I've always respected Bruce Arians.
He tells it like it is and speaks from his heart. But his comments about Tom Brady after his Buccaneers debut on Sunday were surprising to me.
Emotions often run high after a game. That’s why I’ve always taken the time to absorb the game and go back and watch it before making full assessments about what happened. Because it’s hard at times when you’re watching from the sideline to see exactly how a play unfolded, and it’s not until the next day that you really grasp what took place.
So, it was interesting to hear Arians say, "Tom’s got to play better; he obviously missed some throws; he shouldn’t have had the interceptions" -- all the things you say to critique somebody -- then come back the following day and say, "Actually, Mike Evans should have ran down the middle of the field on that."
Obviously Brady wants the other interception back, but to publicly criticize your quarterback after Week 1 in a division game against a really good team?
I’m not a big fan of it.
As a quarterback, you have to respect the fact that your head coach can say what he wants to say. It’s his team. But when you come back on Monday and step back from your comments to say, "Actually, it wasn’t exactly what I thought it was after the game" -- that’s why it usually takes time to digest what takes place.
When I was in New England, I always appreciated how Bill Belichick handled the quarterback room. He always protected us and most of his players from the media.
He’s not going to single out one guy for his mistakes, unless it was blatant. Even then, he’ll say something like, “Obviously, he wants that one back,” or, “That’s a mistake that we can’t have, and he knows that and he’s going to try to get better at it.”
But at least in my experience, he would never publicly criticize me or my teammates to the media. If Bill was going to criticize you, it was going to be within the team or behind closed doors.
The primary reason for that: I believe it creates a distraction in the locker room, especially in today's era of social media.
A lot of people are talking this week about Bruce Arians' criticism of Tom Brady’s play. So, that's going to be a thing moving forward, whether it’s Tom or whether it’s people asking Mike Evans: "How are they going to get you the ball? What did you think of Tom Brady’s performance? How would you grade him?"
All of those questions arise more now than they probably would have if Bruce had said something like, “We’re all frustrated with the outcome, but at the end of the day, we’ve all got to get better as a unit, and we will."
Then again, Tom is as mentally tough as they come. He signed up for this, and he knew that there’s going to be a different coaching style that sometimes takes time to adjust to.
At the end of the day, Tom’s going to focus on one thing: winning football games. He’s not going to make this a big issue or a distraction for the team, because he knows that doesn’t benefit anyone in the long run.