Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians knows a thing or two about NFL quarterbacks. During his time on the gridiron, he’s worked with Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger, and now Tom Brady. Based on that reality, maybe the Green Bay Packers should have listened to his advice.
As you’re probably aware, the Packers are currently in the midst of a messy quarterback situation, with Aaron Rodgers feeling disrespected and unsure if he ever wants to play for the franchise again. While hindsight is always 20-20, Arians just schooled the NFC North franchise on the proper way to treat its star player.
Aaron Rodgers has gone to war with the Green Bay Packers this offseason
Before we get to Arians, we need to start in the NFC North. There, the Packers and Rodgers are locked in an ugly stalemate.
Without relitigating the entire situation, news broke around the 2021 NFL draft that Rodgers had no desire to return to Green Bay. While there’s some debate over the exact reason things broke down — some point to the selection of Jordan Love, while others have theories about draft picks or other personnel moves — everything seems to boil down to one key issue: The quarterback feels like he hasn’t received the proper respect from his employer.
With all of that being said, though, nothing has really happened yet. The Packers don’t seem prepared to make a snap decision; as of now, they probably don’t believe he’ll actually bite the bullet and sit out an entire season. On the quarterback’s side of things, all he can really do is wait and hope that the front office caves.
At this point, both parties are waiting for the other to blink first, setting up an awkward offseason for everyone affiliated with the Packers.
Bruce Arians explains how Tom Brady gets involved in the drafting process
As noted above, a potentially major moment in the Packers’ relationship with Rodgers was when they drafted a new quarterback. In 2021, Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did just that, albeit without putting Tom Brady out in the cold.
“Oh yeah, we talked about the whole thing,” Arians told Rich Eisen when asked if he chatted with Brady about drafting Kyle Trask. “He’s so super interested in that stuff, too, so, I mean, we had a number of conversations and, as we got closer and closer, I’d say, ‘Hey, check this guy out, check this guy out and see if you like him.’ Yeah, we have a great relationship that way.”
Eisen then pushed further on which players Arians asked Brady to check out. According to the head coach, TB12 provided input on the guys he’d directly deal with in the future.
“A couple of receivers,” the head coach clarified. “Look at these receivers and see if there’s something that you like, and I’ll critique your ability to critique receivers.”
Like it or not, Bruce Arians knows how the modern NFL works
While it might not sit well with old-school NFL purists (and Green Bay Packers fans), Arians has a point. Gone are the days when a head coach could rule an organization with an iron fist. Now, a softer touch is required in certain situations.
Like it or not, star quarterbacks rule the modern game; just look at the teams that consistently make deep runs into the playoffs. When you have a crown jewel, be it Brady, Rodgers, or anyone else, they are the key to everything on offense. They have to feel valued, and there’s no better way to do that than keeping them involved in the draft and free-agency processes.
Again, that probably won’t sit well for a certain subset of the NFL world; according to conventional wisdom, a quarterback is just another player, and no one person is bigger than the entire franchise. While that may be true in a vacuum, football games aren’t played in a vacuum. They’re won with great players, and sometimes you have to give a great player a bit of special treatment.
Would Rodgers feel differently today if he had gotten a heads-up that the Packers were drafting Love? Would he be less disgruntled if he could speak his piece ahead of the draft and advocate for a certain receiver? At this point, he’s the only one who can answer those questions. If respect is really at the heart of the issue, though, an open dialogue is certainly a good place to start.
Now that things have blown up, it’s easy to use hindsight and accuse the Packers of dropping the ball. With that being said, though, they could still afford to learn a thing or two from Bruce Arians.