Winners & Losers At Dawn Of The Arians Regime

January 14th, 2019


The Bucs have decided that Route 66 is the preferred path to the playoffs.

Bruce Arians, whose birth certificate was issuedW 66 years ago, is eager to turn back time and duplicate the job he accomplished in Arizona, where he inherited a 5-11 club and immediately doubled the win total.

That Cardinal franchise was a bottom feeder, much like the Tampa Bay club Arians is determined to transform. He is already on record as saying this reclamation project is easier because the 2018 Bucs have more talent than those 2012 Cardinals.

You know the churn that occurs at the bottom of every team’s roster every season? Based on history, this pewter overhaul won’t be confined to backup spots.

Arians hit the ground running in the desert, taking a hacksaw to the Cardinals. When he was finished, Arians had replaced 15 of the 22 starters who lined up for Arizona’s 2012 finale.

Some Bucs are poised to thrive under new management, but some familiar names face an uncertain future. Here’s a look at the potential winners and losers at the dawn of the Arians regime.



Entering his fifth NFL season, Winston couldn’t have asked for a better scenario. Arians has been keeping tabs on Winston since their first meeting at a Birmingham football camp. He believes he can
minimize Winston’s penchant for giveaways while playing to his strengths.

It’s still unclear whether Dirk Koetter ever fully embraced the first overall pick in the 2015 draft. Koetter didn’t have significant input in deciding between Winston and Marcus Mariota and the relationship
was strained at times.

Between his suspension and his benching, Winston’s ego took a beating in 2018. He lost Koetter’s confidence in midseason, so here comes Arians with a helping hand. If Winston doesn’t elevate his game next fall under the quarterback whisperer, he’ll become some other team’s project.

Some Buc fans can’t wait to trade Brate, whose targets and production plunged last year. Arians will likely have other ideas. He believes a 2-tight end formation gives the offense the ability to dictate
coverage and Brate has proven his worth with 20 TD catches since 2016 — only five less than Mike Evans.

O.J. Howard made significant strides last year before he was hurt and Brate can’t stretch the field like his gifted teammate, but there’s a place for him on this roster. Brate rarely drops a ball and his rapport with Winston, especially in the red zone, is well documented. He’s not going anywhere.


It seemed like Koetter went out of his way every week to chastise Smith’s many critics. Arians and his staff will bring a fresh set of eyes to the tape, and that may not bode well for a 4-year starter at
the critical left tackle position.

Smith’s durability is very impressive, and that should not be overlooked. He plays through the aches and pains, but he may not play well enough for the standards set by this staff. Arians is already on
record as saying Tampa Bay’s offensive line needs an upgrade. He used the word “consistency” to describe the unit’s drawbacks. That’s a word often attached to Smith, even by his supporters.

Arians has been coy about McCoy’s future in Tampa.

The late-season development of Vita Vea could convince defensive coordinator Todd Bowles that Vea is a natural fit at nose tackle in a 3-man front. If that happens, McCoy might be deemed expendable after a
distinguished 9-year career with the Bucs.

If Kendell Beckwith fully recovers from that brutal ankle injury, I can definitely see the Bucs switching to a 3-4 base defense for the first time since 1990, the final year of the Ray Perkins era.

DERRICK BROOKS & IRA KAUFMAN talk about the BRUCE ARIANS hire on TAMPA TWO, presented by Caldeco Air Conditioning & Heating.

18 Responses to “Winners & Losers At Dawn Of The Arians Regime”

  1. Lord Cornelius Says:

    The encouraging thing about the Cardinals transformation is it really didn’t involve some huge flip of talent from 2012 – 2013.

    Their first draft pick (Jonathon Cooper) was basically a bust. Kevin Minter was OK. Tyran Matthew was their only difference maker tho really, although they got eventual starters in Alex Okafor and Earl Watfrod later in the draft.

    The only significant FA was Carson Palmer. THeir QB situation did suck the year before (although I remember people loving Kevin Kolb at one point lol).

    The defensive transformation and overall transformation was mostly all coaching and having a vet QB. That was during a year in which they played in probably the toughest division in the NFL.

  2. 813bucboi Says:

    i wouldnt put brate as a “winner”….and i wouldnt say “he rarely drops balls”…lol….

    imo, auclair showed he can block very well and be a serviceable pass catcher….

    when it comes down to it i’d rather have hump over brate if we cant keep both…..


  3. DB55 Says:

    15 of 22 sounds about right. Start by cutting everyone over 30 except JPP.

  4. Ray Rice Says:

    Distinguished?…LMFAO…you mean Extinguished.

  5. Neal Says:

    “and i wouldnt say “he rarely drops balls”…lol….” What? Based on what? i swear some people just say stuff just to say it. I can remember him maybe dropping 2 passes all year. You either don’t pay attention or are too simple to notice…

  6. Michael P Etze Says:

    I don’t think anyone hates Brate, but this team (Jason Licht) has a problem with stacking talent in less important positions. I see teams win all the time with an average tight end and average linebackers… But we continue to poor draft picks and cap into those two positions.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Remember….Brate had some sort of “mystery” injury he played with all year……Koetter was amazed he could play through it…..How about checking that out Joe.

    I think Humphries could be a winner… seems to me that he adds a great versatility to our receiver corps.

    I believe there will be many FAs who have experience working with Arians who will want to come to our Bucs.

    Let the rumors start to fly!!!

  8. Bruce Blahak Says:

    the problem with dropping people is, this team is thin on depth. McCoy can be replaced with that #5 pick but Smith?

  9. Phil Says:

    I hope we can trade McCoy for something.

  10. 813bucboi Says:


    what?….if you watched any of the games you wouldve noticed brate’s production fell out a bit…..and it wasnt all because of OJ….he dropped some catch-able balls…..

    watch the games dont google stats….i remember him dropping 2 vs the redskins and 1 vs the ravens…and thats just off the top of my head….


  11. TexBuc Says:

    It’s a time of plenty for Bucs fan when anything is still possible…lol

  12. westernbuc Says:

    If BA keeps DJax but moves on fron GMC I’m probably done with this team.

    I definitely think he’s trying to evaluate DJax as a man and possibly build up trade value but regardless if GMC is playing for someone else and DJax is still missing throws from Jameis then I’ll be taking time off from this team

  13. Acewigsplitta Says:

    Neal you clearly didn’t watch Brate this year I bet he dropped more passes this past season than any other season!

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    @Neal … ” I can remember him maybe dropping 2 passes all year. You either don’t pay attention or are too simple to notice.” Just a thought, but you might check Cam Brate’s actual stats BEFORE you call OTHER people “too simple to notice” Neal.

    Brate was targeted only 49 times last year in 16 games, and caught 30 of those (61.2%) for only 289 yds. Those paled in comparison to his previous 2 years. In 2017 he had 77 targets, 48 receptions (62.2%) for 591 yds, and in 2016 he had 81 targets, 81 receptions (70.4%) for 660 yds. His YPC has steadily gone down every year (from a high of 12.5 YPC in 2015 to last year’s low of 9.6 YPC).

    Competing for targets last year with guys like ME13 (138), Humphries (105), Godwin (95), DJax (74) and OJ (48) undoubtedly caused Brate’s targets (49) to go down (more mouths to feed?), BUT … he’s still extremely valuable in certain scenarios. He did play in 534 offensive snaps last year, roughly 50% of the 1,055 plays our offense had. Big question might come down to ‘Is he worth the $7 mil he’ll make in 2019?’

  15. 813bucboi Says:


    thats the 7 million dollar question…lol…is he worth that much to our team currently…..

    i would say no based on our current needs at other positions and other players at the TE position….cross and auclair are good imo….we all know what OJ brings to the table….we could find another UDFA TE and have bruce coach him up….lol


  16. Neal Says:

    @Defense Rules. Dude. Read. you simpleton. We are talking DROPS not targets and receptions. you think every time a player doesn’t catch a ball on a target it’s because they dropped it? are you kidding? I never said his production didn’t go down. i said he wasn’t dropping more balls than normal. BucBoi said He doesn’t rarely drop balls. implying he does it a lot which is flat out wrong. So again i will implore you to read a little before you spout off.

  17. Neal Says:

    @813bucboi You never said production bro. You said he drops a lot of balls. If you are going to say some crazy crap like that at least back it up when you’re called out, instead of trying to reframe what you said. You just look silly doing childish stuff like that.

  18. donuts Says:

    The BA-DJAX return talk is to maintain his trade value. If everyone thinks the Bucs will release him, why would you trade? DJAX is under contract so the Bucs control his fate. I could see this happening as late as the draft but March more likely.