Bruce Arians: Adding Giovani Bernard Fits His 1980s Philosophy

May 22nd, 2021

More than just a better pair of hands

Bucs fans already heard general manager Jason Licht say that third down will be different this season.

Bucco Bruce Arians explained further.

Ronald Jones is coming off the most efficient rushing season in Buccaneers history. Leonard “Playoff Lenny” Fournette is a Bucs postseason superhero. Everybody at One Buc Palace has high hopes for now second-year running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn. But the Bucs’ power brokers are talking like free agent RB Giovani Bernard fills a significant need.

Asked on the Green Light podcast about the importance of adding a superior receiving back like Bernard, Arians spoke as if his ketchup arrived for his delicious french fries.

“It’s just huge,” Arians said. “You remember what David Johnson did for us in Arizona — because he was a wide receiver in college and then he turned into a big running back. If you can keep people in base defense, say for us 12 personnel is our deal [on offense] (2 tight ends and 1 running back), and you got a mismatch at running back who can go out wide and match up on safeties and linebackers … see I go back to when Ronnie Harmon and Todd McNair and all those halfbacks were the mismatches on the field in the late 80s and early 90s. Tight ends were tight ends; your back was your matchup. That philosophy has always been part of what we do. I’m really excited to get Gio in here.”

Joe gets what Arians is saying, but Joe also had to take pause and think about how if a quality receiving back was so important to Arians’ philosophy, then what were the Bucs doing with Dare Ogunbowale and Peyton Barber in 2019? Yeah, Joe realizes there were high hopes for Andre Ellington and the development of RoJo’s hands.

Back to 2021, which is what counts. If Bernard becomes a third-down upgrade and a true backfield threat to defenses, the Bucs truly could be one of the great offenses in NFL history.

27 Responses to “Bruce Arians: Adding Giovani Bernard Fits His 1980s Philosophy”

  1. Cobraboy Says:

    Well, some team has to be the GOAT (Greatest Offense of All Time.)

    Why not the Bucs?

    Why not now.

    Fellow fans, enjoy the next 9 months…

    But I am actually more interested in the ceiling of this defense. It could be really, really special…

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Wow Cobraboy, you threw me for a loop with that last line. All anyone seems to talk about nowadays with the Bucs is the potential of our offense. Our defense is almost an after-thought as we approach this season. And yet I for one totally agree with you … this defense “could be really, really special”.

    This is now the 3rd year of this defense playing together AND under Todd Bowles’ leadership. First year they did OK in the 2nd half of the season, but the Secondary was definitely the weak link overall (ranked #29 overall in Points Allowed and #30 in Passing Yardage Allowed). They improved quite a bit last year, and especially (again) at the end of the season (ranked #8 overall in Points Allowed and #21 in Passing Yardage Allowed). Significant improvement IMO, and cause for excitement for what 2021 might bring as they all mature as a unit..

    I’m thinking that this 2021 defense could be a Top-5 defense providing certain key players stay healthy. We’ve got a solid starting rotation but depth in certain position groups could probably be better. I’d love to see us get under 300 points allowed in the 17 regular season games, combined with over 60 sacks and 30 takeaways. Doable I think if most everyone stays healthy.

  3. Mikadeemas Says:

    ^^^^^LIKE! Go Superbowl Champion BUCS!!!!!!

  4. SufferingSince76 Says:

    What Cobraboy said!

  5. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Bucs create mismatches when Evans, Godwin, Brown, Gronk and Brate are all on the field at once – Bucs tend to get too cute with their play calling at times- remembering Miller and Brown 1st half gadget plays vs Chiefs that both went for lost yardage.
    Bernard is a good receiving back, but since he’ll play mostly on passing downs, he’ll be targeted by opposing defenses.
    Bucs don’t need to change the game plan with the talent they have.

  6. PSL Bob Says:

    Remember the days when the Bucs defense thought they could win games if the offense could generate 17 points? Can you imagine if this defense was able to hold opposing offenses to 16 points? We’d have the most lopsided victories in NFL history.

  7. SB~LV Says:

    I get it but you guys are making me nervous, I am quite sure the Chiefs message board was this giddy this time last year.

  8. Trey Long Says:

    Defense didn’t learn how to play pass coverage until New Orleans playoff game. Finally they have a chance to be devastating this year.

  9. Old School Nole Says:

    I really don’t see us getting beat for the 7 or 8 years…..

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    @DR: “Defense wins championships. Offense sells tickets.”

  11. Cobraboy Says:

    @SB~LV: KC had a right to feel giddy…and, OL not getting hurt at the end of the season, might have pulled it off…

  12. Allbuccedup Says:

    The bucs are loaded at running back 3 out 4 backs have good hands.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    Cobraboy … I hear ya loud & clear. So very true.

  14. Cobraboy Says:

    @DR: my college team had a phenomenal defense my junior year. The D mantra was “if they don’t score, we can’t lose, and if we score, we will win.”

    We beat a high-flying team in a bowl game that season. Our HC went on to major success at a mega-top university, and their HC went on to a fantastic career in college, and spawned one of his assistants to become maybe the greatest college coach ever…

    I know the Bucs will score. I want the defense to just throttle and demoralize the opponents this season, SB-style.

  15. Cobraboy Says:

    (Edit) Actually it was not an asst. that became the greatest. It was one of his players in that game. He became a grad asst. the next year.

  16. Cainishere Says:

    Play action motion deception. That is how the Bucs will play teams. Keep em guessing is the most important factor in our games this season. Too many weapons on both sides of the ball for teams to account for. The teams with just a handful of stars which is most teams will find playing the Bucs as unfair and lopsided. You can only cover so many leaving several unchecked. I forsee all wins πŸ†πŸ˜ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ˜ŽπŸ’―πŸ€ͺπŸ†

  17. geno711 Says:

    Long term Bucs fans remember our 1st Super Bowl. No one picked us to win because the Raiders had the best offense that year.

    Many of us knew then that we would win the Super Bowl with that defense.

    I think this current offense for the Bucs is much further along than the defense.

    Part of that may just actually be the change in the way teams successfully pass the ball. For instance, our old Bucs would hold some quarterbacks to 35% completion rates (it seems from my memory). Now if you hold a quarterback under 55% completion rate for the game your defense had a solid game.

    In 2020 the Rams had the number 1 defense. Yet they allowed over 100 rushing yards in 8 regular season games and allowed over 100 rushing yards in both playoff games.

    Where the Rams were way better in their defense that ours last year – was in the amount of passing yards allowed – They did not allow a 300 yard passer all year. I am guessing they were the only team to do so.

    Honestly, I think our defense is good but I fear that we will have 4-6 games next year where our pass defense looks much worse than average. Just tend to think that it is not cleaned up quite enough. I hope I am wrong.

  18. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Long-time fans will remember Sapp publicly begging for just 17 points per game. If we have a top-three offense and a top-five defense just think what a season we can have this year … and even next. Just think about the legacy that Tampa Bay could have to look back on ten or twenty years from now!

    Wow! 😁

  19. Ne+ bucs fan Says:

    Doesn’t matter if they’re clueing in on Giovanni, ganna be a mismatch,, linebacker on him,that’s the point,that’s the strategy,,they won’t be able to cover him, especially 3rd and 3-4,,more than Giovanni will be in play

  20. gp Says:

    Except for a (few) bad years in the recent past, the Bucs have been known for their stout and sometimes dominant defenses.
    This is the first time we’ve ever had a truly dangerous/dominant offense.
    Please excuse some of us old timers for seeming to take the defense for granted.
    What kind of freaking special year this is going to be with both ranked/performing at top 5 level!
    As a lifelong Bucs fan from the inception I have always anticipated the “next” season with great optimism. This year, most of the pundits finally agree with me!

  21. August 1976 Buc Says:

    You can have the best defence in the world, but if you do not score you do not win a Super Bowl. You can have the best offense in the world but if you can’t stop anybody you will not win Super Bowl. The Bucs averaged 30+ a game, and it will be higher this year. But it is because the Defense stepped up in NO and GB and shut down KC they won it all. In the NFL today, you better have BOTH sides of the ball if you are going to win a Super Bowl. GO BUCS!!!! 20-0 BABY!!!!

  22. Brandon Says:

    You guys are putting all that stock in Gio not being washed up despite clearly showing the past three seasons that he’s washed up. Defenses won’t be at a mismatch when he’s in the game. He can’t run the ball effectively and he isn’t a threat to do anything other than catch the ball. Sure. He has hands and is a good pass blocker. Shady was the same thing… and Shady was completely washed up. Gio is no better.

  23. Navfree17 Says:

    @brandon Stop it..killing me. Mccoy was washed up due to being 32 with 11000 rushing miles and Gio is 29 with a lil over 3000. Gio has been playing on some sorry bengals teams and his stats last year were solid and on par with what his overall production has been. So yeah, i am way more excited to see him in this offence than shady.

  24. Hope springs eternal Says:

    Only time will tell. If Gio has enough gas in his tank then the Bucs will have fixed a weakness in their offense and Brady loves to dump off to a back with good hands rather than take a sack. I hate to see Brady get hit. One cheap shot to his knees and forget another super bowl. Getting Gio is a smart move at least until somebody else fills that role.

  25. Brandon Says:

    Gio has blown out both knees and has been less and less productive for the past three years. His yards per carry over the past three years would make Peyton Barber embarrassed. He is absolutely not a threat anymore. He has been a part of some bad offenses… and he has been a big part of these bad offenses…and shoulders much of the blame. He will be 30 in November and was hald the played Shady was during his prime. He didn’t have much to lose when he was in his mediocre prime. Honestly, Shady at 32 will probably prove better than Bernard at 30.

  26. Brandon Says:

    *Gio was “half the player”…

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Two things: one, Gio won’t have to play much, just third downs and, two, if he has good hands, Brady will make him an awesome asset in long drives.

    The Julian Edelman type of quick slant passes was the only thing missing last year.