Play-Action Dancing

December 10th, 2020

Strange answer.

Man, it sure seemed like Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was thrown an unexpected curveball today.

Leftwich has nearly turned football clichés into an art form. He rarely answers questions, just fires off whatever clichés come to mind just to seemingly eat up minutes and sail through his weekly NFL-mandated duty of speaking to reporters.

Leftwich’s answers, if he has one, can sometimes be found in between the clichés. But not always.

Today, he was hit with why the Bucs don’t call more play-action passes. Leftwich initially responded like Nate Robinson after taking a right hook from Jake Paul in the jaw. He first claimed he didn’t know why his (?) offense doesn’t use more play-action passes. Then Leftwich tried to blame a lack of a running game on not running more play-action passes.

Per, Brady averages over nine yards an attempt on play-action passes.

Again, per Pro-Football-Reference, Brady has the 15th-most attempts in play-action with 86. Brady has the 10th-most play-action passing yards in the NFL with 782.

So if it is working, then why not use it more?

“I don’t know to be honest with you,” Leftwich said. “Like I tell ya,’ we do what we feel is though we need to do to win this football game.

“We are not trying to do what nobody else [does] or what some other teams do best. We trying to do what is best for our players.”

This makes little to no sense. It’s documented Brady excels in play-action. With the team struggling significantly in the first quarter in the last five games, one would think using a play that has gotten a lot of success might help snap the offense out of its first-quarter doldrums.

And the question wasn’t why don’t the Bucs copy other teams, it was why not call more plays for Brady that have proven to work well?

Then again, with all the emphasis on Brady being so involved and running plays that Brady wants to use, Leftwich just may have been falling on his sword to protect Mr. Six Rings.

Leftwich’s answer went from weird to full-blown jibberish when he tried to scapegoat his running backs for not running more play-action passes.

“We understand how good we are at play-action, but it all comes down to running the ball consistently week-in and week-out,” Leftwich said. “If you can do that week-in and week-out obviously, that will always help your play-action game.”

Well, sure. This makes sense but it fully ignores two elephants in the room.

One is the Bucs have way too often and way too early panicked and fully bailed on the run game. Four rushing attempts from running backs in one game? Four! Just how exactly does one expect a run game to be consistent when you (?) call on your running backs to tote the rock a grand total of four times in one game?

That’s fully on the Arians/Brady/Leftwich offense; you be Joe’s guest on who called the plays in that game.

And to address the second elephant, may Joe remind Leftwich that he currently has the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher (820) in his backfield, Ronald Jones?

After listening to Leftwich try to explain why the team doesn’t use more play-action, Joe is left with more questions than answers.

44 Responses to “Play-Action Dancing”

  1. jmarkbuc Says:

    Lefty doesn’t know what the heck he’s doing. Look at Brady’s face during games.

    And whats with Arian’s and the bandolier? has he gotten so rotund he can’t wear it around his waist?

    He’s becoming a caricature.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    When you have a RB in the backfield, you have 3 options…

    Run, Pass, Play Action

    When you have an empty backfield….you have only one option.

    It seems to me that unless we are 3rd & long…..we should have a RB in the backfield….

    Other teams can’t run on us but they constantly use play action….and many do it successfully…..

  3. Chuckstutz Says:

    Never been overly impressed with BL. This year is no exception.

    Our offense seems so out of sync and in need of coordination. Ha.

  4. Show Me the TDs Says:

    He can’t answer, because he hasn’t put the work in and isn’t prepared. Either that or he’s dumb as a rock, which I doubt.

  5. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    He was always known for a long wind up 🙃

  6. DoooshLaRue Says:

    “We are not trying to do what nobody else [does] or what some other teams do best. We trying to do what is best for our players.”

    This makes little to no sense.

    You are correct Joe, it makes no sense.
    Probably because it’s a double negative and some poor grammar.

    Marshall’s English department must be “vury” proud.

  7. Tye Says:

    Never expected anything different… He wasnt a standout at Arizona and he isn’t in Tampa…
    Ariana either needs to be more involved or the playoffs won’t be but one and done!

  8. CChead Says:

    Leftwhich is not the sharpest tool in the drawer. No idea how he got this gig.

  9. buc15 Says:

    wow just wow

  10. Beeej Says:

    First play of game, run a play action, as EVERYONE in the known world expects Rojo to run up the middle. Prolly get 65 yard td pass

  11. OldBiscuit Says:

    This guy is the reason the offense is out schemed by good coaches. Why the Glazers allowed this offense with all that talent to be run by a second year coordinator is a travesty.

  12. Mitch Says:

    Michael Lombardi mentioned today on Hammer Dahn that Bruce Arians was fired from the Pittsburgh Steelers because he refused to run the ball…. If that’s true it makes a lot of sense as to why we are seeing the offense refuse to commit to the run game this season.

    I hope they did some serious self-scouting over the bye week and run at least 35 times or more each game over the last quarter of the season.

  13. Architek Says:

    What tha Hell?? What kind of answers are those!!!

  14. Pewter941 Says:

    We should be rooting for the Patriots to beat the Rams tonight right?

  15. RICHARD weeks Says:

    I hope this clown gets his ass fired .

  16. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Them’s genius answers there boy.

  17. BigMacAttack Says:

    He sounds like a fumbling bumbling idiot. This is our OC? Really? Dude, just shut up. No wonder we’re losing games. Lefty and JW3 were made for each other. I sure hope this team can get to 8-8.
    How many were there?
    Which way did they go?
    I must find them for I’m their leader.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    As much fun as it is to chastise BL for our offensive inconsistencies, I think he’s just being a good soldier now Joe. Bruce set up this hot mess of an offensive planning & coordination system, and I’m convinced now that BL is just following BA’s marching orders. Too much leadership is sometimes akin to no leadership, and that looks like what we’ve been seeing.

    Even in our good games this season, our offense didn’t really dominate until our defense (or S/Ts) lit a fire under their asses. Our first Panthers game was a good example. Bucs punted on our 1st possession but took a 14-0 lead in 1st qtr AFTER our defense forced an INT & a fumble.

    So maybe the answer is that our coaches need to find better ways to light a fire under our offense earlier. Hmmm, wonder if we could call that ‘game-planning’. Nah, too obvious.

  19. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Am I mistaken? Is there not also a symbiotic relationship between play action passing success and running success?

    After burning teams enough with play action don’t they have to ease off in terms of jumping the run?

  20. jjbucfan Says:

    His face looks exactly like JWs did, but you can’t say that on this site because the haters will come : )

  21. Allbuccedup Says:

    BL don’t know why they don’t run more play action. Duh isn’t he the offensive coordinator. This is a guy they say is going to get a NFL head coaching position, Please!

  22. Bojim Says:

    Duh. I dunno.

  23. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I think BL’s name should be umm, what’s the name of the kid on South Park that didn’t know he was a really good bass player?

    Yeah, that’s BL.
    And BA is his enabler.

  24. BucEmUp Says:


  25. David Says:

    I like him and think he has tremendous potential but that is a bunch of amateur BS.
    The only time the team has not run the ball well is when they have completely abandoned the run game. The games they ran the ball well they, stuck with it and the running game got better and better. That’s what happens when you wear down defensive fronts.

    Even if they’re only getting 2-3 yards of pop in the first half, they have to stick with it. It opens up the play action.
    Every one else can see it, these last 4 games the coaching staff better step the hell up.

    The same can be said for defense.
    When they have consistent pressure, they dominate. Without Vita Vea in the middle, the pressure has become very inconsistent and yet, for some reason, all these fantastic blitzes in the beginning of the year have almost disappeared.

  26. D1 Says:


    The popular belief is that you can not be effective in play action without first establishing a run game. That belief is FALSE! Statistics prove this beyond a shadow of doubt. Yet, the actual evidence of this seems to have no lasting effect on either fans, jbf , or leftwich.

    Last, there’s widespread chatter that BL is on the NFL short list for new head coaching canidates. This could very well be the case but, picture this if you will,
    an owner intervIewing BL and when asked a question, this is the type of answer he offers. This isn’t what you expect from a person who is designated to be the spokesperson for the organization.

    I think it’s a list of short buses not a short lists of potential new head coaches.

  27. CalBucsFan Says:

    Never have been impressed with his play calling, and regardless of how was said in the QB room the week leading up to game time, he is the one calling the plays.

  28. BucEmUp Says:

    Ive been saying this since he called his first game

  29. Destinjohnny Says:

    He doesn’t have it

  30. All lives matter Says:

    You can blame it all on BL and not be entirely wrong, but after what Arians has said about Brady, and his involvement in designing the game plan. I’m a little confused on why TB hasn’t insisted on more play-action, unless he is reluctant to be tied to his old glory days in NE. You know, deny Belicheat any props.

  31. REDZONE BA Says:

    2019 > So BL was CREDITED for the Bucs productive offense in 2019 (5100+ pass yards and JW faulted for all 30 INTs) One of best offenses in NFL stat-wise, and W-L record pinned on TO’s by QB. Aka, Bucs just need to plug-in the right QB.

    2020 > BUCs have the absolute NFL all-time GOAT QB. W-L record is 7-5, pending 4 games for final record and playoffs. So — BL/BA are allocating success to Brady play-calls.

    Brilliant! “Elvis has left the building”…..

  32. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Agree with your observation.

    As for play selection, game planning, and execution there is only one GOAT in this organization. Tom Brady is the loudest voice in the room and Tom Brady is the last one to touch the ball…he determines where it’s going.

    This is not a slam at BA or BL…Manning was treated similarly in Denver…Montana in KC…lets face it…Brady represents the $$$ to the Glazers and in fairness Brady has EARNED the right to call his plays and design his game plan.

  33. REDZONE BA Says:

    ST Pete Bucs ^^^ > Right on.

  34. REDZONE BA Says:

    Will Brady as play caller, deliver a win vs. Vikings? Per BA/BL > onus is on Brady.

  35. Adrnagy Says:

    Bruce Arians sucks.
    Bill cowher along with dick labaeu made Arians look decent. Don’t forget Jerome bettis , Hines ward etc
    He goes on to the colts with dungy building the colts and pagano oh Manning, luck and Moore calling shots. The cardinals with Ken whisenhunt building that team and Arians learning from him in Pittsburg.
    Now Bruce is here and can’t do it. All he has is his mouth. He delegates so he won’t be blame.
    Brady is showing professionalism.
    Bruce cant win a challenge call.

  36. Rod Munch Says:

    The Bucs would be fine running 4 times a game if they had a RB who could catch the ball out the backfield. The run game is vastly overrated — but to say that does require having a Charles Sims type of a RB who can block and catch. What ever happened to Charles?

  37. richbucsfan Says:

    This is the Peter Principle at work here. He’s toast. He comes across as dumb, not as a leader of men. One thing I was impressed with about Gruden was he was a leader of men. It’s time to part ways with someone who cannot articulate why he does what he does. No need to wonder why the Bucs don’t go farther than they have done.

  38. gotbbucs Says:

    Sluggo shouldn’t even be in this position to answer questions. He never should have elevated above the position of quality control coach.

    He is the product of Arians trying to populate the NFL with his offspring. Arians has proven to be a belly full of hot air and he’s bringing the whole outfit down around himself.

    Even if they turn this ship around and start playing winning football, he’s lost me as believing he’s anything more than a crappy babysitter for the largest coaching staff in football history.

  39. Bucs since 76 Says:

    When he said I don’t know it either means he trying not to give away info or he is not really calling the plays. The better comment would have been we don’t talk about game plans.

  40. Sesteprenelicus Says:

    It really sounds as bad as when I am trying to cover for someone.

  41. Jmarkbuc Says:


    JW had is very own problems.

  42. unbelievable Says:

    So Leftwich is clueless?

    Gee, tell us something we didn’t already know.

  43. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    If the line could be more consistent in their run blocking them the run game would be better. Too many times backs get hit at the line before they can make a move, dudes getting blown off the ball. Jones does alot of the work with his skill

  44. View from 132 Says:

    The Left Sandwich Offense… we’ll run more plays if we run more plays. Uh… okay.