The QB Blast: Plenty Of Good, Bad & Ugly

August 17th, 2009

carlson1By JEFF CARLSON analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson writes the weekly QB Blast column here at Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has sports radio and TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

The Bucs had it all in their first preseason game: The good, the bad and the ugly. 

John Lynch, Raheem Morris, Sabby Piscitelli, Stylez G. White, Brian Clark, Clifton Smith, and the first-half defense were all good.  Ronde Barber was good, too, in his short stint.

The supposed strength of the offense is the offensive line, but it was simply offensive, both in run blocking and pass protection.

For all the offseason practices and two weeks of training camp to prepare, Luke McCown’s first pass was ugly, even if it was Maurice Stovall’s fault for running the wrong route.  McCown purposely fumbling the ball backwards to get rid of it while being face-masked was particularly ugly.  The play came back due to penalty, but it has been those kinds of decisions that have haunted McCown’s tenure in Tampa Bay and puts questions in the collective minds of the coaches.

There was a number of performances that simply fit in the OK category.  Generally I wasn’t impressed with any of the QB’s play, except Josh Johnson, of course.  He will ultimately be on someone’s active roster this season.

I thought McCown should have been left in the game when the ball was turned over in the Red Zone.  It was only eight seconds into the second quarter and it would have given him an opportunity to finish on a high note.  Instead, Byron Leftwich was set up in great position and fired a terrible first pass that was almost picked off.  His second was also a bad throw, but Brian Clark saved the day with a great catch for the score.

The O.C., Jeff Jagodzinski, called quite a different game with Leftwich, calling shotgun and play-action passes on his first four plays in the game (all four on first and second downs) ,and also threw 75 percent more passes in the second quarter (14 vs. 8) than in the first. 

McCown ran on a few of his called pass attempts, while Leftwich got sacked.  McCown left the pocket too early more than once, and I think the coaches are a bit frustrated by that. But Leftwich will be going down from injury on a regular basis because of his style of play.

 Josh Freeman’s interception return for a TD was his own fault and he accepted it (a hitch into a safety rolled over the top is a no-no at all levels of football), even though the head coach tried to take the blame.

Raheem Morris looked comfortable with that big smile on his face, while getting ribbed by his whole sideline on his first (successful) challenge! 

The bad news of the day was the offensive line getting dominated at the line of scrimmage by Tennessee’s front four.  The Titans blitzed about one time all night (McCown hit Clark “hot” for a first down), but other than that the front four stopped the run and clobbered the QB’s.

John Lynch will grow into one of the best analysts in the game, but he will have to sprinkle in a bit more criticism down the road. Elbert Mack’s defense on Nate Washington in the end zone was a dropped TD pass in anybody else’s book, but Lynch said Mack did a nice job.

And I wouldn’t have called Leftwich’s performance “super”, but regardless, Lynch had one of the best nights of anyone in the stadium.

10 Responses to “The QB Blast: Plenty Of Good, Bad & Ugly”

  1. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Jeff – good honest unbiased coverage.

    I unfortunately agree that if Byron continues with that fearless pocket stance he won’t last for 16 games. In that case the 2nd QB goes in. At this time it would probably be Luke but based on the Titan’s outing Luke doesn’t deserve it – in fact Josh Johnson would be a better choice.

    My question about the O-line is this – were they just that unfamiliar with the new scheme or were they really just manhandled?

  2. Chris Says:

    We looked bigger on O-line & D-line. Never heard of most of the back-ups. Hope Sears comes back soon. Are we havin the worst outcome of high drafted players? Talib better step up! Freeman played jus like I thought.

  3. Joe Says:

    Hey Chris, good to see you back. Hope things are OK (per your last text).

    Sears isn’t coming back. He’s done.

  4. Chin Says:

    “The O.C., Jeff Jagodzinski, called quite a different game with Leftwich, calling shotgun and play-action passes on his first four plays in the game (all four on first and second downs) ,and also threw 75 percent more passes in the second quarter (14 vs. 8) than in the first. ”

    Couldn’t agree more. And I don’t understand why.

    Don’t think Leftwich will fare so well on 3rd and 7 from his 24 like McCown always seemed to have.

  5. Ron Nado Says:

    I like Luke but he did look alittle rusty, which after-all, was the 1st preseason game. Byron actually looked o.k., I like how he stands in the pocket. Thats what your suppossed to do, I think we all have gotten accustomed to seeing quarterbacks scramble so much that we forget that.
    I think most of the problem was the O-Line, I did’nt really see many big holes open up. Or maybe it was just the running backs were’nt hitting them when they were open? Except Smith and Huggins…
    I think Freeman looked alright out there for his debut, other than the interception he looked fairly sharp. He stood up in the pocket and looked poised for a rookie.
    As far as my favorite Josh Johnson, I just hope someone see’s the talent that our team must not. This kid can throw a bullet and showed his athletic ability that you only hear Luke has? What is it with this kid they don’t like?
    They need to give him more of a shot during these preseason games, I think he could surprise them all! Or atleast get himself on another team that will give him a shot…

  6. BigMacAttack Says:

    Hello Jeff,
    did you notice after the first series, that they took out Davin Joseph and put in Dile? So you had Mahan at Center and Dile at guard. That hardly constitutes a starting O line that was dominated. Granted, the zone scheme needs considerable work, but a number of tackles on the running backs were by linebackers, who beat the blocks by tight ends (Winslow,Gilmore). Penn never got beat once in pass protection, and he was facing Kyle Vanden Bosch, who is pretty stout DE. Were we watching the same game?or maybe it’s just me.

  7. Chris Says:

    Hey Joe! I’ve been reading JoeBucs but finally got around to setting it up on my iPhone. Always great reads!

    I heard Sears may have PCS? I didn’t know he was done?! I liked him in college. He had a pretty good year last year. Hope he recovers 100% & goes on to have a healthy life.

  8. Jeff Carlson Says:

    Big Mac: We watched the same game. I’m not a big excuse-maker for a sub or even two. Joseph missed the beginning of last year with injury. Sean Mahan is a veteran center/guard. Penn might block perfectly all year, but if the other four don’t, the team will match the “experts” expectations. That’s why the O-Line is a “unit”. I saw the guards miss more “combo” blocks on the LB’s than the TE’s, but it’s good to know someone is watching the line play intently.
    The Titans didn’t bring anything but the front four and we got stymied. Leftwich got the #@$& beat out of him in one quarter of football. That was not a good effort up front no matter who’s TV you watched it on.

  9. Robert Keesler Says:

    Why did we get rid of Garcia in the first place? We could have kept him won 3-4 games and drafted Tebow next year. This team is a train wreck.

  10. Chuck Says:

    I can not stand this negative joker, even back on his Bay news 9 days. I guess he was good enough to get to the NFL, so I will give him that, but he only played in three or four games. I can tell you one thing, all four of these QBs are better than he was. Anyway, that is the last of my jeff Carleson rants.