Appearing on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt on Thursday night, Licht was asked if he was concerned that “urgency could becoming crippling” for his team, which hasn’t been to the postseason since 2007 and has very few players with playoff experience.
“I don’t have a lot of concerns on that right now,” said Licht, who had two stints with the Patriots and became GM of the Bucs in 2014. “We have a head coach [Bruce Arians] that, to be quite frank, isn’t gonna be here for the next 15, 20 years coaching the Buccaneers. So I think it was actually a perfect marriage: You’ve got two guys that have got something to prove; they want to win, they want to win now; they’ve got the same mindset.”
Arians has four years remaining on his current contract, although sources close to the 67-year-old head coach, who retired after the 2017 season before returning to coach the Bucs in 2019, believe he could be done coaching after two or three years. Brady, meanwhile, signed a two-year deal with the Bucs this offseason after 20 seasons playing for the New England Patriots.
“Getting Tom here, quite frankly, started with hiring Bruce last year,” Licht said. “I don’t know if we would be in this situation right now without Bruce Arians as our head coach. And they’re kind of living parallel lives right now; they’ve got something to prove, and they want to do it now.”
In February, Arians was asked at the NFL combine if he could pick up the phone and call one quarterback in free agency, whom would it be? His answer? Brady.
Brady, 42, has won six Super Bowls, while Arians, a two-time AP NFL Coach of the Year (2012, 2014), has not won one as a head coach. He did, however, win Super Bowls XL and XLIII as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers — one of which was in Tampa, Florida, site of this season’s Super Bowl. No home team has ever won a Super Bowl.
Licht spoke about Brady’s humility, which seems to be endearing him to his new teammates.
“He didn’t want to come in here and be the almighty,” Licht said. “He just wants to make sure that his teammates respect him. And he’s got something to prove.”
Earlier Thursday, inside linebacker Devin White — the Bucs’ fifth overall draft pick last year — said Brady was going to push their young defense to rise to new heights, much in the same way it did facing future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, whom the Bucs open the season against in New Orleans.
“He knows where the ball is gonna go, and he just [does] it so fast. I think that’s the thing that Tom is gonna bring to practice,” White said.
“Us as a defense, it’s gonna teach us more how to disguise, because we’re not gonna want him to pick us apart every day in training camp. We’re gonna get better with our disguises. We’re gonna try to confuse him a little. … Going against him will really make us bring our game out to a new level.”