Are The Bucs Adjusting Their Offense?

August 31st, 2022

Ex-Bucs WR Tyler Johnson.

One of the many reasons Joe was shocked by the release of receiver Tyler Johnson is that it leaves the Bucs without a healthy receiver at a specific spot. And it makes Joe wonder if the offense is changing.

When Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians ran the show, his offense, whether in Pittsburgh or Arizona or with the Bucs, had a slot receiver who could block if not maul people. It was a key element.

When Arians came to Tampa Bay, his first move was to move Chris Godwin to slot. Godwin’s career suddenly took off like a rocket.

Godwin showed he’s a big-time blocker. It’s also why the Bucs had the immortal Cyril Grayson. Not only could Grayson burn past defenders, but he could also block his tail off.

When the Bucs first drafted Tyler Johnson, Joe thought the Bucs would groom him to eventually take over for Godwin if he left in free agency. Johnson proved that like Godwin, he could play slot or outside — and block.

Russell Gage was signed, in part, to replace Godwin until Godwin comes back from knee surgery. He’s close, but Godwin has yet to be given the green light for full contact and Gage has missed quite a bit of time with a hamstring.

So Grayson and Johnson are gone while Gage is still out and Godwin, again, hasn’t been cleared for full contact.

So who plays slot now? Or has Bucs coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich massaged the offense to a degree that they will no longer ask a slot receiver to block?

61 Responses to “Are The Bucs Adjusting Their Offense?”

  1. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Or Todd knows he’s going to have both Godwin and Gage for game 1.

  2. HC Grover Says:

    Maybe two runs up the gut then a 3rd down desperate pass play.

  3. Biff Barker Says:

    I don’t have enough insight to make any sense out of TJ’s release. Any WR who can play slot and block is worth something.

  4. Marc Coppola Says:

    Why waste the draft pick. He wasn’t all pro, buy he was serviceable and make clutch plays in 2020. Should have drafted an OL if you are going to give up on him this easy.

  5. Infomeplease Says:

    The coaches have used the players available to the best of their ability. No reason to think this will change! Do what you can when you can. When you can do more do more! September is around the corner… won’t be long now!! All will be revealed!!

  6. ZZBUC Says:

    I think you worrie to much Joe….I understand even agree to be vigilant on the OL ,but not on WR´s…..

    Yes, we all would have liked Johnsosn instead of Darden, but is not a something significant for the roster……

  7. George Says:

    TJA drops too many passes .

  8. Melvin Junior Says:

    Dolphins released Lynn Bowden… There’s are (KR/PR) Dude/problems solved, IF Brady & Co. can help him keep his head on straight… He is EXTREMELY, Dangerous with the ball in his hands, & vs Darden & Co. = They’re NOT Even, in the ‘same’ League as HIM. Bowden looked Really Good that one ‘half season’ he played, then missed all of last season due to a “hammy” (makes me even more worried about Gage, after being reminded of this, too… I’m getting more ‘worried’ about him everyday, now), & he absolutely, KILLED-IT this “Preseason!!!!”

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Godwin & Gage are ready….I suspect our ST is so bad we had to have Scotty & Darden instead of TJ

  10. Pewter Warrior 813 Says:

    When your a 5th WR who doesn’t play special teams you gotta go

  11. Sean Says:

    These things are not done in a vacuum and (other than Bruce’s weird with Gabbert), the front office acts rationally. They’ve seen TJ day after day and he came up short. They like guys on the margins who can play special teams and he can’t or won’t. I look at the WR room and I’m optimistic.

  12. Buc king Says:

    I don’t think I’m being unreasonable to say the bucs should hunt the waiver wire fir a better cb or dB the dee Delaney..
    I don’t think nassib or Rudolph look fit for the game they look slow asf and lethargic.
    We have enough te to drop Rudy as they call him and I think we push gronk into coming home.
    I think Julian Edelman just announced he wants to play football again and brady wants him so..bye darden..there’s 3 fixes..
    Use are 1st or 2nd round pick to trade for a great to good lg on par with Shaq Mason level if we must because protecting the qb is ideal…
    Finally kick the tires on any good dline man out there idc who..ideally suh..gmc..we need another vet dline guy who can play glue for us and depth.
    I’m nit playing madden or spoiled I call 99% of the bucs moves.
    I said brady I said ab I said Mike evans I said godwin I said suh I said fournette I said jpp i didn’t see gronk happening or Shaq Barrett but I will say they we’re pleasant n we’ll endorsed pick up.
    Yes my 25 years of playing madden franchise mode has made me a arm chair gm..but i will say Jason n I think a lot a like.
    He is typically seeing it how I do so I respect him.
    I will say he reaches on punters n kickers.
    I did endorse Kyle Trask pick tho maybe a round higher then I would of selected him but still a good development player.
    I see holes in the team and few injuries will be back in the same boat as last year.

    I know you will say how do we get the money?
    We have 9 mil…
    We can restructure like 2 or 3 players if that’s a true issue…but if I trade for a player at lg I would get a guy with 1yr left on his contract n have his current team eat the cap to sign him..we just pony up a better pick…
    Last year was bringer all back n run it back ..injuries hit n we sputtered out..honestly it was the right move for us.
    Just didn’t work out.
    This year we are retooling and should be all in on making brady feel safe and have the time he needs.
    He won’t play another yr if he’s getting hit everytime he goes to throw it.
    We have essentially 2 rookies guarding his weakest spot.
    We have 4 beast wr…we gotta keep him clean..I’m willing to see if hainsey got it till Jensen is back but we don’t need to experiment at lg on a all in season.
    It’s time to be greedy and calculated.
    F the draft next year..
    Use your picks n get buccaneer type men now.
    I just gave up the blue print to give us the best chance of playing when it counts.

  13. Joe Says:

    TJA drops too many passes

    Johnson was a bit inconsistent. No question. He would drop some cans of corn but then he’d turn around and make a sick catch. Almost like it was a concentration thing for him.

  14. geno711 Says:

    With Johnson cut, I got to think that at least Gage is 100 percent healthy.

    Because Johnson, Gage and Godwin were our three slot type guys.

    Actually, could see Godwin playing game 1 against Dallas. Catching 2 TD passes!

  15. geno711 Says:

    Or just hoping on Godwin!

  16. ElioT Says:

    @ HC Grover – Nailed it.

    My biggest concern for the offense heading into the season (outside of O-Line depth) is Leftwich’s play calling. Dude has a lot to prove.

    Go Bucs!

  17. lambeau Says:

    Two All-Pro slot receivers are probably enough, I suppose they think.
    Scotty and Perriman (first rd draft pick) take the top off the defense with speed.
    Julio, Gage, and ME are premier possession receivers, making TJ expendable, I guess–as much as I valued him.
    I’d grab Bowden as a returner too, but he won’t drop to us.

  18. #8 Says:


  19. ZZBUC Says:

    @ ElioT

    You think Leftwich has a lot to prove??? Really????

    Maybe he has to prove like a HC not as a OC….

    Those kinf of comments with all due respect kind of shocks me!!

    You just to check the stats and you will see

  20. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Godwin has always been a great blocker. I remember him when he was back in College, at Penn State.
    Penn State played my Michigan Wolverines, and Chris Godwin was delivering blocks that neutralized our Linebackers, allowing his team to run all over us.
    I literally jumped for Joy when we drafted him.
    Imagine when he comes back from injury, and we have him, Evans, and Julio Jones, all on the same field!

    I will be 68 years old in a month, and have been a hard core football fan for a very long time. I just can not recall a better Receiver/Quarterback combination then what we have now.

    As long as we are able to protect Brady, it is going to be very hard for our opponents to stop us from scoring points.

  21. Rick Says:

    keeping 7 WR tells me there’s a chance Godwin could go on IR for 4 weeks unfortunately. We needed a speed WR as none of our top 4 are burners, and the next three are. I liked Tyler but he just couldn’t get open against NFL corners.

  22. Buc king Says:

    I think play calling not a big of deal as some you guys are making it.
    Because we’re the number 1 offense.
    Brady throws to his running backs which offsets the lack of run plays.
    They just have to catch the 4yard passes n makeva play.
    The oline is set up for pass block well when healthy we are.
    Now we are just a scrap oline trying to teach guys on the flybwhile hoping our 45yr old qb stays healthy.

    We are the best Play action team and if we could run effectively we could do that more but I think the vanilla style of play call is what brafy wants.
    He wants to be making the decision and keeping it short distance 1st downs.

    I say 75% of what’s called is brady endorsed the rest is Leftwich getting creative.
    Ba is still in the rooms with coaches and will still HELP.
    Don’t fool your self for 1 min if this team starts slow that he doesn’t get in Brian’s a$$.

    Other then protecting brady and getting gronk back..n healthy wr room I think this offense will be tough to match up with which means more 30 point games on average.

    Defense will start hot to once they define roles and communicate correctly.

    The secondary has to make a leap..Tryon has to make a leap..Shaq has to return to 20 sack form..firm…
    Vea n hicks gotta become unstoppable.

  23. Cobraboy Says:

    If Johnson was brought in to replace a FA Godwin, when Godwin signed his new deal that logic went out the window.

    And with 4-star deep WRs, why not develop a younger guy?

    Johnson was an OK receiver. Not great, not terrible. Just OK. His deficiencies were two: inconsistent catching the ball, and lack of speed.

    I see Johnson as a guy whose potential fell flat. He just never got to the “next level.”

  24. Maniac Buc Says:

    @ Rick, I agree. Not IR, but Godwin may miss a game or 2. It also buys the Bucs time to see who they can get back at receiver on the PS. If they get all 3 young guys back plus Grayson, Perriman and Miller may be on a short leash one Godwin is healthy. That’s also why it makes more sense to keep those 2 over TJ. Only logical reason I could come up with.

  25. Woodenman Says:

    Man Buc King you got it all figured out how has the team not hired you as GM.

  26. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Was Edelman in the Bahamas for 11 days recently?


  27. David Says:

    Got to love all the experts at home on their couch that think Leftwich has a “lot to prove.“
    The most prolific couple of years in Buccaneers offensive history and they think the OC sucks and has nothing to do with it.

  28. Craig Says:

    I am hoping Bowles is not making a mistake with the receivers.

    All of those receivers have consistent durability problems. None of them makes it through a full season without, at least, a few weeks downtime to nurse a hamstring.

    The addition of Grayson, Sterns or Tompkins would have given the Bucs someone to fill in those gaps.

    Now there is no one to do that, unless practice squad rules still carry COVID protocols.

  29. Steven007 Says:

    Wood, King needs some dressing for that word salad. Good Lord. Keep playing Madden, King.

  30. Surfslowson Says:

    @Joe if you go back and look TJ’s blocking was terrible, that’s why he was cut, he didn’t put effort out to block. Look at the last game, on third down, TJ just looked at the guy that made the tackle who he was supposed to block. As his lack of effort on special teams was the nail in the coffin for a 5+ WR.

  31. Mike Says:

    It definitely seems like the Bucs are looking for guys who can win consistently from the slot such as Gage and perhaps Darden as well. Not sure about Godwin. Maybe they move him back to the outside. That would potentially keep him from taking as many hits to his knees as he was dealing with from the slot.

  32. Goatfarmer Says:

    Darden in the slot? 🤣

    Bwaaaaahaaaaaaahahahahaaaaahahahaaa. Right. Because he can block so well.

  33. Ash Says:

    I thought they pulled tj out of the slot a few games for Grayson because he wasn’t blocking that well. I don’t get why some fans are enamored with him, he wasn’t consistent I didn’t see him block very well and he is the slowest wr in the room. He looked to have trouble creating separation and he doesn’t play special teams at wr5 or wr6 easy decision.

  34. AbucAway Says:

    I thought Miller was done after his drop in Indy. I’m glad he is still scratching and clawing to keep his spot but he needs to get his hands back. He is the deep threat and Brady slings it his way in clutch moments.
    Now that Gage and Evans should be back from their staycation (yeah I know, hammy, but also, convenient) we’ll see this offense get stretched out before game 1. Can’t wait to see magic

  35. Joe Says:

    TJ just looked at the guy that made the tackle who he was supposed to block.

    On Brate’s catch? Thought that was more Brate not reading Johnson’s ass than Johnson not blocking. Of course, there was a defender on the outside so if Brate read Johnson’s ass and gone outside he would have been stopped right away. So perhaps Brate read that as well and that’s why he cut in?

    Joe has seen enough practices (and games) to know Johnson can block. And, as always, Joe’s philosophy on blocking is light years different than most fans. So there is that, too.

  36. Defense Rules Says:

    ‘Are the Bucs adjusting their offense?’ Interesting question that won’t really be answered until Dallas.

    My suspicion is that we will see some more running, but not go hog-wild in the running game. In 2021 we ran on 33.8% of our plays. In 2020 it was 36.3% and in 2019 it was 37.7%. That’s roughly a 36% average over BA’s 3 years as HC. It MIGHT bump up to 40% this year, but that’s about it IMO.

    More than that though, I suspect we’ll see a more robust short passing game incorporating our RBs. All 4 of them have decent hands, and using them more in the passing game would seem like a helpful way to keep opposing defenses on their toes (and off of TB12).

    Keeping Scotty didn’t surprise me, but keeping Darden & Perriman did. None of the 3 are particularly good receivers, BUT … they’re all FAST & can take the top off of defenses. That would seem useful to keep the Safeties honest if nothing else. So I guess, yes, we probably will be adjusting our offense, but not radically. Intermediate & deep routes will still most likely be a staple of our offense.

  37. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Justin Watson 😉 I’d trust Mahomes evaluations over Leftwich’s.

  38. Pryda...Sec147 Says:

    I’m glad They cut Johnson the dude didn’t have it. Just missing the routine easy passes f that man smh go to KC with Watson

  39. Browsing from DC Says:

    A RB with good hands is a natural slot receiver who can block IMHO. Pretty sure we have a couple of those.

  40. Architek Says:

    Why are we spending so much bandwidth on a “guy”?

    No one else is talking about Tyler Johnson and this team has Super Bowl aspirations.

    Not being ugly but wouldn’t Tom Brady know who he wants to throw the call to?? Who are we to question the professionals and the greatest QB to ever lace them up?

  41. Bucs since 76 Says:

    R White who is a running back by trade could easily play slot with his skill set.

  42. Joe D. Says:

    Johnson drops too many passes, don’t drop Tom Brady’s passes if you want to keep your job.

  43. adam from ny Says:

    i thought tj looked totally average out there in the games…

    and the bucs were giving him a lot of work – probably with the hopes he would buzz his way through some of these non starter defenses on opposing teams – yet he really didn’t look anything more than like an average possession receiver out there to me –

    and more so he must have looked like an average at best, possession receiver to tom…so he was gone…

    if they’re cutting skill position guys, you know they brief tom on it and get his 2 cents…maybe not on the 3 rooks – but def on tj…

    as for johnny darden…he’s like a fun sized dude in a man’s league – so this first half of the year with him should be a blast…let’s see if he comes of age… hopefully he does

  44. Buccobill99 Says:

    So many experts how did the entire nfl not hire any of you know it alls is beyond me clearly

  45. firethecannons Says:

    Lol! we are good with Darden no Tyler no cyril yet our 3rd preseason game featured darden who promptly fumbled it and got a lucky call

  46. Rod Munch Says:

    Gage will play in the slot, that was part of the reason of signing him, in case Godwin isn’t ready to go, you could put Gage out there and hopefully not have a huge drop in production.

    As for Tyler, again, he was not Godwin, never would be Godwin, he’s too slow. That’s why he was a 5th round pick, he didn’t run a 40, because it as believed he’d run in the 4.7 range. That lack of speed is why, when the Bucs needed him down the stretch, he just couldn’t get separation vs starting caliber players. Tyler played a ton last season and had very little production to show for it. If he had just a bit more speed, I think he’d be able to become a solid #3 WR one day, but he won’t, at least not for a good passing team. He’s more of a #4 or #5 WR, much like Humphries, who also couldn’t seperate vs starting caliber players, but could be productive as a #4 WR (Humphries was obviously much more productive than Tyler).

    Also TJ was just claimed by the Texans.

  47. LakelandSteve Says:

    They cut Tyler Johnson Because he couldn’t play Special teams according to Todd Bowles.

  48. lambeau Says:

    Tyler to Houston.

  49. Crickett Baker Says:

    In his recent interview, Bowles said we will get Logan back and that our tackling had to be addressed. That was music to my ears because I saw horrible tackling and they can’t really practice that.
    We need to show talent in that dept.

  50. Dooley Says:

    One day your catching passes from Tom Brady, the next your in Houston catching passes from “whatshisname” life is crazy

  51. GOB Says:

    I think Brady will play the numbers game this year, at least to begin the season. Lots of shotgun handoffs depending on the look. If teams wanna sit back, it’s basically free yards. When under center, they may need to utilize play action to push the ball down field. I’ve said this before. Expecting the same high flying offense from last year, just isn’t realistic. The line is worse, as are the pass catchers. Not to worry though. Brady has won plenty throwing sideways. Taking the top of the defense is the most useless moniker in football. It’s nice, and fun to watch. But, it’s also low percentage compared to the shot and intermediate passing game. Offense will be fine. This team will go as far as the defense takes them.

  52. captivajim Says:

    real mystry to me as to ; Why keep Darden -but let go Johnson ???

  53. BillyBucco Says:

    You also have to remember concerning not seeing much from Darden and him making the team over Tyler Johnson, that the offense we saw in preseason was extremely Vanilla.
    I’m 100% positive Darden will run routes from the slot like quick curls and rub routes inside that allow him to get the ball in space.
    Tyler can’t DO anything the big 4 can’t.

    By all accounts Darden had a spectacular camp.
    Now we need to see it on the field.

    With Rachaad White being 4th string, this is a challenge tactic and nothing more. He is clearly better than Vaughn and Gio has been hurt.

  54. FrontFour Says:

    I still don’t get cutting Johnson. And the point about drops is stupid – Evans has had problems with drops, especially early in his career. I just can’t past keeping Darden. He may have looked bigger during preseason, but not any better than what I saw last year. Guess we’ll see on Sunday’s.

  55. Buc king Says:

    Buccobill, steve007,woodeman..
    You 3 are what I consider commenting cock roaches.
    You add no value to the conversation.
    So essentially your valueless- worthless.

    I actually have a football acumen which allows me to understand yhe game beyond you peon levels or maybe I just pay attention better then you 🤔.

    Here I’ll help you guys out since you don’t understand…
    Goat qb = his offense
    Leftwich to brady .. what do you wanna run boss?
    Brady here’s my plays draw up a game plan.
    Leftwich to brady .. game plan is done here boss…
    Brady- grabs BA marker and proceed to say let me see I like this ok I like this too.. no no and no..ok we will run this only on 3rd downs
    Ok brain take this back to your office and clean it up.
    Will install it for practice tomo.
    But tom you scratched out all the running plays.
    Do what I said I’m go practice throwing to my running backs see you when we break for practice make sure you remove those plays.

    That’s the offense and the only people who touch the ball or touch the field have to be blessed by Mr Brady.

    Now do you backwoods brains understand the offense?
    Ok well you probably don’t but just reread it till it makes sense.
    My salad words will shape up your 🧠.

    Funny thing is if the bucs hired me in any aspect I can guarantee a better product on Sundays cause like the Joe’s on this site I would dedicate myself to my role.
    Live and breath the bucs till I see results and then go even harder.

    While you guys probably sit back and arm chair cry baby about life.
    Look at Buc King and how he thinks he knows it all.
    Blah blah blah.
    Cock roaches

  56. Buc king Says:

    I’m help those who don’t understand why we cut tj.
    1. He sucked last year.
    2. He can’t play special teams.
    3. He the 3rd man at what he does maybe 4..godwin gage Jones.
    4. Doesn’t have burners. Miller Darden perriman burners.
    5. Brady chooses his recievers.
    6. Preseason games are vanilla so don’t let a catch or two fool you.
    7. Camp is far more important then games.. how was he improving?
    Was he responding well to coaching?

    Even with those things said I’m a bit surprised he was cut too but that’s the way the cookie crumbles
    Also if all the hype is right about Edelman coming back to play then you can understand even more why his role was not safe.
    That’s yet to be determined tho.

  57. Red-sparrow Says:

    unless edelman gets a brand new knee that talk is irrelevant. also, stop insinuating that brady is the one deciding the freaking roster. He has some influence but jason licht is responsible for cutting guys not brady.

  58. Buc king Says:

    Red when it comes to offense and recievers… it’s bradys show
    He recruited his players

  59. 941Boltsfan Says:

    Don’t be surprised to see Edelman signed.

  60. OriginalJud Says:

    Todd Bowles has the demeanor of a dry sponge, this team ain’t going to go anywhere with a head coach as dry and un inspirational as he is.

  61. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Darden is still with Bucs because he is BA’s & Licht’s wasted high pick. Nassib, I have NO idea what he’s doing on the team. I isolated on him during the Indy game, he’s clueless and useless. What’s JPP doing these days? I would take a healthy JPP over what Bucs have now, obviously excluding Shaq.