Writing/Burning The Script

December 21st, 2020

When Team Glazer hired Bucco Bruce Arians, they bought one of the most skilled playcallers in the NFL, a guy well known for his process of scripting plays to start a game.

Except he’s not calling plays for the Bucs.

Back when Arians was hired in January of 2019, no Bucs fan could have a imagined that a Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay offense, loaded with truly elite talent and experience, would be one of the very worst in the NFL in the first quarter.

For perspective, through all the third and fourth quarters of 2013, the brutal Bucs offense featuring Mike Glennon, Tiquan Underwood, Bobby Rainey and Tim Wright averaged just 5.2 points. (No, Team Glazer never issued refunds or apologies.) Over the past nine games of 2020, the star-studded Bucs are averaging less than two points in the first quarter.

What highlights the first-quarter impotence is Arians’ making it clear that he, Byron Leftwich and Tom Brady work to formulate the game’s script of plays. It’s an intensely detailed process that Arians broke down for TheRinger.com a few years ago.

…  …“[I want] to get [an opponent’s] substitution patterns early,” Arians said. “A lot of times, you [want] to get a receiver or two involved quickly, if you can, just to get their spirits up so they’ll block.”

Whatever’s happening now, the Bucs offense is sputtering when it shouldn’t.

There is no excuse.

So what about the weekly script?

An optimist might argue the early screwups set up the late-game heroics, meaning the Bucs hit the failed plays early, learn from them and adjust. But that, if true, is a recipe to get beaten by a good team, not a formula for success.

There’s enough evidence to say the scripts have been miserable for months, and that’s on coaching. Joe can’t point a finger anywhere else.

36 Responses to “Writing/Burning The Script”

  1. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    IMO when this offense is successful, it’s because we are behind but the pass sets up the run. The way we are stacked with TE’s and receivers we should be a pass first club.

  2. Dom>Licht Says:

    They may want to take punting on 4th 8th 12th play out of the script!

  3. No Risk It No Biscuit Says:

    Its money time for the coaching staff.

    1 and out in the playoffs should have somebody fired!

    Time to impose your will specially offensively. Petal to the Metal Tompa!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!

  4. Tamoabaybucfan Says:

    Scrap the script……wing it……can’t be worse. Let Brady make the calls early…..

  5. Zwak Says:

    I guess they think if we don’t show anything in the first half of games teams can’t make adjustments at halftime? I know it seems crazy but nothing else makes any sense, definitely outside the box thinking hope it works out.

  6. Jason Says:

    If you want a fast start, just run the 2min drill on the first series.
    Yes, something that simple could spark the offense. Just saying.

  7. Gofortheface30 Says:

    Greeny this morning on BSPN said they were running BL’s and Arians offense in first half and Brady’s in the second half. A few things about that, I seriously doubt Greenberg has enough of an eye to make that kind of distinction based on formations and routes ESPECIALLY if you’re not looking at the all-22, but let’s just say hypothetically he’s right. What if he’s right. What if there’s a bit of a struggle with philosophy and concepts? If that is Leftwichs offense in the first quarter then I may legitimately have an emotional/personal disdain for Leftwich. I may literally HATE the guy. Arians and leftwichs piece crap, garbage offense needs to step aside and let the man with 6 rings run the show. If the second half is an illustration of what Brady can do when he has say then our coaching staff is an absolute disgrace

  8. Mr no rings Says:

    This is what happens when your offensive coordinator is a FAILED QB who sucks at his job. How in the hell does he tell the GOAT what to run? What a joke your system is Bruce!

  9. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I agree, get rid of the script, Let Brady make the calls from the git go

  10. pewter941 Says:

    Straham said they had no sense of urgency in the first half.

  11. Beeej Says:

    As I can tell, we’re all dink and dunk to start out, and they seem to know EVERY time we’re about to run the ball. All it takes is an illegal procedure or a play with negative yardage and we can’t get the first down

  12. Jmarkbuc Says:


    While you are absolutely correct, it doesn’t explain why the defense lets team walk down the field on them for a quarter.

  13. Robert Says:

    TB wrote the script for the second half. BL should take and extended vacation.

    You can’t always run on 1st dow!

  14. ModHairKen Says:

    Joe, Joseph, Joey, the game is 60 minutes.

    Stats are for losers. Why? While 1st QTR scoring is low, they’ve averaged 10.33 points in the second quarter. Over the last 9 games — the period you gripe about averaging less than 2 points of scoring in the 1st QTR — their record is 6-3, including a loss to the SB champs. That’s 10.66 wins in a 16 game schedule. That’s really not the point. The point is improving the offense and actually playing to your talent level for 60 minutes. –Joe

    They averaged 9.6 points in the 1st QTR for the first 5 games. Record? 3-2. That’s 9.6 wins on a 16 game schedule.

    The Bucs have lost to NO twice, KC, Rams and Chi. They have not lost to a team they clearly should have beaten (a la the Rams at home to the Jets).

    Barring an epic collapse, they will make the playoffs and win 10 or 11 games. Let’s just enjoy this moment and stop with the ridiculous suggestions that they call Wade F’ing Phillips, who never won crap, or Tony Dungy, who never built an Offense. Joe’s enjoying everything. You might want to look up Wade Phillips’ history. And why would Joe call Dungy about offense?

  15. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    How about the next two weeks, just feed the ball to ME13. He’ll be fired up and ready to roll. Then in the 2nd half, spread it around.

    If you’re not going to do anything anyway, feed the beast. They owe it to him.

  16. BigMacAttack Says:

    TBBF I wholeheartedly agree with you. Let Tom just go out there and call what he wants, let Lefty know and do a little conversating on 3’rd down. When all else fails, Sluggi seem to the big guy, GRONK!!! 😂

  17. BigMacAttack Says:

    And You can’t spot the Saints and Seahawks 14-17 points. They will blow you out 😝

  18. Ftmyersbuc Says:

    If your gonna compare, let’s do apple’s to apple’s please. 1st half not first quarter average please. You cherry picked 1 quarter an compared it to a historically bad teams 2 quarters. I mean damn can the 2020 bucs get 2 quarter’s as well for your comparison? Did you work at CNN before?

    Playing devil’s advocate really though, i get your point, and they do stink in the first quarter. You don’t gotta handicap the stats to show us though!

  19. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    It’s an easy solution. Let Brady call his own plays. Get a real OC after the season is over. BL isn’t smart enough or creative enough to do what works.

  20. PatsBucsfan4years Says:

    Concensus here, and I agree is make Leftwitch walk da plank🤣

  21. Coburn Says:

    Still think it’s as simple as egos on offense. They start every game trying to do things Arians/Leftwich game and the. After digging a hole the second half resembles closer to Toms offense

  22. Daniel Dworkin Says:

    I would like to see BL gone now and let Brady make his own destiny. If he is making all the second half calls we will be 11-5 at end of this season. Go Bucs.

  23. #1 BUCFAN Says:

    Beat the Bucs with Deep Passes. There defence stinks beyond the line backers.

    White is an Animal.

  24. Rob In Land O Lakes Says:

    A couple offensive observations and one defensive oe;

    When we have receivers in any type of bunch formation well inside the hashmark, it makes it way easier for DB’s to cheat into the box and outnumber our blockers

    One the two screen passes that Brady threw to Fournette (both bad passes and both dropped) the Falcons sent 6 or 7 guys on each and there were blockers and plenty of real estate. Both would have been huge plays with a better pass.

    This is not scientific by any stretch, but nearly every time our CB’s played off, it was pitch and catch all over the field… and it didn’t matter where. Flat, intermediate or long, the WR’s were wide open all day. When our CB’s played press/man, they almost always had a positive result.

  25. Daniel Dworkin Says:

    In the first half BL was making the calls and the Defense was getting to much pressure on Brady. In second half if it was Brady making calls what a difference it made. Does anybody agree with this?

  26. Bucshot Says:

    A win is a win is a WIN!

  27. Daniel Dworkin Says:


  28. Chesapeake Bay Bucco Says:

    Brady wasn’t “calling the plays” in the 2nd half. He always has 3-4 options regardless of the play sent in, depending what the D is showing/giving. In the 2nd half Atlanta was playing more prevent, so TB12 could check into more aggressive options, instead of playing it safe. Those that think its as simple as Brady calling hos own plays are oversimplifying or just don’t know how it works.

  29. View from 132 Says:

    Get their spirits up? That’s what the several HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS per week is for, isn’t it? What a joke.

    Who was that comment about? I suspect not Godwin, as that guy is a true football player. So who else won’t block unless inspired? 13?

  30. Bucamania Says:

    Todd Bowles is playing chess. Wear out the other team’s offense early by letting them run up and down the field. Then clamp down in the second half. Rope a dope!

  31. TampaTown Says:

    How about on the postgame report yesterday Howie Long said the Bucs “have an embarrassment of riches at the wide receiver position” so he couldn’t understand the slow starts with Tom Brady having so many weapons. No one gets it. Maybe we need to ask the Oracle.

  32. unbelievable Says:

    It’s pretty simple:

    2. Don’t run up the gut on EVERY SINGLE first down

    As soon as we start doing these things, we start moving the ball and scoring.

    Yet for some reason AriansLeftwichBrady start every game doing the complete opposite.

    Also think Brady needs to start warming up 15 minutes earlier than he is.

  33. Daniel Dworkin Says:

    Maybe it’s all a setup so The Super Bowl will have good ratings? Brady in first SB in a how team field. What a money maker.

  34. Steve Gaudreau Says:

    It was Superbowl LI all over again…… For Matty Ryan lol. As a Patriots fan I laughed again. But I hear you Bucs fans. How the hell did the Jets beat the Rams and Bucs didn’t. On paper you guys should be at least 13-3. I’m amazed that the Bucs are slow starting. UnBrady like. With a team of nobodies he was able to march down field on the opening drive and score. I think you’ll be good to go for the playoffs. AB getting a td FINALLY. playoff Tom is a good Tom. Except for last season.

  35. WillieG Says:

    If the defense hadn’t turned into an incredibly average one, we wouldn’t be having the discussion because our opponents wouldn’t be scoring a kajillion points while our offense tried to figure things out.

  36. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    If they had the mentality and urgency that they were down by 17 at the beginning of the game then they just might start off faster. We need to score 10 lots in every quarter