Bruce Arians disputes notion Tom Brady lacks arm strength: ‘Deep ball was outstanding last year’

Tom Brady
Jan 4, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts after the game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that Bruce Arians loves to see his offense throw deep. On a related note, many have pontificated that Tom Brady — not exactly known for his big arm — might be a bad fit for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Speaking about his new quarterback, Arians disputed that notion emphatically and praised Brady, who’ll be 43 when the 2020 season begins, for his “outstanding” deep throws last season.

“I think the perception is just wrong,” Arians said Wednesday, per ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “I thought his deep ball was outstanding last year. Through their play-action game, they hit a lot of deep balls. And our quarterback — I thought he put it as good as anybody — throw it to the guy who’s open.”

To Arians’ point, here’s a really interesting comparison put together by ESPN Stats & Info that shows Brady and former Bucs quarterback, Jameis Winston, were tied for the best completion rate on deep passes thrown into tight windows in 2019.

So, Brady can still make those tough, deep throws. Even better, and this is why Buccaneers fans should be excited, is that Brady doesn’t turn the ball over very often. Winston set a dubious NFL record last year and ended the season on the worst note possible. Brady is known for being extremely smart when it comes to decision making and has thrown fewer interceptions (29) in the past four years than Winston did a year ago.

To that point, Arians highlighted Brady’s experience and lack of turnovers as a huge key for the Tampa Bay offense this coming season.

“We do have reads that start deep and come in short, but I’ve had a couple quarterbacks that just keep looking deep — they won’t throw the checkdown,” Arians said. “[Offensive consultant] Tom Moore has the best saying in the world: ‘You don’t go broke putting money in the bank. Take the damn checkdown.’

“We don’t have to teach Tom that. But I think the freedom of looking downfield on certain routes and in certain situations, when the matchup’s perfect — take it, don’t be afraid to take it — some quarterbacks are afraid to take it. I’m not looking for a ‘checkdown Charlie’ quarterback.”

Because Brady can, in fact, still push the ball downfield and isn’t turnover prone, Arians believes the Buccaneers have a real shot to win the Super Bowl this coming season.

Whatever happens, the one thing most agree on is that the 2020 NFL season will be full of drama with Brady playing for a team other than the New England Patriots.