TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady had little to say Thursday in response to coach Bruce Arians’ critical assessment of the quarterback’s play during the six-time Super Bowl champion’s debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Arians made headlines after the Bucs fell to New Orleans 34-23 in the season opener, initially attributing a pair of interceptions to mistakes by Brady, who signed with the team in free agency after 20 years with the New England Patriots.
The coach later said receiver Mike Evans was at fault for one of the interceptions, but remained adamant that Brady made a “bad decision” on a sideline throw that Saints cornerback Janoris Jenkins returned for a touchdown.
“He’s a coach. I’m a player,” Brady said Thursday. “Just trying to win a game.”
Hall of Famer Brett Favre is among many who have questioned whether Arians, who doesn’t shy away from criticizing his players, should have called out his quarterback in public.
The coach said Wednesday that his relationship with Brady is good.
“Tom and I are fine, so I don’t really care what other people think. It’s just what he and I think,” Arians said. “We left the stadium fine. … There’s nothing to talk about.”
Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich played for Arians in Pittsburgh, when the coach was the offensive coordinator and Leftwich was a backup to Ben Roethlisberger.
“That’s what I know of B.A. Me and Tom didn’t really talk about it, so obviously I don’t think it was an issue,” Leftwich said. “It’s B.A. being B.A. All we can worry about is getting to practice, work, get better (and) try to fix our mistakes so we can go out there and try to win football games.”
The offensive coordinator expects Brady to rebound Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
“He’s the best for a reason. The way that his mind works, the way that he sees the game. Like I said, he’s a special guy. He’s a unique guy because of the way he sees football,” Leftwich said. “I don’t expect (anything) different from him. I expect he’s going to come in and do what he can. Bring energy, bring excitement to the game (and) to the team, and do all the things possible for us to execute at a high level.”
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL