Senator Arians Spoke; Can You Handle The Truth?

December 5th, 2019

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Bruce Arians turned diplomat this week, and it was a good look for him.

Yes, I was the member of the media who closed out the Wednesday briefing with Tampa Bay’s head coach with a question about Jameis Winston’s future. I wasn’t trying to make Arians squirm, but I was hoping for a reply that would shed light on the sensitive discussions ongoing in the executive suite at One Buc Place.

And yes, Arians, Jason Licht and Bryan Glazer have been known to talk about No. 3 on occasion.

“I’m going to pass on that one,” said Senator Arians. “I’m going to wait until the end of December. There’s been really, really good and there’s been some really, really bad.”

Buc Nation has been trying to read between the lines here, but I would suggest Arians said exactly the right thing.

With four games remaining and his team clinging to a rather remote playoff shot, why would Arians say anything else?

My read is that Winston is likely to remain under center in Tampa for 2020, but this final month remains important in his evaluation. Licht will have some input and the Glazers have final say, but it is Arians who will have the loudest voice in the room when deciding Winston’s fate.

Schizoid Season

In the least likely scenario, Arians has already made up his mind to move on from Winston. If that’s the case, he might as well start Ryan Griffin Sunday against the Colts to give him some pro experience.

That’s not going to happen. Arians still believes in Winston: he’d like to believe in him a little more.

Through 12 games of this schizoid season, Winston has made a compelling case to remain Tampa Bay’s quarterback going forward. Despite a pedestrian ground game, Winston is directing the NFL’s No. 4 scoring offense, averaging 28.3 points per game.

You can’t blame Winston for a defense that was ravaged during a 2-6 start — or the 100 penalties the Bucs have incurred, the third-most in the league.

But the fact remains that Winston’s 20 interceptions are five more than any other quarterback. Only Philip Rivers and Baker Mayfield have thrown more than 12 — and that includes rookies Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones.

Winston has also been sacked 40 times, one shy of NFL leader Murray, and only Mayfield has a lower completion rate among quarterbacks who have attempted at least 200 passes.

Whatever you think of this offensive line, the numbers suggest the football has to come out of Winston’s right hand more quickly and more decisively.

The Jury Room

When you add up all the evidence, it’s no surprise that Arians wants to see more before making a final determination.

Jason Licht and Team Glazer will be active listeners, writes Ira Kaufman.

All things being equal, Arians wants to stick with No. 3. He loves Winston’s work ethic and competitive nature. Those are intangibles shared by elite quarterbacks, the kind of quarterback Winston aspires to be.

But if Arians believes he can’t cure Winston’s perennial penchant for giveaways, he’ll look elsewhere. That would be a dicey direction to take because free agency won’t be overflowing with quarterback talent and the Bucs won’t have a Top 5 draft pick.

Arians had a veteran quarterback in Carson Palmer during his five years in Arizona and the thought of starting over with a rookie isn’t very appealing for a coach who just turned 67. We know one thing about Mr. Arians … he will give it to the Glazers straight during their January sit-down.

Wouldn’t it be grand to be able to sit in that meeting room and listen to all sides of the debate? That’s not going to happen, so all I can do is wait for Arians to step up to the podium and fire away.

My job is to ask the right questions. His job is to give the right answers.

On Wednesday, he did exactly that.

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Ira Kaufman launched his professional NFL coverage in 1979, back when Earl Campbell was the toast of the league and Lee Roy Selmon was defensive player of the year. After a lifetime at The Tampa Tribune, “The Sage of Tampa Bay Sports” joined in July of 2016. His twice-weekly podcast and three columns per week appear here year-round and are presented by Bill Currie Ford. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter is a regular on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio and a part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday show, in addition to his other appearances. You can hang out with Ira during every Bucs road games at Buffalo Wild Wings. His schedule is linked here.

31 Responses to “Senator Arians Spoke; Can You Handle The Truth?”

  1. Dapostman Says:

    If you want the ball out quicker the routes have to be shorter. This OL can only hold up for so long. When I see some teams play the announcers will state so and so has all day to throw. I never hear that with the Bucs OL. You get your 2.5 seconds or so and that is it.

  2. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Glazers: bottom line, can we win with this guy?
    Arians: F*%# Yeah.

  3. NPRSageBoy Says:

    100 Turnovers in less than 5 full seasons says all you need to know.

    IF and why the Bucs make the playoffs, that’s the type of pressure cooker environment that makes JayMiss wilt.

    This fan base deserves better.

    Time to move on.

    Peace, out

  4. View from 132 Says:

    Franchise tag at best, or cut bait. Trevor Lawrence in 2021.

  5. TexBuc Says:

    Meet your 2020 Bucs starting QB Jamies Winston.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Of course it was exactly how he should have responded. If anyone disagrees, they should offer an alternative.

    And,Ira…..good for you to ask the obvious question that should have been asked.

  7. BucsBandit Says:


    You better stock up on tissues. There’s a strong chance the Bucs let Winston walk after the season.

    “Bad Jameis” is due for an appearance soon. This recent winning is “Fool’s Gold” that a “Bad Jameis” game will surely expose.

    One more “Bad Jameis” game and he’s GONE for sure out of Tampa. The only thing possibly keeping him around is the recent wins, but even that I think came too little too late for Arians’ liking.

    Arians has already decided to move on. He’s a STRATEGY guy. He knows turnovers are the kiss of death in football.

  8. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Opponents know if you tee off all game on Jameis, there’s a good chance he’ll turn it over at least twice. That’s been the plan to beat the Bucs.
    Yes, you need a better running game, but the turnovers have to stop and if they do, Jameis will have more time and downs to showcase his talent.
    All the excuses- and that’s what they are-excuses- for the turnovers aren’t going to create wins.

  9. Clean House Says:

    Tag him
    Sign Barrett, JPP, and Suh

  10. Stanglassman Says:

    Jameis’s and Carson Palmer’s 1st year in BA’s system are almost identical. Palmer had 22 Ints and 24 TDs with a 63% completion rate. Jameis after 12 games has 20 Ints and with 22 TDs. JW3 has over 3600 yards and will probably finish with over 4500 and Palmer had 4275 in ‘13. To me it looks like Jameis is right on schedule. The difference in wins will come once the Bucs shore up the running game and improved defensive play. Resigning DL, drafting a RT and letting the young secondary get more game experience.

    Signing Jameis to a franchise tag is too expensive. They’re going to have to sign him to a muti year deal that’s more cap friendly if they want to resign some their DL and other FAs next year.

  11. LaMarcus Says:

    If I was JW. I’ll bet on myself like Cousins.

  12. Alanbucsfan Says:

    I think if Jameis took off running more, Lamar Jackson style, instead of hanging around pocket trying to make a play with his arm when receivers are covered, he would be very effective and would be another weapon.

  13. Pewter power Says:

    Still say franchise tag, its kind of his fault there is no clear decisive answer on his future due to his history of turnovers. Draft a guy in the second or third. If the season goes south with winston bench em for the new guy and decide from there. If he cant get us to the playoffs next year then it’s time to move on.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Stanglassman … B-I-N-G-O !!! BA’s ‘Bombs Away’ offensive system takes a toll on QBs, but they do end up with good passing yardage & points scored. But ironically this is the only ‘system’ that Jameis has ever really known (even in college) & I still can’t see him becoming a ‘game manager’ QB like many in today’s NFL are.

    Presuming that Bucs (and Jameis) play well in these last 4 games, I’m thinking now that the ‘stars are starting to align’ and that Jameis probably will be back, AND that it will be at a team-friendly price. Jameis wants desperately to WIN, and even though some other teams might offer him more, he seems to be comfortable with BA & this coaching staff, the necessary ‘support pieces’ COULD be in-place next year to make the playoffs, AND the Bucs are the only team Jameis has ever known. They’re HIS TEAM in his mindset I’m convinced. Can’t wait to see how this all turns out.

  15. DooshLaRue Says:

    Posted earlier in the Jim Mora thread:

    How is it that the 5 currently top ranked QBs have a combined total of 20 interceptions between them AND all of their teams are in the playoff race?

    I mean I know picks aren’t a big deal to the Nuthugger Brigade, but I find this FACT very interesting.

    Please school my clueless ass.

    ….. oh, and 4 of those 5 teams have a defense currently ranked below the Bucs

  16. TexBuc Says:


    Historically Winston throws less Int’s as the season progresses.

  17. TexBuc Says:

    1. D Prescott 11 int, 2. winston, 3. Rivers 15 int, 4. Goff 12 int. 5. Brady 6 int.= 44

    Def by points allowed
    Dallas 10th, Bucs 29th, Chargers 7th, Rams 11th, Patriots 1st

    I see NO FACTS by YOU.

  18. TexBuc Says:


    My stats can be referenced at Fox Sports and QB ranked by total yards.

  19. Bobby M Says:

    None of these articles are ever written in a relative perspective……Its either all or none. The issue with Winston is whether people believe he’s worth $25 million on a franchise tag for ONE yr when we want to avoid losing guys that are actually worth the contracts they would fetch. JPP, Suh, Barrett, Nassib, Godwin….they’ll get paid regardless but nobody is paying Winston $25 million a year to QB their team. Do we keep Winston for $15-18 million per year?…Sure if we can keep all our guys above on the team but I’m not risking losing FIVE legit players for one pretender that needs an all star cast to function at an 8-8 level of play.

  20. DooshLaRue Says:

    Yeah Tex, different state.
    Try NFL. com

  21. DooshLaRue Says:


  22. DooshLaRue Says:

    …..and the realistic crowd knows that total yards is a sucker stat!

  23. TexBuc Says:


    Franchise tag for 2020 for QB will be about 33.5 mil, so you think a QB in the top 4 scoring offense will accept half the franchise tag? No team will offer Winston at least what he made this year?

  24. TexBuc Says:


    so what “facts” are you using?

    Or are you cherry picking stats, I made my case now prove what you are CLAIMING.

  25. Stanglassman Says:

    Franchise tag for a Qb in 2020 will be about 33 million. 25 would be a bargain annually for Jameis. Dat just turned down 30 and is looking to get 40m. Im not comparing the two I’m just Illustrating the 2020 Qb market. A cap friendly 22-25 per year is the best the Bucs and going to get at this point if they sign Jameis to a muti-year deal.

  26. TexBuc Says:

    Franchise Tag does not include Drew Brees’s contract which I am sure will affect the top 3 QB salary. As the market moves up for the TOP QB’s so does the market for lower rated QB’s

  27. SB Says:


  28. SB Says:

    Was referring to Stan’s comment.

  29. TexBuc Says:


    Excellent post

  30. BucsBandit Says:

    The Bucs don’t have much of an incentive to franchise tag Winston and pay $30M+. If they believe he’s the future, they’ll lock him up for a long term deal.

    If they still have their doubts, after 5 years, they’ll let him walk.

    He could play “lights out” next year and it won’t erase the previous 5 seasons. They know that. So they’ve either seen enough to make him a long-term part of the team at this point, or they’re ready to move on.

    There’s no more “indecisive” move for the Bucs to make after this season. They’re either IN and fully committed to spending a massive chunk of the cap on Winston for the next 3-5 years, or they’re ready to move on to more inexpensive options and going in a new direction at QB.

    It’s just the simple. I’d make a big bet that Winston doesn’t get the franchise tag. Barrett makes a lot more sense for the tag.

  31. Hodad Says:

    Tag him? You realize how much money that is? He’s not worth 30 million on a team with cap issues. He either comes in team friendly on a 3yr deal, or let the market set his price tag.