The Mystery Of The Bucs Offense

July 4th, 2014
The Jeff Tedford offense is the mystery surrounding the Bucs.

The Jeff Tedford offense is the mystery surrounding the Bucs.

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.

26 Responses to “The Mystery Of The Bucs Offense”

  1. deminion Says:

    The Tedford files

  2. Tom Edrington Says:

    I don’t get the “Mystery” stuff.

    We know what McCown can and cannot do. He’s not Tom Brady but he’s a decent quarterback when he has talent around him.

    Any offense plays to its talent which means this team will be able to pass the football when it wants to. We know how good Doug Martin is in the open field and no doubt they will work to get him there.

    With the tight end talent, they will most likely have some nice two-tight end sets to take advantage of the depth there.

    Any offense tries to create mismatches against the defense it faces and that is what this team, like the rest of them, will try and achieve.

    Mystery? The only mystery is the one surrounding how all these free agents will perform.

  3. kevin Says:

    Lovie knows he has to hand the keys to the offense over for this to work. Sure he will still manage the game overall….but this is not Lovies offense what so ever. It is tedfords. And although I fully expect tedford to be the playcaller we have never had….he is the xfactor. We know what we are getting on defense. Our teams success rests on tedfords shoulders more than it does anyone else including lovie and mccown

  4. Buc the Haters Says:

    We basically have a head coach for the defense & a head coach for the offense. Total autonomy (with their staff) on both sides. My intuition tells me that Tedford is going to be a smashing success. He had really productive offenses when he was actually calling the plays & people say he’s really creative (& he’s been evolving since then, supposedly).

  5. Brandon Says:

    Sounds like Scott Smith’s word of the day is “reticent” and he’s just itching to use it.

  6. Buc the Haters Says:

    Yea he’s trying a little too hard with that one… I mean did he seriously just google synonyms for mysterious/sneaky & pick a word that was ‘mysterious/not known well lol

  7. SAMCRO Says:

    I will remain reticent on my opinion of Tedford until I also get a feel for his offense. I just hope he’s capable of recognizing defensive scheme changes quicker, and has the propensity to adjust on the fly, than last years regime. I thought the offensive game management was poorly administered and they let the opponents defense dictate the game. I thought Schiano and Sullivan were defiantly stubborn to adjust, which also made hopelessly predictable.

    I think thats where Lovie Smith comes in. He has a better feel for the Pro game. He will manage momentum better than Schiano could.

  8. Buccfan37 Says:

    Joe, it will be your reply to a question asked recently, the bucs will run and pass the ball.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The Tedford offense is very simple…..Punt as little as possible!!!

  10. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    just got through watching America’s Game on NFL Network and man I hope that the bucs offense is better than it was for that Dungy team. I was never a bucs fan until Lovie Smith became the coach but after watching that show and looking at this team as constructed right now, I must say that there seems to be an eerie familiarity. Am I wrong Bucs fans?

  11. Bucfan77. Says:

    You can look at it as a glass full or as half empty. So many love to see it as half empty. I prefer to see it as half full. We will only get better and better as the season goes forward.

  12. Louis Friend Says:

    Since most NFL games come down to a 1 or 2 possession difference, I’m simply hoping the Bucs can be 7-10 points per game better than they were last year. Which means being more opportunistic on turnovers and being better in the red zone than they were in 2013. In spite of being the 32nd ranked offense, the Bucs were in many games that they blew late. Just being good enough to score in the 4th quarter and give their defense something to work with would be a vast improvement.

    Warren Sapp, Brooks, Lynch and Co used to believe that 17 points was good enough to give the defense enough to win the game. I don’t know if that’s the case in the current pass happy NFL. But I can’t believe we’re asking for that much more really.

  13. BoJim Says:

    Bucfan77. Said:

    “You can look at it as a glass full or as half empty. So many love to see it as half empty. I prefer to see it as half full. We will only get better and better as the season goes forward.”

    And I prefer to drink the contents of said glass.

  14. Buc the Haters Says:

    And I prefer to punch person in the face who drinks said glass.

  15. DallasBuc Says:

    “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.” –> Jason Babin

  16. DallasBuc Says:

    “Buc the Haters Says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 8:22 am
    And I prefer to punch person in the face who drinks said glass.”
    You aren’t punching anyone in the face there tough guy.

  17. Hawk Says:

    It was the wrong size glass to begin with.

  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “Bucs fans love the grass on the other side of the fence.” – Joe

    That is the biggest understatement you’ve made all year, Joe. LOL!

  19. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Tom Edrington Says
    “Any offense plays to its talent…”

    If only that were true, then you would be right. Unfortunately, teams do not always do that. They sometimes try to force players to play a scheme. Jon Gruden was like that. That’s why he went thru so many QBs.

  20. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Buc the Haters Says
    “My intuition tells me that Tedford is going to be a smashing success.”

    I hope your intuition is right, but I’ll wait to see it before I give the man props.

    We have a defensive minded head coach for the team. We have a former head coach for the defense (and he sucked at head coach). We have a COLLEGE head coach for the offense.

    Don’t think the players are not wondering about Tedford as well. Everything looks good in practice.

    We won’t know if Tedford is any good until we see how he adapts to defenses making adjustments and stopping his offense. That’s the true test. He can go into the season with a great looking playbook, but when things go wrong, will he be able to make his own adjustments and will he have prepared his players to do it as well?

    What I see is him bringing a lot of plays over from college…and many of them will not work. We all ready know Josh McCown sat down with him an had to say “that won’t work” on a bunch of plays in the playbook.

    I take that as a sign that Tedford may struggle, but as I said, I’ll wait and see. This is why I hate giving unearned props. Same thing with Sims. Glennon. Our Oline.

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    What I think…

    I think Lovie Smith took a huge gamble for this year by blowing the team up. I’m not saying major changes were not needed. I’m not saying he wasn’t right to get rid of many of the players he got rid of. I’m just saying that, in regard to the effect it will have on this season, he took a huge risk.

    Really, the only player I wish he had not gotten rid of is Zuttah.

    But here’s the thing. We have a LOT of new faces on this team. Many draft picks and many free agents.

    We all know how unpredictable draft picks can be, but the part that really concerns me is the free agent signings. Many of them have histories of not being able to stay healthy. Some played in backup roles and seem ready to make the leap to starter, but those are not sure things.

    I believe the gamble Lovie took in these signings was possibly necessary in most cases, but it doesn’t change the size of the gamble. To expect so many new faces, counting the free agents and draft picks, to work out just seems impossible.

    For long term Bucs fans, think back to the first ten years of the team. What did they do? They went out and got free agents at “bargain” prices. What was the result?

    Now, I’m not saying that will be the result now…but any level-headed person would be wise to at least consider the possibility that half of these guys will not work out. Heck, assuming even half DO work out is optimistic.

    Consider this…when a team does not blow up its roster, they usually get 7 draft picks and maybe 2-3 free agents, right?

    So of those ten players, how many work out?

    Well, with Dominick (pre-Schiano) is the GM, we are lucky to have one draft pick work out. But let’s say 3 draft picks turn out great and 2 free agents (because at least one free agent usually bombs).

    That’s 5. Half.

    We have what? 17 new players or something like that? Even if we are lucky and half work out, that’s 8-9 new faces that were bad signings/draft picks.

    Hard to see the team succeeding in year one with those there.

    So I believe…

    …that Lovie will have to weed the garden, figure out who will work and who will not, and then plug the resulting holes next year.

    Now, there is ALWAYS a possibility that nearly all the new faces (at least the free agents) work out. It happens. The Patriots are great for such things. But it is more than uncommon…it is rare.

    So I “hope” that happens, but realistically? I don’t expect it. If I’m wrong and it does, well then I get a great surprise gift later this year.

    Playoff Bound?

    Those early division games will be the deciding factor. We have a slight advantage over the Panthers in the first contest because no one will have tape on us and they will not know what to expect. Their defense adjusts quick on the fly, and the Panthers have been a thorn in the Bucs side for years now.

    Even if we lose that game, I think the Bucs can make the playoffs. We can beat any other team in the division at least once. I hope that we beat the Panthers as well, since they won’t know what to expect.

    I hope Lovie has his defense studying Cam Newton hard, because he will be the wild card in that game. If the Bucs defense makes it hard in the passing game, he’ll scramble. Tampa 2 had trouble with scrambling QBs in the early years. (see the early Vikings games against Culpepper or against Vick)

    At some point, teams will have enough tape on the Bucs to make their own adjustments. How Tedford and Frazier change things up on the fly will be the determining factor.

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    btw, anyone remember how, when the Tampa 2 was young (and smaller in size due to youth) how Dante Culpepper dragged tacklers an extra ten years when he scrambled?

  23. tickrdr Says:

    Louis Friend Says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 3:41 am
    Since most NFL games come down to a 1 or 2 possession difference, I’m simply hoping the Bucs can be 7-10 points per game better than they were last year. Which means being more opportunistic on turnovers and being better in the red zone than they were in 2013. In spite of being the 32nd ranked offense, the Bucs were in many games that they blew late. Just being good enough to score in the 4th quarter and give their defense something to work with would be a vast improvement.

    Warren Sapp, Brooks, Lynch and Co used to believe that 17 points was good enough to give the defense enough to win the game. I don’t know if that’s the case in the current pass happy NFL. But I can’t believe we’re asking for that much more really.

    ————-–———————————————————————-

    I sure hope you get your wish because MG8 and Bucs had 254 points in 13 games = 19.5 ppg = 312 points for a 16 game season = 27th in league.
    A 7 ppg improvement = 424 points = 7th in league overall.
    A 10 ppg improvement = 472 points total good enough for 2nd overall, only behind the Broncos 606 points for the year!

    t
    ickrdr

  24. Hawk Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai Says:
    “We won’t know if Tedford is any good until we see how he adapts to defenses making adjustments and stopping his offense. That’s the true test. He can go into the season with a great looking playbook, but when things go wrong, will he be able to make his own adjustments and will he have prepared his players to do it as well?”

    You hit the nail SQUARELY on the head, Bonzai. I also agree with your, “What I think”, “So I believe”, and ‘Playoff Bound?” post.
    The only thing I remember differently was that after Kiffin put Brooks -on-Vick, Vick was never again a threat.

  25. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    My Offense would do very well in the NFL at first, because no one has ever seen it. But once the NFL has film on you, it is a very different story.
    Under Raheem, we lit it up for awhile, but when the NFL adapted to us, we did not respond.
    Tedford was known in College for always changing his Offense.
    He is also not beyond simply running your ass over. Remember, this is who coached Marshawn Lynch in college.
    I think Tedford is going to show Tampa an offense we can all be proud of, and possibly one that will take us to the playoffs this year, or a winning record at least.

  26. White Tiger Says:

    I think this is a valid point. I say this after some consideration, because I was NOT one who saw the hiring of Lovie Smith as anything more than a franchise in disaray desperately trying to reach back to past glory, and stabilize the fanbase with a recognizable name.

    Consequently, I did not think the hiring of Tedford was anything more than Lovie doing the same thing he;s always done – as his mentor before hi had done – take the talent you have and maximize it within the Tampa-Two paradigm. Then build a slow, methodical offense that burns up a lot of plays and time off the clock. To preserve field position and to give the more important (fast) defense a rest.

    After watching the free-agency period and the draft – and hearing Lovie’s comments to the press/fanbase – it’s clear that his overall philosophy hasn’t changed (i.e., Defense FIRST) – but the way he focused on the offense CANNOT be overlooked. His (and his mentors) philosophy is still the same: “elevate and protect the defense” – but the importance of offense within his philosophy HAS changed.

    You can see that – despite his stubborness in dealing with the inept and unproductive Mike Shula offense – Dungy seems to have learned that his defense made Indianapolis a more complete team – it was because the offense WAS CAPABALE of winning games all by itself.

    I think Lovie’s pursuit of Jeff Tedford was a peek into that revelation.

    While I am not yet ready to say that the selection of Tedford 10 years after Dungy last tried to get him into the league – and 2 years after Cal decided he wasn’t going to get it done for them – isn’t enough to allow anyone to decide if this philosophical adjustment will work…it is enough to let me know that both realize A) Lovie can build an elite defense (especially with the talent already on hand and B) both Lovie Smith and Jeff Tedford need something more than their primary focus – and C) looks like they both decided they needed what the other had – at the same moment.

    While I am not ready to say I am a ‘true beiever’ that this will work – I can say that I have warmed to this decision – and it certainly looks like it can work!

    …and I can also say that it looks like the owners put a lot more thought into this move than they did for the past 3 head coaching moves.

 
 

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