Q&A with Bruce Arians: On Bucs rookies, Tom Brady’s leave, his health and more – The Athletic

Former Bucs coach Bruce Arians, who retired from coaching this spring and is now in a consulting role with the team, is doing a round of interviews as part of a heart health campaign for Novartis, a pharmaceutical corporation that offers a medication that can help with managing cholesterol levels.

We asked him about his improved health since stepping away from coaching and a variety of other topics surrounding a Bucs team he’s still very much involved with, riding his golf cart around practices and attending meetings with coaches and general manager Jason Licht.

First off, how is your health? You’ve lost significant weight since last season, and I’m sure the retirement schedule helps.

I feel fantastic. I’m doing everything the doctors say, and I’ve got a good team. I’m keeping the weight down and feeling really good.

When we talked to you in Indianapolis at the combine, even before retirement, you’d said you were down 52 pounds, which is remarkable.

I’m still down 45. I slipped back a little, but I feel so much better. It’s diet and exercise. I tore my Achilles doing the exercise, so that’s where I got a little back. That and the medicines that we’re doing now, keeping the cholesterol under control and staying active. I finally got out of that boot. I can play golf, I just can’t run anymore.

You’ve had three preseason games now to watch this team in your new role. You’re up in a booth. How has that gone?

It’s been fun. Better than I anticipated. Working (joint practices) with Tennessee, I got that flag thrown on me at practice for cussing out the ref: “You’re not the head coach anymore.” So OK, I’m definitely going up in the press box. I’m in a booth with Jason and a couple of scouts. It’s been great. I go to practice and I’m behind the quarterbacks where I’ve always been, and then I go play golf. It’s totally less stressful. You’re in the press box in Indy, and I don’t know how you guys see anything.

You definitely need binoculars. Now as someone who retired and came back once yourself, what’s your perspective on Tom Brady coming back from retirement, but also now having taken 11 days away from the team for personal matters and returning to the team?

I think it’s great. Tom’s a different individual. He’s not 25 years old. He knows how to play the game, knows the offense, and for him, there’s different things in his life he’s got to care of, that are very, very important to him. It was great to get (backups Kyle) Trask and Blaine (Gabbert) all that work. And when Tom came back, the energy level shot up through the whole organization.

Bruce Arians has HIGH expectations for the Buccaneers this season 👀

“This is probably the best roster we’ve had since I’ve been there.” pic.twitter.com/17hVr3y3w0

— First Take (@FirstTake) August 30, 2022

And you think the locker room understands why he needs time away, knowing how much he doesn’t like missing practice?

There’s no doubt. Everybody in there knows he has a different lifestyle than they do, and they understand it and are happy he’s back.

You’ve watched this team for the past month since the start of camp. Without giving much away, who has impressed you?

(Receiver/returner) Jaelon Darden made great strides in spring and camp. I think all the draft picks. Cade Otton has really showed me what I thought he’d do as a blocker, and Ko Kieft; both those young tight ends have been very impressive. (Running back) Rachaad White is everything I hoped he would be. The draft guys nailed it. You never know until you get them out there, but White is going to be a hell of a player.

Is there a running back that White reminds you of? We’ve heard a lot of lofty comparisons.

He looks just like Edgerrin James (who he coached with the Colts) as a rookie. He’s a little bit taller, but the same body type, great patience and burst. (Longtime NFL coach and now Bucs consultant) Tom Moore and I were both out there one day and I said, “He looks just like Edge,” and Tom said, “Looks just like him.” He has that patience you can’t teach, and his hands are unbelievable.

Former Bucs coach Bruce Arians, now in a consultant role in retirement, seated on a bench on Bucs’ sideline, two hours before kickoff, alongside a few assistants. pic.twitter.com/RUSaRt8NwN

— Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 13, 2022

You can pretty much set your own schedule now, so what’s a normal day like for you?

I’m coming in about 9, meet with Jason, go to practice, watch the film with the offensive coaches, meet with Jason then head out to play golf.

Golfing well?

It was really a struggle to get started again, finding a swing I can use, but I finally feel comfortable with it. It’s the first time I’ve played golf in the fall in 47 years. It’s working out pretty good.

Outside Bucs HQ, the offensive line is a concern for some, losing center Ryan Jensen on the second day of training camp and now having two young starters in Robert Hainsey at center and rookie Luke Goedeke at left guard. Is there a confidence there, even with those two young guys?

There’s going to be growing pains, but they’re there for a reason. We brought Hainsey in for that, and Goedeke’s everything we thought he would be. He’ll have some growing pains, but I like Nick Leverett, too. We’ve got good quality guys there.

You guys have really good depth at receiver this year, adding Russell Gage and Julio Jones and a strong group of undrafted rookies (all three rookies were waived Tuesday, and third-year pro Tyler Johnson won’t make the cut either).

That’s the best group of young guys I’ve been around in my time. They just happen to be butting up against veteran players. It’s a great problem to have.

There are many more newcomers on this roster — Julio Jones, Akiem Hicks, Logan Ryan, Kyle Rudolph and others — to where you have new guys who haven’t won a ring in their careers, compared to last year when you basically just had everyone back.

I think it’s a different energy level, plus the disappointing finish to last year. The new guys, they’re all there for a reason, and with the young guys we’ve added, I think it’s the best roster we’ve ever had.

(Photo of Bruce Arians: Kim Klement / USA Today)

This content was originally published here.

Share this story