Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians surprised a lot of people with his stark criticism of Tom Brady after the Buccaneers’ opening week loss to New Orleans. One of those people was Brett Favre, and the Hall of Fame quarterback believes it was a mistake by Arians.
“I think the last person you want to call out after the first game of the year is Tom Brady,” Favre said Tuesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Now, maybe they had a mutual truce going into the game, going into the season, ‘Hey, I’m going to be hard on you. I want the guys to know we’re going to treat you the same even though technically I’m not, so are you OK with it?’ If they have that truce, great. If not, I think you are barking up the wrong tree.’’
Arians knocked Brady for a “miscommunication” with Mike Evans on one interception, a critique he later walked back and placed on Evans instead. Arians called Brady’s second interception, which resulted in a pick-six, a “bad decision.”
Not only were the criticisms harsh, especially after just one game, they were also noteworthy considering Brady’s lone former NFL head coach, Bill Belichick, never publicly bashed Brady in similar fashion.
“Dissension could easily enter quickly,’’ Favre said. “Maybe the Saints didn’t do anything that they were not ready for other than, ‘We didn’t protect very well,’ [and] Tom gets hit a couple of times, you get a little jittery, it happens. First half of the Super Bowl against the Falcons he was getting nailed [and] played lackluster at best.
“They went in, had a ‘Come to Jesus’ at halftime, they don’t even come close to touching him in the second half, and he’s flawless. So they clean up the protection, the timing, the chemistry will come. Will it come overnight? I highly doubt it, but it will come pretty quickly though and they very easily could be 4-1 after five weeks.”
In the meantime, Arians could have a mess on his hands. Tampa Bay hosts the Panthers on Sunday to try to even their record on the season. Favre expects to see improvement from Brady as he grows more comfortable with his new team and a new system.
“Tom’s performance was not what we’ve come to expect from him, but I’ll say this, it wasn’t far off,” Favre said. “The first drive, I think most people said, ‘Well, he hasn’t missed a beat. That’s typical Tom.’ I was a little bit surprised at how he started. I was not surprised with how the rest of the game unfolded. New team. He’s been in a familiar environment forever and then all of a sudden not only is he with a new team, football itself is totally different right now. No preseason.
“Yeah, we saw, we heard where he was getting some kind of workout in, whether it be virtual or in the parking lot. But, look, it’s not even close to the equivalent of real bullets. And they protected OK. Tom, you know, if you protect him he’s gonna pick you apart, I don’t care if it is new receivers or not.”