THE QB BLAST: Another Call For Josh Johnson

December 15th, 2010

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson


Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at 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.

Every road win in the NFL is difficult. A road win in bad weather is even more so. The Bucs survived in D.C. against a struggling Redskins team and notched another fourth-quarter comeback win and got their eighth overall. Simply surviving to win against a subpar team like Washington was just fine by me, especially with their recent close battles against good teams like the Ravens and Falcons.

Those two losses showed that they are competing at a higher level than in those bad losses earlier in the season. They also won Sunday while losing a couple more of their major contributors, this time it was Quincy Black and Gerald McCoy. 

Underutilized Weapon

I was happy to see the Sunday newspaper article that explained Raheem understands there is an entertainment aspect to the game and their offense, as they have implemented a few unique-looking plays over the weeks.

Greg Olson has rightly been given credit for coming up with some effective plays, but the people of Tampa Bay are scratching their heads over his short yardage play-calling (people that admit they know nothing about calling plays are stopping me on the street to ask what he is doing).

This week they went deep on their first third down of the game. Going into shotgun on 3rd-and-1 was curious enough in the bad weather (even though Freeman had a chance to throw a TD to Kellen Winslow after buying some extra time in the backfield and would have with a little better throw) and seems to make a statement that they don’t have much confidence in any of their running backs or offensive line in short yardage situations, as they went to shotgun again on their very next 3rd-and-1 situation.

The Bucs offense could become very entertaining and effective if they would implement Josh Johnson into the backfield as a receiver in motion behind the formation. 

Even though he won a Super Bowl here in Tampa while quarterbacking the Baltimore Ravens, I was never a big fan of Trent Dilfer under center. But, as an analyst, I think he is really good, perhaps the best on the network. Recently he was talking about Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles offense and how impressive it is by stretching defenses to defend absolutely every inch of the field. This, of course, is because of Vick’s dynamism and diversity.

I know I have beaten this drum before, but because I know who reads this column, I am going to keep beating it so that the Buccaneers offense will be included in Dilfer’s conversation of dynamic offenses around the NFL, because the potential is there! Josh Johnson must do more than run a decoy route once a game.  He needs touches.

Not by pulling Freeman out of the game, but by moving Johnson across the formation behind Freeman and taking a pitch at full speed, thus pulling linebackers out of position and creating bigger holes for Freeman to throw into and for Johnson’s passes or runs as well. It will also help the running game, even though Blount has helped it immensely.

Redskins Executed

I know Barrett Ruud is the current poster-boy for what is wrong with the defense, but I must come to his defense a bit. Against the Redskins, the Bucs defense was being gashed because of their alignment and the other team’s execution, not because Ruud wasn’t filling the holes well enough. On early downs, the Bucs were regularly lining up a cocked noseguard on the center and an end outside of the tackle, virtually giving away both the “A” and “B” gap, which Ruud cannot defend by himself. This is allowing a guard to get onto the linebackers down the field. 

The television announcers called it “zone” blocking, but there was a lot more going on there than just zone blocking, as the Redskins pulled, trapped, kicked out different defenders to open huge running lanes for Torain. If the Bucs continue to line up like they did Sunday, there will be a few more running backs with big days on the ground, even if the Bucs were able to get Ray Lewis to step into the middle linebacker spot.

Still Competing Off The Field


Eight wins with three to play is really a fabulous situation for this team.

Unfortunately the stadium will not be filled again this Sunday as a win will guarantee them a winning season and triple last season’s win total, but the Tampa Bay market has legitimate, multi-factor reasons for spending its time watching other NFL teams on home TV screens.

Fortunately, the Bucs recognize the need to increase the entertainment value of their ticket. Because they are competing for entertainment dollars, and in this market’s economy, those dollars are scarce or nonexistent for many and must be used wisely.

12 Responses to “THE QB BLAST: Another Call For Josh Johnson”

  1. Gary Says:

    Great Idea Jeff. If we had a few plays a game where Free turns around and can either 1) handoff to RB, 2) pitch to a running JJ (who can then choose to run or throw), or 3) keep it, turn around and throw — the D would have to stand still until they know whats coming. Do it Olsen!

    I just wish we had some kind of info. on whether anyone in the org. that matters visits this site.

    Come on Joe, you have done several interviews, I know you have asked this question… tell us!

  2. McBuc Says:

    Nice write up Jeff.

  3. lakeland bob Says:

    Joe-you mistakingly called the Outhouse network the Brighthouse network.

  4. Buc You Says:

    Good one Jeff.

    I like how you pointed out the ill-alignment that Raheem keeps putting the defense in piss-poor positions from the get go. One of these days, someone is going to have to blame Raheem and not the young guys for not executing.

    A losing Buc team would be quick to say, “Hey, don’t blame me, blame the freakin coach’s moronic defensive play calling.” But we have the luck of the Irish this year, so, it all gets glossed over.

    Oh well.

  5. sensiblebuc Says:

    “On early downs, the Bucs were regularly lining up a cocked noseguard on the center and an end outside of the tackle, virtually giving away both the “A” and “B” gap, which Ruud cannot defend by himself.”

    I mentioned this in the gameday chat here on JBF! I’m glad I wasn’t the only person to see this.

  6. sensiblebuc Says:

    @ Buc You

    “I like how you pointed out the ill-alignment that Raheem keeps putting the defense in piss-poor positions from the get go.”

    LMAO dude. You immediately go to bashing Rah’s entire body of work when we don’t/can’t really know who’s responsibility the misalignment was and, as far as I can remember, this is the only game where I’ve seen this cock-eyed alignment meaning…

    a) Perhaps it was Rah. Ultimately, he is responsible for the defense. In the game planning phases, he may have seen something leading him to line the 7 man front up the way he did. If this is true, he fixed it at halftime and held Torrain to minimal gains and forced the Skins to go away from the run. 1+ for Rah.


    b) It could be that the quarterback of the defense, the man responsible for the alignment of the defense on the field got them lined up improperly. That man is Barrett Ruud. Isn’t it possible that he simply misdiagnosed the formation? Is it possible that He had the wrong strength call? Is it possible that the defensive linemen were lined up incorrectly?

    The point is: We don’t really know. Rah and Barrett should be bashed for their performance in the first half but lauded for their recovery in the 2nd half. To me, it’s a wash but for you continually beat the “Rah KEEPS putting these guys in bad positions” drum is entirely inaccurate. This is literally the 1st time all year we’ve lined up incorrectly. Despite your delusions, we ARE a well coached team fundamentals-wise, penalty-wise, situations-wise, and emotions-wise.

  7. McBuc Says:

    Right on Sensible, but remember, even if Morris save a bunch of nuns from a bus crash, Buc You would claim morris blocked the road and caused the crash and give him no credit.

  8. sensiblebuc Says:

    LMFAO McBuc!

  9. jfgobucs Says:

    What ever the Blocking scheme was the Redskins used..the Bucs need to try and duplicate..for L BLount…

  10. k1ngAdroc Says:

    Great write up Jeff, thank you! First, I must give the obligatory “Buc You is a knucklehead” statement…

    I agree with jfgobucs and reading Steve White’s blog, he has continuously mentioned the Saints play that the Skins used very effectively on us. He said its almost indefensible without a extraordinary individual effort.

    Can you break that play down for us from your perspective? Why aren’t we running this?

    Mr. White’s Blog – “6:48 1st and 10 The NFL being a copycat league, the Redskins featured that Saints play I drew up a while ago with a new twist. Instead of using two tight ends they used two wide receivers. And instead of both of them going to the flat on the snap, this time the receiver that was wide and the one that was close to the tackle in the slot criss crossed. The effect this had was the slot receiver still took one defender, usually an outside linebacker, out of the box while heading out to the flat, but the receiver that was out wide had the opportunity to come back in the box and help double team the middle linebacker.

    Let me say this, I watched those plays over and over and tried to come up with a defense to stop it and short of calling a blitz, which obviously you can’t do every play, I had a hard time coming up with an obvious way to stop it. So kudos to the Redskins for their ingenuity. (of course I STILL wonder why the Bucs aren’t using the same play which gives their own defense fits)”

  11. gitarlvr Says:

    As I said before why not try Josh Johnson in the wildcat formation on 3rd and short? giving you the run\pass threat?

  12. The White Tiger Says:

    Why not capitalize on a team strength?

    As a fan, I also appreciate the fact that I’m finally hearing a sports writer recognize that the empty stadium is more a reflection of several economic indicators – not a lack of fan support. We are cheering and supporting our Bucs as much as we can. I tire quickly of radio and print media types that derive fan loyalty from the attendance of home games during one of the worst economies in recent history. I and my friends often wonder how many media types who are married, have a mortgage, car payment, kids in college – would actually GO to games if they had to buy their own way into the stadium…?

    More fans are making plans to purchase some ticket packages next season due to the above-average/ahead-of-schedule play of this team. Times are tight, and signs are NOT pointing to better economic conditions next year – so we’re weighing inluding ticket prices in next years household BUDGET. I’m guessing that isn’t a conversation in EYE-Rah’s, Woody’s or Anwar’s households…

    At any rate – seeing the long ball a few times per game is very exciting…knowing we’re BUILT for that game isn’t lost on us either. We know we’re good at it – it’s good to see that the shackles are coming off of Olie and Freeman.

    Besides – we’ve been decimated by injuries and our defense has payed a heavier price in personnel – we HAVE to aggressively take it to the opponents defense if we’re going to win down the stretch. Fortunately Shanny’s time-management and McNabb’s lackluster/sloppy execution handed this one to us…

    Now, if we can just get the Lions and Seahowaks to cooperate…

    Nice article.