First-Down Ugliness Is Killing Bucs

December 26th, 2013

Brian Billick talks about the Bucs’ formula and why it’s not working

Bucs fans remember the old Tony Dungy offensive formula to win football games in Tampa. It wasn’t always pretty.

Former Super Bowl winning head coach Brian Billick knows all about it. He used the same philosophy. But Billick doesn’t think it suits the current Bucs under Greg Schiano.

Billick will call the Bucs-Saints game Sunday, and he called the Bucs-Rams game last weekend for FOX, so that means he’s been studying all things Bucs meeting with players and coaches.

Billick weighed in today during an interview on WDAE-AM 620 with former Bucs guard Ian Beckles.

The Bucs are in a tough spot in New Orleans but also in general, Billick says. That’s because their first-down efficiency is at the bottom of the NFL charts and it blows up the entire gameplan.

“I know the formula very well. I won a Super Bowl with it, in terms of playing great defense, run the ball, don’t turn the ball over. That’s great, but that’s tight-margin way to live,” Billick said.

Interestingly, Billick seemed to agree with Beckles’ assertion that the Bucs’ season-long offensive struggles in the second halves of games is “80 percent coaching.”

Billick went on to say the Bucs could hang in against New Orleans because their defense is excellent at preventing big plays and making big plays, and they should be able to generate pressure on Drew Brees.

In all this was an excellent interview that Joe recommends with Billick passionately throwing cold water on those who celebrate that the Bucs are playing hard for Greg Schiano.

“No team in this league plays for its coach. They may like their coach; they may not like their coach, but they play for each other. They play for themselves. They play for the team, and if they’re quitting on that, that’s a whole different issue,” Billick said.

Enjoy the entire audio below:

25 Responses to “First-Down Ugliness Is Killing Bucs”

  1. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    By no means would he be my first choice in the miracle that we are smart enough to move on from Schiano, but we could do a lot worse than Billick as coach. At this point, as long as he’s not from the Big East, I’m okay with anyone.

  2. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    New coaching staff equals another rebuild. Two to four more years of inconsistency and frustration. Again. With no guarantee of success. Be careful what you wish for.

  3. Macabee Says:

    I have a trusted beagle named Phred (true story – named for a character from Doonesbury). Phred dutifully sits at my side as I watch Bucs games (another true story). As I read this article aloud to Phred, he looked up at me and said “just load the box, the first down will be a run up the gut”. (may not be a true story, but makes my point!).

  4. unbelievable Says:

    I would like to see a great OC come in and takeover as HC, like Greg Roman from the niners. Then get a vet for DC (Rex Ryan if he gets fired). Maybe a late xmas gift for bucs fans?

  5. unbelievable Says:

    @FLBoyInDallas I agree about the rebuild, but it would all depend on the system. Besides Schiano already claims he still doesn’t have all the pieces, so he’s still building ‘his’ team. And I can’t stomach another full season of his garbage.

    We do have some talent at each level on both sides of the ball (besides QB), we just need far more depth. And better schemes / coaching could certainly take advantage of what we already have, combined with better evaluation of our backups and the missing pieces.

  6. JonBuc Says:

    I wanted Billick this last go around and would cetainly take him now. And I disagree about a rebuild always taking a while. Look at KC & AZ this year ( Arians was looking for work when we hired Greggy as well ). The league is much more fluid than it used to be p…you can go up & down rather quickly ( right Atlanta ?! ) Continuity for the sake of keeping things the same is insanity.

  7. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    You’re worried about a rebuild??? We’ve got 4 wins this season. We have regressed with better players!!!

  8. That Guy Says:

    Running the ball into the middle of the line on every first down might not do much for first down efficiency, but it’s exceedingly low risk and that makes Gregory happy.

  9. Kevin Says:

    Our third down conversions quit when Mike James got hurt. They were actually at they’re best 3rd down conversion rate after Martin got hurt and James took over… I think. But those two good games rainey had were flukes. Without a run game everything fizzles out. James ran HARD! Martin is a great little running back. If those two can stay healthy for a full season we will have a much more consistent offense. That being said I’d like a better offensive coordinator. With THAT BEING SAID…I witnessed for probably the 9th or 10th time this past Sunday Greg Schiano with the play card in his hands in the fourth quarter. I’m really tired of seeing this. We need a creative offense. If we can stay on the field and sustain long offensive drives our defense would go through the roof. Put the card down Greg…PUT IT DOWN!!!!! Let the offensive coordinator do his job for 60 minutes otherwise no matter who we hire to call plays everyone will think they suck when your the one with the play card on the sidelines. Seattles OC 2014 just saying.

  10. FLBoyInDallas Says:


    We’ve actually regressed with WORSE players. Our defense has better players, yes, but our defense has IMPROVED. It’s our offense that has regressed, and our offense is stuck with WORSE players than last year, not better.

    We were blindsided by Benedict Freeman, stuck with a rookie QB, a 4th or 5th string option at RB, no Mike Williams, no competent 2nd or 3rd WR, the loss of Nicks, an underperforming rehabbing Davin Joseph, two TE’s sent to IR and no competent TE in sight except a rookie Tim Wright. Did I miss anything? Because that list is long enough to take down any team in the league.

  11. Mr. Patrick Says:

    Raheem, Dom, Schiano, Sully, etc. were hired for their postions for the first time with absolutely no prior experience. Might be time to bring in experienced and established NFL executives and coaches, men that have already had success in the NFL, to get the Bucs back to Championship form. As they say, there’s no substitute for experience

  12. Mr. Patrick Says:

    Sorry, but no. Even in the pre-season everybody talked about how bad the offense looked. Then through the 1st quarter of the season when the Bucs were still a healthy team the offense was staggering at best. Every team in the league has injuries, but yet they are still playoff contenders. This offense just stinks and needs to be scrapped. Plus, when you are 4-11 there are no excuses

  13. MTM Says:

    Why would any fan worry about a rebuild at this point. The offense is 31st in the NFL with nothing promising for next year. Billick would be welcomed addition. Schiano blows.

  14. patrickbucs Says:

    I do not understand why we would keep someone who has failed in order to prevent a rebuild. We really need someone who knows the NFL and can make in game decisions. Clearly Schiano has not done that in almost 2 years on the job. I cannot handle this regime for another year. I really wish they would fire him ASAP so we can start the search.

  15. Eric Says:

    We’ve been in rebuild for five years.

    Give me a coach that can reload please.

  16. Architek Says:

    @FLboy and Hawaiian
    Very substantial debate – that’s really the toughest thing to evaluate. Are we better by moving on from Schiano or will we be worse by upsetting any form of stability we know.

    I just don’t believe in his philosophies in today NFL, it’s just dated.

  17. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    The Glazers may think Schiano has done as much as he can by weeding out certain players and changing the culture of the team. I could possibly see them firing him and bringing in another coach they believe can build on the foundation Schiano laid and make this team a playoff contender. It’s possible that Schiano was just a stepping stone from the Raheem debacle to whatever coach they really have in mind. Who knows what they’re thinking? I won’t cry if he’s fired, but I’ll be watching closely to see if there’s a big plan in operation or if it’s just flying by the seat of their pants. One can only hope they know what they’re doing here.

  18. Destinjohnny Says:

    I’d take billick

  19. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    No, no, no, don’t even try to twist it. Out offense went down the toilet last season, once teams dusted off their 1970s playbook to learn how to defend it. I really really hate when people try to twist around the facts and make stupid excuses for failure. Schiano himself has said his philosophy is to pound the ball and then throw it deep. He wants to slow the game down and keep it close. Only problem is that he can’t coach when the game is close, because he shrivels up under tight situations. How many losses is it going to take for people to realize he can’t win close games? He’s like 1-15 in close games in his career. Do you really believe that’s a fluke? Of course it isn’t. That’s not a lack of talent, nor is it a result of injuries. That’s the result of being a poor coach. I would rather rebuild with the hope of getting better versus continue to do whatever Schiano is doing.

  20. Eric Says:

    Why do people accept the long rebuilding nonsense.

    Dungy was 10-6 second year. Differ at QB. DILFER.

    Chucky turned Oakland immediately.

    Chiefs, Cards, Eagles, just this year. Harbaugh with the niners. List goes on and on.

    They reshuffle the decks every year. The five year rebuild is from 20 years ago.

  21. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    Agreed. I think people have become okay with losing. They have bought into the pre-free agency truth that it takes years to build a winner, when in reality it doesn’t take long at all. The talent is so close in the NFL that changing just a couple pieces can make all the difference in the world. It’s not impossible to get a better QB than Glennon, and it’s next to impossible to get a worse coach than Schiano. With those two alone I think we’d see a lot more wins than 4 in a season.

  22. trubucfan22 Says:

    Why do people think a new will equal another 4 years of rebuilding? This team already has young talent. All we need is good coaching. Look at the 49ers. Turned it around immediately after harbaugh was hired. Chiefs went from worst in the nfl to a top 5 team. Eagles are on the door step of winning the division. Teams with talent just need good coaching to get them to the next level. I appreciate the team schiano helped put together but he is a terrible coach.

  23. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    All of these opinions are nice but they don’t mean a thing. We’ll know exactly how the Glazers feel in a few weeks at most, maybe earlier, and they won’t be browsing the JBF boards gathering our votes to help make their decision. So sit back, relax, and let the professionals do their job because in reality you don’t have a say in the matter.

  24. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    Who said our opinions mean anything? Of course we are going to let the professionals do their job. But websites like JBF are for expressing our opinions. I think Schiano will be back, even though I think he shouldn’t. Regardless, I’ll cheer for this team no matter who coaches it. But I sure would like to see a better product in 2014.

  25. pick6 Says:

    bobby rainey is a thoroughly mediocre NFL RB. he has some burst when he sees daylight, but with only 1 passing threat to cover that was never going to be a regular occurence. he had a great debut and probably hasn’t topped 2 ypc since. your offense isn’t going anywhere when you are trying to feature the run game with him as your lead back.