#Bruce Arians salivating over potential for Tom Brady-led offense

Bruce Arians salivating over potential for Tom Brady-led offense

June 5, 2020 | 2:30pm

NFC South secondaries should be concerned.

As the victors of the Tom Brady free-agency sweepstakes which came with the bonus prize of Rob Gronkowski, head coach Bruce Arians has the opportunity to make the Buccaneers one of the most exciting offenses in the NFL.

“Each week is finding out the best matchups,” Arians told reporters on a Zoom call via NFL Network’s Mike Giardi. “I love 13. I love three tight ends out there. We have a package, if you don’t know how to stop it, it can hurt you.”

Gronkowski, 31, came out of retirement this offseason to reunite with Brady in Tampa Bay. He joins O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate on the depth chart.

Arians is referring to the 13-personnel package, which would feature all three, plus one wide receiver and one running back. The rarely used formation was deployed on 3 percent of all plays across the NFL last year and 2 percent of Buccaneers’ plays according to Sharp Football Stats.

But this year’s highly talented roster — led by 42-year-old Brady — opens up more options for spicy play-calling from Arians. Unlike Brady’s final, frustrating season in New England, the six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback will have many offensive weapons at his disposal, including two top-tier wide receivers.

Chris Godwin, 24, ranked third in receiving yards (1,333) and tied for fourth in touchdowns (9) and Mike Evans, 26, ranked 13th in receiving yards (1,157) and tied for ninth in touchdowns (8).

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady and Rob GronkowskiGetty Images

“I’d like to see us use some more four wide receiver sets if those guys show up because sometimes, if you have a very good fourth wide receiver, there are very few fourth good corners and nickels and dimes to come get ’em,” Arians said.

Wide receivers Scotty Miller, Justin Watson and 2020 fifth-rounder, Tyler Johnson of Minnesota, will compete for those third and fourth receiver slots.

“That was an area that I think we couldn’t do much last year, I think we can get better at utilizing our personnel groups,” Arians said.

Four wide receiver formations were used on 3 percent of plays called by the first-year Buccaneers coach and 3 percent of plays across the league last year.

“Eleven (one RB, one TE and three WRs) is kind of the standard in the league now, but I’m really anxious to see the third, fourth, fifth receivers fight it out for that spot,” Arians added. “But I know 12’s going to be a hell of a — 12 personnel (one RB, two TEs and two WRs), we’ve got. We’ve got that for sure.”

The 11, which is by far the most popular offensive personnel grouping, was used on 60 percent of all plays across the league last year (64 percent of Tampa’s plays) and the 12 was used on 20 percent of plays (23 percent of Tampa’s plays).


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