Ultimate X-Factor

September 2nd, 2019

Bucco Bruce Arians is entering new territory with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich calling plays for the Bucs this season.

We’ve all heard the chatter from Arians, who has always called plays whenever he’s had the opportunity prior to this season; Leftwich was trained by Arians. He’s ready. He’s smart. He’s the man.

The truth is that Leftwich is a wild x-factor for the Bucs. He might be the greatest playcaller of this decade. Nobody really knows.

When Dirk Koetter arrived, he had engineered and called plays for top-10 offenses under two different defensive-minded head coaches: Jack Del Rio and Mike Smith. Koetter was a proven commodity.

Before that, the Bucs had ill-suited Marcus Arroyo filling in for Jeff Tedford, who was just ill. Prior to that Mike Sullivan stepped in as a first-year NFL playcaller in 2012 and the offense hummed.

Joe’s not down on Leftwich; he’s simply an unknown commodity.

However, Arians keeps saying the team is in win-now mode. They are not rebuilding, he says.

Well, then Joe must wonder, what happens if Arians believes after four games that Leftwich is not as good of a playcaller as he is? Does Arians make a change because he’s in win-now mode and feels obligated to do what’s best for the team? If Leftwich keeps calling plays and the offense struggles, is that an indication Arians believes the talent is subpar?

And what if Leftwich kicks ass? He’ll likely be in line for a head-coaching gig somewhere as the next young stud offensive mind. Then would Arians go back to calling plays, a responsibility that was wearing on him in Arizona?

It’s easy to say Arians is calling the shots and will oversee Leftwich with a heavy hand. But nobody really knows whether that will happen.

Joe can’t wait to see what Leftwich delivers — and how much developmental rope he’ll get if he needs it.

27 Responses to “Ultimate X-Factor”

  1. Cobraboy Says:

    I don’t think this staff has shown squat in the pre-season. Hard to tell what this team’s floor and ceiling is until the bullets are live.

    I get the impression BA is a master at liar’s poker.

    I suspect Leftwich’s grooming is a work in progress.

    Leftwich may *call* plays on game day, but I guarantee you BA’s fingerprints will be all over the offensive game plan. The plays Leftwich will call are all pre-planned and scripted by down, distance, field position, and score. I doubt Leftwich will be free-wheeling it by his lonesome.

  2. K2 Says:

    They will be game planning together. Arians is not the kind of guy who will sit back if he disagrees with the way thinks are going. So, I would expect Arians to keep Leftwich game plan on a win now track.

  3. DalvinCookRules Says:

    With the abysmal talent & depth at RB, an OL with several gaping holes, a QB who can be wildly inconsistent, and an unproven kicking game, I really REALLY don’t think you have to worry about Leftwich being nabbed by another team next year.

  4. Todd Says:

    Just stepped back from the future.


    Leftwich is the greatest play caller to ever call a play…caller.

    You’re welcome.

  5. PSLBob Says:

    Geez already, why not figure out what’s going to happen 10 years from now. Stop trying to prognosticate and let things play out. Then you can analyze why things happened the way they did. Stop trying to read tea leaves. Bring on the games!

  6. Buddy Says:

    So what exactly does Grandpa Arians do?? Besides wear a dumba$$ hat? He doesn’t coach D, he doesn’t call plays, he’ll surely start playing the blame game when things start going bad (which they will) they are already blaming the schedule. So again what does this guy really do??

  7. TexBuc Says:

    Preseason is for player tryouts and player evaluations. Play calls are kept as vanilla as possible to level the playing field for players and not give away new team offensive and defensive plays or tells.

    Hope O’Conner gets signed to out practice squad.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Byron calling plays could work out awesome for us. Gives BA time to focus on the BIG picture. Have a hunch Leftwich will be on a short leash in any event. We

  9. Jmarkbuc Says:


    He keeps Licht in a job….

  10. AJ Says:

    Not seen any comments on why Arians was calling plays during the Dallas game?? Found that odd myself that maybe he was letting Leftwich sit back on this one.

  11. Destinjohnny Says:

    We aren’t a playoff team anyway so why not let him have a go at it

  12. Bucnjim Says:

    The negative comments are almost to the point of asking why are you a Bucs fan? Arians wasn’t here this past decade and neither was Bowles. Even Licht was only here for half of it. This franchise has been a clown show but the clowns have mostly been removed and replaced by NFL players. Arians is a fan of accountability and toughness. Really haven’t seen this since Monte Kiffin! Time for us fans to get back in the ring even though we’ve been burnt many times before.

  13. Delawest Says:

    I feel you joe, Sunday can’t come fast enough.

  14. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    I have the same amount of confidence in Leftwich the coordinator as I did when he was a Buc QB. Of course I’d love to be pleasantly surprised.

  15. Dewey Selmon Says:

    AJ, the OC starts on the game plan for week 1 and the coach calls the plays the last preseason game. When Arians was and OC he never called the last preseason game, just something he leaned.

  16. JimmyJack Says:

    I think the offense will be just fine. If Arians aren’t happy with the playcalling I don’t even see him waiting multiple game. He might just take over in the 4th Quarter on Sunday if he is not satisfied. Then they will work to have Byron better prepared next time.

    My biggest X-Factor is Todd Bowles. Through preseason our defense looks night and day different…….Most notably getting pick and fumble opportunities and tipping lots of passes. If this defense can keep doing that into the regular season we are in for a fun fun season!!!

    GO BUCS!!!

  17. Stanglassman Says:

    AJ-BA called plays in the Dallas game to free up Leftwich to game-plan for the 49ers. They talked about it in the pregame. It was something he’s done before and it was planned out well in advance.

  18. StonedBuc Says:

    Need to ground a pound.

  19. BigMacAttack Says:

    You can’t judge much by preseason play calling because it’s so generic. We’ll see BL has next Sunday. I think he’s going to do well as late by as he trusts his instincts and doesn’t panic when things go awry, because they will at some point. Jameis is his QB and he will screw up at times. Big time screwups 😂

  20. Rob Tanner Says:

    This is really easy to answer. If Leftwich is super good he will be gone after the season, his replacement is already being trained now. If he sucks, BA will coach/train him of what he wants by week 2.

    Bowles is the “Ultimate X-Factor” this season.

  21. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Leftwich will not be anywhere near koetter/monken as they have been nfl vets at the job hopefully bucs get 15-20 ranked offense & similiar defwnse

  22. Sport Says:

    I get all the pessimistic energy some of you carry. Its a defense mechanism to being hurt. Calling people names, criticizing every move, every player, every play is a byproduct of deep.pain.

    10 years of losing, a string of weird/bad luck (mrsa, turf toe) coaching changes etc…

    I have faith in a 2 time NFL Coach of the Year. For others, it will take results in the win/loss column. Nothing wrong with that.

    This is gonna be fun.

    Go Bucs!

    In BA I Trust!

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    Rob… Who was the last Bucs OC to be offered a HC slot? I’ll wait.

    And what NFL owner is going to entrust his multiple-billion dollar franchise to anyone with ONE year of on-the-job training like Byron has? Nah, he’s not going anywhere for awhile at least.

  24. Cobraboy Says:

    This team will go as far as the defense carries it.

  25. BucsBandit Says:


  26. BucEmUp Says:

    I dont like it

  27. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Arians brings a winning culture attitude to the team.
    What is that?
    High Expectations, Accountability, Prioritize Winning as a Team,
    Communicate, Have quality coaching around you that think the same way.
    Arians is not going to be loyal to buddy coaches if they fail.
    Bucs have rebuilt the Defense and Special Teams with speed and athletes.
    Arians ‘ past shows he knows what he’s doing.
    Leftwich ‘s biggest challenge is getting Jameis to next level regarding decisions
    We shall see