Every team in the NFL heads into a new season with the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl. It's doubtful that every team really believes that goal is achievable.
Bruce Arians wasn't sure his Tampa Bay Buccaneers team believed it after a 7-9 season in his first year at the helm. One gigantic additions, and a number of other moves that follow, helped change that.
On Tuesday, five days before the Buccaneers were set to meet the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, Arians was asked if he allowed himself to believe that his team could win the Super Bowl after the March 20 signing of quarterback Tom Brady, the most accomplished postseason quarterback in league history. His answer: "Yes I did."
"I thought that was the missing piece and then Jason [Licht] did such a great job of adding pieces as we went along – Rob [Gronkowski], Leonard [Fournette], Antonio [Brown] and other guys. Ross Cockrell has been one of the best pickups we've had the entire season. So yeah, I thought it was possible and that was our goal, because I knew how good of a football team we had and what we were missing. We were missing that belief that we were good enough."
Brady threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns in his Buccaneer debut and was clearly a big reason why the team got over the hump and returned to the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. Tampa Bay's 17 total turnovers during the regular season were the lowest total the team has ever had in one season. But Brady's impact went far beyond the numbers.
"I think the great quarterbacks all have it," said Arians. "They have the ability to will themselves on other people to make sure that everybody has bought in to the cause. The cause is a ring – putting a championship in your trophy case. Tom brings that attitude every single day and it permeates through the entire locker room."
The Bucs used their various locker rooms on Tuesday as the players convened for an extra day of work after two days off. They did take the field, but not for a full-speed practice, which means there wasn't much to update about the status of four injured Buccaneers: wide receiver Antonio Brown (knee), inside linebacker Lavonte David (hamstring) and safeties Jordan Whitehead (shoulder) and Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle). The first injury report of Super Bowl week will come out after Wednesday's practice.
"Today was a bonus day, so it was strictly walk-through," said Arians. "We had about 40-50 plays of walkthrough, so all of those guys participated, but they're still not ready to go."
David, who suffered his injury in the third quarter of the NFC Championship Game on January 24 but finished the contest without missing a snap, said he's getting better.
"As far as the injury, I'm just taking it one day at a time, trusting in the training staff, just getting better day by day," said David. "And on Sunday we'll see how everything goes."
View pictures from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Super Bowl LV media day.