Predictable Or Smart?

July 16th, 2022

Bucs OC Bryon Leftwich.

Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich does *not* like direct, probing questions.

In his weekly press conferences, Leftwich rarely answers a question without full-blown clichés, sweeping platitudes or downright gibberish.

If you hit Leftwich with a direct question, he’ll often bristles. Like in 2019, armed with data that showed the Bucs called run plays up the middle on first down an obscene number of times, Joe asked Leftwich if the poor result of these plays was due to defenses knowing what was coming.

Leftwich glared at Joe and barked, “No!” That was his full answer.

So handicapper turn stathead Warren Sharp had a very interesting stat about Bucs playcalling that Joe honestly doesn’t know if it is smart or predictable. Per Sharp, no team followed a first-half incompletion on first downs with another pass than the Bucs.

Joe is guessing this is smart. You have Tom Brady and crazy good receivers. Why not throw, throw, throw again?

So Bucs fans, what say you? Is Leftwich’s pattern here savvy or just predictable?

43 Responses to “Predictable Or Smart?”

  1. DoooshLaRue Says:

    The MASTERMIND knows all.

  2. Bird Says:

    I think we are predictable. But we have so many studs at receiver and receiving backs and of course brady reading a defense that we get away with it at times. So one player will get that separation to male a play. We rarely scheme a guy wide open

    I think bucs need to game plan differently for saints and rams this year. Do the opposite at times. Cause it really seems like they have our playbook on both sides of ball

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We are predictable when we run empty backfields……we are predictable on 1st downs up the middle…
    We are not predictable when we throw 20 yard passes on 3rd and 4…..

    We should play action more on first downs because defenses are expecting the run.

  4. Alanbucsfan Says:

    I don’t care what play they call as long as they don’t line up a RB at WR.
    However, the less you run, the more you’re inviting the D to either blitz or sit back in coverage.

  5. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Excuse me but I look at those stats and believe we’re in good company!

    The teams that ran on 2nd after the incompletion are the freaking dregs of the league while those that passed again are among the best.

    Simple question. Would you rather be in the group that includes the Giants, Lions and Bears…or the group that includes the Bucs, Bengals, and Chiefs?

  6. Dooley Says:

    Savvy if it works, predictable if it doesn’t. A tendency I dislike about our offense, dating back to the Koetter era, were the drives of pass, pass, pass, punt only to take 42 seconds off the clock and put our defense right back onto the field. Some of it isn’t Leftwich and part of it is the fact Brady likes to come out and establish rhythm with his targets early as well as not succumbing to a slow start. We’ve had success and have failed using that tact, so I dont see it changing.

  7. Cobraboy Says:

    In that list, notice the correlation between running after a 1st down incompletion, and the quality of QB.

    It ain’t rocket surgery…

  8. Demete Says:

    All of the bottom eight went to playoffs with five winning at least one playoff game and two were in the Super Bowl while only three of the top 10 teams made the playoffs, all losing their first game.

  9. BucsfanFred Says:

    A few years ago the BUCS would always run on second down after an incompletion.
    This is much better

  10. CleanHouse Says:

    Bring back AB, that crazy MF was so damn good. Kumbaya w him and we win another SB

  11. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Not happening, Cleanhouse. He’s already played his last down. Nobody wants a quitter, no matter how good they are.

  12. Mike Says:

    Normally, I would say it’s not good to be predictable, but if that means you are giving Brady another chance to make a play, I am ok with that… 🙂

  13. Goatfarmer Says:

    You BA haters, get ready to see what you’ve wished for. Brady better have 100% audible authority, that’s going to protect us. I think Leftwich has good play designs (BA) and for the most part, game plans. (Other than when you only run 5 times in a game – so he has demonstrated boob capability too.)

    But play sequencing can be head scratching at times. Tom needs to make sure the stupid stays out of the offense.

  14. Beeej Says:

    incomplete on 1st, followed by run on 2nd is a sure-fire recipe for 3rd and 7

  15. Vinny from Vermont Says:


    Re: your comment: “I think bucs need to game plan differently for saints and rams this year. Do the opposite at times. Cause it really seems like they have our playbook on both sides of ball”…..I could not agree more.

    I believe this so strongly, that I predict that if we do not change game plan strategy, that we will lose again both our 2 regular season games to the Saints, and our scheduled game against the Rams. Our predictability at certain times is beyond assinine.

    None other that Albert Einstein said that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Yet, whoever makes these predictable plays (eg: Running up the middle virtually 70 to 80 percent of the time on !st down) clearly thinks differently and continues proving Einstein correct.

    The Bucs have a good team, there is no denying that. But to paraphrase none other that TB, there is always room for improvment.
    Do we really believe that we are so good….that we can pi$$ away oppurtunities on both sides of the ball that consistently produce questionable results….because we are so talented that we will usually overcome our own ignorance?

  16. Irishmist Says:

    Those other seven teams at the bottom of the list with us are pretty good. The ones at the top, not so much.

  17. Cobraboy Says:

    @Beeej: once upon a time 3 & 7 meant 4th down punt.

    Now it means a high probability of a 1st down or FG attempt.

  18. Buc king Says:

    If we want to win another championship the run game and play action will need to become the foundation of this offense.
    This will keep brady arm n body fresh.
    The defense off the field and the other teams defense guessing.
    The offense line needs to open holes so these backs can make plays.
    I feel the screen needs to be used a lot.
    Hurt these aggressive defensive teams who qb hunt.
    I prefer not to become predictable and with out the gronk option I’m obviously more concerned with brady health not to mention marpet not there to make smith look at least decent.

  19. SB~LV Says:

    I have NO idea what he will be like with BA’s training wheels….yeah..yeah..yeah…BL “called the plays ”
    He was a warrior in college !

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Agree with Bird that the Bucs are by-and-large predictable, but I’m not sure that matters all that much against most teams. If your opponent can’t stop you, does it REALLY matter how predictable you are?

    For the most part, our offense has been quite difficult to stop over these past 2 years that Tom Brady has been our QB. Matter of fact, Bucs are the #1 scoring team over that 2-year period, scoring a total of 1,003 points. In 2nd place were the Bills, scoring 984 points, and in 3rd place the Chiefs at 953.

    A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum though. Our high-powered offense scored quickly most of the time; very quickly. Bucs barely broke even in TOP in 2021 & ranked 18th in 2021 (30:11 mins/game average), and were even worse in 2020 ranking #21 in the NFL (29:06 TOP). Buffalo (who ran more) held the ball much longer & ranked 5th in TOP in 2021 … 31:24 TOP in 2021 and 30:54 TOP in 2020. Chiefs (who passed a lot like we do) ranked 7th in TOP in 2021 … 30:50 TOP in 2021 and 30:09 TOP in 2020.

    In our case, that translated into more time on the field for our defense. We’ve done quite well defensively these past 2 years IMO considering that & the injuries, allowing only 708 total points in those 2 seasons, ranking #5 in 2021 and #8 in 2020. What’s helped both our offense & our defense a bunch is our positive Turnover Differentials in both years … PLUS 10 in 2021 (29 takeaways vs 19 giveaways) and PLUS 8 in 2020 (25 takeaways vs 17 giveaways). And as a big part of that, our team has played excellent COMPLEMENTARY FOOTBALL in both seasons to capitalize on the takeaways & minimize the damage from the giveaways.

  21. Beeej Says:

    Read an interesting thing today, Brady was pressured 20x in that Rams game, 6 of them owed to Josh Wells trying to sub for Wirfs

  22. Craig Says:

    I’d say morbidly predictable.

    We had five games where the offense couldn’t budge an inch, but the game plan stayed the same, which is the definition of crazy.

  23. Goatfarmer Says:

    Craig is wise on this one.

  24. Cobraboy Says:

    It doesn’t matter what play you call if you can impose your will on the D.

    IMO, injuries were the difference between the postseason runs of 2020 and 2021.

    Just ask KC about the difference between their 2019 and 2020 runs.

  25. Rod Munch Says:

    I can sit at home and successfully call if it’s a run or a pass, and if it’s a run the direction of the play, at least 75% of the time. Leftwich is ultra predictable and has been bailed out with Brady AND Winston — and under Winston I swear my success rate was closer to 95% since Brady has forced Leftwich to be slightly less predictable.

  26. BucsfanFred Says:

    I have a gut feeling we will be a better run offence this year.

  27. steele Says:


  28. Oddball Says:

    Rocket surgery…. Good one

  29. JimmyJack Says:

    The biggest thing to look at with a playcaller is redzone%.

    We were horrible in the redzone under Dirk. Byron walked through the door and made us one of the best redzone threats in the League.

    It helps he had Brady, Gronk and Evans but dont forget he only had Evans in 2019.

  30. BigMacAttack Says:

    I also think we will be a better run team this season. We also have a new head coach and if the offense gets too predictable or stagnant at times, I wouldn’t be surprised if Todd Bowles gives Lefty a nudge or a smack in the head 😂.

  31. geno711 Says:

    As soon as it is not working, then complain about it.
    This offense is working as the best in the NFL right now.

  32. Stanglassman Says:

    This year it will probably go up to 18-23% because the OL should be a better run blocking group. Leftwich was a bit predictable on 1st down runs awhile back but seems to have rectified it somewhat.

  33. Chris from gville Says:

    Looks like bad teams ran and good teams threw the ball so I’d say it was smart.

  34. GOB Says:

    The run game in Tampa is quite unimaginative. They rarely pull, or trap. It’s almost like they run, just to give Brady’s arm a break. Lineman love to run block. Mason is on of the best run blocking guards in the league. He also pulls as well as any guard. When a defense knows they don’t need to prepare for that stuff, it makes them easier to defend. The bucs no longer have “crazy good” recievers. They are still very good, but this is the weakest group Brady has had in Tampa. I expect more pulling. More trapping, and an overall bigger commitment to the run. At least against certain opponents. You can’t drop back 50 times against the Rams, and Saints, and hope to have a chance. If they try it, Brady will be eaten alive.

  35. Brazen Zebra Says:

    Thankfully, Tom can audible out of any call at any time. But, I really like Leftwich. He works well with Tom. Great duo! Predictable or not, it don’t matter when the Bucs are cramming balls up their opponents b-hole.

  36. Darin Says:

    Leftwich is still very immature.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    He is awful. That’s why no one will hire him.

    He stinks out loud.

  38. T REX Says:

    He stinks out loud.

    No one would hire him because he is awful

  39. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  40. westernbuc Says:

    I just think we often abandon the run early, and it kills us against teams like the rams and the saints. We have a beastly o-line. No reason not to utilize their skill set.

  41. Stanglassman Says:

    BL was offered the head coach job for the jags. He didn’t want to work with current Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke, who was under fire in previous jobs. Leftwich’s preferred plan was to take over as head coach and bring in Arizona Cardinals VP of player personnel Adrian Wilson as general manager.

    Calling him immature is just ridiculous. This comment tells us more about Darin than anything else.

  42. LakelandSteve Says:

    It might be predictable but it seems as if the Bucs were pretty successful doing it. So if other teams can’t stop it, why would you quit doing it.

  43. geno711 Says:

    I agree with GOB that Tampa runs less traps than most teams.
    I agree with LakelandSteve more.

    We run a power scheme. Many times we bring in an extra offensive lineman and had success with that power scheme.

    I would not mind using Mason as a pull guard if that is his strength as suggested by GOB. It will be interesting to see if the Bucs change their run blocking some after the loss of Gronk.

    Just read in The Athletic that another type of trap block, the wham block, is a favorite used by New England.

    Personally, to me using a fullback like NE does for your trap seems old and boring to me. Again, for me, it seems like the NE offense has been boring for years. A little like Lovie Smith wanting to still run the Tampa Two. Old and antiquated.

    I do not support the Buc’s having a lot of trap plays especially with fullbacks as NE has done.

    We are a passing team in the style of the LA Rams, GB Packers, and KC Chiefs. No need to change what has been our greatest successes.