Method To The Madness?

June 6th, 2014
Hall of Fame coach John Madden may have unlocked the secret to the Bucs offense.

Hall of Fame coach John Madden may have unlocked the secret to the Bucs offense.

From about the day after the free agency dinner bell rang, Joe has been grousing about the Bucs’ offensive line. Joe just doesn’t believe the offensive line is average right now.

For years, Bucs coach Lovie Smith, when he guided the Bears, had a rotten offensive line and yet he won, despite many failed transactions trying to beef up his line.

Well, Joe read a fantastic John Madden feature by an old comrade of Joe’s, Dan Pompei, who now is a freelance writer. The former long-time Bears beat writer, logging time at both the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, knows Lovie well. Pompei recently typed this magnificant piece on Madden, who talked about how much football has changed since he was an offensive tackle in college in the 1950s.

In fact, Madden says in today’s NFL, many coaches don’t give a damn about pass blocking, yet still succeed in the pass game. Madden explains:

What has happened, in Madden’s opinion, is that short, quick passes have become the solution to pass-protection problems. “It used to be, ‘Block the blitz, and account for everyone,'” Madden said. “Now, it’s, ‘Don’t account for anyone, and just throw it before they get there. Take care of the double-A gaps, don’t let someone come free up the middle’ — and you can do that with shotgun.”

As the passing game has changed, so has the blocking game. Madden notes how often linemen use two point stances instead of three, and how they block with their hands instead of their shoulders. Even their shoulder pads have become much smaller, and they don’t use arm pads anymore. But most linemen wear big gloves that look like they could be used in MMA training, because they help with punch.

The run game used to be about drive blocking and double teams. Now? “Most of the runs, you just direct a guy or redirect a guy,” he said. “Or you try to cut a guy off, try to invite a guy off the field, knock him off and run inside of him.”

See how the pieces of the puzzle are coming together? The Bucs want to go “up-tempo,” so they go out and find a quarterback who last year threw well in the shotgun (Josh McCown). The Bucs offensive line may not be that improved, but a shotgun can neutralize a pass rush, see?

Protect the double-A gaps as Madden says teams now do. Go get a center, and the Bucs did just that. Evan Dietrich-Smith was a fine pickup and perhaps could be the best Bucs offensive lineman.

So maybe there is a method to Lovie’s madness? Again, puzzle pieces each week are emerging. The picture of what the Bucs offense may be is becoming clearer.

36 Responses to “Method To The Madness?”

  1. pablo Says:

    Pablo thinks we don’t need a good offensive line.. because our offensive is gonna be up – tempo and we are gonna get rid of the ball in 3 seconds… because the dunkaneers will out jump everyone on the 50/50 balls..


  2. GlenninGrad Says:

    #pablosplan is literally reiterating the article?

  3. Eric Says:

    And we have the highest rated QB in the league under pressure.

    No worries.

  4. Chef Paul Says:

    Very interesting. You might be on to something. Definitely something to think about. This is why I come to this site. Great article, Joe!!

  5. Kevin Says:

    It’s not Lovies madness it’s Tedfords. This is what I have been saying…no worries on the O-line. They won’t have TIME to get to us. The ball will be out before they get there. This is why Brees and Brady are so successful. They know where they’re trying to go immediately after the snap. If this offense is in the top 12 in the league Lovies defense will have us playoff bounds. IS IT SEPTEMBER YET?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. 1bucfan88 Says:

    Idc how much the game has changed. Oneil Cousins still stinks.

  7. SteveK Says:

    O’Doyle rules!

  8. Buccfan37 Says:

    Great read on The Unbreakable Madden by Dan Pompei. Brings back memories, how fortunate to have enjoyed football in that era. Don Coryell’s passing game innovations became known as “air Coryell”. He was the coach of the St. Louis Cardinals who the Bucs beat for their first home win. Franco Harris and the immaculate reception was a weird play. He and I share the exact same birthdate and year. It sure was a great group of coaches and coaching tree spawned in those days. Thanks!

  9. sam Says:

    I posted something similar too this 2 days ago and got blasted in the comment section for it…….sam Says:

    June 4th, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    That would also buy our offensive line a little more extra time in pass blocking. Maybe that’s why they don’t seem too be too worried about our guard spots. Quick passes out of the shotgun, puts a lot less pressure on the guys up front. Get the ball out quick then hurry up too the line and do it again. Make the defense tired. I like it!!

  10. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    I’m expecting a Run-based, Uptempo Spread Attack. Big Physical Receivers-Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Primary responsibility (Outside Catching Alley Oops) will be to execute downfield blocks, helping extend the run. Probably see a lot quick passes, tunnel & bubble screens.

    Detailed Breakdown w/ videos (I)

    Detailed Breakdown w/ video (II)

    Offensive Line Blocking Concept-
    Running Back Inside the tackles- Inside Zone (IZ)
    Running Back Outside the tackle – Outside Zone (OZ)
    Running Back Just inside the last offensive player – Stretch.

    Detailed Breakdown w/ videos (III)

  11. Touch_Down_Tampa_Bay Says:

    Who needs an elite QB? McCown will take us far baby! Then when he is done in Tampa The Cannon will deliver in the Super Bowl!

    4th best QB in the division no worries mate!

    We will bring a Tall order for opposing defenses in 3 seconds…

  12. Buc the Haters Says:

    @ Joe

    I agree with the basic premise of this article, but at least McCown can also buy some extra time with his legs to get guys deeper…. McCown is going to be a stud this year. Great QB under pressure last year.

    @ Sam

    The only thing I would personally blast you for in that comment is your misuse of the word ‘too’… Other than that, all good

  13. Mr Magoo Says:

    It still takes 4.6 seconds or more for a WR to run 40 yards and that is if no one is blocking him during the first 5. 3 second passes mean very short routes, that’s fine if we get YAC. If that is so easy to do with Josh McCown then why doesnt he have 3 or 4 Super Bowl rings as a starting QB? So far all I see is a bunch of fantasy football. I dont think it is going to be that easy. O lines are still important.

  14. owlykat Says:

    The short passing game is what Gruden used to win the Superbowl so don’t knock it. We have the big receivers to make it work. They are too strong to keep our opponents from jamming them at the line of scrimmage. We can frustrate and wear out the defense. Did you know Schiano talked about us using our weather to help us win games at the beginning of our season, but the fool practiced our team early in the morning so he wasn’t in the hot sun. No wonder we didn’t win one of those games! Lovie starts practice in the hot afternoon! SMART!!!

  15. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Make’m Defend the ENTIRE field Tedford!!

    GO BUCS!

  16. Andrew 1 Says:

    Joe, I think you are finally on to something (no offense, but you were striking out there for a while). All signs point to us using the quick passing game to circumvent our problems along the offensive line. Even though we are probably going to use the quick passing game, I still think we are going to be a balanced offense between the run and the pass. Throw in the up temp/ no huddle offense, and we could actually have a pretty good offense this season. We shall see.

  17. Andrew 1 Says:

    I’ve always felt like the up tempo offense was cheap, but it is legal and it works so why not use it.

  18. Andrew 1 Says:


    “I’m expecting a Run-based, Uptempo Spread Attack. Big Physical Receivers-Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Primary responsibility (Outside Catching Alley Oops) will be to execute downfield blocks, helping extend the run. Probably see a lot quick passes, tunnel & bubble screens.”

    I agree Luv, and I could not have said it any better.

  19. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @Andrew 1

    Yes Sirrrr

  20. Harry Says:

    I love Madden. One of the best ever. But no one knows what this line will do, not even the Bucs coaches. They obviously have a better idea, but who the hell know. This is the “wild card” for how the season goes. L&L, hope you got it right!

  21. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Harry

    I hear ya, but I still wouldn’t rule out us bringing in someone before training camp. At least I sure hope we do.

  22. Espo Says:

    This works until you play a good defense. Ask Peyton. Hell I remember hearing audio of Michael Vick saying we were beating him to his 3 step drop. Still have to block at some point. Not to mention our running game.

  23. Dreambig Says:

    I have to say Pablo’s third person comments make me laugh. Kind of like Pedro and the “South of the Boarder” signs when driving towards the boader between the Carolina’s.

  24. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    We don’t know what this year’s O-line can do. But we can guarantee that last year’s O-line was worst.

  25. biff barker Says:

    Nice write up by Madden.
    I’m actually fine with Merideth at RG. It’s the LG that leaves the Biffster queasy.

  26. DallasBuc Says:

    In other words, hope we win with a crappy oline! What a plan!

  27. Skyline Crew Says:

    If you look at Seattle last year they had a terrible o-line. Wilson made quick throws, but he was also the most hurried QB last year.

  28. Pierce Says:

    A weak O Line has got to affect the running game regardless of the shotgun and quick release of the QB. Doesn’t it Joe?

  29. buccanAy Says:

    Not so fast…the “A” gap is blocked by OG’s, which is biggest need, and have very little talent at, right now. This is the Saints way…very strong interior, wouldn’t call that a strength of ours. Also, much has been written about the height of our WR’s, but that doesn’t translate to short area quickness, which is required in the short passing game.

  30. Swaggy64 Says:

    Tedford’s offense seems to be very dependent on yac, but that’s okay if you can create the right match-ups. Ithink we’re going to see a lot of short passes to our RB’s. That’s why they coveted Charles Sims.

  31. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Really? We are going to take seriously the words of a man who spoke giberish on national tv AND always put down the Bucs every chance he got because they beat his raiders in a SB?

    Here’s the thing. Everyone is saying how this offense will be great and how Tedford knows so much more and is doing it right.

    The dude has no nfl experience. Just because he’s doing it different, that doesn’t mean he is doing it right.

    And we’ll see how those jump balls look when tips are picked off.

  32. chris Says:

    If what madden says is true, then Glennon is in fact, terrible in this scheme. Quick decisions isn’t his forte`.

  33. canadian bucsfan Says:

    GREAT article Joe!

  34. Cannuckbuc Says:

    Hey Joe do you think the offence could resemble the old Bills offence when Jim Kelly ran a hurry up O all the time,with lots of shotgun?

  35. Jim Walker Says:

    This means its ok that our O-Line stinks?

  36. Jim Walker Says:

    The method is trying to convince us that we can win without an offensive line? Bullspit!