Bruce Arians Talks About His New ‘What Do You Think?’ Job, And More

June 28th, 2022

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Despite the latest zig-zag in his coaching career, Bruce Arians remains a straight shooter.

Now a senior advisor, the head coach who led the 2020 Buccaneers to a Super Bowl championship was a guest on the “Eye Test For Two” podcast with me and fellow co-host Clark Judge. Arians spoke openly about an array of topics, including coaching Tom Brady, the potential impact of Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, his upcoming Ring of Honor ceremony and Ronde Barber’s credentials for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bucco Bruce Arians opens up.

Gronkowski announced his retirement last week amid speculation he may ultimately emulate Brady and unretire this fall.

What if Gronk is serious about calling it quits?

“It’s a step back, that’s for sure,” Arians says, “because he’s a Hall of Fame player. But I really like the room right now. I love the young kids we’ve got in there and Cam Brate’s a good veteran player that Tom really trusts. Now, he’s not Gronk. That size and what he brings as a blocker and receiver I think is unmatched. You don’t replace that guy, but we also have Codey McElroy … I think it’s time for him to break out as a receiver.”

Arians says the lure of winning another championship paled in comparison to the opportunity of setting up his coaches in a secure position.

“No it really wasn’t hard,” Arians says. “Those things are great, but succession was really, really big for me. It didn’t happen in Arizona. It meant the world to me to make sure 34 families had jobs beyond February. The Super Bowl wasn’t guaranteed, there’s nothing guaranteed, but now our guys have 5-year contracts. Todd’s got a 5-year deal and all the assistant coaches are set for the future.

Arians has high hopes for tight end Cameron Brate.

“I was probably done anyway, so why not do it now? I know a lot of people think the Hall of Fame is the end-all, be-all and if it happens, that would be the most unbelievable thing to be able to wear a gold jacket. But this meant more to me personally.”

The details of his new job are admittedly still murky for Arians.

“It’s a ‘What do you think?’ job,” Arians said. “Everybody asks me what do I think and they know they’re getting a brutally honest answer, whether it be Joel Glazer, Jason Licht, Todd Bowles or Byron Leftwich. It’s been fun going to practice, watching and learning some more, watching us change, looking at the new guys. Man, that draft class is going to be a home run. Looking forward to getting to camp.”

Arians has a new title, but he’s still working out of One Buc Place.

“That’s the beauty of my job,” he says. “I get to be in the locker room, get to be around the coaches every day and still have a big hand in the draft. The relationships were always the biggest thing for me. Building a new team, watching the new guys come in. Now, Sundays might be different sitting upstairs. I might be able to still holler loud enough to cuss out the refs from up there.”

Reflection Time

Arians served as Indy’s quarterbacks coach during Peyton Manning’s first three pro seasons. After two years of working with Brady, Arians sees one critical common trait.

“Preparation — they’re both piranhas of information,” says Arians. “You cannot feed them enough information. They have questions after question about what could happen in a game and you’d better have all the answers. It’s demanding but it’s really fun coaching guys like that because they challenge you every single day.”

Arians turns 69 in October and he’s proud of his contributions to the game he loves, whether it be style of play or his role in promoting diversity.

“My legacy? Probably no risk-it, no-biscuit,” he says. “The way we played the game, the way we coached the game. We played to win and we applied pressure at all costs. The female coaches, yes, that was by design. That door needed to be knocked down. I’m so happy to see how many women are in the NFL in different roles and it’s growing rapidly. But the coaches of color, that wasn’t by design … they’re the best coaches I know. I think (assistant wide receivers coach) Thaddeus Lewis is going to be a dynamite coach here.”

Arians spent a year in the broadcast booth after leaving the Cardinals in 2018. When Licht talked about the opening in Tampa, Arians didn’t hesitate.

Rondé Barber enters his fifth year of Pro Football Hall of Fame eligibility.

“Tampa welcomed our family with open arms,” he says. “You don’t hire 66-year-old coaches very often anymore. They shared a vision of what a winning culture and foundation looked like. They knew my style and embraced it. It’s going to be a very emotional night for me to go into the Ring of Honor.

“These three years have just been fantastic. For me, to be honored by an organization is tops. It’s the biggest you can get, to put your name up there with Rondé and Alstott and Sapp and all the rest. That’s as good as it gets for me.”

Speaking of Barber’s Hall of Fame candidacy,  Arians can’t believe No. 20 is still awaiting a gold jacket.

“I’m shocked he hasn’t crossed the line because he has the numbers.” Arians says. “People get tied up with numbers and nobody has better numbers than him — interceptions, sacks, caused fumbles, games played. He played with a broken arm. Ronde’s what the league is all about. Smart, tough, he has handled himself perfectly throughout his whole career. If that’s not a Hall of Fame career, I don’t know what is.”

Yes, that warranty includes USED vehicles!
Ira drives a 2020 Ford Escape (cherry red).

39 Responses to “Bruce Arians Talks About His New ‘What Do You Think?’ Job, And More”

  1. GOB Says:

    If Rodney Harrison isn’t a hall of famer, then Barber isn’t either. If you’re starting a team today, and must pick between them, it’s Rodney all day long. Barber was a very good player. I don’t think he was ever great, or changed the fortunes of his team. The defenses he played with, would’ve been just fine without him.

  2. GOB Says:

    As far as BA goes, same thing. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady would’ve been just fine without him. Same for Big Ben, and Palmer.

  3. Razor Ramone Says:


  4. David Says:

    BA is absolutely fantastic. Greatest three-year run in Buccaneer history and yet there are pseudo-fans on here who discount his influence and think he’s a horrible coach. 😂 I’ll listen to the players and all the other coaches throughout his entire career who absolutely love the guy and follow him to go play for him. Some of your fans really have some serious issues. 😂

    So glad he came to Tampa. Without him, there probably is no Brady in Tampa

  5. D-Rok Says:

    Excellent article, Ira, thank you! Great behind-the-scenes content and insight into our previous coach still residing on the Bucs payroll.

  6. VATom Says:

    GOB. Barber changed the fortunes of this team MANY times. Im not sure of you have been a long time follower. But the dude was instrumental in shutting down a lot of passing attacks. Arguably, passing wasnt then, what it is now. But just ask McNab if Barber changed the fortunes of this team.

  7. 1sparkybuc Says:

    Ask an Eagle fan what they think about Ronde Barber GOBber. 6 interceptions off their QB alone. They still moan about January 19,2003.

  8. Irishmist Says:

    GOB- Go on YouTube and watch the NFC championship game between Tampa and Philadelphia. Rhonde won that game almost single handedly. Other than a couple of Lawrence Taylor games that was probably the best one man defensive performance I’ve ever seen. And it happened in the biggest game in Tampa history up to that point. Without him, we don’t get to the Super Bowl that year. Show me one Rodney Harrison game with a performance like that.

  9. Cobraboy Says:

    I’m gonna miss that old goofball, and hope Bowles & Co. makes me forget Riskit Biskit quickly.

  10. Buczilla Says:

    A precedent for the hall of fame was set by Dungy. Win a superbowl, win a lot of games, and do extraordinary things off the field. Arians was clearly a better coach than Dungy and while he was actually hiring minorities and woman to his staff, most other teams were paying lip service to those things. He should be a first ballot hall of famer when you combine what he did on the field with what he did off of it.

    The mostly d-bags that vote on the hall of fame are keeping Ronde out, simple as that. Fire all but a handful and put Ira and Dungy in charge of the whole damn thing.

  11. Goatfarmer Says:

    I’d love to see any of these BA naysayers get in a room with him and discuss the concept that he was lazy and didn’t contribute anything. These moroniacs wouldn’t survive 2 minutes and would be bleeding from their hind ends.

    You know what they say about stupid.

  12. westernbuc Says:

    GOB must be one of those patriot fans who came over with Tom, so I’ll just say this: They aren’t the same position, go look at the stats, and guys who get busted for HGH don’t belong in the Hall.

  13. Marques Says:

    Bruce is not for everyone. Bruce is not a perfect coach, having said that Bruce was the perfect coach (leader) for the situation he came into. He created a winning culture, a culture of accountability, a culture for women, a culture for minorities, a culture about the collective. Respect, honour and loyalty his 3 pillars for the foundation of what he built. No Bruce, No Brady, No Super Bowl, no historic 24 months of Buccaneer Football. Finally in his most unselfish act he stepped down because in my opinion he felt at his age he felt his defensive coordinator could pull the wagon a little harder, a little faster with a lot less noise. In his mind his mission was accomplished.

  14. GOB Says:

    Irishmist, you sure Donovan McNabb didn’t have a hand in that? Rodney Harrison was a devastating playmaker before he came to the Patriots. Go watch the 1994 AFC title game. The chargers don’t get to the superbowl without him. The only reason Harrison isn’t in the HOF, is because of his rep. Barber isn’t in, because he’s boarder line. If you need to think about a players eligibility, he isn’t worthy. From all accounts he’s a great guy, someone the voters can all get behind. Then why isn’t he in? Barber was a very good player, but I think the bucs would’ve been just fine without him.

  15. GOB Says:

    @westernbuc, please tell me you’re not naive enough to think the only players that got busted, were the only ones doing it. If we’re using your criteria, the pro football HOF would have about ten guys.

  16. GOB Says:

    Does BA belong in the HOF too? Anyone that says yes needs to be blue papered. Name another HC, that needed to wait until til his 60s to get a gig. If poor Chuck pagano hadn’t come down with cancer, BA may never have been offered a job. The funniest part is Joe’s assertion that BA changed the culture. 7-9 culture change, ok. Brady is the reason BA has a Superbowl ring.

  17. Buczilla Says:

    Lol Gob, that is silly talk man. Ronde played corner for the majority of his career and despite that he’s got better saferty stats with the exception of two and a half sacks than Harrison. Harrison was very good, but he’s not even in Ronde’s area code man. Ronde was a unicorn and no other corner in league history has Ronde’s numbers. For reference, check out pro football reference (pun intended) if ya doubt me. The audacity of some of these New England (I love Boston and it’s residents by the way) folks borders on sheer lunacy. 😜

  18. ChiBuc Says:

    @GOB, this is a chix vs egg argument re: whether or not the bucs would have been just fine without Rhonde. How many Sapp sacks were due to coverage or how often did opposing QBs try to force a pass underneath to Brookes’s glory because there was nowhere else to go? Barber is a class act off the field and was a game changer when on it. Your sour grapes over Rodney’s denial does not change those facts. I agree that Rodney deserves a nod, but he just comes across as a d!ck. Plus, as a broadcaster he’s a Tampa Bay/Buc hater, so no love loss here.

  19. ChiBuc Says:

    Really joe?! You can post “d-bag,” call ppl “tard,” and continually allow “supreme” post, but God forbid you refer to Rodney Harrison as male genitalia.

  20. OBVIOUS Says:

    GOB, sorry man I read your first 2 comments, stopped in my 👣 tracks right there on the spot and had to comment myself. And here it is….

    Ok, ready, here it is… YOU’RE TRIPPIN DUDE!

    I don’t know if you’re an actual fan though comments I’ve seen from you in the past are sometimes borderline but leans towards actually being a fan and if so the question Has To Be, For How Long?

    You are CLEARLY unaware of Mr. Ronde Barber and his records Much less anything else about him. Granted he started slow but on e this man got rolling, he Rolled over YOU and ME both! 20 times over!

    Was it BA you mentioned as well? Here’s my comment to you concerning him.

    Ready? Here it goes…. YOU’RE TRIPPIN!

    Ok, you got me. Good one. You’re Not Actually a fan are you.?
    That’s a good one but then I admit I’m a bit slow witteded (sp). You sure fouled me. Or is that fooled me? I’m not sure because after reading your logic, I’m ALL screwed up!

    I’m guessing you not only have ridden the short bus most ALL of your life, if you actually qualified for a license (and that’s sure questionable) you, I imagine once drove the short bus. Too bad your career doing that only lasted half a day.

    However, the attack comes from my found belief that you’re not an actual fan. If you are, forgive me and just keep in mind that it might be “smarter” to think on it a bit before you actually speak. That’s good advice!


    GO BUCS!

  21. GOB Says:

    I never said Barber was anything but a very good player. You folks tell me why he isn’t in then. Did he wrong Peter King or something? He isn’t in, because of the all time talent around him. Stick Logan Ryan in that defense, and his numbers would probably be comparable. There is a grand conspiracy that keeps Harrison out. I know of nothing of the sort for Barber. Again, if a player is borderline, it’s a hard no for me.

  22. OBVIOUS Says:

    Hey Bucs fans, this fellow clearly isn’t aware of the history and is desperately attempting to look like he knows what he’s talking about.
    gob, back handed comments about our team heroes certainly isn’t going to win you any fans. And believe me when I say that Buc fans do love our heroes because we’ve had so few. But when we have had them, they were something to witness. We in fact Are the first to call B.S. on anything less concerning our team Including at times giving our own Super Stars criticism if they even flinch weird. So you are wasting your keyboard trying to impress us with your nonsense.

    It’s a Bad look buddy.

    Besides, I’d like to ask you a question “IF” you got the balls to give a truthful answer.
    With that said, as I recall, the pats weren’t very impressive for pretty much the Entire time the ball club existed. In fact, since you Excell at saying some OBVIOUSLY asinine comments, such as no Brady no Super Bowl win, can you please explain to all of us lowly BUCCANEERS fans, just where would the patties have been for the last 20 years without the best in the business (Tom Brady), that the okish, sort of, I guess, coach BELLACHEAT threw away? Because BELLACHEAT seems to be a pompous ass? I’m sorry in my opinion, IS a pompous Ass and clearly not very bright. I mean what kind of an IDIOT would belittle, embarrass, and TURN HIS BACK ON, and THROW AWAY the MAN THE LEGEND Tom Brady who “MADE” (in my view) the patties ANYTHING AT ALL?


  23. OBVIOUS Says:

    Because to Be Clear, Bruce Arians and the Entire Bucs nation welcomed him here with Respect and Admiration. You know, the guy you say isn’t worth anything.
    In Fact, he announced the invitation for ALL the world to hear while your hero bellacheat gave Tom the finger….

    And don’t Ever Forget that again Goober!

    GO BUCS!

  24. GOB Says:

    Barber was a system player, who benefitted his entire career from a great scheme, and tremendous talent around him.

    Rodney Harrison stats in 9 years with the chargers. 26 ints. 46, passes defensed, 8 forced fumbles, 21.5 sacks. He struck fear into opposing players.

  25. Sparky Says:

    What kind of low self-esteem jagoff comes to a sports team blog to talk trash about the most favorite players and coaches in the teams history?

  26. Dooley Says:

    Calling Ronde Barber a system player in one of the most popular defensive schemes(from youth ball to the pros) of the modern era, is NOT a slight. You can then argue Barbers’ talent within the Tampa 2 helped make said scheme run, like you can say for Sapp, Lynch, or Derrick Brooks who all happen to be Hall of Famers. Rodney HGHarrison was a fine player, but coming out admitting you did roids doesn’t wipe away or absolve you from the consequences for being forthright.

  27. Greg Says:

    @ GOB I am embarrassed for you! I like many others were season tix holders during that run RB was involved in and watched first hand the impact he and the culture changing Phlly game. I will venture to guess you witnessed none of those. I will also venture you have never seen RH play in a game live. RH was a great player of course but when you are behind the keyboard with your beer and Ruffles you can spout anything. Let’s hear your context, how many games were you in attendance to be an expert? Your bias is obvious and that is ok as we all can say what we want but IMO your opinion is weak and you can’t say crap about RB because you never saw him play and feel his impact! Your comment of a system player was your clueless perspective being apparent.

  28. Mort Says:

    GOB doing his best to put himself as a masshole. You clearly didn’t watch Ronde at all during his career. Just stop. You’re embarrassing yourself badly.

  29. IrishMist Says:

    Rhonde Barber stats: Tackles 1251, sacks 28, pass deflections 197, interceptions 47, forced fumbles 15, touchdowns 14. Rodney Harrison: tackles 1198, sacks 30.5, pass deflections 114, interceptions 34, touchdowns 2!

  30. Steven007 Says:

    GOB, this isn’t the hill to die on buddy. Really you sound asinine. And a Homer. Your home obviously not being anywhere near Tampa. Look at the numbers and watch the highlights. And the longevity. And if you care for things like this, his character. But that’s just fluff. The rest is football. But honestly, you sound constipated. Take a dump, clear your head of the cobwebs, and start making some sense. Because what you’re currently doing is not that.

  31. Steven007 Says:

    Thanks for posting the stats, Irish. I knew it was already tilted towards Barber but good Lord that’s quite a disparity in most of the important categories. In Ronde’s favor of course.

  32. Scooter Says:

    Receivers feared catching the ball in the vicinity of Ronnie Lott and Rodney Harrison.GOB has a good grasp of the entire league.

  33. Defense Rules Says:

    Hard for me to understand why BOTH Barber AND Harrison haven’t made the HOF yet. Comparing the ‘production’ between a career Cornerback & a career Safety seems kinda fruitless however. It’s like comparing John Lynch to Deion Sanders; or in more present-day setting, comparing Davis to Whitehead. The demands of both positions are considerably different.

    Ronde’s most impressive stat IMO will always be his 241 regular season games in his 16-year career. That’s 15 years playing in all 16 games each season, plus the 1 game he played in his rookie year (hey, Anthony Parker beat him out as starter for 15 games). Only the legendary Darrell Green played in more games (295) as a CB, but that was over 20 years. His other numbers don’t come close to Ronde’s. BUT … Darrell’s in the HOF.

    There’s a metric called The Pro Football Reference Hall of Fame Monitor (HOFm) that’s designed to estimate a player’s chances of making the HOF using AV, Pro Bowls, All-Pros, championships, and various stat milestones. Just for info, Rod Woodson leads the DB group with a 177.63 number. Ronde’s HOFm is listed at 84.93, while Harrison’s is listed at 46.78 (no idea why it’s that low). Only ONE DB with a HOFm greater than Ronde’s hasn’t made it into the HOF yet … Darrelle Revis, and that’s only because he didn’t officially retire until 2017. Only ONE DB.

  34. mark2001 Says:

    In my mind, Rhonde was just behind Warren and Derrick in terms of HOF qualifications among the guys we had during the late 90’s/early 2000’s. I have no idea statistically and relative to his quality of play, why he isn’t already wearing a jacket.

  35. mark2001 Says:

    why do I want to put an h in there? Sorry Ronde. No edit tab.

  36. Buc1987 Says:

    Scooter…look Ma a new poster…and he agrees with the Pats fans on JBF.

    Wow….. welcome new guy..stick around we need more info about the Patriots and how they do things in NE.

    Or just go away.

  37. Bucs Win Says:

    The best thing about when Tom Brady finally retires will be when all these stupid New England idiots get off our fan pages.
    Do a little research before you make yourself look like a dumbazz.
    Rondè buries Harrison in every single statistical category. Harrison was certainly a good player but hands down Barber is better and it’s not even close.

  38. '79 Defense Says:

    “Arians turns 69 in October and he’s proud of his contributions…”

    Incorrect, as he turns 70 in October.

  39. Dooley Says:


    It’s because Harrison admitted to steroid use, that’s the biggest reason he isn’t in the HOF and means, there’s a slight chance AB gets into Canton before Harrison.