Remembering A Chat With Bruce Arians About Jason Licht

January 6th, 2019


Why him? Why now?

This isn’t rocket science. Bruce Arians checks a few boxes for the Buccaneers.

Huge boxes.

The 2-time NFL Coach of the Year has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Dirk Koetter, with a coaching announcement expected early this week. Arians boasts a winning exacta — he’s an unabashed advocate for Jameis Winston and he knows how to work with Jason Licht.

At the 2016 owners meetings in Boca Raton, I asked Arians for his thoughts on Licht, who had been empowered by the Glazers to hire Koetter only two months earlier. Licht and Arians worked together in Arizona during the 2013 season, when the Cardinals vaulted from 5-11 to 10-6 immediately after hiring Arians.

“Jason knows how to put a roster together,” said Arians, who interviewed with the Bucs on Saturday. “We had a great relationship in Arizona. You don’t always agree, but you get along and you make decisions for the team. Other teams might not have a player that high on the board — we don’t care. They fit us. You draft for your coach and your team, no matter what anyone else’s grades are. That’s why Jason will succeed in Tampa.”

Not quite yet.

Bruce Arians

When Licht survived Koetter’s dismissal, he assured Buc fans that Winston will return in 2019 for a fifth year in Tampa. It’s fair to assume any credible candidate for the Bucs coaching vacancy must embrace Winston — and Arians is already on board.

“He would be fun to coach, there’s no doubt about it,” said Arians, who first met Winston during a football camp he ran with his son in Birmingham, Ala. “He’s a winner and a great leader, and obviously a heck of a young quarterback.”

Arians inherited an Arizona club that finished last in total offense and 31st in scoring offense. He promptly went 34-14 in his first three years in the desert and by 2015, the Cardinals boasted the NFL’s top offense, with Carson Palmer leading the league in yards per passing attempt.

“As a head coach or an offensive coordinator, you’re tied to that guy (quarterback),” Arians said. “Your future is him. You better realize that, and you better have a heck of a strong relationship, so that when it’s really tough in the game, he’s telling you what he’s seeing, not what he thinks you might want to hear.”

Licht was named Bucs GM in 2014, joining Lovie Smith in a failed effort to remake Tampa Bay’s fortunes. In 2016, I asked Licht what he learned during his one year in Arizona’s personnel department working with Arians.

“It was a collective process, everybody on the same page,” Licht said. “Being bold, not being afraid of risks, not being afraid to do something out of the ordinary.”

When Arians wrote a book a few years ago, he titled it,  “The Quarterback Whisperer: How to Build an Elite NFL Quarterback.”

Looks like he’ll need a few new chapters.

Derrick Brooks Talks Fan Frustration, Changing Coaches, Purge With A Plan & Patience?, And More

More TAMPA TWO with Buccaneers legend Derrick Brooks and Hall of Fame voter Ira Kaufman. Everyone loves this great show from The Identity Tampa Bay and, presented by Caldeco Air Conditioning & Heating.


27 Responses to “Remembering A Chat With Bruce Arians About Jason Licht”

  1. Pryda..sec147 Says:

    It sounds too good to be true. I think Jameis has only scratched his potential hopefully BA is the coach and he get Jaboo to play at an elite level. Jameis could Dominate and face Luck in a Super Bowl.

  2. King C Says:

    Except Jason has not succeeded in Tampa

  3. Knoxville Bucs Fan Says:

    Arians has a very impressive resume. Worked with some very talented Quarterbacks over the years. If he coaches and trains Winston into a Elite Quarterback there will be another “SAGE” in Tampa. The SAGE of quarterbacks! The head coach of The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bruce Arians. That sounds good right there, providing a lot of hope with Buc Fans and he’s not even introduced as Head Coach yet.

  4. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Can we start calling him America’s Quarterback Whisperer?

  5. cmurda Says:

    @King C. I remain convinced that there’s enough talent on the roster to win now. You still have to have a darn good coach. Dirk was a good coordinator but BA is a great coach. This offense will be dominant with BA. Bowles as D Coordinator would bring smiles after a forgettable season.

  6. King C Says:

    For the record: I was against Schiano, against Lovie, and very much against firing Lovie for Dirk.
    BUT Bruce Arians has succeeded in his work with QBs and it’s at least worth a shot to see if he can turn JW into a star

  7. STLbuc Says:

    I like winston and arians. But they both take a lot of risks (no risk it, no biscuit). Didn’t we finally teach winston to take less/appropriate risk this season?

  8. StoutGospel Says:

    John Harbaugh.

    Go Team Glazer go!!

  9. DB55 Says:

    I wish I knew how to write fancy like, I could be rich and famous:

    DB55 Says:
    December 13th, 2018 at 12:42 pm
    Bruce Arians and Jameis are down like 4 flat tires. He also has ties to Licht. So there’s that….plus Arians took a garbage Cardinals team and made them a contender with Carson Palmer of all people

  10. TheBucsAnthem Says:


    Jameis cannot be fixed cause Jaboo will always be Jaboo….

    Jameis will be gone in 2020

  11. Stevbobucfan Says:

    I understand your point STLbuc, but don’t you think hiring one of these young coordinators are bigger risks. Even a Jim Harbaugh is a risk from what I am hearing around the league. More than 2 sources say Jim Harbaugh doesn’t get along well with front office personnel . This was at Stanford and San Francisco

  12. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Tampa is the Petri dish of failure / failed coaches

  13. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    People keep talk ing about how he does with QBs. He writes a book on creating an elite QB.

    Can anyone tell me what elite QB he built?

  14. Buc1987 Says:

    TheBucsAnthem ….you’re sadly.

  15. thegregwitul Says:

    Arians has helped to mold the careers of Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer. Check out how much Ben improved as a QB when Arians was working with him in Pittsburgh. I’d love to see Jameis Winston take the next step with help from Bruce Arians.

  16. jay adams Says:

    Lovie Smith helped take the Bears to the S.Bowl. But his tenure with the Bucs was a disaster.

    After the Bucs won the S. Bowl and players began leaving the team in droves, Jurevicious in 2004, Sapp in 2004, Simeon Rice 2007, Keyshawn in 2004 and so the team was a shell of itself. It starts at the top folks with the Glazers.

    Arians is a good offensive mind but odds are he wont get the pieces he needs for the team based on their history.

    And C. Palmer did have a good 2015, but he reverted back to his old mistakes the next year. Odds are high that the best Arians can do with Jaboo is help him cut down on some of the mistakes, but the indecisions in the Red Zone, the overthrows on deep balls, the inability to read through the 3rd and 4th progressions just don’t seem to be his capabilities.

  17. Not there yet Says:

    Bucanthem the armpit of buc fandom

    Could you be any more fake? I think your an undercover Atlanta falcons fan. You come here and your biotching every single article. I thought you said Winston was done week 2? Now it’s 2020 you really need to stop backtracking and get on board or get gone. Go root for the falcons since this is a failed franchise and worship their championship trophy oh wait!!!!

  18. LocalJoker Says:

    Speaking of Petri dishes, TheBucsAnthem is a virus that can’t be cured. He must be quarantined……forever!

  19. Pete I Says:

    I doubt Winston will ever be good. And I will never be a fan of his because of the content of his character. I have doubt Arians will work out, and I know the Glazers as owners suck. But I am a Bucs fan so if its Arians, I can only hope for the best.

    If Arians can bring some toughness and discipline to the team, good, they need it.

    It would be a shame to see one of the new younger guys that we passed on because Licht was still here, become a winner.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    @Bruce Arians … “Jason knows how to put a roster together.” Uhhh, now I’m scared. Arizona gutted their coaching and management staffs in 2013 … they blew it up IOW. Arians became HC, Bowles DC, Goodwin OC and STEVE KEIM became GM (NOT Jason Licht … Lapdog joined the Cardinals in 2012 as Director of Player Personnel & stayed through 2013 until coming to us).

    That group inherited an very talented team (especially defensively) that had underperformed under Ken Whisenhunt (5-11 in 2012). The 2013 Cardinals improved to 10-6 (BOTH the offense & defense improved a bunch, and their 2013 draft wasn’t all that spectacular IMO).

    With the same GM & coaching staff, the 2014 Cardinals improved even more to 11-5, BUT … it was their DEFENSE that led the charge, not the offense (offense fell off from 379 Pts Scored in 2013 to only 310 Pts Scored in 2014, while the defense dropped from 324 Pts Allowed in 2013 to only 299 Pts Allowed in 2014). Their 2014 draft wasn’t all that spectacular either IMO. Made the playoffs as a WC but lost in 1st Rnd.

    Still with the same GM & coaching staff, the 2015 Cardinals improved still more to 13-3, BUT … this time it was the OFFENSE that led the charge, while their defense held pretty constant (their #2 offense scored a whopping 489 Pts in 2015 while their #7 defense only allowed 313 Pts). Had a good draft that year (to include adding RB David Johnson) and won the division got trounced in conference championship game by the Panthers 49-15).

    Then the wheels came off in 2016 (7-8-1 record) & 2017 (8-8 record). Lost several key FAs (like Calais Campbell?) & their drafts were just meh. Offense did quite well in 2016 (418 Pts Scored) but fell off a cliff in 2017 (only 295 Pts Scored), while their defense slid somewhat (allowing about 360 Pts in both seasons).

    At which time (2017) Bruce retired, leaving behind a team that from a personnel perspective wasn’t as good as what he (and Steve Keim) inherited in 2013. In 2018 Cardinals offense scored only 225 Pts (worst in the NFL), while their defense gave up 425 Pts. Their 3-13 record this year is the result of a situation IMO not unlike what the Bucs find themselves in right now. Hmmm, same GM all those years: Steve Keim, Lapdog’s mentor?.

  21. Say what Says:

    Your 100% correct DefenseRules!!! Joe and all the Arian supporters are just on the rebound and lookin thru there beer goggles. Bruce Arians is not the coach to bring Tampa back to the Super Bowl or even a play off team. All he will be is a one night stand and be fired in 2 or 3 years. This is a terrible hire, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Tampa. Enjoy the off season Joe because this time next year you will probably be sober and wake and say “Arians!! , who the fu$& is Arians???

  22. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The key to the Arians hire will be the DC……I have no doubts that the Offense will remain very strong and even show improvements.

    Let’s hope Arians agrees with many of us that we need to improve our Oline.

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF … Agree with you on BOTH counts, big time. The key to our future is the staff that he assembles, assuming of course that BA is THE ONE that the Glazers hire.

  24. BucsBandit Says:

    I love how reporters like Joe use quotes from other coaches, GMs, etc. to try and get a point across… there’s only ONE major problem with that…

    The vast majority of players, coaches, and GMs only give POSITIVE comments when asked about specific players, coaches, or other GMs. It’s called “playing politics” because those being interviewed never know when they may end up needing a JOB from one of the people they’re being asked about, or in some other position where negative comments could come back to haunt them.

    What else would you expect Arians, or any other coach in the league, to say if asked about Winston (and asked 2 years ago)? Of course they’d say he’d be fun to coach, or has tons of potential, yadda yadda yadda.

    Winston wouldn’t certainly be “fun to coach” in an offense that throws a deep ball because Winston lacks deep ball accuracy and everyone knows it.

    I believe Arians “retired” from the Cardinals because they gave him the option to instead of being fired. The team he helped build and coach was headed in the wrong direction.

    The Bucs don’t need an offensive genius coach… this franchise needs another Monte Kiffin.

  25. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Since Publix is an advertiser maybe the Bucs could get a fleet of electric carts for BA to use on the sidelines.

  26. AlteredEgo Says:

    GhostofSchiano Says:
    January 7th, 2019 at 7:37 am
    Since Publix is an advertiser maybe the Bucs could get a fleet of electric carts for BA to use on the sidelines.

    he is going to need a air conditioned Popemobile…

  27. 813bucboi Says:

    winning coach of the year doesnt mean anything….lol….mike smith was AP NFL coach of the year in 2008…..he was sporting news coach of the year in 2008,2010,2012…..

    look at the cardinals 1 year after BA retired….that team is a mess…..

    we just got finished being the tampa bay falcons……

    lets not become the tampa bay cardinals!!!!