Tampa Bay Buccaneers Are NFL’s Drama Central But They Seem To Feed Off It

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Monday was another day for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to deal with ongoing drama and douse flames before they threaten to burn down their house.

Coach Todd Bowles and receiver Mike Evans handled business as the wide receiver was suspended for one game by the NFL for violations of the league’s unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules — a suspension Evans is appealing and should get an outcome for by Wednesday, according to a league source.

The Bucs nonetheless moved to restock the receiver corps by adding veteran receiver Cole Beasley to the practice squad with the expectation he could eventually be promoted to the active roster.

“We don’t want fighting in our game because we lose a good player, it doesn’t help our team. So we don’t condone that, we don’t teach that, we don’t want that in our game,” Bowles said of the brawl with the New Orleans Saints Sunday in which someone pushed someone and Evans pushed someone and craziness ensued.

“We got to move forward and try to find a way to win without him but that should be a lesson to all our other players.”

And here’s a lesson we’re all starting to understand: The 2022 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are NFL drama central. That team is like a theater production of excitement, suspense, accord and discord.

The Bucs are many things but boring isn’t one of them.

The Buccaneers’ List of Dramatics

If you need reminding why this is true consider the past nine months which don’t even take the Antonio Brown experience into account …

Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady retired in February. And then 40 days later, as if he’d been away merely to go through a Biblical flood or fast, Brady unretired.

Bruce Arians retired from coaching on March 30th, 2022. He remains with the team as special advisor to the General Manager. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Then a couple of weeks later coach Bruce Arians retired.

That, of course, spawned rumors Brady forced the team to cast Arians aside so he and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich could work in peace. The club has denied this privately.

And that denial feels almost unnecessary now to anyone seeing Arians riding his golf cart at almost every practice. He was also there pacing the sideline and yelling at players and officials at the Mercedes Benz Superdome Sunday — something that sparked a report the NFL is investigating why Arians was there.

“He’s always upstairs,” Bowles said, trying to put out that fire, “but they [the Saints] didn’t have a box to give us this game so everybody that was upstairs was downstairs.”

Todd Bowles was named Buccaneers’ Coach In March 2022

Bowles is Tampa Bay’s respected head coach aside from being the fire marshal responsible for putting out those flames we mentioned.

On Monday, aside from speaking about his star receiver’s suspension and his former coach’s sideline antics, Bowles also addressed a report about Brady getting personal days off every Wednesday.

TAMPA, FL – AUG 09: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Todd Bowles watches the action on the field during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp on August 09, 2022 at the AdventHealth Training Center at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That report raised eyebrows because, you may recall, Brady took an unorthodox break midway through training camp. That had people speculating whether he was on some reality show, or sick, or attending to a family emergency or was trying to save a marriage on the rocks by appeasing his wife Gisele Bundchen.

“It’s not a personal day, it’s a rest day,” Bowles said, changing the channel on a potential soap opera episode. “It’s also Julio’s [Jones] rest day. And then we have Chris [Godwin] on Thursday, Mike [Evans] and Lavonte [David] on Friday so it’s not just him.”

Bowles said a rest day only means players don’t practice but they do participate in meetings.

“We have guys we have designated days off for after games to help them recover quicker and do things,” Bowles added. “[Brady] has Wednesday but so does Julio.”

So drama averted except for the fact Brady resting on Wednesday and Godwin resting on Thursday means those two don’t practice together on the two most significant practice days of the week.

But that’s not headline grabbing compared to the other drama about this team.

Tom Brady Seems Noticeably Thinner Now

More attention has been cast on Brady’s appearance including his apparent weight loss, which is obvious to anyone who has seen his gaunt face and watched the video of him coming to the game Sunday.

More drama?

There was the flirtation to try to get Rob Gronkowski to re-sign — which preceded the tight end’s apparent retirement.

And then there is the ongoing speculation — fueled in part by Gronk’s agent wondering if he’ll come back — that Brady’s friend will indeed return near season’s end to help in the playoffs.

Did I forget anything?

Remember Leonard Fournette supposedly being way overweight in the offseason when training camp began? I mean, this team is like teen magazine fodder sometimes.

And we haven’t even begun to list the typical issues an NFL team has to handle such as injuries. The Buccaneers suffered a significant one the first couple of days of training camp when Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen suffered a knee injury that is believed to be season-ending.

Even this stuff becomes drama with the Bucs. The team placed Jensen on injured reserve while privately still holding out hope he might return late in the season or for the playoffs — maybe adding both he and Gronk to the offense.

Despite Drama, Bucs Generally Win

The amazing thing is through the drama the Buccaneers are winning. They’re 2-0.

It doesn’t seem to matter if Brady’s marriage might be an issue, although he has thrown only 2 touchdown passes after leading the NFL with 43 last season and is completing only 59 percent of his passes.

(Maybe that’s the reason he took only six questions in a press conference spanning 1:49 after the Saints victory).

It doesn’t seem to matter that Arians is out (sort of) and Bowles is in.

It doesn’t seem to matter Gronkowski is gone or Brady stepped away for 40 days in the spring and 11 more days during training camp.

The Buccaneers are so far bullet proof.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – SEPTEMBER 18: Marcus Maye #6 of the New Orleans Saints argues with Mike Evans #13 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the field during the second half of the game at Caesars Superdome on September 18, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Even Sunday when the brawl with the Saints happened early in the fourth quarter, the situation seemingly worked on Tampa Bay’s behalf. The Bucs lost their best wide receiver in a game tied at 3-3.

And once Evans left, the Bucs scored 17 consecutive points and ultimately outscored New Orleans 17-7 through the game’s finish. This stuff is uncanny with this team.

Tampa Bay plays Green Bay on Sunday and that will match them with another team known for generating a certain amount of drama.

“We’re going to have to pick it up somewhere,” Bowles said. “Somebody’s going to have to make a play and step up.”

Wonder what Antonio Brown is doing?

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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