Pre-Snap Motion And Play-Action

July 29th, 2021

A lot has been made of the Bucs not using much play-action last season — which seemed to confuse Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

It is well-documented that the Bucs jacked up the use of play-action passes after the bye (which were successful when used before the bye). And we all know how the offense not just clicked but was dominant since.

Well, noted handicapper and stats guy Warren Sharp, in his Warren Sharp’s 2021 Football Preview, notes that the Bucs used a lot more pre-snap motion after the bye week than prior it. Sharp is convinced the uptick was equally as important to the offense exploding as play-action passes.

How about pre-snap motion? The story is similar to play-action. Look at usage rates on early downs ahead of pass plays:

Prior to the bye: 39% (1% below average)
After the bye: 59% (fourth in the NFL)
Playoffs: 59% (fourth in the NFL)

Tampa Bay substantially increased the usage of all motion from the bye week onward and I absolutely hope that continues into 2021.

If the Bucs improve their run rate on first down and continue to use motion at high rates, they will be exceedingly difficult to stop this season.

After an underwear football practice this spring, Joe asked Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians if what his quarterback said on a watch podcast was true, that he didn’t know the playbook until late in the season.

Arians laughed and said yes, that was the truth coming from park-violating, home-invading, NFLPA-ignoring, down-forgetting, handshake-stiffing, jet-ski-losing, biscuit-baking, tequila-shooting, smartphone-phobic, waffle-grilling, trophy-throwing, roller-coaster-scared, numbers-rules-peeved, Bucs-Super-Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady.

When Joe asked for a guesstimate when Arians felt comfortable opening up the playbook, Arians said the second half of the Chiefs game right before the bye.

That certainly dovetails with Sharp’s research on play-action and pre-snap motion.

Joe isn’t sure why the offense jump-started. Whatever it was, Joe’s simple rule of football applies:

Don’t fix something that’s not broken.

14 Responses to “Pre-Snap Motion And Play-Action”

  1. Jason Says:

    Occam’s razor. The reason we didn’t run play-action and pre-snap motion was because Brady was still learning the play-book. After that, we ratcheted up the play-action and pre-snap motion which helps TB12 dissect defenses.
    I feel as though opposing defensive coaching staffs will be inventing new cuss-words this season as they game-plan against our offense.
    I also feel that I may have over-used the hyphen on this comment. My bad.

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Pre Snap Motion or Play Action freezes our defenders, as if they need another thing to worry about besides our loaded receivers.
    Yes, the second half of the Chiefs Game was when we came of age, offensively.
    We would have beat them then, but we simply ran out of time!

  3. Pickgrin Says:

    The Bucs need to utilize more 12 personnel Offensive sets this year.

    Gets Gronk and Howard on the field at the same time – keeps the defenders in base defense and guessing whether its run or pass – thus creating mismatches vs our TEs when it is pass.

  4. BucEmUp Says:

    The only OC on this staff is curently Tom Brady ( not counting semi retired bruce arians.

    Byron who?

  5. Leighroy Says:

    Not sure the reason for it in the first place, but Tom Moore and Clyde Christiansen think that OC comment is erroneous on multiple levels. Also, Tom Brady has been explicit in the past that he’s a player and they’re the coaches.

  6. TheShaz Says:

    I like the fact that we can go heavy with TE’s and from that formation run or pass effectively.

    Byron needs to mix it up. You know teams are going to be studying film of those last 8 games.

  7. PassingThru Says:

    I don’t buy the theory that Brady didn’t run presnap motion because he didn’t know the playbook. Are you telling me Brady only read the first chapters on static offensive formations?

    The offense changed to emphasize Brady’s strengths. If you don’t think Brady didn’t influence it, then I guess you must also believe that Brady doesn’t understand his own strengths as a QB and needed Arians and Leftwich to teach him.

  8. Bojim Says:

    BL was confused? Dude, you’re the OC!!

  9. SOEbuc Says:

    You can tell Arians is definitely not just gonna sit back and put everything in BL hands this year. Him and Brady had to take over the offense after the bye.

    Play action??? Can someone say…Gio.

  10. JimmyJack Says:

    No, no, no, Joe you got it all wrong. Those motion plays and play actions were not part of our playbook and were not something we worked on……….According to the legend, during halftime vs the Chiefs, Brady tossed out Byrons playbook and installed the New England playbook.

    Far fetched? Maybe. But considering that Tom is the GOAT all is possible.

    This legend is necessary for the Byron haters to cling to their hate and avoid giving him credit. And it is true the Byron haters are the ones who created this legend……..But the best part of a well constructed legend is they can never be proven or disproven so they can live forever!!!!!

  11. Oneilbuc Says:

    I thought it was the same playbook that Jamies had ?? I been trying to tell yall that all last year but yall said I was wrong !!!

  12. Anonymous Says:

    The entire team did not learn a new playbook mid season . Ludicrous

  13. An Erection for Sacks Says:

    Someone out there please make sure that Oneilbuc gets what he deserves.

  14. Mike Says:

    It is surprising that no analyst digs the data of the Bucs before Tom. If the pre snap motion and play action were rarely used in the previous season, that was certainly Tom’ decision.

    You know that Tom always studies the tendency of the current opponent coach not the team.