Bruce Arians, former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came to his handpicked offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich’s defense this week.
Via JoeBucsFan.com, Arians was addressing the criticism Leftwich had been receiving in the media about the team’s offensive issues.
“I don’t think it was fair to Byron. Nobody is going to say that Brady was playing bad, but he was playing bad. We also had growing pains on a young offensive front and we weren’t running well. There comes a time as a play-caller when you’re losing yards running the ball and you say, ‘Forget this, I’m putting the ball in Tom’s hands.'”
Arians stepped aside as head coach this offseason shortly after Tom Brady announced his return. Taking a role as a senior advisor, Arians named Todd Bowles as his replacement, securing Leftwich’s job as offensive coordinator.
Jump to October, and Next Gen Stats showed that Brady was missing wide open receivers throughout the first half of the season. Stats are great, but don’t always provide context, or extenuating circumstance. Circumstances like, a depleted offensive line and a complete failure of any type of run game. That said, Brady was struggling, the entire team was, including Leftwich’s play calling.
Arians has never shied from criticizing players, even Brady. But again, Leftwich and Bowles are ultimately where the buck stops right? Yes, Brady’s numbers are down in some categories. But it’s worth mentioning most of us thought his numbers would drop under the more conservative Bowles philosophy.
There’s no debate that the Buccaneers’ season didn’t start as planned. Yet, the team still finds itself in first place in the division. And with the team seemingly getting healthy and in sync at the right time, the futures bright. To quote a certain quarterback in Wisconsin, R-E-L-A-X.
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