Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians is known for being one of the more animated NFL coaches. He'll not only trash-talk but curse out players in lengthy tirades at practices and even berate officials. How does new tight end Rob Gronkowski, who spent nine seasons playing for Bill Belichick in New England, handle the more mercurial, more animated Arians?
"It's kinda ... at first, it's like, 'Wow, that was pretty funny,' if you're not receiving it," Gronkowski said with a chuckle. "And then when you're receiving it, you're like, 'Oh, shoot! It's not as funny anymore. I gotta get better, I gotta go out there and perform.'"
No one is safe from a tongue-lashing from Arians, not even quarterback Tom Brady, who, during the first week of camp, was given an earful from Arians because he was throwing the ball in a walk-through -- a big Arians no-no. The coach recently threw starting right guard Alex Cappa out of a drill for a false start. He made the entire second-team defense run for failing to get to the ball for two straight practices. And they most certainly heard it after a rough Sunday practice.
"It gets motivating, for sure. When the head coach is getting on you, it motivates you. It's all for a good, positive way. It may be colorful language, but that's fine. It's the game of football," Gronkowski said. "It's all to make yourself better. It's all to make the team better. And that's what it's all about. It's good to have that too. ... It keeps you going, it keeps you motivated."
Early on in training camp, Arians told Gronkowski he was in "New England shape" but "not Florida shape," and "the heat was kicking his ass pretty good." Then, on Friday at the Bucs' scrimmage, Gronkowski was supposed to play only about 15 snaps and he wound up with 16 on the opening drive.
"He wasn't ready for that one -- neither were a lot of guys," Arians said.
The coach said he told Gronkowski after that series, "You're gonna get about 10 more, so suck it up."
Gronkowski said he enjoys the daily banter and Arians' coaching style.
"It's great. Coach Arians is a great coach. I love listening to him talk," Gronkowski said. "He always has great coaching points. He's an offensive-minded coach, which is cool. Whenever he talks, you listen. And whenever he has a coaching point, you listen too, because it's always a great coaching point, it's always a coaching point that just doesn't help yourself in a route or a block but also helps the team out.
"The trash-talking is always cool. That's part of football. There's never gonna be just a pat on the back every single play or every single route, 'Oh, good job.' No. It's football. You gotta be mentally tough. You've gotta be mentally strong and you're gonna get called out at times if you're not doing things right. It's all part of the game and I've just gotta be better at all times -- conditioning-wise, route-running-wise, in the blocking game -- just always gotta be on top of your game."
Arians said he enjoys Gronkowski. "He's fun to be around," the coach said, "and he's done a good job."