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Bruce Arians: Is the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach set for a touchdown or a bungling slip up?

Bruce Arians at the 30th Annual Leigh Steinberg Super Bowl Party
Bruce Arians at the 30th Annual Leigh Steinberg Super Bowl Party
Modified 02 Apr 2019, 12:25 IST

As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for the NFL Draft, fans are debating whether veteran head coach Bruce Arians is the right man to steer them through the 2019 season.

The former Arizona Cardinals boss has already raised a few eyebrows since joining Tampa Bay in January following previous coach Dirk Koetter’s dismissal.

The 66-year-old came out of retirement to take on the huge task at the Raymond James Stadium after five successful seasons as Cardinals head coach and two years out of the game.

After stepping down at the end of the 2017 season, he explained at the time: “There's so many reasons for the decision, but family is the (biggest) one.”

However, since coming back to the game on a four-year contract, Arians has already made several controversial changes to the Buccaneers’ coaching staff and set up and is rumoured to be trying to offload long-serving defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

He has also been accused of delegating too much responsibility to offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

The veteran coach used to painstakingly deliver game plans, but is believed to have tasked Leftwich, assistant head coach Harold Goodwin and quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen with the responsibility. Arians said,

“It’s odd because when Byron called plays for me in the preseason, we called a lot of the same plays."
“When Harold (Goodwin) called plays, he ran the ball more. He’s an offensive line coach and we ran it successfully, but it’s like we ain’t going to score enough points going four (yards) at a time."
“So yeah, I’ll be there in full force on the headset with input.”

Meanwhile, female coaches Maral Javadifar and Lori Locust have joined the Buccaneers as assistant strength and conditioning coach and assistant defensive line coach respectively.

The new Bucs boss said in response: “My hope is that pretty soon it won’t be news.”

Meanwhile, Arians is also reportedly trying to offload long-serving player Gerald McCoy after nearly a decade at Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers
The Buccaneers' defensive tackle Gerald McCoy

The Buccaneers do not currently have a suitable replacement lined up and many fans would be disappointed to see the 31-year-old defensive tackle leave the club.

Arians, who was named the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2014, certainly has a wealth of experience, but many supporters are beginning to wonder if the 66-year-old is perhaps past his prime.

With the draft fast approaching and expectations high for the 2019 season, time will tell whether Arias is on course for a spellbinding touchdown or a career-ending slip-up.

Published 02 Apr 2019, 12:25 IST
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