Remember history when Brown is discussed

by Gary Shelton on January 8, 2022

in general

Arians hasn't been accused of forcing play./TIM WIRT

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Jason Pierre-Paul is injured. As near as anyone can tell, Bucs' coach Bruce Arians is not putting pressure on him to play.

Leonard Fournette is still hurt. Arians is not threatening to cut him if he doesn't go in.

Shaq Barrett has Covid, but even if he didn't, he's hurt. No one is going to fire him on the spot and challenge him to dance down the sidelines if he won't play.

Again, that's the real issue to the will-Antonio-Brown-please-shut-up sideshow that keeps playing these days. It's history. Arians has been a coach long enough to have seen a multitude of players be unable to play. As far as I know, there has never been a threat that any of them have to play or get cut.

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And that's why I continue to believe the essence of Arians' story over the essence of Brown's.

Over the course of a career, Arians has had a lot of players hurt. He lost his entire quarterback room while in Arizona. In Tampa Bay, he's lost Chris Godwin and Mike Evans and Lavonte David and Ali Marpet and his entire secondary. Don't think you think he'd want some of those guys to play, too? But a coach preserves his career only by not putting players at risk.

Brown's own history is a long list of turmoil, of abuse, of turning against teams and quarterbacks and coaches, of fake vaccination cards and unpaid bills and sneaking women into his room against protocol. Put it like this: If you lie on Monday and Tuesday, and again on Thursday, and twice on Friday, well, I'm not going to believe on you Sunday.

Arians? He's a football coach whose greatest error is trusting a receiver longer than he should have.

Frankly, I'm tired of Brown. I suspect you're tired of him, too. Yet, every day, there is another headline. This time, his lawyer is saying this could end up in court. Well, duh. Of course it's going to end up in court, but I don't see Brown being able to do much there,, either. Who believes Brown anymore?

That said, the Bucs are less talented on the field without him. No question about that. And, without their pass rush, without their top two backs, without Chris Godwin, they could be headed for a closer game than the hapless Carolina Panthers deserve.

The difference, of course, is that the Bucs have Brady. That might not help in the upcoming playoffs, but it should be enough to get past Carolina.

Prediction: Tampa Bay 24, Carolina 21.

In other NFL games:

Dallas 30, Philadelphia 13.

Cincinnati 27, Cleveland 10.

Baltimore 21, Pittsburgh 20.

New Orleans 24, Atlanta 10.

Arizona 31, Seattle 20.

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