Prediction: Less Explosive Early-Season Offense

July 25th, 2022

Offensive analysis.

The Bucs have had one of the most explosive offenses in the league since Tom Brady and former Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians united.

This year? Well, handicapper-turned-stathead Warren Sharp gets the sense Brady won’t be throwing too many no-risk-it-no-biscuit throws without Chris Godwin, and without furniture-tossing, bicycle-throwing, V-card-forging, quitting Antonio Brown and foot-rubbing Rob Gronkowski.

Until Godwin returns healthy and Brady gets on the same page with Russell Gage, Kyle Rudolph and/or Cade Otton, Sharp doesn’t believe Brady will rifle passes downfield as often.

Antonio Brown ranked fourth in aDOT (average Depth of Target) for the Bucs at 11.8. Rob Gronkowski ranked fifth at 10.1. Brown won’t be there and Gronkowski has retired. Chris Godwin was only ninth at 7.3, so his early-season absence wouldn’t force Brady to throw more underneath necessarily. New receiver Russell Gage had a 9.3-yard aDOT in Atlanta last year and an 8.5-yard aDOT in 2020. Unless the Bucs use him deeper, he’s not raising Brady’s aDOT.

If I had to predict 2022, I think Brady’s first down passing game, particularly to start the season, is far more controlled to target a higher floor for success rather than a higher ceiling in explosiveness.

That’s what Sharp typed for his Warren Sharp’s 2022 Football Preview.

When Brady was in New England, he often chucked to running backs and, of course, slot receivers. Was that what Brady wanted or what Belicheat wanted?

In Tampa, Brady arrived and started winging the ball all over the place and having two of the best seasons of his career — in his 40s!

Is Brady enamored enough with throwing deep and often that he wants to continue that this fall? Or with Arians out of the way, would Brady want to revert to his old death-by-papercuts ways?

22 Responses to “Prediction: Less Explosive Early-Season Offense”

  1. Goatfarmer Says:

    It will play out, whatever gives them the best chance to win. Running a bit more often will also be something to look for and expect. They still have plenty of speedsters and Evans is a proven beast on the deep ball as well. ‘It’s the defense that fans should be worried about.

  2. Cobraboy Says:

    I hope not. If there is any time this season to get hot, it’s the first four games.

    Fingers crossed the D starts hot out of the gate…

  3. Hodad Says:

    Makes sense with Gage manning the slot until Godwin is ready, and White maybe being the best receiving back we’ve had in years. Working those short routes, with hopefully a better running game, could actually make those long strikes down field more open.

  4. Cobraboy Says:

    Here is a question: since Godwin was not put on the PUP, exactly what is his physical status, or does anyone know?

  5. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I truly believe there will be longer sustained drives to eat up clock and protect the defense this year. Additionally, with Gronk gone Mike Evans will be the #1 Red Zone target in the NFL this year. If he remains healthy he could even challenge Moss’s TD record this season.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We can be less explosive but just as effective…….better running game, passes to backs…..slants…..Brady will get it done.

    I actually think our defense will get better……losses….JPP, Suh, Whitehead….gains…..Hall, Hicks, Ryan, Neal…..and our young secondary has another year’s experience….Davis, Dean, SMB, Edwards, Winfield

    Yep….the defense will be better. And…..we have a big legged punter.

  7. glen k mattingly Says:

    Why are you whining about what you don’t have (Gronk) and accept and appreciate what you do have? This crap is getting old and smacks of nothing else to write about.

  8. ModHairKen Says:

    This is just stupid. Training camp and 3 preseason games. Is that not enough time to get ready with a veteran QB? No. Not just a veteran QB. The greatest QB in the history of the game.

    Gage is a pro. Rudolph is a pro.

    They will come out of the gate raising hell.

  9. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Personally I don’t care which route they take. Obviously TB12 was very successful in NE n the past 2 seasons have shown he can do the no risk it no biscuit. I’m good with either as long as they produce wins n gets us to the playoffs idc if we win with pretty passes or win with ugly nasty runs as long as at the end of the season we are in the dance

  10. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I can see White really adding to our Offense this year, coming out of the backfield!

  11. Bucsfan13 Says:

    I’m a Michigan alum, so I’ve followed Brady’s entire career. I had no use for the Patriots, but watched practically every game that he’s played in. I often wonder if people forget that Brady’s been in the league since 2000. He’s played under three different OCs in NE. Each had their own offensive philosophy. Brady worked within those systems and personnel. When he joined us, this wasn’t his first foray with a downfield passing attack. Randy Moss, anyone? His 2007 season was actually his best. He and Moss put up video game numbers and that was before the explosion of the passing era. He threw for 50 TDs and 8 TDs. Moss still holds the single season record. for TDs with 23. He ran a two TE set with utilized both intermediate and vertical concepts. He couldn’t have a vertical offense with Edelman as his number 1 receiver. When he had Cooks and Gordon, he also went deep more often. To pretend like he just discovered deep passing concepts when he got to us is disconnected from reality. Any why does it have to be and either or. We can still have vertical concepts and quick game concepts. We actually did more of that last year. We became a little more efficient last year when we installed more of those concepts.

  12. Dooley Says:

    It’s been sort of been a blend of both styles since around the midway mark in 2020 and actually expanded throughout the 2021 campaign. Less explosive doesn’t mean less effective our offense is going to have to work out new ways for ways we can no longer apply our offense, but there’s plenty of time between now and week 1 to figure that all out.

  13. Goatfarmer Says:

    People expecting big things out of White are delusional. Brady’s backs need to be on the same page with him and also be able to pick up a blitzer and help in pass protection. No way a rookie is all of that. No. Way.

    Especially when competing against 3-down back Lenny, Gio, and Vaughn who grew last year and proved he can also be a complete back.

    I would like to see White get a shot as a return man, since Dardung has already proven to be an inept basket case at the job. Work him out there and see if he can track the ball and catch it, then let him run. Preseason games.

  14. Bird Says:

    Wow. Sharp really went out on a limb there for that comment. 😂

    Hey – all that matters are wins IMO. People will get healthy when they get healthy. And i think bucs not done adding to both sides of ball

  15. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @Dooley. Exactly! It became an integration of vertical and horizontal concepts. Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of the no biscuit no risk it philosophy. It’s a high volume offense, but it’s terribly inefficient and the QB took so many hits waiting for some of the deep routes to develop. Not to mention how antiquated it seemed with almost no motion or PA.

    @Goatfarmer. People have been fawning over White, but I’m skeptical of his impact as a third down back this year. Pass pro was his weakness in college. He won’t see the inside of Brady’s huddle if he can’t pick up a blitz. He’s also a rookie. A fact that gets lost with some. This guy is just not gonna waltz on the field and have immediate trust with Brady. He trusts Gio more than White. I’m sure Brady advocated for his return. Gio has been underrated. He’s a proven receiver and ran well when he had the chance. I thought he had more burst and vision than Lenny. Lenny didn’t see the holes as well as Gio. I’m also sick of White running his mouth. This guy has done more interviews than I’ve ever seen a rookie complete. It’s cool to have confidence, but this guy is bordering on arrogance and annoyance. I don’t think he’s talking is being lost on the coaches and Brady.

  16. Beeej Says:

    I gotta think Brady has more fun airing it out 35x a game, apparently qb arms don’t get worn out like baseball pitchers

  17. Dooley Says:


    We started using the screen game alot more, with certain players having more success than others and when you look you realize that isn’t a hallmark of BAs offensive philosophy. Godwin for example, was usually pretty masterful taking the short screen out of the slot or on the boundary or motioned out of the backfield(hello Rachaad White) and turning it into a chunk play with his legs. Partly why I don’t think running MORE is a real expectation, but I do think there will be a renewed emphasis on getting more quality out of our run game and taking better advantage of the short passing game.

    I remember hearing years ago Hines Ward talking about how BA expected his offenses in Pittsburgh to be good for a 1 point per minute relative to the offenses time of possession. That part of BAs’ philosophy I admire, but what I kind of makes me wince is that BA would also try to get a 2nd & 20 back in 1 shot instead of say using the 2nd & 3rd to chip away at the extra yardage and set up a 3rd and manageable. Those are the gambles I’m sort of “eh” on but I’ve yet to see games swing against us on plays like that, also if Evans is drawing a PI on alot those plays, then hey, deep ball benefits without a catch works for me too.

  18. GOB Says:

    The reason Brady was forced to throw underneath and horizontal in NE, was because Belichick couldn’t draft a reciever to save his soul. In 07, Brady literally chucked it all over the yard, so Bill has never been afraid to throw. After the crying colts GM get the rules changed, the league immediately became a passing arena league. In 09, (Brady’s first year after the ACL) the offense had lost key role players. Teams started doubling Moss, and bracketing Welker. Brady had little to throw to outside those two.

    If Belichick had the weapons that Tampa had the last two years, Brady’s numbers would’ve been similar. 6 Superbowls can’t be argued with. There’s more than on way to pass effectively. Even with inferior talent

  19. GOB Says:

    Got and one.

  20. A Says:

    I’d like to see us go more balanced – run the ball and play-action…Less empty sets…saying that, just do whatever it takes to win.

    Go Bucs!

  21. ATLBuc Says:

    I have a feeling that we are going to pound the rock and end up being a pretty good running team

  22. steele Says:

    I’m with BucsFan. Brady uses what he’s got. It’s not clear at this stage yet, but a smashmouth offense and a creative mix of vertical and horizontal are important to have. A brilliant offensive coordinator is most important of all, and I’m not sure we have that.

    Rachaad shouldn’t run his mouth until he proves himself, and yes, that includes the ability to block effectively. The committee is equal until someone emerges.