Archive for the ‘QB Blasts’ Category

The QB Blast: Landry Jones Is Bucs’ Best Plan B

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

**This post got lost a bit in the Darrelle Revis hoopla on Sunday morning, so Joe’s tossing it up here again. Enjoy.

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe loves when Carlson fires away. Carlson is often seen as a football color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com

This year’s draft does not offer an Andrew Luck, RGIII or Russell Wilson, quarterbacks with the ability to come in and start on Day 1. The Buccaneers don’t have that Day 1 need, but developing a QB for the future should be a priority even though Freeman is still very young, a third- or fourth-round pick used on a quarterback with promise is prudent.

Whether Josh Freeman has the best season of his life this year and earns a big multi-year contract or doesn’t, having another up-and-coming player ready to go is in the Bucs’ best interest for multiple reasons.

The Dallas Cowboys just rewarded Tony Romo with an unbelievable contract extension ($108 million, $55M guaranteed, $25M signing bonus). That’s for a guy that has led his team exactly nowhere and was on the verge of losing his second head coach under his leadership of the team.

I wrote before last season that if the Cowboys had another year of futility, it should be Romo’s last season in Dallas. They struggled again yet gave him one of the richest extensions in history, mainly because Jerry Jones did not do his due diligence to develop another young QB like they had in Romo behind Drew Bledsoe under Bill Parcells,. That left Jones without options and now they have mortgaged their future against a good regular season QB who can’t seem to lead them to anything that matters.

I don’t want to see the Bucs make that decision with Freeman because they don’t have the foresight to develop the depth of their roster at the most important position.

Landry is the right fit for the Bucs for a variety of reasons, writes former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Of this year’s group, I came away most impressed by Oklahoma’s Landry Jones. He has the best mechanics and pro-style potential and very well could be available to the Bucs when they should invest in the quarterback position.

Better ball protection was his biggest issue, but he owns the best balance in the draft and can learn to throw the ball away a little bit better and work on his pocket movement as well. He has a lot of starting experience and he fits the Bucs’ style better than the rest of this year’s hopeful signal-callers.

Florida State’s EJ Manuel would probably be my next choice based on potential upside. I would probably bore JoeBucsFan readers with analysis of his spotty and inconsistent mechanics and what he should do to improve them, but Manuel is big, mobile and also has an awful lot of experience on his resume.

E.J. Manuel’s mechanics need work

Freeman has 108 million reasons to hope he can take a couple of steps up and lead the Bucs into the playoffs in 2013, –while he keeps Landry Jones on the bench learning the ropes of the NFL game all season long.

The QB Blast: Landry Jones Is Bucs’ Best Plan B

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe loves when Carlson fires away. Carlson is often seen as a football color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com

This year’s draft does not offer an Andrew Luck, RGIII or Russell Wilson, quarterbacks with the ability to come in and start on Day 1. The Buccaneers don’t have that Day 1 need, but developing a QB for the future should be a priority even though Freeman is still very young, a third- or fourth-round pick used on a quarterback with promise is prudent. 

Whether Josh Freeman has the best season of his life this year and earns a big multi-year contract or doesn’t, having another up-and-coming player ready to go is in the Bucs’ best interest for multiple reasons.

The Dallas Cowboys just rewarded Tony Romo with an unbelievable contract extension ($108 million, $55M guaranteed, $25M signing bonus). That’s for a guy that has led his team exactly nowhere and was on the verge of losing his second head coach under his leadership of the team.  

I wrote before last season that if the Cowboys had another year of futility, it should be Romo’s last season in Dallas. They struggled again yet gave him one of the richest extensions in history, mainly because Jerry Jones did not do his due diligence to develop another young QB like they had in Romo behind Drew Bledsoe under Bill Parcells,. That left Jones without options and now they have mortgaged their future against a good regular season QB who can’t seem to lead them to anything that matters. 

I don’t want to see the Bucs make that decision with Freeman because they don’t have the foresight to develop the depth of their roster at the most important position. 

Landry is the right fit for the Bucs for a variety of reasons, writes former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Of this year’s group, I came away most impressed by Oklahoma’s Landry Jones. He has the best mechanics and pro-style potential and very well could be available to the Bucs when they should invest in the quarterback position. 

Better ball protection was his biggest issue, but he owns the best balance in the draft and can learn to throw the ball away a little bit better and work on his pocket movement as well. He has a lot of starting experience and he fits the Bucs’ style better than the rest of this year’s hopeful signal-callers.

Florida State’s EJ Manuel would probably be my next choice based on potential upside. I would probably bore JoeBucsFan readers with analysis of his spotty and inconsistent mechanics and what he should do to improve them, but Manuel is big, mobile and also has an awful lot of experience on his resume.

E.J. Manuel’s mechanics need work

Freeman has 108 million reasons to hope he can take a couple of steps up and lead the Bucs into the playoffs in 2013, –while he keeps Landry Jones on the bench learning the ropes of the NFL game all season long.

Freeman, Schiano Must Learn “ABCs” Of QB Play

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013
carlson2

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe loves when Carlson fires away. Carlson is often seen as a football color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com

Quarterback Coach Greg Schiano (I thought he was a defensive coach — did anybody check his NFL passing statistics to see if he could have an opinion?) diagnosed Josh Freeman’s mechanical problems recently and came up with interesting observations, some which are correct.

Here’s how Schiano spelled it out for TampaBay.com.

“When you watch a quarterback, when his feet are not in synch with his upper body, there’s two things that make that happen,” Schiano said. “One is pass rush and two is decision-making. Now all of a sudden your brain is either ahead or behind your feet because the platform with which you throw the ball dictates 80 percent of your accuracy. And if you don’t set your platform correctly, you don’t have a chance.

The concepts are correct in his analysis, but there are more than two things that can be happening to create a synch problem between the upper body and the feet.

One big reason Freeman is out of synch on many plays is that when his brain says throw the ball, his body isn’t ready. His platform may be balanced, but his hips and knees are too stiff (straight up), so that when his mind starts throwing the ball and his upper body starts the throwing motion, he hasn’t bent his hips and knees enough to get the lower body in synch. So the upper body goes first and comes off target, while the lower body plays “catch up” and you see Freeman lock out his front leg so often and his back leg comes off the ground, making him off-balanced on many of his pocket throws.

Schiano says the platform dictates 80 percent of accuracy.  I disagree and say that it is important, but proper Alignment, Balance, and Control all play relatively equal parts.

I call this the A, B, C’s of perfect mechanics.

Without proper alignment, consistent accuracy is very difficult. Good balance before, during and after the throw is critical, but good QBs make accurate off-balanced throws all the time.

The third piece of perfect mechanics is Control, and Josh does not do a good job of controlling his elbows or wrists, which would go a long way to improving his overall synching of upper and lower body.

He carries the ball low, which means his elbows are down at his sides but should be pushed forward, raising the ball and getting it in a position to synch faster with the lower body. With it low and behind his body, the ball is late to the release point, a reason he throws side-armed.

If Freeman controlled his wrists better and kept them “straight,” he would get “over” the ball and improve the flight of the ball in the air, but he throws from “under” the ball almost always.

Schiano is right; Freeman is “out of sync.” And improving his comfort level with the offense and reducing the pass rush will help a lot, but his throwing mechanics specifically can go a long way to improving his accuracy, but Freeman needs to learn his ABCs first.

“Just Throw Like Joe”

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Bucs coaches need to fix Josh Freeman’s front-shoulder mechanics asap, writes former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson. A good start would be studying Joe Flacco.

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe loves when Carlson fires away. Carlson is often seen as a football color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com

Joe Flacco has one more season of experience on Josh Freeman, but five more playoff seasons and now a Lombardi Trophy on the shelf and a Disney Parade, too.

He is now expected to become the highest paid QB in the league while the Buccaneers ponder what they should do about Freeman’s future with the team. Flacco isn’t a better passer than Freeman because of his team’s fabulous finish, he has been a very accurate passer over his career because of very solid passing mechanics and great balance.

His alignment is better than most in the NFL. Josh Freeman’s alignment is one of the worst.

Freeman rarely, if ever, gets his front shoulder on the line that he wants the ball to travel. That is one of the reasons he throws quite side-armed so often. He pulls his left shoulder and left hip off target earlier than he should, causing the ball to be released further back, while Flacco (as well as Aaron Rogers, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, RGIII, Russell Wilson and others) keeps himself lined up and allows himself to reach out straighter to his target, thus creating more accuracy on his throws. Inaccuracy is a key criticism of Freeman.flaccoreadytothrow

There are quite a few other things that I would like to see new Buccaneer QB Coach John McNulty clean up with Freeman’s mechanics, but improving the alignment of his shoulder and hip to his throws is probably the most impactful thing he can do for improving his accuracy all over the field.

To keep it simple, Freeman’s mantra moving forward should be, “Just throw like Joe.”

The QB Blast: Schiano Showing He’s No Dungy

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe loves when Carlson fires away. Carlson is often seen as a football color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company,America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

Greg Schiano certainly marches to the beat of his own drum and it is clear that Buccaneers’ players are marching right along with him and the results are quite impressive.

Although I was against the kneelgate fiasco against the New York Giants, maybe, just maybe, it was a significant piece in helping to establish the personality of Schiano’s football team, a hard-scrabble group that will play hard each and every down, even when the game is all but over.

Schiano came into a team early this year much like Tony Dungy did in the 1990’s, with much the same gameplan for turning the team around. A tough defense and a conservative, run-first offense were the keys to success. 

Dungy was successful building his stellar defense, but fought against improving his low-scoring offense with coordinators Mike Shula, Les Steckel and Clyde Christiansen. They all ultimately failed to beat the Eagles in the playoffs in successive years and it led to Dungy’s dismissal.

What seems to separate Schiano from Dungy, not only in their significant differences in personal demeanor, but is his willingness to embrace a more wide-open offense that has produced record-breaking numbers recently.

Dungy was able to win a Super Bowl when he took his defensive philosophy to the big-strike offense run by Peyton Manning. Schiano is ahead of Dungy’s curve by allowing Mike Sullivan to evolve quickly from the ultra-conservative concepts of the first month of the season to one of the more exciting big-play offenses in the entire league.

Tomorrow, the San Diego Chargers come to town with the multiple Super Bowl winning offensive coordinator (Dallas Cowboys) Norv Turner as head coach. I gained a lot of respect for Turner as a rookie QB with the Los Angeles Rams, when he was their wide receivers coach. He was learning his offensive strategies well from Ernie Zampese at the time, but now the Bucs have one of his best weapons in Vincent Jackson, who I am sure would like to impress his former coach and team with another stand-out game of big plays!

THE QB Blast: Troubling Trajectory For Freeman

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe loves when Carlson fires away. Carlson is often seen as a football color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company,America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

It was great to see the Bucs win going away Sunday and for the offense to put up some points, but while beating the Kansas City Chiefs with Brady Quinn at QB was nice and needed, there were certainly key takeaways that should be addressed if they want to start a winning streak tomorrow against the talented Saints!

The Bucs’ offensive gameplan followed the prescription I laid down following the Dallas Cowboys game, which included more deep balls, outside runs, moving Josh Freeman from the pocket and reducing his play-action passes that require him to fake to his left and spin around. In fact, I don’t remember one. And it had been a major staple of the offense through the first month.

While the results were stellar, especially on deep balls, there is a real troubling issue that needs to be addressed or it will cause many turnovers throughout the year. There were four specific passes in the game that I would like to address. 

The first was Freeman’s interception in the first quarter. I’ll give Mike Sullivan credit for a well-designed “rub” concept just outside the left tackle area, where Dallas Clark went in motion to the left side of the formation behind a close-aligned Mike Williams. Williams’ job was to “rub” or knock off the linebacker covering Clark as Clark broke into the flat. Williams didn’t get any redirection on the LB and that gave the defender the advantage on cutting in front of Freeman’s pass and thwarting a scoring chance. Freeman’s pass wasn’t perfect, but it would have been a completion if Williams had done his job.

The other three pass plays all went the Buccaneers’ way but could have turned the win into a potential loss and that certainly will happen against better defensive backs in the future. I would like to have been a fly on the wall during the film review session to hear what was said to Josh Freeman on his deep balls to Mike Williams, because without Williams’ super-human efforts on balls that were thrown too flat and too far inside, they would have been two more interceptions.

But Williams turned these poor throws into a TD and a long gain, respectively. Many times proper or constructive criticism goes by the wayside because of the positive outcome, but an opportunity to improve is missed. Freeman’s trajectory has to be improved on balls down the sideline, but his low and wide release point will make that difficult. 

Right now, he throws the ball with a trajectory like a golfer hitting a 2- or 3-iron, But when a receiver is running down the sideline hip-to-hip with a cornerback and no safety help over the top, the ball should be thrown with a trajectory more like an 8 iron. The two deep-ball completions to Williams will be intercepted, incomplete or an offensive pass interference penalty in the future. Properly thrown, however, they will either be completions or incompletions, but never turnovers.

The fourth throw was to Tiquan Underwood. The inaccurate pass was first touched by the Chiefs’ defender, but Underwood did a nice job of catching the rebound off the deflection for a big gainer. There isn’t really a coaching point for it, just another play that could have easily become an interception and needs better accuracy if they hope to keep from giving Drew Brees and company an extra possession.

On a very positive note, I’m not quite sure what Romeo Crennel’s secondary was doing leaving Vincent Jackson virtually uncovered multiple times, but Freeman’s throws to him were still good and accurate and hopefully confidence-builders to throw those in the slot when available.

Last Sunday’s 28-point margin of victory was a true team win, with big contributions from the kicking game and defense, just what Coach Schiano prescribed back in February. Sunday versus the Saints will require all of the above and better deep ball throws if the Bucs want to get to 3-3.

THE QB BLAST: Sinner Mike Sullivan Can’t Fish

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson goes deep into the mess that is the Bucs offense

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe loves when Carlson fires away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company,America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

I was at church (the same where one I regularly see Gerald McCoy and other Bucs during the offseason) before the Bucs kicked off in Dallas and the pastor illustrated how fishing is based on tricking the fish with the lure. But underneath there is always the hook, and that is how the sinful pleasures of life can be; they look good on the outside but the hook lies inside and we know how deadly the consequences of that hook can be. 

In the NFL, the consequence of that deceptive lure can very often be the difference between being on the right side of the “victory formation.”

Following their third game of the season, even Troy Aikman and Joe Buck are bored and frustrated with the Buccaneers offense and it is becoming painfully obvious that Mike Sullivan does not understand the concept of successful fishing. He probably goes out on the lake, throws the unbaited hook into the water and after a few hours of no bites, wonders what the problem is.

Sullivan has not even attempted to lure the defense into any false illusions of the Bucs acting like they might be doing one thing while actually doing something else. He has fallen into Greg Schiano’s philosophy of just banging his head into a wall until the wall gets tired and quits being a wall.
 
Sullivan’s biggest sins are the following:
 
1) The running game does not go outside of the tackles or use any change of pace plays. Doug Martin isn’t the problem and LeGarrette Blount isn’t the answer. There is absolutely no deception in the running game to make the defense get itself out of position. This is the NFL and you cannot physically dominate the opponent week-in and week-out on straight-ahead running plays. Has Martin gotten one pitch play to see if he even has any shifty moves?

2) He does not use motion to create space in either the running game or passing game. The only weapons available are formations and motions by which to gain an advantage and he doesn’t use motion to help create mismatches.

3) He does not use Vincent Jackson’s height advantage to his own advantage (they should have thrown the fade to Jackson at least 5 times against Mike Jenkins, both to the front and back shoulders). One time late in the game, Jenkins was able to knock it down, but every time Jenkins turned his back to Freeman, Jackson had a “big” advantage. With Jackson set as a single receiver on one side of the formation, a receiver from the opposite side of the field should have been motioned across and run a “seam route” through the over-the-top safety and you would guarantee a one-on-one situation for Jackson that he would have won consistently and he also would have won the game single-handedly, in my opinion.

4) He asks Josh Freeman to fake left on play-action passes most of the time, which puts the right-handed quarterback in a bad situation for getting rid of the ball quickly. Freeman’s mechanics struggles have always been to get his shoulders back on line from the left side and he consistently fades away to the left on throws to his left, but Sullivan more often than not, makes him go that way anyway.

5) He does not move Josh Freeman out of the pocket on controlled roll-outs to help the offensive line and receivers find open space.
 
Although I believe the majority of the problems begin with the play-designer, Josh Freeman does not escape his dose of criticism. 

Freeman has no understanding of his time on three-step drop passing plays. He gave up sacks and a sack-fumble by holding the ball far too long on those short drops. 

Freeman is taller than most, but chooses the lower release option more often and makes the ball sail a bit. Although the interception was D.J. Ware’s fault on the missed pass, Freeman slung it low through the defensive lineman’s arms and too hard for the distance, which is why it caught Ware unaware.

Vincent Jackson looks beautiful in his uniform and I like a guy that just goes to work, but he has to start fighting for balls and for penalty flags. Early against the Cowboys, Freeman threw a good ball on a fade into the end zone. Jackson was well past 5 yards downfield and was continuing to get pushed by the defender. The ball fell harmlessly to the ground and instead of fighting to get to the ball and draw the pass-interference penalty, Jackson calmly returned to the huddle. He needs to get some of Schiano’s fight in him.

As I wrote this, I was watching the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens fight it out and Mike Sullivan and Josh Freeman would do well to review this film multiple times.

The Patriots just used a formation-and-motion combination with Julian Edelman to create another easy TD pass for Tom Brady to take a halftime lead. For Freeman, I think he resembles Joe Flacco quite a bit and Flacco is very disciplined in his proper shoulder alignment and arm slot for all of his throws.

Josh, please watch Joe and take notes. Tell Sullivan to take notes of both teams’ offenses.

I don’t know if it is possible before the Bucs host RGIII and the Washington Redskins next Sunday, but can someone please get Sullivan out on the water and show him how to bait a hook?

If not, then we will get to watch the Bucs play great defense and stay just close enough to line up at the end of the game and once again blast mindlessly into the Redskins’ “victory formation.”

The QB Blast: No Special Treatment

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company,America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Before his first draft adds new faces to the Buccaneers, Greg Schiano is getting a good look this week at his veteran roster with the first minicamp of the team he inherited from Raheem Morris. 

The Bucs recently cut ties with who I think was the poster boy for what went wrong last season. Not the only one to be sure, but it was a significant statement to the team.

Why was Tanard Jackson the apex of the problem? Even though publicly they welcomed him back with open arms, human nature makes for serious resentment. They let him take a year off (a league banishment of his own making) and then let him walk back in and enter the starting lineup immediately with barely a single practice under his belt. Not only that, they doubled his salary within a couple of weeks. 

Don’t you think the other 52 guys on the roster that went through training camp would have liked their salary doubled? Jackson didn’t sweat a drop with his team during training camp or the first five weeks of the season, but with a winning record accomplished with the players already in the locker room, he moved right back into the starting lineup without earning it back. Coincidentally, they didn’t win another game after his contract extension.

In team sports, coaches preach competition and earning your position through blood, sweat and tears. Dissention comes when players are treated differently in the area of workload. Raheem Morris watched and learned to treat players differently during his years with Jon Gruden, who I think lost his team’s ear as well, just not as impressively as last year.

Allowing players to have individual practice schedules, including pre-determined days off each and every week, causes the other players that carry their extra practice load to get a little jaded and builds resentment in the locker room. It also undermines so many of the coach’s sermons on hard work and players earning their playing time, and players start tuning them out.

In the great football movie about race relations and a state championship run in Remember The Titans, the star linebacker confronts his friend and kicks him off the team for not blocking for a black teammate. This unites the team as the players see that certain players will not get special treatment. The scene became the driving factor for them coming together as one and winning the state title.

Based on last year’s performance, Schiano would probably like to wipe the entire roster clean and start again, but he is limited in just how many changes he can actually make in a single year, so it may be up to players like Josh Freeman to stand up to a couple of guys and tell them that they need to practice like the rest of the team and that their body language and attitudes of last season are unacceptable moving forward and won’t be tolerated.

Getting this part of the team squared away will be the biggest reason the Bucs go from worst to first — eventually.

The QB Blast: Wonderlic Means Little For Corners

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company,America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Hearing of Morris Claiborne’s Wonderlic results made me think back to taking this very same test and still wondering if it really predicts much of anything in the NFL.

It is one of many measurements for scouts and teams to weigh when making decisions, but many a combine “wonder” has moved up the draft board and bombed when they actually had to play football.

Troy Aikman didn’t score as high that year on the Wonderlic as either Jason Garrett (Princeton) or I did, but his bronze bust in Canton and three shiny Super Bowl rings seem to catch more people’s eyes than our 30+ scores on the intelligence test (mine 33, his 36 if I remember correctly).

As far as Claiborne goes, outside of kicker and punter, I can’t think of a position on the football field that requires less thinking than cornerback. Kickers only have to know one thing: kick it through the uprights. Punters two things: kick it as far as you can OR make it stop before the goal line. Cornerbacks rarely need to know much more than three things: cover deep, cover short or cover that guy wherever he goes. Defenses as a whole certainly do more than that with the front 7, but corners can only be responsible for so much.

If a player has had behavior issues in college and then also has an extremely low Wonderlic score, that should be a red flag for an organization to proceed with extreme caution, but if the player has good film and you’ve done your homework on his background, being successful on the kinds of things that are asked on that test just don’t translate to success on the gridiron.

THE QB Blast: Don’t Fear A First-Time Head Coach

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson says one of his old teammates with the Rams would make a good choice for Bucs head coach

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company,America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Who would’ve thunk it better to be a Duck than a Buc? Chip Kelly did and now it is on to No. 2 in the search for Tampa Bay’s next head coach.

 Word out that former Packers Coach Mike Sherman was getting another look couldn’t be less inspiring. Brett Favre made those Packers interesting, not Sherman, and neither made them championship-caliber.

Where should the Bucs go for their next leader? Just because Raheem Morris’ loose management style didn’t pan out, doesn’t mean that the successor has to have previous NFL head coaching experience. At some point, every veteran head coach didn’t have any and with the current state of the Buccaneers franchise, it would be OK to grow with an experienced assistant coach that has shown the discipline to whip a group into shape and instill confidence like Jim Harbaugh did with the 49ers.

Those Niners, who easily could have been preparing for the Super Bowl right now, were not a significantly different roster than they were a year ago. They got discipline, executable plans and confidence.

Based on this model, the best guy to move this franchise forward is Jerry Gray.

Former players are not a guarantee of success or Mike Singletary would still be the coach in San Francisco. But I think Gray’s Pro Bowl experience, personality and mentality are a good mix for what this team needs. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, but does take his job responsibilities seriously.

I don’t know who he would bring in to run his offense and that is just as important as the head coach.

This town needs something exciting on the field to get excited, something to become the talk of this town once again. All of the names on the short or long list that have been bantered about don’t do anything for me and I doubt for anybody else.

Jerry Gray is far removed from his playing days, so he isn’t a big name anymore and won’t make people go crazy over his hiring, but he would be a good hire for just a time like this.

THE QB BLAST: Coaching, Effort Led Tailspin

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson says blaming the 2011 season on management is misdirected. Carlson also gives a take on the Bucs' coaching search.

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

In 1990, we started the season 4-2 and by the 12th game of the season, Ray Perkins was fired and we finished the season 6-10.

Blaming the owner (Hugh Culverhouse) for falling apart in the middle of the season is kind of silly. We were the same low payroll team at the beginning, middle and end of that season and the poor play was really on the players and coaches, not ownership.

We all know that more money spent on salaries usually has a positive affect on team performance and spending more makes fans think you are trying to compete with the big boys. The Glazer family has been a low payroll team the last few years and especially recently with the lack of a salary cap, but the majority of this year’s monumental midseason collapse cannot be directed to management, but to players and coaches.

There are so many pieces of the puzzle that can accept bits of the blame to touch everyone, but the overall lack of coaching and game-planning was really evident, spiraling deeper as the weeks rolled on and the effort level of the players also got worse each week with one of the worst ever seen in NFL history in the season finale.

No outrage; No innovation

Many teams with bad seasons rally a time or two to play “spoiler,” but the Bucs rolled over each time. And the gameplans that they had each game were pretty embarrassing. Trying to stay cool through the fire instead of finding some real outrage after each embarrassing loss was a problem for coaches and players alike.

Against the Falcons, the Bucs did not move Josh Freeman out of the pocket on one designed rollout to give the O-Line some help. They rarely ever used any type of misdirection all season. They finally brought Josh Johnson in at WR (I have been begging for that for three years) and let him run deep once, which Freeman threw out of bounds (he was open), but never flipped it to Johnson on an end-around with a run/pass option.

There was no rhyme or reason for what the offense did the entire year. This team’s talent was never good enough to line up and play smashmouth football and expect consistent success. It just didn’t give the defense much to prepare for in any situation, playing straight into the defense’s hands without any players of extra-special talent like most teams have.

I have pointed out since last year that the Bucs’ defense lined up in unsound fronts on a regular basis, allowing offenses to outflank them to the edge on too many plays to count. If you went into a film room and dissected the game, you would see where it wouldn’t matter what the names on the back of the jerseys were, the opposing offense would have a distinct advantage before the ball was snapped. And that is one reason the Bucs set records for giving up so many yards per play and thus, a record number of points on the year.

With that said, management made plenty of its own bad decisions, but the players are paid professionals and should compete regardless, and from London on this team really didn’t, as evidenced by what Cam Newton did to this team twice (setting records in both games) and in the unbelievably poor effort in the season finale. There was really no way to justify keeping Raheem Morris after watching him direct the worst defense in franchise history and the offense really wasn’t much better, or at least one of the most boring offenses in memory.

Chip Kelly?

Now the unfortunate job of finding a new coach in a sea of lackluster candidates is upon us, and while the lack of excitement on the field was bad, the lack of any interest in most of the names being bantered about isn’t going to illicit a raised eyebrow by even hardcore Bucs fans.

The only guy that would get me going is Chip Kelly from the University of Oregon. I figure if you aren’t going to be good, you might as well be exciting and the Oregon Ducks put out an exciting brand of football that makes the defense defend multiple points of attack.

I don’t have any idea of his interest in moving up to the NFL, and I’m not sure his frantic pace would work with a limited roster of players as they have in the NFL anyway.

I do think Jerry Gray (interviewed last week) would make a good coach. He was a Pro Bowl free safety when I was drafted to the Los Angeles Rams. He was a strong leader that took his job seriously, but had a good personality and sense of humor.

Unfortunately for Gray, he is a defensive guy and who knows who he might bring in to run an offense and with Freeman as the face of the franchise. Knowing that is probably the most important thing to find out.

This team may have limited its search to guys that have been called a head coach before, but these young players just need to be motivated properly and given better schemes to work with.

Proper motivation and better schemes might not put this team back in the hunt for the Super Bowl next year, but it will get them back to competing each week and we know that if we can be competitive, Josh Freeman can win games in the fourth quarter. And that kind of excitement is really what this team and town needs right now.

THE QB BLAST: Hope Must Start With Effort

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company,America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

The “Us vs. The World” bunker mentality has been used successfully to help teams play with a chip on their shoulders, producing a more intense, closely-knit team effort.

This kind of concept was probably used to get the much-improved Bucs effort against the Green Bay Packers after looking so bad against the Houston Texans the week before.

It was short-lived as they got blown off the field by teams in the cellars of their respective divisions in the Panthers and Jaguars. Can Raheem Morris find that chip again and put it back up on their shoulders tonight as the Bucs show their brave home fans and a national television audience that they are not the Colts of the NFC?

Enough “gray-matter” talk

Does anyone find it as hard to listen to Morris tell all the long-time Bucs beat writers that everything they write is just gray matter and nobody outside of their palace means anything? I was taken aback to hear just how sunny it is inside One Buc Place and how it is everyone else making it seem so gloomy. Really? I’m all for positive attitude and the power that it has in life, but getting ready to set an all-time NFL record for giving up 9.1 yards per (first half) play should be a time for sober reality-checks.

Tim Tebow showed up at my house this week on the cover of Sports Illustrated and I was immediately inspired! His accomplishments this year have been simply amazing. He has taken on every naysayer with grace and is simply playing unbelievably hard-nosed football.

He has smiled all the way while stuffing everything back in the face of every “expert” on all the networks, newspapers, magazines and blogs. In the face of never-before-seen levels of scrutiny, he is going about his business with a similarly sunny disposition as well, but he is succeeding (7-1 starting record), not failing miserably. He has his teammates, coaches, management and fans believing in his intestinal fortitude, hard work and maybe even his God.

The Broncos’ coaching staff decided it was better to win in unconventional (ugly) ways than lose by trying to make Tebow play a game of football ill-suited to his abilities.

Amazing how the same players that started the season 1-4 could go 7-1 with the switch of just one player. Almost as amazing is starting the season 4-2 and going on to lose seven straight, some in pretty embarrassing fashion. The embarrassing fashion has been in effort level for many and some of those same players now telling those gray matter reporters that it would be sad for Morris to lose his job.

How about this Kellen Winslow? Go out and give a speech like Tim Tebow did after losing to Ole Miss (that was commemorated on a plaque at Florida Field and followed with a national championship) and better yet, give an effort anywhere close to the lip service speech you gave a years ago about being a soldier.

Tebow walks the walk of his talk and, although many get turned off by it, the Denver Broncos are on the verge of the playoffs and even a division title after starting off the worst in the league if it weren’t for the Colts.

This season may be lost for our beloved Buccaneers, but spreading some of that sunshine outside the walls of Buccaneer Island by leading your young teammates on pure effort level might be the way back from the black hole that all of us in the gray matter watch each week.

It is serious time for a sober response to the dire circumstances of the future of this franchise and just how far the fans can be pushed before mutiny.

Like children so eager to believe in Santa Claus, just give us your best Tebow-like effort against the Cowboys and we will believe too. Make the gray matter writers put something in the paper that gives all of us hope that there is more in our stockings than just coal.

THE QB BLAST: The Ifs And Buts Of 2011

Saturday, December 10th, 2011
Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson identifies areas where the Bucs missed the boat. 

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Since this is the season of candy and nuts, let me give you a series of “ifs and buts” that could have kept the Bucs from their abysmal rut.

IF Raheem Morris would have started with the tough love in 2009, like we saw with Brian Price this past Sunday, this team would be a much more disciplined team in 2011. BUT instead we watched Aqib Talib, Tanard Jackson, Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Trueblood and others do the selfish things he said about Price without repercussion. Like enabling parents allowing their children to run wild without consequences, it doesn’t usually work out well in the long run.

IF the Bucs would have read this column in 2010 and inserted Josh Johnson in as a third wide receiver and used him in motion to create a multi-dimensional offense with multiple attack points and run/pass options, they would be one of the toughest offenses to defend in the entire NFL. They’d be unpredictable and exciting, selling out their stadium and fighting for a playoff spot. BUT, they have gone with a standard pro-style that lacks creativity and has offered questionable play-calling in many different situations, especially short-yardage (shotgun on 4th-and-1 and reverses on 3rd-and-2, e.g.).

IF they go back to a base “Pro 4-3/Soft Cover 2″ (Pro 4-3 means the strong LB — Quincy Black — plays on the line of scrimmage over the tight end, not five yards back), they will reduce their exposure to the gashing that they have been enduring and make teams earn their points.

Chucky offers counter philosophy

Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski have made enlightening comments on the last two Monday Night Football games. When watching the Green Bay Packers shred a defense, Gruden said something like, “You can’t play man-to-man against a team with talented receivers like the Packers.” The Bucs fall into this category and simply don’t have the personnel to match-up across the board play after play for 60 minutes.

Sooner or later the opposition will win the singled-up situations and beat you quickly (Jordy Nelson). The good QB’s may “carve up” zones according to Morris, but the bend-but-don’t-break concept allows for fumbles, interceptions, penalties, etc., while man-to-man is a fast death more often than not.

After watching Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew take a screen 50+ yards, Jaworski said, “When you don’t have speedy wide receivers or big play guys, you need some deception in your offense like that.”  Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn fit that definition and Greg Olson is not doing the job in creating deception to help his receivers get space and give his offense better success overall, especially in the red zone.

BUT, there has been no indication that either the defense will change its philosophy or that the offense will add any punch through deception, so unfortunately I won’t be expecting much to change in the final quarter of the season.

I will, however, enjoy some candy and nuts, so it will be a Merry Christmas!

The QB Blast: Continue The Attack

Thursday, November 24th, 2011
Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

For the first time in a long time the Buccaneers’ offense finally gave its players the opportunities to make plays — and the players did make plays.

Josh Freeman mentioned a couple of weeks ago how they did pretty well against zone last year, but against much more man-to-man this year they have struggled.  It isn’t that they have struggled, as much as they hadn’t even given their big, physical receivers a chance to win one-on-one battles.

In Green Bay, Josh Freeman got the ball out quickly and threw down the sidelines, allowing Mike Williams and Arrellious Benn to use their bigger bodies and fight for balls. They also threw back-shoulder, which is key to taking advantage of man-to-man. Williams and Benn aren’t going to create much separation or beat very many down the sidelines in foot races (unless they employ a Jordy Nelson-like move, which opened him up for the put-away touchdown), but the way they did it last Sunday can be successful week-in and week-out. They just have to be willing to put it out there.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that the LeGarrette Blount TD run came immediately after a long throw down the left sideline. Blount made a great run, but when you make a defense defend more of the field, more space is created for everyone. The offense “attacked” more than they have all season and they need to continue the concept.

Like its offensive counterpart, the defense gave Rogers more to think about than in any of their previous games. Most of the season, the Bucs defense has been very static, giving the opposing QBs a pretty simple pre-snap read. Not that they haven’t brought linebackers from different launching points, but far enough away to allow the QB, linemen and backs to adjust and pick them up.

Expecting our banged up secondary (many nickel and dime packages) to play “man” against the talented WR’s of the Packers all night and hold up without a number of big plays was totally unrealistic, so Nelson’s late score was a disappointment, but certainly not a surprise.

While Aqub Talib quipped, “There ain’t no moral victories”, I actually think in this case there definitely was one.

A team reeling with a lack of confidence played quite well and gave the defending Super Bowl champions and only undefeated team this season a good run, and the kick in the pants they needed to get back on track. The Tennessee Titans — and possibly Jake Locker — come at just the right time.

The QB Blast: Too Much Shotgun Hurting Bucs

Saturday, November 12th, 2011
Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson explains how the Bucs are limiting themselves offensively in The QB Blast.

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

As the Bucs added a new “character” to their roster this week, I wanted to let you know that I had the distinct pleasure of spending Thursday evening with three players of great character (Corey Lynch, Adam Hayward and Mike Koenen) while emceeing a charity event promoting character development and mentoring of both professional athletes and at-risk youth (www.idolsaside.com).

Much attention is given to the negative headlines generated by athletes and celebrities and much less to those striving to improve our community!

Now that the Bucs are 4-4 and really didn’t look good last week or particularly good in many of their games this year, Sunday’s game against a very dangerous Houston Texans team is the most important of the season, not because it is their next game, but because they have been able to fall back on their overall winning record while not playing disciplined football.

I was watching my 9 year old son play Madden 12 when he was in a mode where computer was picking the plays while he controlled the running back. On 3rd-and-1, the computer put him in “shotgun” and he whispered under his breath, “What?  Why I am in shotgun on third and one–it’s so stupid!”

I had the same outrage last Sunday when after Josh Freeman missed a wide open fullback for a touchdown on 3rd-and-1, Greg Olson called for a shotgun play on FOURTH-and-one with a 250+ pound QB and matching running back. Thank goodness the Bucs went offsides and made it 4th and 6, so they could throw a slant to Williams for the first down (heavy sarcasm there). 

Then later the Bucs had 1st-and-goal from the seven yard line and went shotgun on three plays in a row and kicked a field goal. The shotgun formation is a great weapon in certain situations, but short-yardage and goal line plays are not on that list. 

These types of plays take away the downhill run threat and take too long to develop because the QB cannot get the ball out of his hands fast enough for the slants and fades to be effective. I feel for Olson when his players don’t execute his great calls, like the “wheel” to the fullback, but can’t believe other calls that have little chance for success even before the team lines up.

The defensive side of the ball has its own issues and maybe, just maybe, Albert Haynesworth will help fix them, but this is his fourth team (in a very short time) for what recently was one of the most highly paid players in the entire league. Let’s all hope that those character guys that I mentioned at the beginning of this article can influence the new character in the locker room to improved performance of for himself and the team!