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Bruce Arians on 2021 Bucs: 'There Are No Starters ... This Team Hasn't Done S--t'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2021

In this still image from video provided by the NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians speaks during Super Bowl 55 Opening Night, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (NFL via AP)
Uncredited/Associated Press

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday he's made it clear players returning from their Super Bowl LV-winning roster will still have to earn their roles in 2021.Β 

"There are no starters," Arians told reporters. "This is a new football team. I made that message clear when they left, that that team won the Super Bowl. This team hasn't done s--t. All those things will be defined in practice."

Arians is speaking for effect, of course. Barring injury, Tom Brady will be under center, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will be the top targets and the Bucs' star-studded linebacker corps of Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Devin White and Lavonte David will be in place for Week 1.

That said, there will be some starting jobs up for grabs in training camp, led by running back.

Leonard Fournette, who was terrific during the four-game playoff run with 448 yards from scrimmage and four total touchdowns, will face competition from Ronald Jones II and Ke'Shawn Vaughn.

"Those guys. They all know what the system is. The best players are gonna play," Arians said. "Obviously we had two really, really good ones at that position, and I really like Ke'Shawn Vaughn. I think with an offseason, he's gonna have a breakout year also. All those roles will be defined when we get to the last week of the preseason."

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The Buccaneers didn't dominate from start to finish in 2020. They went 7-5 over their first 12 games, including three losses in their final four contests heading into the Week 13 bye.

They never lost again, though. They won all four games after the bye to finish the regular season at 11-5 and then rolled through the playoffs to capture the franchise's second championship and the seventh title in the Hall of Fame career of Brady.

Tampa was able to retain most of the key players from that team and should be among the top contenders once again when the new season kicks off in September.

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