Bruce Arians: Tom Brady's Issues Stem from Bucs' Lack of Offensive Continuity

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2020

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to head coach Bruce Arians before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 11 games into the 2020 NFL season, but head coach Bruce Arians thinks Tom Brady is still working through some things in the team's offense.

"We have Tom calling a lot of his own [plays], and we're picking his own on the sidelines from the game plan," Arians told reporters Tuesday, one day after a 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. "I don't think it's a confidence problem whatsoever. It's not lack of trust—it's lack of continuity within the offense, of the whole picture."

Brady didn't play well, going 26-of-48 passing for 216 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The second of those two turnovers was costly as it ended the Bucs' comeback attempt inside the final two minutes.

Per Pro Football Reference, Brady's 2.1 percent interception rate is his highest since 2009, and his ability to throw deep passes has become highly scrutinized. According to NFL Research, he's 0-of-19 on those throws over the past four weeks:

Arians offered a veiled critique of Brady, telling reporters how the Bucs "don't miss the deep ball in practice." He wasn't too subtle about his thoughts on the second interception, either.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Regarding the coach's larger point, ESPN's Jenna Laine found evidence to back up his point. Brady has a 58.3 percent completion rate against disguised coverages, down from 68.5 percent in 2019:

To some extent, Arians might be trying to motivate Brady, and this isn't the first time he has been openly critical of the future Hall of Famer. It started after Tampa Bay dropped its opening game of the season to the New Orleans Saints.

However, this all highlights how signing Brady—despite his incredible resume—represented a risk for the Buccaneers.

For all of his faults, Jameis Winston was suited well for an offense that included Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who can beat opposing secondaries vertically. Brady isn't the same kind of quarterback, and his physical skills are obviously diminishing as he continues to play into his 40s. Tampa Bay has gone from averaging 8.1 yards per pass attempt in 2019 to 6.8 in 2020.

No amount of tough love from Arians can reverse Brady's aging curve, which might be bad news for the team.