“We Will Not Ever Use Talent As An Excuse”

May 11th, 2019


Bruce Arians has been here before.

He knows what it’s like to take a forlorn NFL franchise and mold it into a winning organization — and he knows how to do it quickly.

The question for Buc fans is can Arians duplicate the immediate success he enjoyed in 2013, when he turned a drab 5-11 Arizona club into a 10-6 NFC power.

Arians had already gone 9-3 with Indianapolis the previous season, taking over when Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. When he finally got his shot to build his own team from the start, Arians dumped 25 veterans and replaced 15 starters.

That’s what you do when you inherit a team that lost 11 of 12 games after a 4-0 start under Ken Whisenhunt. Those 2012 Cardinals were inept in moving the ball, finishing last in total offense and next-to-last in scoring offense.

When Arians looked at that 25 percent conversion rate on third down, he gulped and asked for another beer.

Turning around the Bucs is quite the challenge, despite assurances from Arians that this is an easier construction project.

But is it?

Star Power

The Cardinals already boasted two Hall of Fame caliber players in Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson. They acquired veteran quarterback Carson Palmer, added John Abraham and Karlos Dansby and drafted Tyrran Mathieu.

Sixth-round pick Andre Ellington averaged 5.5 yards per carry and second-year pro Michael Floyd turned into a 1,000-yard receiver.

Bucco Bruce Arians

Arians brought in 18 new coaches to develop that talent, installing Harold Goodwin and Todd Bowles as coordinators.

“It’s going to be fun,” Dansby said after absorbing the Bowles playbook. “We’re going to be fast, a lot of energy. It’s going to be exciting. Very aggressive.”

We’re hearing the same descriptions regarding the 2019 Buc defense, which has been rocked in recent days by bleak news concerning Jason Pierre-Paul and Kendell Beckwith.

A lock-down corner like Peterson became a key element for Bowles, allowing him to blitz extensively. Fitzgerald, whose production tumbled while catching passes from four quarterbacks in 2012, regained his perch as a superstar target.

“It’s not like we’ve got some guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Fitzgerald said before the 2013 opener. “Coach Arians knows how to get footballs into his playmakers’ hands.”

No Talent Excuses

Arians utilized 2-tight end sets often in Arizona, and that preference shouldn’t change with O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate on this roster.

The 3-man front of Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett and Dan Williams proved especially stingy against the run.

In Mike Evans, Arians has his new version of Larry Fitzgerald, a prolific receiver who can be trusted to make the difficult catch even when covered tightly.


What about Tampa Bay’s version of Patrick Peterson?

Don’t even go there.

If Peterson was wearing pewter this fall, Bowles would have a matchup answer for Julio Jones and Michael Thomas. Instead, a young secondary figures to struggle unless this staff and these players can cobble together a consistent pass rush.

Those 2013 Cardinals were gritty. They were physical. They were a tough team to play against.

They were 10-5 heading into the season finale against a powerful 49ers team that would reach the NFC title game. Arizona spotted San Francisco a 17-0 lead before dropping a 23-20 decision on a last-second field goal.

Arians used that disappointment to fuel a playoff run the following season, Arizona’s first postseason appearance since 2009. It is the presence of Arians and his impressive track record that gives Buc fans hope he can repeat his resurrection act.

“I think the sky is the limit for us,” Arians said upon taking the Arizona job. “We will not ever use talent as an excuse. We’ve got talent. It’s just doing the little things every day, getting better one day at a time, one play at a time.”

That time is now.

Derrick Brooks Talks About The Bucs’ “Gang Of 5;” It’s A New TAMPA TWO! Count on the Bucs rookies this year? Turn the focus to the non-rookies. That’s the meat of today’s episode with Derrick Brooks and Sage JoeBucsFan.com columnist Ira Kaufman. It’s all presented by Caldeco Air Conditioning and Heating. Great stuff from The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan. Enjoy!!

15 Responses to ““We Will Not Ever Use Talent As An Excuse””

  1. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Lavonte David is our Patrick Peterson.

  2. DooshLaRue Says:


  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We have definitely gotten younger and faster…..I think more aggressive & physical….but don’t know that yet…..but for sure, younger and faster.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Best information piece you’ve ever written IMO Ira. So tired of all the whiney-babies who keep forecasting doom & gloom. Our current situation is obviously different from what BA started with in Arizona, but so what. They had some pieces to start with… And so do we. Four months until Game 1. Buckle up.

    BTW, most interesting ‘stat’ that you came up with in that article is that BA replaced 15 starters and 25 veterans from that 2012 team that went 5-11 under Ken Whisenhut, a good coach himself. I’m betting he told everyone in Arizona that he was just reloading not rebuilding. Just a hunch.

  5. Cometowin2 Says:

    Just show me that there is hope that we don’t go 5-11 again and the excitement will come. Go Bucs!!!

  6. Sport Says:

    Thanks Ira, nice piece here. I sense a you don’t yet fully believe what BA is saying, but i do.

    This is not Lovie, Schiano or Morris.

    This is a man who knows what he is doing and has had success, he knows how to coach and develop players and utilize them to the best of their abilities.

    He will get different results than we have seen since we were stacked on defense with HOF’rs (Thank you for your efforts on that btw).

    The existing and new talent will emerge and thrive under BA.

    In BA I Trust!

  7. Pryda...Sec147 Says:

    Hope is we got a few players that can freaking Fly we can disguise to help our defense immensely. 34 is the d we been needing around here plus Jameis his whole career has struggled against 34 hopefully he can learn by practicing against them every day

  8. Buc believer Says:

    YAWN!!!! Believe it when and IF and that is a big IF awe see it. This dumpster has been on fire much to long especially with fire chief Licht and before him Joes favorite prognosticator Mark Dominik in charge.

  9. Alanbucsfan Says:

    This was a long time ago, but is relevant today

    Vince Lombardi inherited a 1-10 team his first year and won 5 championships

    Bart Starr, his qb, said Lombardi brought what the team was missing: LEADERSHIP

  10. rrsrq Says:

    What was Arians Cardinal’s record against the Saints, Falcons and Panthers, we know what he did to the Bucs. Did Bowles get to Matty, Cam and Brees, just wondering.

  11. #1bucsfan Says:

    That’s a great question RRSRQ

  12. Bob in Valrico Says:

    JUst the fact that BA and Bowles had input on this years draft gives me a little optimism. Licht has needed guidance in building the defense in both free agency and the draft in past years.

  13. Destinjohnny Says:

    But I think with no running game and a crap line jameis will get injured by the midway point.
    Hate to be so negative but you can’t have 6 bad drafts and expect to be good

  14. D1 Says:


    Are you suggesting that the NFC West was not as competitive as the NFC South?

  15. Jimbuc2 Says:

    Enough with the crystal balling. To quote Sean Connery’s character Malone in The Untouchables, “Don’t wait for it to happen. Don’t wish for it to happen. Just watch what does happen.” In other words none of us can project the success of the Arian’s regime. We’ll just have to wait to see what unfolds when the live bullets fly. If we can be 3-3 by the Bye I’ll be stoked. But, again, we won’t know jack until the score counts.
    Go Bucs!!