The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fresh off a historic Super Bowl win and are bringing back all 22 starters. However, Bruce Arians maintains that his players still have to earn their roles.
The last time a team brought back every week 1 starter was the 1979 Steelers, who repeated their success the next year. Of course, the Bucs will look to do the same, but complacency could be their worst enemy.
When Leonard Fournette re-signed in late March, Bruce Arians did not say who would be starting at RB in 2021. ESPN’s Jenna Laine covered the story, which included a quote from Arians that sums up the mentality of the defending champs heading into OTAs.
“No. That will all be defined through practice and OTAs and training camp and preseason,” Arians said regarding whether Fournette would be starting.
“There are no starters. This is a new football team. I made that message clear when they left, that that team won the Super Bowl. This team hasn’t done sh*t. All those things will be defined in practice.”
“Those guys. They all know what the system is. The best players are gonna play,” he continued. “Obviously we had two really, really good ones at that position, and I really like Ke’Shawn Vaughn. I think with an offseason, he’s gonna have a breakout year also. All those roles will be defined when we get to the last week of the preseason.”
Bruce Arians on Drafting a QB: “We wouldn’t be opposed to it”
One starter who’s definitely not losing his job is Tom Brady. Every time someone questions his age, the 7 time Super Bowl champion keeps proving why he’s the greatest to ever do it. That being said, he still is 43 years old.
Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht have to consider the post-Brady Buccaneers. The team has a lot of talent and if things go as planned, they can continue their winning ways even after Brady retires.
When asked if Tampa Bay might select a QB in the upcoming draft, Arians said, “If the right guy is there that we think is a developmental guy that has the upside that outweighs every other position of those five or six guys that we’re looking at, then we wouldn’t be against it.”
“The same thing in the second round and the third round — if we have five guys and one’s a quarterback, and we think his development is better than those positions, sure.”
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) April 13, 2021
Of course, this means that Tampa is not actively searching for Brady’s successor. They find themselves in a good position where they don’t have any dire weaknesses to address.
Instead, they have the freedom to select the best available, regardless of position, or trade down for future draft capital.