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5 Things Bruce Arians Said at the NFL Combine

1. “Really can’t put into words how excited I am to be back on this podium. With the opportunity we have in Tampa, I’ve never walked into a situation with so many skill players on a roster. I’m really looking forward to getting into our voluntary minicamp. This combine is always the beginning of next year and really excited about being here.”

Coach Arians led off with this and after a year away from coaching and in the broadcast booth, you can tell he means it. Because the Buccaneers have a new head coach, their offseason program can begin earlier than other teams who don’t have new head coaches. The date that program can begin is April 1.

2. “[DeSean Jackson and I] had a long sit down. From my perspective, I don’t think it could have went any better. You’d have to talk to DeSean to see what his perspective is but I thought it was great. I look forward to working with him. I have a ton of respect for him as a player and a person.”

The Bucs’ wide receiver is under contract for another year but had expressed concern with how he was utilized last year and after a being part of back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in his career, was a little frustrated. Coach Arians said that he sat down with the wide receiver to assure him of his place in Arians’ offense. If you’ve followed any of his teams, you know that BA has a propensity for the deep ball – which happens to be Jackson’s specialty.

3. “There’s a few mechanical things. You can’t be Superman on every throw. [Jameis Winston] can be, and when you have great ones, they think they can be, but you just have to pick and choose when you want to be Superman. I’ve known him since the ninth grade, I saw the talent. I didn’t really know the work ethic but he’s there at five o’clock in the morning so there’s no reason he can’t be really, really successful.”

Coach Arians was speaking on quarterback Jameis Winston and what he thinks can stand to be improved about the 25-year-old quarterback’s play. This isn’t Arians’ first introduction to Winston, either. When Arians said he’s known Winston since the ninth grade, it’s because Winston went to a football camp in Alabama put on by Arians and his son Jake. Arians remembers that time fondly and has followed Winston and his career ever since.

4. “There’s new ways to teach. The young kids today are different than they were 10 years ago, 20 years ago, so you’re finding ways to teach them. This generation I think is more active. If you have them out doing things, they learn faster than sitting in a classroom.”

Coach Arians joked with me in an interview once that coaches are just ‘glorified schoolteachers.’ His point makes a lot of sense, though. If you think of football, and his particular system, as a language – what good is that language if you don’t know it? It has to be learned and therefore, taught. Not everyone learns the same, either. Arians makes sure his coaching staff tailors their coaching and teaching to how their players learn in order to maximize the effectiveness of his program. Makes a lot of sense, huh?

5. “Our job right now is to find them. I begged Byron for three years to get off the golf course and start coaching. He finally did, because I knew he’d be a rising star. Finding that pool of coaches, that’s our job now and identifying these guys. I think a lot of former players want to coach but they don’t know, especially if they’re married, does she want me to coach? And learn what coaching life is all about […] wide receivers, running backs, quarterbacks are a little bit different. The guys who played quarterback don’t want to coach. They’ve made too much money.”

This is something he stressed to me when I was able to sit down with him for a special Behind the Buccaneers interview. He not only believes his job is to develop players and put a winning product on the field, he also wants to develop coaches underneath him. He has a ton of experience on his staff, some of his coaches played for him or coached with him at Temple in the 1980s. But he also has guys like Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich who played for him as a backup quarterback in Pittsburgh, who Arians knew would end up being a great coach. Leftwich fell in love with coaching after Arians’ initial nudge and his quarterback experience should pay off immensely when he starts working with Jameis Winston and the rest of the Bucs’ offense.

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