Bruce Arians Talks Good Coaching Netting Bad Results

March 3rd, 2019

Head coach Bucco Bruce Arians learned a valuable lesson when he was off the sidelines last year — one that might apply to the Buccaneers.

Remember that famous explanation of Tampa Bay’s red zone woes in 2017? “We chose to suck,” was how offensive coordinator Todd Monken explained it months after the fact.

It was — and is — easy for Bucs fans to blame Dirk Koetter’s coaching staff for the Bucs’ failures to score points. Moving the ball the past two seasons was no problem. Scoring was the problem. Heck, America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, put up just 20.8 points per game in the second half of last year.

Coaches deserve the blame, but how much?

Arians told PFT Live last week that a big thing he learned last year as a CBS broadcaster attending Friday practices for the games he’d call on Sunday was that some well-coached offenses ran smoothly but executed poorly on Sunday. And teams sloppy with the ball on the ground on Fridays were lights out on Sundays. The frequency of that dichotomy seemed to stun Arians.

Was that often the case with the Bucs? Were they Sunday chokers who got the job done on Friday?

Joe knows Chucky ripped the Koetter Buccaneers’ practice habits in a chat with Ira Kaufman. Unfortunately, the meat of in-season practices are closed to regular media.

Ira asked Chucky what he saw out at Buccaneers practice that week as he prepared to call the 2017 Bucs-Falcons game for Monday Night Football. Those guys get to watch all of practice. Ira relayed the conversation on his podcast soon after.

“‘Awful. Awful. Practice habits, terrible. Ball on the ground all the time.’ Ira said quoting Chucky.

“He was appalled. Gruden was appalled at Bucs practice, maybe more than one. It might have been multiple practices. That was during the five-game losing streak. The Bucs were still playing hard, but they were sloppy. They were sloppy. It took Gruden about 90 seconds to realize just how sloppy they were. He was not impressed. Was that a factor in him joining the Raiders? No. There were 100 million factors. He was absolutely unimpressed by the Buc practice.”

Joe’s just wondering how Arians’ learning experiences last season might help him better understand gameday performance. If he picked up a couple of things, then that should only help a Bucs offense that’s been known for leaving a lot of points on the field.

16 Responses to “Bruce Arians Talks Good Coaching Netting Bad Results”

  1. Mikey Says:

    Preparation is key.

    Thanks, Joes!

  2. BringBucsBack Says:

    This phenomenon of good practice followed by bad play (& visa versa) exists in other performers as well. Good musicians fully understand the adage, “you perform the way you practice”. Performing well is about concentration, muscle-memory and routine; preparedness, in a nutshell.

    Koetter was/ is a good OC but, the Bucs’ performance and reported bad practices go hand-in-hand and resulted in a habitual lack of preparedness for all adversity.

    One can say a lot of things about Chucky but, his teams were prepared.

  3. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Sloppy for sure and the Bucs lack discipline. This has been a recurring theme. I love LVD and concede that was a cheap call against the Jets but it simply could not, should not have happened at that point in the game. That was no time to send a message or try and shake up a QB. Early in the first half and it might have made sense.

    Ryan Jensen probably got some calls at a bad time…but my aging memory does not remember them. Nothing like Swaggy’s penalty that cost a game…or LVD’s for that matter and certainly nothing like brain dead Dee Ford’s penalty that literally cost the Chiefs a spot in the SB!

    By and large I thought Jensen picked his spots and I do not mind penalties of effort or passion as much as freaking LINING UP OFFSIDES!

    Hopefully BA clears up the sloppiness and the lack of focus and discipline.

  4. TexBuc Says:

    My armchair coach hat says Koetter’s lack of ability to adjust game plan as a game progressed was a huge factor in losses. With each passing season he become more entrenched in his system and seemed less interested in highlighting the strengths of his roster and hiding personnel limitations.
    Koetter will do well as an OC with a HC giving guidance to him, but he is just not suited to HC duties.

  5. tmaxcon Says:

    so it’s all Koetter and bad practice habits for the last few years. Okay, I’ll give you that bone but what excuses are you going to use for the other 13 years the glazers ran bucs were sloppy, embarrassing and in the basement. When you have not won a meaningful game in 16 years not/everything can be blamed on the current gm and last regime. the real concern needs to be can bruce at his incredibly old age overcome the glazers and the losing culture led by cancer93

  6. Pickgrin Says:

    Arians is a master motivator. He will have this Buccaneers team more ready to play on Sundays than any coach we’ve had since Gruden…

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “some well-coached offenses ran smoothly but executed poorly on Sunday. And teams sloppy with the ball on the ground on Fridays were lights out on Sundays. The frequency of that dichotomy seemed to stun Arians.”

    I am definitely missing something here Joe. It sounds to me like BA is saying that what he saw was that teams that practiced well on Fridays (not normally the Bucs?) did poorly on Sundays and vice-versa. It sounds to me like THAT’s the dichotomy he’s talking about. But that’s NOT the Bucs. Lousy practices led to lousy play on Sundays, at least in terms of scoring points. Obviously I’m missing something, and the Chucky comments don’t seem to apply to what BA is saying. Gruden seems to be inferring that bad practice habits (allowed by bad coaching) leads to bad results.

  8. martinii Says:


    I Hope you are right. One thing that consistently bothered me watching the Buc’s was their failure to adjust to a lead or losing during the game. Many called it play calling I called it effort or Tempo. They had no trouble scoring early yet always seemed to wind up defending a lead in the second half. In my opinion you should play hard for 60 minutes, No prevent crap, Offense play like you want a 100 pts. per game, defense like a 67 yard FG is a loss. No one celebrates a tackle, TD, sack, 50 yd pass reception if you are losing. None of this crap where we say we lost 5 games by 4 or less points. Regardless of the score you are still a loser. If Arians can motivate these guys to win at all cost mentality he will have changed a decade (with few exceptions) of being good losers and excuse makers.

  9. Not there yet Says:

    No accountability or consequences for bad play on Sunday so why would players worry about it. It seems silly that players can practice great, have bad games and not be at risk. Koetter could have set a tone with grimes but he was getting punked by all his high priced guys as if they controlled the team

  10. tickrdr Says:

    @Mr. Martinii:

    Nice post!


  11. down in the dirt Doug Says:

    It seems to me that most of us are all in with Bruce and we have shoved all our chips on one spin of the wheel.So I say to you insecure Buc fans—Get a pair and lets ride with “bad ass Bruce.I have a good feeling about this year even though I have no faith in Licht.

  12. Loyaltotheend Says:

    The football IQ on the team in critical situations is astoundingly low

    Stupid penalties
    Dropped passes
    Lose ball security
    Numerous off side and pre snap penalties on both lines

    All drive killers and signs of a sloppy I’ll prepared team

    Arians has a lot of work to do and not just with Jameis

  13. BucEmUp 7 Says:

    no in game adjustments, offense practicing every day against a horrible defense, no accountability, forcing players to fit the scheme rather than adjautingntontheir strenghths. The list is endless. Bad coaching, bad leadership.

  14. Couch Fan Says:

    There is absolutely nothing anyonce can say that could convince me that coaching wasnt the issue when the entire team played like crap. Yes some of that is due to lack of talent. But a majority of the problem was incompetent coaches.

  15. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The losing culture since Gruden has been 3 inexperienced NFL head coaches who didn’t know how to win and 1 overrated past his prime head coach, although I’ll give Schiano a little cushion due to flakehead Freeman and MRSA.

    They have 2 legitimate head coaches on staff now so barring injuries, no excuses.

  16. ToesOnTheLine!!! Says:

    Probably goes without saying that this team could use far more players that are wired to not accept that losing is ok as long as your game check still clears? JPP was a great FA add…please Jason go find more like him to help show some of these guys how professional players should approach the game.