You know how I said last week was a loaded edition? Well, I stand (rather, sit) corrected. If you somehow haven’t heard, the Buccaneers hired Bruce Arians as their next head coach, a little more than a week after Dirk Koetter was let go.
The Bucs held a press conference on Tuesday, introducing Arians to Tampa Bay. I wouldn’t do it justice by summarizing it for you. I think you need to hear from the man himself. Below are a few of my favorite moments.
Arians was introduced to the stage by General Manager Jason Licht, whom he’s known since they overlapped in Arizona while Licht was the Director of Player Personnel and Arians was the head coach in 2013. This was Licht’s intro:
“With no further ado, I want to introduce Bruce Arians – the coolest damn coach in the NFL.”
How’s that for starting off with a bang? Arians followed up and didn’t disappoint. He talked about the pieces that were already in place here in Tampa Bay; ownership who believes in family values, a general manager he trusts and a quarterback in Jameis Winston, all coming together at the right time.
“I’d be broadcasting a game – and obviously I couldn’t use the words I would normally use on television – but the excitement kept building. Then when this opportunity came, all the dominos – I just like to say the stars aligned, because we have those three things. The staff that I wanted and always wanted is available.”
One of those members of his staff was announced on Wednesday. Todd Bowles will be reuniting with Arians as his defensive coordinator. Bowles had most recently been head coach of the New York Jets and is a defensive guy. He’s known more for a 3-4 scheme but has also proven to play to the strengths of his players, which is what Arians stressed in the press conference.
“Your system’s your players. This coaching staff will build a system to what our players do. When we meet as coaches, I ask them, ‘Please don’t tell me what our players can’t do. Tell me what they can do and then build around that.’ I think the core is here and obviously some of the rooms are outstanding.”
“What we’ll do is what our players do best. Three-four, four-three, some call is over and under. We call it different – they still line up the same. Not a two-gap team. We’re going to attack.”
A more candid story had been floating around about how Arians was greeted in Tampa by Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon at his Ava restaurant and may have even helped do some convincing.
“I’d already convinced myself, but we’re old friends. We grew up fairly close to each other. Jason [Licht] actually introduced us a few years back and we really hit it off together. It was more break bread, have fun. I didn’t need any convincing.”
Arians seems pretty self-assured. His most famous catchphrase that has already caught fire around the building and the Bay, “No risk it, no biscuit,” is proof of that. But it comes from a place of wanting to be great as Arians tells it.
“I kind of live life that way. I try to hit every par 5 in two and I put a lot of balls in the water. If you don’t try to hit it, you’re never going to hit it. I want to reach for greatness. If you don’t reach for greatness, you’ll be average the rest of your life.”