A former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star thinks the apparent public feuding between Bucs coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Tom Brady is little more than theater.
Jimmie Giles, a four-time Pro Bowler with Tampa Bay in the 1980s, recently claimed that Arians' habit of calling out Brady after poor performances isn't indicative of a larger rift -- but merely the actions of a coach trying his best to deflect media scrutiny from his players.
By calling out Brady, Giles explained on "The Eye Test for Two" podcast, Arians is making himself the center of attention, and showing a willingness to absorb questions from reporters so his players don't have to.
“Everybody’s getting on Coach about getting on Tom Brady, right?” Giles said. “Ever thought that Coach might be doing that for a reason?
“He’s taking the heat off Tom Brady,” Giles said, “because if he didn’t take the heat they would go after Tom Brady. And he’s the kind of coach who’s going to get on whoever to make his team better. If everybody sees that Coach can get on Tom Brady, that means if you don’t do your job, he’s going to get on you, too.”
Arians calling out Brady for poor play has become a common feature after Bucs losses this season.
In most cases it has seemingly worked, with the Bucs rebounding to win each time, but the team is facing a new test after dropping consecutive games for the first time this season, in Weeks 11 and 12.
After getting off to a nice 5-2 start, the Bucs have slipped to 7-5, ratcheting up the pressure on Arians and Brady to finish out strong over their final four games.
According to Giles, Arians' goal is to blunt that pressure.
“He’s taking the heat off Tom and putting it on himself,” he said. “That’s a mark of a good coach. (He) knows exactly what he’s doing: Taking the heat off his team and putting it on himself.”