Another Poke At Mike Sullivan?

December 10th, 2013

mike sullivan 1126A couple of weeks ago, Joe noted the wacky chatter of Bill Sheridan relaying how Bucs coaches talk about finding ways to get Da’Quan Bowers more snaps because he’s so talented.

That was almost silly. ‘Hey, Coach, you want Bowers in, then just put him in!!’

Greg Schiano served up a similar type of comment yesterday about the Bucs’ passing game, and it set off Joe’s radar up again for the job security of offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.

Joe wrote last week about how Sullivan’s Bucs future is murky. Aside from the heinous offensive production this season, Schiano has made several comments about how the Bucs need to change their offensive balance.

He busted out another last night on WDAE-AM 620. Schiano was on board with a caller who told him the Bucs need a short passing game.

“I understand where you’re coming from and I couldn’t agree with you more. We need to do more of the short passing game, what we call the three-step passing game,” Schiano said. “You know, they’re generally tied to six-to-eight yard routes. You get the ball out of the quarterback’s hand quickly. You let the receiver try to have some run-after-catch. And to me, it’s not a lot different than the run. And we’ve been working on that and trying to get better at that.”

Joe isn’t nitpicking here. There’s a trend in place, one where Schiano says the Bucs need to change playcalling — not just execute better. It’s a telling difference.

You want more slants, quick shots in the flats to Erik Lorig or Bobby Rainey, or wide receiver screens for four yards, then CALL it. It’s that simple. The Bucs didn’t dial back the playbook for Mike Glennon, and it’s Year 2 of the regime.

31 Responses to “Another Poke At Mike Sullivan?”

  1. Buc Neckid Says:

    Because i do not know,
    Just how involved is Schiano in the game time play calling?
    I know it is “HIS” Defense,
    but does he make the play calls on Defense or on Offense?
    or does he trust others to once the game is on.
    But Even Still…
    As the HEAD Coach,
    he can over ride any play call and should be able to suggest/make adjustments in game or at halftime if he sees something that he does not like,
    so why does he wonder WHY things aren’t different with no short drops, etc.
    and want more of them?

  2. Architek Says:

    Listen, it’s time for the excuses – everyone wants a efficient and potent offense but it seems the simple things aren’t being accounted for.

    Case 1 – rub routes, slants and screens all take advantage of aggressive press coverage and there is no adjustments.

    Case 2 – I watched Chicago dismantle the Cows with simple playcalling that countered every adjustment dallas made “in game”

    Case 3 – why are the plays for short simple routes called early to get flow going early

    Case 4 – we don’t use the speed we have – underwood, Dawson, owusu can all run, why not design routes to take advantage of their speed

    This is what I am summing up, if Sullivan is to leave and we start over on offense we need to get someone that has a reputation for in game adjustments and has a track record. I’m not sold that Glennon is the future but we do have bigger holes to fill. But the lack of adjustments is killing us.

  3. Westsidebucsfan Says:


  4. biff barker Says:

    Architek Says:

    Case 4 – we don’t use the speed we have – underwood, Dawson, owusu can all run, why not design routes to take advantage of their speed


    Agree, but all have underperformed. Underwood and Dawson had inexcusable drops last week and Owusu is the ghost of Mo Stovall. Camp hero but all but invisible during the season.

  5. MTM Says:

    Well if Schiano wants more short yardage passing he will have to fire “Sully”. Schiano’s hands are tied.

  6. Mr. Patrick Says:

    I really do like Schiano and his defensive philosophy (minus all the stunts, curls, games and D-Line in coverage) but I have not liked his offensive philosophy and play system from the beginning. It’s 1970’s cold weather football and the NFL has changed. It’s easy to plan for and shut down. It will pop a big play out every now and then but not consistently. The NFL is now a passing league and if the Bucs want to be a winner they will have to adjust.

  7. Bucsfanfromtexas Says:

    Westsidebucsfan I agree, #firesullivan

  8. Adam L. Says:

    I’m always amazed at how, for some reason, the Bucs can’t run a draw or a screen successfully.

  9. Architek Says:

    They have but I guess I’m asking for simple routes and play calling to get them into the flow of the game.

  10. Yar Says:

    I think Sully is the one with his hands tied. I like Schiano but when the teams put 9 in the box the Bucs need to go to a short passing game and get rid of the ball quick. I wonder if Glennon has the freedom to audible into a quick drop or are his hands tied also. All in all I like where the Buc’s are headed.

  11. JonBuc Says:

    Gregor is starting to distance himself from Sully…most likely the fall guy going into next season ( if not Sheridan-hopefully ). A win against the Rams and/or three close games and Schiano is back in. The bar has been set so low it may as well be rebar buried underground.

  12. Mr. T Says:

    Yes, it’s reasonable to expect some shakeup in the staff next year after a year like this, it will be interesting to see who goes. If it’s Sully then likely McNulty will move to OC. We’ll see.

  13. oldfart44 Says:

    Get rid of both of them. It would seem to me that someone like Schiano sticks his nose into anything and everything. What a terrible hire by the Glazers. Ask Schiano if he knows what a screen is.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It seems the teams playing us always use the short slants….routes & screens against us….the quick 3 step and release… the first couple of games Glennon was accused of throwing nothing but check-downs….and now he doesn’t even have anyone to check down to….the only time we seem to call the short pass is on 3rd and 10 and then it’s a 6 yard pass…
    I have not been happy with our playcalling and not making excuses for Freeman….but he was a victim of some poor playcalling also.
    I think Sullivan will be fired.

  15. richardtyson Says:

    Joe, that is an interesting point of view , but when I read the quotes they tell me something different. It’s not about just calling in the play, it’s about calling in the play with confidence. They know Bowers has talent they just haven’t found the best way to use him. Or maybe he is gasping for air so he can’t stay out there. Or the short slants haven’t been executed properly in practice. Lastly, Shiano seems very tight-lipped and I don’t think he would even hint at something like your suggesting.

  16. Architek Says:

    That’s my point I don’t see the play calling utilizing the makeup of the roster.

  17. Curmudgeon Says:

    You don’t call it in a game if you can’t execute it well in practice.

  18. That Guy Says:

    Will Gregory videotape Sullivan on the sidelines now?

  19. PRBucFan Says:

    TBBF my partner in crime

    Free Free couldn’t even effectively hit a checksdown lol 😉

  20. WalkdaPlank Says:

    Sully has an impressive resume, but his career as OC in Tampa Bay might be short-lived. He’s hardly been a step up from Greg Olsen to put it bluntly. He’s found success calling deep pass plays, though. Don’t be scared to take more deep shots with Glennon, he hasn’t done too bad with those. It was the same with last year. The offense started slow until Sully let Freeman throw it deep to VJax and Mike Williams before seeing better numbers from his offense. IMO, this offense tries to play small-ball too much. Too many predictable runs up the middle, screens and checkdowns. Run to the outside a little, call some slant routes or post routes, maybe a toss play here and there with the speed you have. Sully is babying Glennon and not letting him take chances, that’s why he doesn’t have that many picks.

  21. Andrew 1 Says:

    I agree, we need to balance the passing game between 5 step drops (as far as I can tell what we mostly run) and 3 step drops. The only problem with running a lot of 3 step drops is that if your running game is working, your sh!t out of luck. Im guessing thats why we haven’t been running a lot of 3 step drops imo.

  22. WalkdaPlank Says:

    I’m honestly worried about our offense against the 9ers. Particularly our running game. Let’s be real, Rainey did not have a good day last game. The 80 yarder was mainly the work of his blockers, he only shook one guy at the very end of the run. And that was on the second play of the game, the rest of the day he was getting stuffed repeatedly. And that was against the Bills, this is the 49ers we are talking about.

  23. Andrew 1 Says:

    also a big problem with the short passing game is that the DL will recognize it and get their hands up in the passing lanes and bat the balls down. might not be much of an issue whith a 6’8″ QB though.

  24. RastaMon Says:

    Jesus F’nC….give the man a chance…..

  25. gotbbucs Says:

    Well, if Jimmy Raye Jr. has any input in the scructure of our scheme or weekly install then this is a pointless discussion. He has been one of the worst offensive assistants in the NFL in the last 20 years. That hire still baffles me.
    Sullivan is just turning out to be a younger version of Jimmy Raye Jr. Look up the offensive rankings of the teams where Raye had a hand in the offense, that will tell you all you need to know.

  26. mvermulm Says:

    Walkdaplank, Sully had success as an assistant in NY and for six games last season; otherwise he’s been horrible. The problem is that all of the pass plays are deep routes, which are hard to hit on a regular basis, and they require protection to be there on every play. There needs to be some change-up from time to time, and if there isn’t then we have days where the QB goes 9-for-25. Hopefully Sully is gone after this season.

  27. d-money Says:


    I think you’re right about the possibility that the run game will struggle against San Fran. However watch that Rainey run again he puts a nasty stiff arm on Alonso and drops him in his tracks. Also of course it was mostly the work of the blockers…a running back is only as good as his blockers.

    Why do you think Doug Martin struggled so much this season? It definitely wasn’t that he forgot how to run.

  28. Mr. Patrick Says:

    There is always the possibility that the 49ers will have a letdown after playing their biggest rival then having to fly cross-country

  29. biff barker Says:

    Ask the Giants how that same offense that we run is working out for them now. Ask Monte how the cover two is working out for Jerry Jackme and the Cowboys.
    Most will play the personnel card but the wise explanation is that coordinators at the NFL level are rather crafty.
    Both are old, understood and beatable.

  30. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    Why is this just coming up 29 games into Sullivan’s tenure calling plays? I realize things changed after Fraudman was dumped, but still.

  31. Fritz50 Says:

    “Well if Schiano wants more short yardage passing he will have to fire “Sully”. Schiano’s hands are tied.”

    Last time I looked, Schiano was Head Coach, and Sullivan works for HIM, not vice versa. The man whose hands SHOULD be tied is Sullivan. If true, what does the statement above say about Schiano, as a head coach. I can understand not making a major change ‘in game’, but if you’re getting blown out, why the heck not!! And NOTHING should prevent Schiano from forcing a change during the week.