The Mystery Of The Bucs OffenseJuly 4th, 2014
Joe knows Bucs fans are giddy that Team Glazer hired Lovie Smith. If for no other reason, Bucs fans recognized Lovie’s name, so he had to be good.
You might be shocked how often a player with a recognizable name is turned loose by a team and then Joe is flooded with pleas for that player to be picked up by the Bucs. The fans’ desire comes with zero thought about whether the player would be a good fit.
They’re just convinced said player is a good hire only because they heard his name somewhere before.
Bucs fans love the grass on the other side of the fence.
Lovie’s defense is no myster. Joe has zero concerns with the defense. There is talent there, and Lovie will get the most of that talent. Joe rests comfortably at night knowing the defense will get the job done.
Offense? Well, Joe must admit he twists and turns at night occasionally, wondering what the Bucs offense will be like under offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford.
Even multimedia maven Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com confesses there is a big shade of gray when trying to determine the look of the offense.
I’m a little leery to go on record about this because there’s still a bit of mystery about what the Buccaneers’ offense will look like in 2014. Ever since the players started working with the coaches on the field this spring, the team has been…how shall we say it…reticent about the issue. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “secrecy” – a good number of the offseason practices were held in front of dozens of members of the media, from beginning to end. But, yes, I would say that Lovie Smith, Jeff Tedford and the rest have been a bit reticent to discuss the offense to this point. This doesn’t really mean that Tedford and Smith are preparing to unleash something wildly different on the NFL; the point of that reticence, I think, is simply to keep Buccaneer opponents in the dark as long as possible. That’s only going to last a week or two into the season.
By the way you phrase your question, Mason, I take it you’re of the belief that Smith’s success in Chicago was built mostly on defense, and that his attention to and development of the offense was always secondary. Personally, I think that point has always been a bit overblown; the Bears’ offense was the second-highest scoring unit in the NFL in 2006 and was right in the middle of the league the following two years. No, it wasn’t always a productive offense during his nine years in Chicago, and difficulty finding a good starting quarterback was a main problem early in that tenure, but Smith was part of an administration that made bold trades for both Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall.
Anyway, for argument’s sake I’ll concede the point and get to your question, paraphrased as such: Will Jeff Tedford be running a system that looks different from what the Bears did under Smith? Well, here’s what we know: During the year following his dismissal by the Bears, Smith – certain he would get another chance on an NFL sideline – prepared himself for his next job. He expected teams to be calling this January, and he was determined to be ready. That included tracking down Tedford, who was also on a one-year hiatus after his 11-year run as the head coach at Cal came to an end. The two got together in Chicago, compared philosophies and discussed what their offense would look like if Tedford paired up with Smith as his O.C.
Smith later makes a helluva good point. Surely Tedford could have gotten a job elsewhere. It’s hard to believe a guy with his background didn’t have other offers to get back into football, whether it was the NFL or college or maybe even the CFL. So why would he take a job where he would be handcuffed and suffocated? (And Joe will add that Tedford is still being paid by “Cal,” so he wasn’t hurting for a gig.)
The inference is that Tedford likely has more freedom than maybe Joe and others have assumed previously.
The main, big-picture point, though, is that until the regular season starts, and maybe not until the end of September, no one will fully know what to expect from Tedford’s offense.
Consider it the great mystery of the Bucs 2014 offseason.