The QB Blast: Too Much Shotgun Hurting Bucs

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 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.


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 (

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!

15 Responses to “The QB Blast: Too Much Shotgun Hurting Bucs”

  1. BigMacAttack Says:

    Great job Jeff. I hope somebody over in the Palace reads this.
    I really thought the Bucs offense would carry them through their defensive growing pains this year. Thus far, not the case. I think Olson has lost confidence in himself and his team. Raheem needs to kick him in the pants.

  2. Vince Says:

    I by no means claim to be an offensive guru but if the majority of the fan base as well as former pro’s see an issue with the playcalling then why doesn’t anyone @ One Buc see it. What’s that old saying…..If it looks like a duck?!

  3. Mauha Deeb Says:

    So, the bucs aren’t running enough? Haven’t heard that before.

  4. ChiefBucahoma Says:

    Either Carlson doesn’t get it or Olson is clueless. My bet’s on Olson.

  5. Jeff Carlson Says:

    Mauha Deeb, What are you reading? This article doesn’t address running more, it is about what types of plays can be called out of shotgun or having the QB under center and what that does to affect a defense! The shotgun takes away the THREAT of many different runs and in fourth and one you can’t run a QB sneak, which has almost a 100% success rate for anyone that has ever tried it and we have one of the biggest QB’s that has ever tried it! I don’t care if they run it more while under center, just use plays that affect a defense so that you create positive plays, move the chains and score touchdowns, which this team has struggled to do all season.

  6. Keith Says:

    Never really understood what 1st and goal shotgun accomplished, even thrd and goal if you’re in four down territory.

  7. MTD Says:

    Set em straight Jeff. Lot of hungover people on here. Freeman’s been around long enough to be under center. No question he has no problem seeing over everyone and his line gives isn’t letting alot through.

  8. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Jeff You said the shotgun takes away the run and they generally mean pass….. I was agreeing with you.

  9. DallasBuc Says:

    Remember the days under Gruden when we bitched about not using the shotgun enough?

  10. Vince Says:

    Remember the days under Gruden when we actually threw the deep ball.

  11. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Remember the days under Gruden where we participated in the playoffs.

  12. MTD Says:

    “Where’s Galloway?”

  13. BigMacAttack Says:

    I vividly remember Gruden’s last Playoff performance. It was arguably his worst performance, next to the “Oh so Memorable” MNF Carolina Beatdown. But then again there was that Atlanta beatdown. Where was I? Oh yeah, the Giants game where we ran the ball so well in the 1’st half, then abruptly put the game in the hands Jeff “Sucks” Garcia and passed the rest of the way and went down in a ball of flames. I liked Chuckles the Clown, but it was his time to go.

    Tommy Boy is back to clueless. Go figure.

  14. Tristan Berry Says:

    I vote Jeff Carlson for Offensive Coordinator.

  15. MTM Says:

    Olsen probably puts Freeman in the shotgun because the O-line can’t stop anybody. So at least it buys him some time. But being in the shotgun doesn’t mean you can’t hand the ball off. That way when Freeman hands the ball off to Blount he has time to dodge the 3 d-lineman that have already penetrated the porous offensive line or just get flattened in the back field. I believe the suspect O-line dictates the calls Olsen makes.