Bruce Arians Says He Regrets Worrying That Byron Leftwich Wouldn’t Be Good Enough

December 26th, 2019

Byron Leftwich

Hiring Bucco Bruce Arians to coach the Buccaneers felt mighty awkward when Arians made a proclamation soon after being hired.

One of the great playcallers in the game, Arians said he was not going to be calling plays.

Nope. He eagerly was going to pass that torch to 39-year-old Byron Leftwich, a guy with half a season of experience calling plays on any level.

Published rumors claimed Team Glazer wasn’t pleased about it. And certainly many fans were skeptical.

The result? The Bucs have the third-most points in the NFL to go along with the third-most yards.

Spin it how you wish; Leftwich’s job is to score points and move the chains, and he’s done both well.

In a telling moment this week, Arians admitted that he was tense about the handoff to Leftwich. Speaking on Bucs Total Access, Arians responded to a fan who asked, “What do you wish you had known at the beginning of the season?”

Arians paused, said it was a strong question, and then answered.

“I wish I’d have known Byron Leftwich was going to do such a great job, I wouldn’t have worried about him so much,” Arians said.

Joe’s a pro-gambling guy, but damn, to hear Arians was worried a lot about Leftwich is very unsettling. What a gamble Arians took when he wasn’t sure his protégé was ready.

Joe wonders what kind of positive leap Leftwich can make in Year 2.

31 Responses to “Bruce Arians Says He Regrets Worrying That Byron Leftwich Wouldn’t Be Good Enough”

  1. bucnole Says:

    I wonder if we may have won a few more games with BA calling the shots. . .

  2. onetrickpony Says:

    Leftwich’s job is to score points

    just didn’t score enough to win games after giving the ball away.
    Stats don’t win games,crossing that magic line does

  3. AwShbucs Says:

    Byron has done a great job. And there is still room for improvement

    Also 3rd in points and 3rd in yards. Seems to me you can win games with the QB leading that offense, provided you have a consistently average/ good defense and running game.

  4. AwShbucs Says:


    Having what was the 31st ranked scoring defense for the majority of the year and a substandard rushing attack are what cause the lack of wins this season.

    And before you go to the weak and unsubstantiated claim that the turnovers are what caused the defenses ineptitude. We’ve consistently won the TOP battle all year. So it’s not like the defense was on the field too much and getting gassed.

    They just couldnt stop anyone early this season. They’ve been a lot better recently and we’ve won 4 of the last 6 games.

  5. adam from ny Says:

    it is widely known that bruce brings byron into the blue tent and brainwashes him…

    and they also do a little shock treatment to the cranium…

    byron is becoming a zombie and a darn good one 🙂

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I guess you have to admire Leftwich……he absolutely, positively knows we can’t run the ball yet he calls the run plays anyway…..I don’t blame him that they don’t work.
    I will say that 3 points in the second half of the Texan’s game was very disappointing.

  7. Todd Says:

    I submit Byron…with renewed confidence…will really shine next year once the unflushable turd we know and love/hate Jameis Winston is playing for the Patriots.

    He’ll then have a yet-to-be-determined QB who will NOT be Winston in all the right ways…thus, providing our franchise with a sustainable chance to be playoff contenders because we didn’t FEARFULLY hang on to the “Yeah, but…” narrative that surrounds the play of Winston.

    We will NEVER, EVER put a fu(king ring on our finger with Winston. It’s called The Uber Curse.

    If we keep him, sign me up for the #metoo movement t because I, as a long suffering Bucs fan (check him out on Twitter), will have been FU(KED without my consent.

  8. Stanglassman Says:

    Awshbucs- Great points only thing I’d chance is we’ve won 5 of the last 7. Not that you weren’t correct I’d just add that Cardinals win on to it. Not to mention the week prior to that was taking (at) Seattle to overtime having the momentum only to lose the coin toss and the defense couldn’t hold them out of the endzone on the first drive of OT.

  9. Todd Says:

    “We’ll” then have a yet-to-be-determined…

  10. Stanglassman Says:

    I originally thought this article was about the question in the last presser asking if Byron was ready to be a head coach if his name was called after black Monday. Arians said he would but only if he had a great staff around him. I believe he then qualified it also pertain to all head coaches. Needing a great supporting staff of coaches.

  11. Slugglife Says:

    We’ve widely discussed the TOP stat and it’s relevance. Of course you win theTOP battle when your offense gives up short fields to the opposing team.

    There is also a disparity in yards in most of our losses, with us out gaining opponents.

    STATS ARE MEANINGLESS. We gave the ball away 28 possessions on interceptions. That means no field position battle. I guess it just doesn’t matter. This is a waste of time.

  12. Brandon Says:

    I would still like to see way more option routes instead of the near constant four vertical offense. We also see very little plays designed to scheme players open. Checkdowns are rarely an option and a big reason why turnovers are so frequent. Simple staple plays from most offenses don’t seem to exist like play action bootleg waggles, outs, and crosses. Those plays work great in short yardage situations and we’ve yet to see one this season.

    But this is the BA version of the Coryell offense. BL has done a good job running it for the most part. As for BA being nervous, it’s like when your kid gets her driver’s license. You think she’s ready, you hope she’s ready, but you still worry about her driving on her own.

  13. Onetrickpony Says:

    Also true.

  14. adam from ny Says:

    everyone should cut all the bs talk about jameis…

    if you can’t get andrew luck in here, and you don’t support jameis, common sense would be to franchise jaboo anyway and at least give it the year…because we ain’t winning the superbowl next year either…

    we are on the trajectory to go 8-8 this year…

    11-5 next year (as we will beat who we are supposed to beat, and half of the good teams we’ll play)

    then… 12-4 or 13-3 the following year and go to the superbowl (by then all the pieces will be in place and well seasoned, including the qb of choice)…

    and arians will retire after year 3 anyway…unless we actually win the superbowl…

    this is the plan now lets stick to it boys and gurls

  15. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Ah Todd is so cute. 3rd in scoring and 3rd in yards with absolutely no running game. Yeah, our 67yo coach cant wait to dump his a$$ for Jalen Hurts or Nick Foles. You better find another team to root for because Jameis ain’t going anywhere. You can stomp your feet and hold your breath all you want but he will be lighting it up in pewter and red again next year.

  16. whats the bucs plan 2020 Says:




  17. Ed Says:

    Jameis is our version of Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford. Great passers but not great leaders. For stat geeks they all look great on paper but in big games they are prone to mistakes. Jameis makes more mistakes than anyone in the league and gives up the most points.

    One stat I’d like to see on the offense is how many points are scored off of blocked kick and pick-6 TD returns. Missed chip-shot field goals and extra point misses are another points off the board stat not being discussed.

    Time of possession and plays run. Besides Winstons interception problem, how many plays are not being run because the ball is turned over? Winning time of possession and running more plays than your opponent is a winning formula.

    I would love to see a poll from NFL coaches to ask what is the most important stat when you evaluate a game? Guaranteed nearly every coach looks at the turnovers and time of possession as #1 and #2. Defensive stops probably #3.

    Jameis Winston is the biggest reason, although not the only one by any means, for the Bucs offense to control the ball, pin back teams in the punting game and force teams to start inside the 20’s.

  18. bucnole Says:

    dirk used to get the ball up and down the field too
    the only thing that matters is wins
    I don’t care if its ugly just get the W
    Bfs play calling early on was pretty suspect. His player groupings even more so. His inability to utilize the targets on this team especially the TEs and RBs (on screens and misdirection was puzzling especially when we saw how teams used it against us with success.
    I think he has grown on the job (a little) but there is still much work to do

  19. Todd Says:

    TD Tampa Bay—

    You can circle jerk to Jameis interception porn all you want, and I guarantee you’ll never get your rocks off with a Supe Bowl ring on your finger.

    But you’ll have plenty of negative content next year to work with to mount your JW Apologist Tour.

    Oh, asking for a friend:

    “If Jameis throws a pass in the woods and no one is there to catch it…does it still get intercepted?”

  20. bucnole Says:

    ED – as far as PR is concerned- chew on this for a moment.
    Rivers is sixth all-time in touchdown passes (374), and eighth in completions (4,518), passer rating (95.6) and passing yardage (54,656). He has more TD passes than John Elway, Johnny Unitas, or Joe Montana. He has a higher rating than Montana , Brett Favre, and Kurt Warner. He has the greatest Chargers quarterback of all, Dan Fouts, beat by more than 11,000 passing yards.
    Does he have a ring? No, but neither did Marino.

    Point is
    We could do wayyyyyy worse than PR as a QB
    disclaimer – bucnole is in no way advocating we pick up Rivers – even if he was available
    I say transition tag JW and either match any offer or take the picks

  21. geno711 Says:

    Love your point:
    Rivers is sixth all-time in touchdown passes (374), and eighth in completions (4,518), passer rating (95.6) and passing yardage (54,656). He has more TD passes than John Elway, Johnny Unitas, or Joe Montana. He has a higher rating than Montana , Brett Favre, and Kurt Warner.

    But then a ton of Buc’s fans want to rate Winston the same/similar to Peyton Manning because of stats. It is a different era so accept it and move on.

    Compare Winston’s passer rating to QB’s in this era. Like Cousins, Stafford, Ryan, Wilson and see where he comes out. Compare his DVOA this year (25th) out of quarterbacks.

    If the Bucs want him back fine but do not consider him on a HOF path.

  22. Hoops Says:

    Too bad Lefty couldn’t find a way to use the tight ends to catch balls too. It didn’t seem to help the run game to use them there, but then look at the rbs we have. And if he’s so good why aren’t we in the playoffs? Jameis you say?

  23. 813bucboi Says:

    BL has done a great job all year with no run game and a QB fighting to be in the 30 30 club….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  24. Craig Says:

    Would Leftwich be better with a QB who can manage a game? Maybe, the problem is that Lefty’s offense repeats a progression of plays that other teams have figured out.

    Another problem is that the plays all seem to be only halfway thought out. The O-line doesn’t really seem to have been added to the club. They have no tricks, counters or pulls that are play specific.

    Maybe that massive staff of coaches is not such a good thing, or the communication lines need to be made better. Maybe then the Bucs offense wouldn’t look so much like the Keystone Kops.

  25. firethecannons Says:

    Joe says:
    What a gamble Arians took when he wasn’t sure his protégé was ready.

    No risk it No biscuit

    He never changed! still the same old Arians

  26. DalvinCookRules Says:

    IF true, then I propose BA might be going senile.

    Again, Winston’s spike in turnovers and increase in production are most likely attributable to the change in offensive philosophy & play-calling. Regardless of what BA says–and do realize he says things mostly to troll the media–the data paint a very different picture.

    I cannot upload tables & charts in these posts, so I just wish Joe would present something more substantive than just random opinions & comments when it comes to making points.

  27. UnderMeBucin’Hat Says:

    Yes. His protégé had to start calling plays at some point. Sounds to me like BA was just naturally worried(nervous) for BL in stepping up to a new role but Bruce thought he was ready.

  28. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I’m not sure this is as big a deal as we make it. Interesting for sure…but how big was the gamble.

    BA could have stepped in the first week he realized BL wasn’t up to the job. He could have called the plays at any point he wished.

    BA doesn’t impress me as the guy who has trouble admitting a mistake. If BL had foundered I think BA is the type to have simply confront it head on and retake play calling duties.

  29. pick6 Says:

    reading too much into things once again, Joe. this was just a way to spotlight one of his staff members while simultaneously sidestepping a question that was probably fishing for some criticism of decision-making by coaches, players, or front office. instead of saying “i wish i’d known X was going to be this big of a problem”, he went down the positive path of “i wish i’d known how good Y was going to be”

  30. J Says:

    I’m assuming Arians thought he would do a good job just like anyone would expect their protege to do, but great? Yeah he did great…

  31. TOM Says:

    More BA BS. I’m am so sick of his lying ass. He must think the fans are really stupid.