The NFC Divisional Round is still a few days away from kicking off, but Bruce Arians is already warning his players to avoid any personal fouls this weekend.
Tampa Bay will face New Orleans on Sunday for the third time this season. While the main storyline to follow is Tom Brady taking on Drew Brees in a legacy-defining game, Arians is worried about potential altercations that can take place on the field.
Saints defensive back CJ Gardner-Johnson has truly mastered the art of getting in his opponent’s head. Last weekend, he was talking trash to Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller to the point where he provoked him to throw a punch. The officiating crew had no choice but to eject Miller for his actions.
If the Buccaneers want to avoid any silly penalties this weekend, they need to steer clear of Gardner-Johnson. At least that’s what Arians was hinting at during his press conference on Wednesday.
Arians also believes the officials need to do a better job of controlling both teams’ emotions, saying “They let it get out of hand and it cost a team an ejection.”
#GoBucs coach Bruce Arians says he warns his team not to be provoked into personal fouls. He also said refs need to control the game. In the Saints-Bears game, Arians says "They let it get out of hand and it cost a team an ejection
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) January 13, 2021
Playoff games between division rivals usually get very heated. That’s why Arians is trying to be proactive when it comes to keeping his players in check.
Although the Buccaneers’ locker room has been warned about Gardner-Johnson, anything can happen once both teams step out on the field.
This weekend’s showdown between the Buccaneers and Saints should be wildly entertaining.