Time For Leftwich To Shine

March 9th, 2020

Bucs OC Byron Leftwich.

There are times when it feels like part of the reason Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians accepted the job in Tampa Bay was to set up his former (and present) colleagues to get head coaching jobs here or elsewhere, or to boost their resumes.

And so with this in mind, Joe was drawn to an element in Albert Breer’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” column today. Breer makes a very interesting point about offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and the current dilemma the Bucs have at quarterback.

There is no question the Bucs run Arians’ offense. Leftwich may call the plays, but it’s Arians’ offense. And while the Bucs had one of the more explosive offenses in the NFL in 2019, Leftwich is often overlooked/ignored as the shot-caller. People point to Arians.

However, if the Bucs land Tom Brady or Teddy Bridgewater, would this be Arians’ signal to show the NFL world that Leftwich is not his puppet, and that Leftwich is capable of being a coordinator elsewhere after Arians leaves, or perhaps a head coach?

Breer seems to think that may be in play here.

If the Buccaneers are going to wind up with Tom Brady or Teddy Bridgewater, it’ll be interesting to see how Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich tweak their system. Arians’ style has always called for big, sturdy quarterbacks taking deep drops, absorbing punishment and getting the ball downfield. That’s not Brady’s game, and it’s not Bridgewater’s game. So if there’s an adjustment for one of those guys, maybe this is where offensive coordinator Leftwich really puts his stamp on the tried-and-true Arians formula.

Look, Joe knows the following gets people upset but it happened and there is no erasing history, no matter how badly someone wants to play ostrich.

Leftwich, given a first-round pick of a quarterback in 2018 as the Cardinals quarterback coach/offensive coordinator, did nothing to develop Josh Rosen. In fact, Rosen was so awful, the Cardinals traded him. It is an unprecedented failure in the post-AFL/NFL merger that a team gave up on a first-round pick of a quarterback so soon.

That happened under Leftwich. Period. Now you might argue Leftwich could only do so much with a rotten lemon. What any owner/general manager interviewing Leftwich will ask is, why didn’t Rosen develop after he got his mitts on Rosen?

Fair or not, it is Arians who seems to get the credit for Mr. Entertainment, America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, leading the NFL in passing. Yes, yes, yes. He led the NFL in picks, too. Arians sure seems to get a total pass on that (except from Terry Bradshaw).

If the Bucs were to sign Brady or Bridgewater, and retool the Bucs offense and the Bucs get to the playoffs with a good offense, Leftwich could tell future suitors that he helped mold both Jameis into a league-leading passer and adjusted an offense to fit Brady/Bridgewater to help the Bucs end their too-long playoff drought.

That would pretty much wipe out whatever the hell went wrong between Leftwich and Rosen in Arizona.

In short, Arians ordering Leftwich to rework his offense to accommodate quarterbacks who are not bombs-away throwers could be Arians’ way of helping push Leftwich to fly out of the nest on his own.

28 Responses to “Time For Leftwich To Shine”

  1. El Buco Realisto Says:

    It doesn’t “feel like” !!!!! That is the way it is!!!!!!!!! Just like ole stale biscuit also took the job to fix the below avg gm’s mistakes!!!!!!! And there are too many of those!!!!!!!!!! And that is why we saw the LOSING SEASON, Dispite all the tough talk, or rather lies that bruce Arrogance tried pass off last season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Notice the new tone this year!!!!!!!!! Reality is setting in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But it will not be fixed until the house cleaning next offseason!!!!!!!!

    go bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. miken Says:

    Josh Rosen was terrible in the Dolphin qb friendly system that Fitz looked really good in. Not sure Leftwich has anything to do with Rosen being so bad. The next regime came in and threw Rosen outand Miami is about to do the same after 1 td and 5 picks in Miami. His qb rating with the cards was 65 and 51 in miami.

  3. D-Rome Says:

    Josh Rosen was never given a fair chance. Jay-Miss was in the same offense for four years and knew it inside and out. He’s also had some of the best receiving targets in the NFL over the past few years. It still didn’t stop him from passing it to the other team four times against the Bengals in 2018. It didn’t stop him from leading the league in turnovers during that entire span, a trend that continued at record pace under a new coach.

  4. Tye Says:

    He definitely has to adapt and change his play calling to show growth and that he is learning on the job from his mistakes or he is not destined for very much… Often time, it seemed to easy to predict what the Bucs were about to do next… If viewers could realize that early, I’m sure the opponents DC did also and those game weren’t much of a chess match for the opponents..

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Had a bear of a time figuring out where you were going with this Joe. First it sounded like BL got a 2nd crack at OC only because of BA coming back to the NFL. Then I thought you were throwing BL under the bus for not developing Josh Rosen In Arizona, followed shortly thereafter by Josh Rosen being trash in Miami. Not at all sure where it went from there, although it sounds like BA & BL (?) MIGHT retool/redesign/tweak the offense IF Brady or Bridgewater hops aboard. Apparently Leftwich gets credit (?) or blame (?) for some of last year, just not sure for how much of it.

    In any event, Byron Leftwich isn’t head coach material. Heck I’m not convinced that he’s OC material. Let him do something this year with our RBs & TEs & WRs not named Evans & Godwin and I might change my mind.

  6. BucEmUp Says:

    Leftwich couldnt run saquon barkley if he had him.Guy woudnt be anything without arians

  7. LazyMoak Says:

    Maybe Jameis will be a NFL OC one day too

  8. Adrnagy Says:

    You right. …
    Leftwich screwed up Rosen for good.
    Leftwich screwed up Winston too.

  9. TOM Says:

    Leftwitch totally sucks.

  10. Adrnagy Says:

    Bruce Arians = qb whisperer
    Byron Leftwich = the organic QB destroyer

  11. bojim Says:

    Get him an RB too.

  12. #1 Pick QB 2 Cent Brain Says:

    Wish I was friends with Bruce as that is the major qualification to get a job under him

  13. rhenry Says:

    I was excited when they hired the current coaching staff. Lately, not so much. Reminds me of a pack of used car salesmen. If I were the Glazers, I would make them roll with Winston next season. They signed up for it, cashed the checks now prove you are a top level coaching staff. Develop a run game, use a tight end once and awhile and for the love of god stop calling those short out plays that Winston obviously has trouble with. If they can’t straighten this mess out, clean house at the end of the season. Players, coaches and front office.

  14. chris L Says:

    not saying you are wrong joe but this article and i can already see from the comments, is further going to slander leftwich as a bad coach and just hired because he is arians’ friend. if you go crazy for passing yards, isnt leftwich due that recognition as well? we cant have it both ways.

    is leftwich responsible for all 30 interceptions?

  15. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Maybe josh Rosen is just bad? He lost his job to a Fitzpatrick that couldn’t stop coughing it up (sounds familiar)

  16. Joe Says:


    Never wrote Leftwich didn’t help Jameis throw for 5,000 yards. In fact, wrote that’s a strong selling point for him

  17. chris L Says:

    Joe – understood and agreed. I was just saying i think other people will misinterpret the message when reading this. Those that don’t necessarily read every article or listen to the podcasts.

  18. Will Says:

    BL has got to learn how to get the TEs and RBs involved in the game no matter who is under center. If we keep Jameis BL needs to see that outside of the pocket Jameis is very good and design plays for that and for the love of God stop running straight up the gut on 1st down. I hated hearing him say he wanted things to happen organically while every good OC develops plays for their play makers based on matchups.

  19. Show me the TDs Says:

    I’m surprised by the Leftwich hate posted in the comments. Sounds like disgruntled Philly fans. Love until the next bad play or loss. I like Leftwich. The offense improved under him and I seem to recall a few local and national media lauding his play-calling a time or two. Given a better backfield and losing the turnover machine that is JW will add to his legacy, not detract from.

  20. WyldKat Says:

    Winston has been whatever he is before Byron got here.

  21. TexBuc Says:

    Funny how the Phins and their fans could not trade Tannehill fast enough last season and by the end of the year Tannehill proved he was not issue in Miami.

  22. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    I’ve got some issues with our offense last year, same stuff already stated here, but with Byron calling plays, our red zone efficiency definitely improved. I don’t hate that!

  23. Dapostman Says:

    Leftwich was a lot more creative in the redzone than he was in his own end of the field.

    That’s where he needs to improve.

  24. Craig Says:

    Leftwich is still growing into his job. It would be better for him if he had a QB who could actually actuate the plays he calls. Jameis is not that QB.

  25. JimmyJack Says:

    The way I see it the Cardinals orginazation put the blame of the offensive failures on their OC and that’s why he was fired. They were eased with the work Byron had done and why he was promoted.

    Personally I was happy with Byron here last year. His biggest achievement I thought was redzone offense. We still struggled there when the season started and he figured it out unlike our last coordinator. That tells me that he learned as the season went on more about what his players could do and got more out of them. Now with a full off-season to really study this team I’m excited to see what he can do this year. It’s another reason why it makes a lot of sense to keep Winston around too.

    I’m not buying this article about Brady padding Byron resume. Ultimate success would be if he can get Jameis to hit his potential IMO.

    Also last year we had to devote most of our investment to fix the worst defense in all time. This year we can dedicate some investment to the offense. Add a better backfield to Byron’s aresenal and he will look better by default.

  26. 813bucboi Says:

    Ken whisenhunt was behind Rosen not BL…..BL didn’t take over until mid season…AFTER ken was fired….

    Now joe, you wouldn’t say duff did nothing to develop the defense after smitty was fired would you?..


  27. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I look at this perhaps a little differently. It was BA’s credit that JW had his record setting season both pro and con.

    The coaching from the multitudes involved in the project did NOTHING to improve what REALLY needed to be improved in JW. However they did give him the keys to BA’s high powered offense and he certainly ran it pedal to the metal. Sadly he crashed too many times along the way.

    JW did NOT benefit from coaching at all..he DID benefit from BA’s offensive strategy if you count 5,000 yards and a boatload of TD’s good.

    Defense…no running game…bad play calling…waahh..excuse after excuse…at the end of the day…FIVE years later NO COACH or QB whisperer like Koetter or BA or Tom Moore….NOBODY has been able to COACH the turnovers out of JW.

  28. fernando diaz Says:

    why would you bring a qb that doesn’t fit your system lol