The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have landed Bruce Arians as their next head coach, to replace the recently fired Dirk Koetter. The coaching carousel is spinning away: Arians will reportedly bring the recently fired Todd Bowles to Tampa as his defensive coordinator, while Koetter is returning to the Falcons as their new/old offensive coordinator.
Apart from his history of success in the job—Arians has a 50–32–1 record as an NFL head coach, including the playoffs, and was twice named Coach of the Year—there’s also the expectation that Arians will make a legitimate starting quarterback out of Jameis Winston. As noted by one-sentence-paragraph-man Bruce Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Arians and Winston are mutual fans, going back to a time when Winston attended Arians’s quarterbacking camp in Birmingham circa 2007. Winston credits Arians and his shiny Steelers Super Bowl ring with inspiring him to strive for one of his own, and Arians sounds like he’d like to give Winston a big wet smooch on the forehead:
“‘Jaboo’ has been a legend since he was in the ninth grade,” Arians said before their first NFL meeting. “… I’ve been hearing about him, knowing about him for a long time. … Just a tremendous athlete. A very bright guy, but had a cannon for an arm. He was probably throwing 90 mile-an-hour fastballs back then in the ninth, 10th grade.”
Arians didn’t stop there, reportedly calling Winston “a great leader and obviously a heck of a young quarterback,” and saying “he would be fun to coach.” None of that squares much with what Winston’s done in his NFL career so far—he’s an interception machine and an occasional hothead with a lousy 21–33 record as a starter, and he gives achingly corny and uncomfortable motivational speeches, and last season he was roundly outperformed by, and lost his job to, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
But Arians fancies himself a quarterback whisperer, and anyway he’s had great success in the past coaching awful creeps who’ve been accused of rape and sexual assault by multiple women, so this should be like riding a bicycle.