Jeff Tedford’s OffenseJanuary 3rd, 2014
Joe remembers watching some of new Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford’s offenses years ago, specifically when Cal was relevant and one of the better (then) PAC-10 programs. Joe recalls he ran sort of an early version of a spread offense.
In later years, Cal fell off the map and Tedford lost his head coaching gig a year ago. Joe’s research leads him to believe Tedford was delegating too much authority to assistants (play-calling, recruiting) and that is why Cal dropped — and why Cal dropped Tedford.
Joe has read that Tedford’s offenses were complex. Not sure Joe buys that. There is only so much a college kid can absorb in a handful of years where his football time is strictly regulated by NCAA rules. In the NFL, that’s not an issue.
For example, when Bill Callahan took Chucky’s offense to Nebraska, it was an abject failure. Joe has been told that Chucky’s offense was so complex, it often took an NFL starting quarterback a couple of seasons if not three to fully absorb it. You can’t expect a college kid to learn that offense in (sometimes) a shorter period of time.
This is why Chucky’s best quarterbacks were NFL veterans. Their learning curve was much shorter.
Tedford’s offense worked. In college. When he had the right recruits. But his list of former students is a frightening blend of busts and horrific NFL quarterbacks that should sober excited Bucs fans’ behavior.
That’s just a horrific list, like a string of quarterbacks coming from some bad football-related Friday-The-13th-like flick. The fact the Bucs hired an offensive coordinator who boasts Kyle Boller as a prized pupil makes Joe want to grab a bottle of Stoli and begin chugging.
Joe will share a story he heard Super Bowl-winning quarterback and CBS NFL analyst Phil Simms tell about Aaron Rodgers to Adam Schein on SiriusXM NFL Radio earlier this year. Joe did not transcribe the conversation, so this is paraphrasing.
Simms talked about going to Packers training camp when Rodgers was a rookie. He said Rodgers’ terrible mechanics and weak arm shocked him and Simms couldn’t believe he was a first round draft pick and was certain Rodgers would have no successful future in the NFL.
The next season, Simms again went to Packers training camp and he was studying Brett Farve and Simms said out of the corner of his eye, he saw a quarterback race out of the pocket and fire a bullet to a receiver well downfield, hitting him on the numbers. Simms let out an audible “Wow!”
He turned to a Packers staffer and asked who that was. When he learned it was Rodgers, he couldn’t believe it. Simms said it was as if he was watching a totally different player who had dramatically smoothed out his mechanics and developed arm strength within a year.
As with many things, it’s not all black and white with Tedford. To this day, Joe thinks Harrington was a drop-back, pocket passer, and when Detroit drafted him, Steve Mariucci tried to force him to be a west coast quarterback and that ruined Harrington for good.
Joe had many of the same reservations about Akili Smith as he had for Josh Freeman: a one-hit, one-year wonder that couldn’t put his team on his back.
Joe thought that Carr was a good quarterback, but he had zero line playing in front of him and he simply got beaten to such a pulp, that Carr turned gun shy and mentally never recovered.
From what Joe remembers from watching Tedford years ago and studying Tedford recently, Joe believes Tedford simply ran a gimmick offense that was laced with just enough spread option that it never translated to NFL offenses at the time. Nobody was running any form of a spread back then.
Joe remembers a couple of months ago talking to someone who made his living with the NFL draft about quarterbacks (the same guy told Joe Johnny Football was the “real deal.”) Joe asked this man about Marcus Mariota, Oregon’s gifted quarterback. The same source thought he had the tools to be a solid pick. When Joe asked him if the Oregon offense was just a gimmick offense that wouldn’t translate into the NFL, thus Mariota would implode, Joe’s source said, “Well, yeah, there’s that.”
Until Joe can do further research, it seems that Tedford’s offense just didn’t translate into the NFL offenses of the day. His college quarterbacks needed to be deprogrammed and reprogrammed and that didn’t always work. There are many coaches who ran exotic offenses who had highly-drafted quarterbacks who never panned out. Steve Spurrier and Hal Mumme spring to mind, so it wasn’t just Tedford whose quarterbacks rarely mastered the NFL.
Just because a quarterback shines in a specific offense doesn’t mean he can equal that success running another type of offense.