grow even further,” he said. “We really haven’t scratched the surface yet. We play well at times, but if we can put it all together, it’ll be special. You don’t ever carry last season into this season. It starts over, regardless of whether you have all 22 guys back or not. We’re not defending anything. We’re trying to earn another one. We’re not being hunted. We’re still hunting. That’s the mindset we have to go into it with.”

That mindset should prove well for a still relatively young defense looking to prove themselves and grow. Sure you have the Ndamukong Suh’s, Lavonte David’s and Jason Pierre-Paul’s who have nothing left to prove except for their greatness and Canton resumes. But a lot of these young players still feel disrespected. Add in a rookie class and the fact that Pierre-Paul was only at, according to himself 60-70 percent last year with a knee injury and this team could be a whole lot better.

Leftwich Isn’t Going Anywhere Soon


[per Greg Auman and Rick Stroud]

Count Arians, among others, who were irked offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich wasn’t even in the conversation for head coaching jobs in the last cycle.

I was very, very pi**ed that Byron didn’t at least get an interview this year,” Arians said….. He’s done a fantastic job, he’s everything supposedly what people are looking for.”

While Arians was clearly upset, I’m sure part of him was ecstatic to have his offensive coordinator back in the fold another year. To Leftwich’s demeanor though, he seems genuinely happy to be here in Tampa with this team and wont force the issue. Taking, a if it comes it comes, style approach.

I’m not going to be that guy this year,” he said. “I’m telling you guys now, I’m not going to be answering that question all year. I’m happy to be here with the group of guys I work with. I am not trying to leave this group. I enjoy working with this group of men. It’s an excellent group of men that come to work every day. As a coach, you beg and wish you could coach guys like this. I’m in no rush to leave this group of men.”

If Leftwich can having the offense running as efficient as it did last season or even better, I don’t foresee how teams won’t be knocking down his door for interviews.

Players Are Ready To Get Back To Work


[per Greg Auman and Rick Stroud]

While the players released a statement saying they will not be taking part in voluntary work outs that doesn’t mean they aren’t itching to get on the field. Brady is one of the fiercest competitors the game has ever seen and is always trying to improve his craft. Coming into last season with the Covid-19 protocols and restriction limiting players from team facilities, Brady got a group of players together on his own for private workouts. Those Berkeley Prep workouts helped lay the foundation for what turned out to be a pretty successful season in 2020 for the Buccaneers. When Brady’s knee is fully healed from offseason surgery you have to think he’ll be roaring to get out there with his guys.

We’ll see how we go, see how things play out over the course of the offseason,” Brady said. “A lot of things come up and change over the course of the offseason. We have a lot of hard-working guys, and guys will be very anxious to get together and get to work. As soon as I’m ready to go out and throw, that will be very important for me.”

Wide receiver Chris Godwin echoed those sentiments.

As a collective unit, I think we’re all very passionate about what we have going and I think we see how much better we can be, and so I think we’ll be excited when we get back together,” Godwin said. “… I think we’ll probably get together at some point in the offseason, whenever Tom is ready to go, and start building again.”

Receiver Mike Evans joked about how much harder the workouts with Brady are compared to training at One Buc Place but is as ready to go as Godwin.

With a full offseason together there could even be room for improvement to an offense that looked at times unstoppable. With Evans acknowledging. “We didn’t have an offseason last year and Tom was learning a new offense on the fly and he did a helluva a job so I feel like our offense will be much better.”
There’s no doubt these players are ready to start building the foundation of the 2021 season and know how important offseason work can be. Hey, it worked out well for them last season with Brady learning a new team, playbook, players and city. The sky could be the limit this year on how truly great this offense can be.

Arians Isn’t Worried About Voluntary Workout


[per Greg Auman and Rick Stroud]

The Buccaneers players recently put out a statement with the NFLPA announcing they would be skipping any voluntary workouts this offseason. Arians in the past has spoken about how important those reps can be for younger players still developing on the team. It seems like he has lightened up on that stance a bit.

“The opting out thing doesn’t bother me at all, we were going to be virtual till the middle of May anyway.” Arians said. “ So get it going, Get it started back in your brain. Learn from the mistakes. We made a lot of mistakes last year. We were 7-5. We weren’t world beaters at that point in time. Learn from those so when we do get on the field, we’re more than ready to go.”

The team should be ready go in June when minicamps and OTA’s come a round. Which coincidentally lines up with the projected recovery time table Tom Brady is looking at after offseason knee surgery.

Brady’s Knee Is Progressing Well


[per Greg Auman and Rick Stroud]

Brady had minor knee surgery back in February in which was described as a “clean up” by coach Arians. But has said his rehab is going well and his timeline to return is trending in the right direction.

It’s good, good progress, every day, just rehab. None of that’s very fun, but looking forward to getting back to real training, which is hopefully here pretty soon,” Brady said. “It’s kind of the only thing that slows me down in life, is something like that. I’m cool with it. It’s part of what you deal with. Things come up, and you deal with them the best way you can. … I’m definitely feeling a lot better than I did six or seven weeks ago. …

Arians recently gave the timetable of a June return for the Super Bowl MVP. Brady was asked if he sees himself being ready to go by those June minicamps and the ever careful quarterback had this to say.

“I hope so, I feel pretty good, and I push myself pretty hard. I don’t know if I could go this week, but … it’s a long time between now and the beginning of the season. We all take a lot of pride in being ready to go and I’m sure we will be.”

There’s no doubt when it’s go time Brady and his teammates will be ready. Whether that’s getting together at the facility or Berkeley Prep, the team is sure to put the work in to have the chance to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.

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