Arians believes in his brutal honesty

Posted by Darren Urban on September 22, 2016 – 12:48 pm

In case anyone hasn’t been paying attention yet this season, Bruce Arians has never been shy of being blunt (including with himself.) It’s been apparent since the day he arrived, and I have noted before how amazing it has been to watch a coach who can be so hard on a player on the practice field and be able to let it go moments later. He makes his point, and then it’s over.

“Because I think guys like honesty,” Arians said. “If it’s brutal, it’s still honest.”

Arians said when he walked in the door he just wanted to be straightforward with players. He threw some people this week when he publicly called out David Johnson (never forget, Arians doesn’t say anything publicly he hasn’t already said privately.) But Johnson was on the same page with his coach, lamenting missed opportunities when it looked like Johnson had played pretty well. He has said things about Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, Calais Campbell. It’s hard not to think of a player who didn’t get mentioned in such a way since Arians arrived in 2013.

And like his need for honesty, there really isn’t any subtext to Arians’ callouts.

“The method is to get guys to do the right thing,” Palmer said.  I don’t think it’s a motivational thing. I know it’s not to prove a point like, ‘I can yell at anybody.’ It’s he expects it to be done right, whether it’s David, Andre (Ellington), Chris (Johnson), myself, Larry, whoever it is. He expects things done right and when they’re not, he’s not subtle about it. You’re going to find out.”


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13 Responses to “Arians believes in his brutal honesty”

  1. By TLT fka DTL on Sep 22, 2016 | Reply

    We saw in AMZN video the owner and players believe as well.

    Wanted to share and old metaphor Howie Long mentioned on local radio this week: “NFL season is like climbing Mt. Everest each year, after 2 games we’re at base camp”…or so.

    Also, local Buffalo radio guy reminds that Bills led league in rushing at 152/game last year…expects that to be featured Sunday. Bills game sets up a bit like NE as trap game, lets hope our guys matured.

  2. By Eazy E on Sep 22, 2016 | Reply

    I love it and I agree with him that the players love and respect it too. Being real can never be wrong to me!

  3. By Scott H on Sep 22, 2016 | Reply

    His players seem to love the guy, so….so be it. And no surprise – I think most people tend to appreciate honesty. People aren’t stupid – most of the time, they know. So, you can only go wrong by not being straight with them.

    As a fan, I have always appreciated his candor and direct statements. NOTHING is worse than listening to a pro sports coach doing the coach-speak thing – speaking in weak cliches, never wanting to tell it like it is, using a thousand words to say a whole lot of nothing. Bruce doesn’t do that.

  4. By texascard on Sep 22, 2016 | Reply

    I love the brutal honesty. Here is some honesty. No risk it no biscuit is a terrible philosophy if you ever want to do any real winning in the playoffs. You are better than that bruce.

  5. By creditcard on Sep 22, 2016 | Reply

    Totally agree Scott.

    I’m not certain if brutal honesty motivates everyone, but I can assure you that hollow words and beating around the bush destroys everyone’s personal drive.

    Totally different topic, how close is Kareem Martin to returning?

  6. By Dr. G. on Sep 22, 2016 | Reply

    Yeah, with young men overflowing with necessary testosterone, the direct approach is best…like, there’s no crying in baseball. ((Jimmy Dugan))

    Just get it on; fix the BS mistakes; and move on. Real men understand this time-saving concept. And also, when they feel they are too good or they might need a little more time, they can be the next Wally Pipp with another unsuspecting guy eyeing their job.

    BA is taking his long-awaited post very seriously while maintaining quirky humor.

    The business of NFL sports – …big money, big egos, big crowds, big stadiums, and big expectations as immediate as “impossible!” It’s Beautiful….later Cards Fans…

  7. By mitchaz on Sep 23, 2016 | Reply

    It’s one thing to be brutally honest with players at practice, in meetings or even on the sidelines during games, but it is another to do so through the media.

  8. By clssylssy on Sep 23, 2016 | Reply

    Was also my dad’s philosophy, which has been handed down and served us well. I find that brutal honesty is something most people appreciate and find refreshing in the BS, politically correct world we live in. Get up, rub some dirt on it, and learn from the experience!

  9. By Scott H on Sep 23, 2016 | Reply

    mitchaz –

    Good point. No, it is not advisable to hang people out to dry through the media, call them out via that outlet. BUT it is also not good to just completely stonewall the media – and the fans – by giving them no honesty at all. I cite the example of Andy Reid, who I DO like, and who I think IS a good coach. But let me tell ya, he did NOTHING during his press conferences but say “that’s on me” and “I need to do a better job there.” And after a decade of that….the level of frustration that existed among the fan base became intolerable. And it became known toward the end of his time there that Eagles brass took him aside and told him he needed to make some changes with how he did that part of his job. And he never really did.

    Bottom line, coaches really have to walk a fine line with how they do this. Because the media and the fans aren’t stupid, either, and you can’t treat THEM that way. When a coach stonewalls them as Reid did, it comes across as arrogance. Reid was one extreme end of the scale. BA seems to be closer to the other but I much prefer his style to Reid’s.

    But I also absolutely believe that BA’s players hear it from him first and they probably get the REAL message from him. What he presents to the media is probably edited for television and simply to let us know that he is not happy with something. But when I – as a fan – am seeing it, too, and I’m not happy about it, either? I appreciate hearing something from the coach about it.

  10. By mitchaz on Sep 23, 2016 | Reply


    Well said. BA is super transparent at times which makes for very informative and entertaining press conferences. He’s right out of the Bill Parcels school when it comes to the media.

    Your allusion to Andy Reid’s boring, predictable pressers is right on. Bill Belichick’s are even worse. He gets downright obstinate.

    However, one thing I appreciate about Belichick is that when the media asks him a question about a specific player, BB always refers to the team. For example, when he is asked what he thought of Brady’s stellar performance BB says “a lot of players played well.”

    BA heaps praise on the team when they deserve it. He’s said on several occasions that “I’ve never been more proud of team.”

    But, I don’t know about you, I thought the whole ‘knee deep” (DJH—rookie) moniker going public was shameful and should have been kept in-house—and to call out a captain and 3 time Pro Bowler like Justin Bethel in such a manner that questioned his desire was equally regrettable.

    Sure, DJH is mile ahead of where he was last year and has thanked BA for helping to motivate him—and Bethel responded with a good game versus the Bucs—but calling out players publicly is not something that winning coaches do.

    Take the past three Super Bowl winning coaches, Kubiak, Belichick and Carroll—you rarely if ever see them blasting a player in the media.

    I wonder how BA would have taken it if Michael Bidwill after the Panthers meltdown had said, “I thought we were completely outcoached. BA’s offense was a turnover waiting to happen. The defense was sieve and a bickering mess under one-year DC Bettcher and the special; teams under Amos Jones continue to be atrocious year after year.”

    There’s some brutal honesty—how would BA and the coaches like a dose of it made public like that?

  11. By SeeingRed on Sep 23, 2016 | Reply

    GREAT to see the old BA and not the BA in training camp when he had his medical issue sideline him. He just seemed a little off-more mellow (I suspect Dr’s orders) understandably. His take on the game re: the miscues was on point. I love an angry, unsatisfied BA. Exactly what the team needs to get to that ultimate goal. Feelings be damned.
    There were certainly enough mistakes the last 2 weeks that he has plenty of room to gripe and be pissed about. He knows they’ve had all offseason to pat themselves on the back now its go to work and expect to win-BIG. Don’t just survive a game-play to full potential and that should mean BIG wins.

  12. By TLT fka DTL on Sep 24, 2016 | Reply

    Prefer use of simply honesty. PC has seeped into consciousness of many, where truth and candidness is bad and diversion, deflection, avoidance is preferred…some call that the snowflake or safe space syndrome. No space for snow flakes in Arizona.
    the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness. 2. truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness. 3. freedom from deceit or fraud.

    Urban Dictionary: Brutal Honesty
    Urban Dictionary
    Top Definition. Brutal Honesty. Tactless, hurtful, candid openess completely disregarding another’s feelings, hopes, dreams, or desires

  13. By Scott H on Sep 24, 2016 | Reply

    mitchaz –

    Good dialogue. All fair points in your last post. But I think where Belichick is concerned…..hate to say it but he is just SO DAMN good as a coach, he can say as little as he wants. Who’s gonna have a problem with it??? Not me, if I’m a Patriots fan, that’s for sure. He is a true exception. HE could get that off – Andy Reid could not. Then again…..Philly fans / media may be tougher than the Boston area crowd.

    I love your comparison of BA to Parcells. Given that Parcells is probably my favorite HC of all time, that works for me. Parcells was very direct but he never anything but right on. And his humor was priceless. BA definitely has that aspect. And you know Parcells always let his players know where they stood. Always.

    Parcell always answered the question, too. That is also so seldomly done when coaches talk anymore. Most of them are too afraid to talk in anything but cliches and rhetoric. And most of them do not have the swagger to say what they think / the coaching acumen to back it up. It is SOOOOO refreshing when a Parcells or an Arians comes along that can give you that.

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