Bruce Arians: Dallas “Caught Us A Little Off Guard”

September 15th, 2021

Candid and somewhat confusing comments from Bucco Bruce Arians.

The Bucs led the NFL in rush defense the past two seasons, including total yards and yards per carry. So logic says NFL offensive coordinators will stop trying to pound the rock, especially if they have an elite receiving corps and a Pro Bowl quarterback like the Cowboys have.

Flash back to Thursday’s season-opener at The Licht House, and the Cowboys stopped the running the football early. The scoreboard didn’t force Dallas into an all-out passing assault. It was by choice.

Arians admitted on Bucs Total Access that this flummoxed the Bucs.

”They caught us a little off guard throwing it 58 times and not really trying to establish the run, thinking they would come in with that big offensive line and try to pound [Ezekiel Elliott] more,” Arians said. “… We gotta adjust to some different screen looks a whole lot quicker than we did. I think as the game went on we adjusted a little bit better.”

The head coach went on to say (pray?) he wants teams to run more against the Bucs so they can establish what they want to do defensively. “So we can play our style game,” Arians said.

Joe blubbered all summer about how the Bucs will be attacked differently this season because of all the film on the everybody’s-back Bucs defense during the Arians regime.

Interestingly, Arians also noted that the Cowboys passing attack forced Lavonte David and Devin White away from their greatests strengths and into pass coverage.

Enjoy today’s Ira Kaufman Podcast, presented by Bill Currie Ford.

51 Responses to “Bruce Arians: Dallas “Caught Us A Little Off Guard””

  1. AMI_Chris Says:

    Once the Cowboys realized that their O-line was holding up and their receivers were running free like deer in an open field, letting Dak throw made a lot of sense.

  2. Steven007 Says:

    Actually I can see exactly what coach is saying. I too thought Dallas would try desperately to establish the run. Kudos to them on their game plan. It almost worked. From here on out though there should be no surprises. Teams will try to run a bit as they always do. But clearly they’re going to try to exploit what they consider to be our weakness. I definitely thought Dallas would try to run more, particularly early. And with Dak coming off injury and supposed rust. Shows how much I know. And coach too apparently.

  3. richbucsfan Says:

    I read the article and am so shocked there are no comments to their lack of preparedness. smh

  4. BillyBucOff Says:

    Why would a team who has been #1 against the run 2 years in a row, be caught off guard by a team passing more?

    This is Horse Manure.

    I expect if teams continue to do that, the 3 safety look would be more beneficial than David and White in coverage.

    It’s not like there TE just thrashed those LBs.

    NO TEAM wants there LBs in coverage.

    How about try being Top 5 in run defense and let 7 guys actually COVER UNTIL they start to run more.

  5. Wild Bill Says:

    Bucks never really adjusted until late in the game. Left the dbs out to dry. Gonna see a lot more dink and dunk until we adjust for it. Ctrl

  6. Sumosam Says:

    The Bucs won.
    They were prepared enough.
    You would expect them to run with Zeke and nobody would expect Dak to play the best game of his life.

  7. Bucnjim Says:

    Can’t run against a team designed to stop the run. Oh what should we do? Freaking pass all day every day. I doubt it surprised him too much but when you go to the lengths of keeping Zek off the field most of the game I guess that’s a little surprising!

  8. Medicated Pete Says:

    We’ve all seen teams (in every sport) not play well on open night after winning it all & celebrating last season’s championship. Pete’s giving them a mulligan but we better get right soon on defense

  9. Bucamania Says:

    Rams will do the same thing. Quick passes to the outside. Easy money with Bucs DBs sitting 8 yards deep.

  10. ClodHopper Says:

    I sure hope they get it figured because every one of our enemies just heard what he said.

  11. Leighroy Says:

    I’d like to see more of those exotic zone coverages used to stop the Packers and Chiefs in the playoffs, than man-to-man. Especially with SMB out, and to limit the picking on Jamel Dean or Ross Cockrell.

  12. SlyPirate Says:

    If I’m the opposing coach I’m installing a passing attack.

    The Bucs are #1 against the run, 2 years in a row, with all starters returning.

    Why play to the opponent’s strengths?

    Atlanta and LAR will be doing the same.

  13. Jeffbuc Says:

    If Matt Ryan slices and dices us up Sunday. Than I will worry. Dallas has top notch receivers two first round pick and a second round pick and a big physical offensive line. But the falcons have Ridley and gage gage wouldn’t have made our team and Calvin would be are three maybe 4th receiver. If we dominate Atalanta then I will be happy. If Matt Ryan throws for 400 yards it will be go trade for a corner time. Come off a first next year to make it happen. These chances are rare. Like we found out last time we won a super bowl. Everyone was picking us to win. Defense stayed somewhat intact and we supposedly got some offensive upgrades. Yet we didn’t even make the playoffs after our last super bowl.

  14. DBS Says:

    Our secondary will do the same thing. Get out run, fooled or get holding penalties. Pray is exactly right. Pray the front gets the pressure on Matty Ice they need.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    The first 12 comments are right on the money, and the answer is ‘Check E – All of the Above’. Dak played a fantastic game. Why run against the top run defense team in the NFL when you can nickel & dime them to death? Our DBs were playing off too much. Bucs didn’t expect 58 passes. Yada yada. And everyone’s right.

    The one comment that seems to be missing though is that our pass rush didn’t get there, and that proved to be critical IMO. Looked at from the Dallas perspective though, their OLine did a great job protecting Dak Prescott. His high completion percentage (72.4%) meant that the clock kept running & they won the TOP handily. Our defense wore down in the 4th qtr, and gave up the go-ahead FG with just a little over a minute left. We were LUCKY to win that game, and it wouldn’t have happened without Tom Brady.

    The pass rush has to get better, and fast. ONE sack is unacceptable. LIMITED pressure is unacceptable. ELEVEN penalties for over 100 yds is unacceptable. Giving up 29 points is unacceptable. On the other hand, FOUR giveaways to ONE takeaway is also unacceptable. Fortunately Dallas’ defense couldn’t defend the deep pass & we scored 31 points. BOTH our offense and our defense need to tighten up if we expect to repeat.

  16. Craig Says:

    Can’t say anything bad against the Cowboys OC. He dealt a master game and Dak delivered t. They did everything that they saw in film could stop the Bucs defense.

    It was all for naught, though, the Bucs won. They won because we have Brady and I will not bet against him.

  17. alton d green Says:

    I try to find humor in everything. I was sitting in my recliner waiting for the second half and i thought to myself I would fire Dallas’ coach if he runs it one time hahahaha. why in ^%$## would you run it???? Fellas don’t try to turn excuses into reasons. They are NOT the same thing. Starting out just like last year. Todd should be adjusting right now instead of waiting for the fastest player on the plane is left in single coverage. He had 200 yds in the 1st qtr. Our secondary sucked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! adjust Todd, adjust!

  18. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Isn’t it the number one tenet of Defense to stop the run and make them one dimensional?

    That one dimension seems to kick our butt more often than not. We’ve got to get a legitimate NFL corner in here, pronto.

    Teams don’t run on us, because they don’t have to.

  19. John F Ensch Says:

    At least Atlanta has as poor a defense as the Bucs do. It looked to me like Atlanta was afraid to tackle anyone just like the Bucs. Atlanta’s secondary looked a lot better than the Bucs and I’m sure Atlanta will come in playing much better than last week. The Bucs defense who you can tell is still reading all their newspaper clippings will show poorly again and not tackle and end up with a lost to Atlanta.

  20. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Play 3 safeties……backing up the CBs….and tight coverage on the short passes…..
    And, yes….our pass rush was not good vs Dak….58 passes and not one single one was tipped or batted at the line…..if you can’t get there guys….hands up!!!

  21. samcmjr Says:

    Trade for Gilmore from Pats

  22. DaBux Says:

    This is what happens when players and coaches read too much of their own press clippings. Now they should come out nasty.

  23. Will Says:

    Defense Rules you’re correct about the 1 missing comment that our pass rush didn’t get home. The problem was that the DBs were playing to far off and not redirecting the routes. Give any QB in the league that on top of the fact that the plan was to run quick routes and we’re in trouble. Get up and press the WR and make him just a step or two slower to his spot and our rush will get home. They were close MANY times but Dak can run Matty Ice not so much.

  24. JA Says:

    Willing to bet Coach Arians, his staff and players can all rest a little easier now with the knowledge that Medicated Pete gave them a mulligan.
    Thanks, Pete!

  25. Beeej Says:

    I remember the Rams in the ’79 season (I was at the championship game where they beat us 9-0…I believe it was raining) The prior game against the Cowboys, they played a 4-7 defense against the Pokes, and they never figured it out

  26. Louis J Glasser Says:

    Technically, the BUCS were beating themselves with turnovers deep in Dallas territory. If the turnovers were touchdowns, the game would have been a whooping of Dallas.
    Cleaning up those mistakes changes the game completely

  27. JA Says:


    I was there too. Don’t remember much rain at that one. I do, however, think it might have sprinkled early on. The week before I remember the Old Sombrero packed to the max and experiencing the loudest crowd noise I’d ever heard, before or since as the Bucs beat the Eagles.
    The rain game was the deluge where the Bucs beat the Chiefs in the final game of the regular season to win the division at 10-6 after starting out 5-0.
    It was an incessant downpour where the stairways and ramps resembled flowing rivers more than their intended usage. It was so wet Jerry Eckwood was running for a clear touchdown when he just dropped the ball without being hit.
    Fun times!

  28. David Says:

    I get it. Dallas has an O line built to run the ball and a RB that could be top five in the league again. So of course they thought they would try to run it more than they did.
    That said, the pass rush better get at it and Dean better step up because every team is going to pass a ton

  29. Youngbucs Says:

    Dallas OC said he called 28 runs but dak changed the plays.

  30. Youngbucs Says:

    Defense Rules why do you always feel the need to write a book? Not trying to be a wise guy by the way.

  31. Bucschamp Says:

    He’s saying this so other teams will try Dallas strategy. Little did they know BA already devised a game plan against it. Jedi mind trick

  32. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Defense Rules writes good books though..

    As for that ’79 NFC Championship Game…..was there….was raining…..9-0…..frustrating….The Rams only scored as much as the Chiefs….but they won.

    What is remarkable is that after all the losing in ’76 & ’77…..Bucs made the NFC Championship…..

  33. gotbbucs Says:

    That game was another prime example of them asking a press corner to play off man coverage. Jamel Dean will never be able to play off man. He’s big and stiff and needs to start at the line of scrimmage where he can use his physicality in those first 5 yards. SMB and Carlton Davis can play off man, Dean cannot.

    If you’re going to come out and blitz like Bowles was doing early, you have to challenge the recievers at the line, otherwise they’ll just play pitch and catch on cut off routes underneath.

  34. Oxycodoms Says:

    Bucs in the playoffs we’re fortunate had played chiefs, packers , and saints previously. . Getting caught off guard is actually a thing with this coaching staff. Brady mentioned last season how he wasn’t pleased with preparation going into games

  35. Defense Rules Says:

    Youngbucs … Bugs me too. If I was writing a book though, I’d do a LOT of editing & I’m sure it’d be a lot shorter. I admittedly don’t take that kind of time with blogs for 1 reason: readers have the option to just by-pass any long inputs like that and move on to the next comment (hard to simply by-pass chapters in a book and still have them make sense).

    Personally I like depth of analysis, but hey, I recognize not everyone’s like that Youngbucs. For instance, you made a singular statement in your earlier comment “Dallas OC said he called 28 runs but dak changed the plays”. First off I’d question whether that’s true in totality, but more important, what am I supposed to conclude from that? Dallas ended up running the ball 18 times in that game. Assuming then that Dak changed 10 calls, was that good or bad? What were the results of those call changes? Did it help Dallas lose the game or make it closer than it would’ve been otherwise? That’s the type of analysis & understanding that I personally prefer, but I also realize that not all JBFers feel the same way.

    So if you’re one of those who prefer brief comments without any depth then by all means stick with those and simply by-pass the longer comments. You’re in control at your computer.

  36. Defense Rules Says:

    gotbbucs … GRRREAT comments about Dean & our blitzing.

  37. DoooshLaRue Says:


    I was there in 79 for all the games and it didn’t rain for the championship game.
    It was cold.
    KC was the monsoon game.

  38. August 1976 Buc Says:

    DR keep writing “books” it has been a good part of this blog.

    GO BUCS!!!!

  39. Stanglassman Says:

    I was there too. No rain. Bucs had some great goal line stands. Eckwood fumbled a couple of times in the red zone if I remember correct.

    The entire pregame & game is on YouTube. I have a VCR tape of the ‘79 Eagles win. I Need to get the transferred… wait what do people get things transferred to now?

  40. Jerry Says:

    What’s odd is that’s what most defenses would want to happen. The objective of every defense is to stop the run and make the other team one-dimensional. Statistics say when you do that, it favors you. But we’ve for years struggled against short passing attacks.

    But yes, the turnovers on offense is primarily why the game was so close. Without those, we score nearly 40 points. And no way Dallas would be able to keep up in the score with what they were doing.

    If we score 30+ points, take care of the football, limit the penalties, and shut down their run….this team is near impossible to beat.

  41. Izod Says:

    I think it’s kind of an excuse. What I saw Thursday is that our defense isn’t much at all if it can’t pressure the QB. Same as what I saw last year as well. That just means Brady and our offense have to be scoring machines for us to win against offenses with strong OLs and good QBs.

  42. bucschamps Says:

    latest news

    Since Cowboys stepped off field Thursday vs. Buccaneers, DE DeMarcus Lawrence fractured foot, RT La’el Collins was suspended five games, DE Randy Gregory tested positive for COVID-19 and an MRI revealed WR Michael Gallup would miss about a month with a calf strain.

  43. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Wow, let me see our weakest spots last year were special teams (which looked pretty good ) and the secondary. Why would any coach attack a teams strength not weakness. Stupid comment by BA and if it is true stupid preparation. Forgot to mention Bucs offense scores 30+ a game. It’s a bs statement to cover up a poor secondary they didn’t address in the off season. Another reason to thank Bucs lucky stars they have Brady.

  44. Rick Says:

    I think the fact remains that if you can’t get a consistent pass rush it’s hard to stop anybody’s passing attack. That typically comes off the edges and Dallas has probably one of the best tackle combinations in football. Certainly when a team has 3 top notch WR like that and you are shorthanded in the secondary, you need to be careful about bringing extra pressure and getting exposed on the back end. We will be ok. We won’t play another team all year with this sort of passing attack because the only team comparable is us.

  45. Hodad Says:

    Part of the problem was the Bucs thought they could show up, and just dominate a rusty Dak. Hopefully lesson learned, all NFL teams can beat you on any given sunday. We will see this same offensive attack until we can stop it. Short quick passes add up to 1st downs, and keeping our offense off the field.

  46. unbelievable Says:

    Rams gonna shred us with quick short passes, screens, slants, etc.

    Death by 1000 paper cuts. That my concern.

  47. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Bruce Arians knows other teams listen to his words just as he listens to theirs. Tossing out disinformation is a staple in the NFL. He’s smart enough to know the secondary was going to be the target. Even with a “rusty” Zak. At least I hope so.

  48. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Suffering, I think your giving an old man the benefit of the doubt he wasn’t just spouting off. Does ANYONE think without Brady this team they are where they are? All BA brings is a baseball pat for his players. His original offensive scheme in 2020 sucked. He works because the players have a voice unlike other teams. Not taking the run off instead of burning g his last time out last Thursday was bad coaching, PERIOD. Same as McCarthy not burning clock.

  49. BRYAN KOHN Says:

    Our current DB’s remind me of an old Bucs Cornerback Rod “TOAST” Jones.

  50. August 1976 Buc Says:

    BRYAN KOHN Says:
    September 16th, 2021 at 1:39 pm
    Our current DB’s remind me of an old Bucs Cornerback Rod “TOAST” Jones.

    lol I posted a comment about Dean looking like Rod “Burnt toast” Jones sometimes, when Dean was highlighted in a post by Joe a few weeks ago.

    Oh how fun the late 80’s Bucs were…NOT……….

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  51. Beeej Says:

    Toast ended up having a nice career in Indianapolis..surprised me