“It’s Hard To Score And Punt At The Same Time”

September 29th, 2022

Cites offensive hurdles.

Joe isn’t sure if Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich shares the same mentality, but a former NFL suit said on a recent podcast how offenses have to craft an attack plan.

Michael Lombardi, the former coffee-fetcher for Bill Walsh, Bill Belicheat and Al Davis, said on his podcast “GM Shuffle” recently that the best manageable third down is never to get in third down. Move the ball on first and second downs.

And teams that often avoid third downs are able to move the ball. Lombardi joked that offensive coordinators almost have to have a CFL mentality (teams only get three downs in the CFL per series).

So what’s going on with the Buc offense?

Leftwich was asked today from the team’s home away from home in Miami as they dodged Hurricane Beckles. Leftwich had a couple of interesting answers for a change.

Leftwich said third-and-longs are killing the Bucs. The Bucs are currently No. 28 in the NFL with a third-down conversion percentage of 28.57.

“We’re just not good enough, really, on first and second downs,” Leftwich said. “You look at last week, we are starting off at third-and-12. It’s hard to execute on third-and-12, especially when you are a banged up football team.

“When you are a banged up football team you are putting yourself in all of these third-and-long situations. Which means you are going to punt the ball most of the time. And it is hard to score and punt at the same time.”

Then Leftwich used an excuse for the offense that Joe doesn’t fully buy. Leftwich said, due to injuries, the Bucs basically have a new offense.

“When you look at a huddle, eight of our 11 were different,” Leftwich said. Eight of the 11 guys that were used to being in the huddle were different.

“So that always takes time as a group. This group has to learn how to play and win football games, together. Each year is different. It’s an automatic thing.”

Joe understands the general point, but if Leftwich is really trying to push how guys haven’t played together and that’s why the offense is real Father Dungy-like, it’s time to slam the brakes there.

Exactly how many full-participation, full-contact practices has Chris Godwin been involved in since training camp began in July? How about Julio Jones?

Joe doesn’t really recall Luke Goedeke or Robert Hainsey or Shaq Mason or Tristan Wirfs or Cam Brate or Playoff Lenny missing too many practices. Is Leftwich throwing shade at Tom Brady for taking an 11-day Bahamas vacation in August? Guys not practicing/playing together doesn’t pass the smell test at all.

Yes, Godwin seldom practiced. That’s a big loss. But other receivers didn’t get enough snaps in practice to meld with the offense? Please.

The Chiefs, who the Bucs will play on Sunday night (in Tampa or Minneapolis), have different receivers on offense. How are they doing? The Jags have a ton of new guys — and a new coach. They’re winning.

24 Responses to ““It’s Hard To Score And Punt At The Same Time””

  1. Scurvy Dogs Says:

    There are ways to scheme guys open. Earn your pay coach!

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There is no question we aren’t performing on 1st and 2nd downs…..how about more passes to backs & TEs…….and by backs I mean using different backs in the game.

    Earth to Byron….”Your first down runs are getting stuffed”

  3. geno711 Says:

    Brady had a lot of 1st down success last year passing the ball. This commitment to running the ball is hurting our successful offenses of the last two years.

    Plus, I think we miss BA’s brilliance.

  4. Panhandle Buc Says:

    BL lacks creativity! Our offense is predictable and vanilla. Never been a fan! Great play callers scheme using their players strengths and puts them in position to succeed. He is and has been our weakest link. Never been a fan…

  5. Dooley Says:

    Less Jake Camarda punts, and more Jake Camarda kick-offs. Less time the defense has to play per game, the higher the chances get of keeping them healthy. 7 games before the bye week, our offense is on the clock.

  6. HC Grover Says:

    With the Prevent Offense we may punt on 3rd down. Elimunatind 3rd down and long mistakes. A quick kick is Bowles secret weapon. But for the clock screw up we might have tied the game on a 2 point play. The prevent offense keeps it close and conts on the opponent to make a mistake.

  7. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Well, well, the first thing I notice (and everyone else in between) is that we need to curb our enthusiasm towards telegraphing the run on first down. Can the hurry up offense be implemented from the get go? Can we have whoever’s defense that we are playing be a little out of breath before we let them know what play is coming next? I am no expert but are we ever going to run the football to the right of the Quarterback? Is it hard for Tom Brady to hand off to the right? Tristen Wirfs is on that side along with Mason, which are our two best offensive lineman. Sooner rather than latter this Defense might start giving up points so to compliment that we need to score points, touchdowns, not field goals. Succop might get on a crap streak and then we are doomed. Confidence, confidence is and should be out motto. Start scoring and we will put a streak together, all it takes is a few passes on first down and we will be ready to RUMBLE!!

  8. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Logan Ryan had a mic on during the Packers game, and he was on the bench and said “put the ball in Brady’s hands.” There’s a video out there on social media. He’s exactly right! We need to throw more on first down.

    I like Leftwich, and I thought he deserved a chance to interview for a head coaching job. I do wonder if Trevor Lawrence and Jax would have as much success as they have now with Leftwich instead of Doug Pederson.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF … ‘Earth to Byron….”Your first down runs are getting stuffed”.

    No doubt in my mind that BL lacks creativity like Panhandle Buc says, but I wonder if it might not be more than that. First down runs getting stuffed are often hard to recover from, and especially when there are offensive penalties involved. And I’ll agree with BL that we have so many new moving parts in our offense that that has to impact our offense’s performance.

    Nonetheless, each game was quite different in terms of 1st down play selection.

    o Dallas game: Bucs had 28 first down chances. We passed on 10 & ran on 18 (that includes 1 kneeldown). 8 of the runs were outside. Bucs had a 54.1% run-pass ratio that game.

    o New Orleans game: Bucs had 25 first down chances. We passed on 6 & ran on 19 (that includes 2 kneeldowns). Only 4 of the runs were outside. Bucs had a 46.2% run-pass ratio that game.

    o Green Bay game: Bucs had 30 first down chances. We passed on 21 (to include 2 by penalties on Packers) and ran on 9 (to include 1 fumble on attempted run). Bucs had a 23.7% run-pass ratio that game.

    The only game of the 3 that we fell behind in was the Green Bay game. We controlled those games with the run (average 50% run-pass ratio). Fell behind in the Green Bay game, abandoned the run and went predominantly pass to try to catch up, but lost.

    In that game, Lenny ran it 6 times for 22 yds (3.7 YPC), but 2 of them were stuffed (yup, the only 2 up the middle). So he averaged 5.5 YPC on the other 4 runs on 1st down (not too shabby). Sounds like run-blocking on the middle runs was deficient. Maybe shouldn’t run there?

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    My support for Leftwich is waning.

    I *wanted* to believe Arians when he claimed the offense the last two seasons was Leftwich.

    I now have serious doubts.

    If something doesn’t change ASAP, Leftwich is blowing his chance of getting a HC gig elsewhere.

    Yeah. yeah, injuries and all that. I still don’t see scheme or playcalling that fits the situation.

    Lack of scheme, execution and game plan could also explain why Brady does not seem “all-in” as before.

    Three games start to represent a trend. And the O was poor vs. Dallas when the team was not that banged up at WR.

  11. Redeemer Says:

    Pewter, I’ve been calling for more hurry up also. Stick Brady in the gun 5 wide, and let him find the open man. It prevents defensive substitutions, and makes it harder to communicate. When the Patriots had trouble on offense, the hurry up always helped. Brady would usually have a running back that he either motioned into the backfield, or kept wide. I’m not advocating a frenetic pace throughout the game. But they could certainly sprinkle it in.

  12. HC Grover Says:

    @ Defense rules…
    U are getting the gist of the Bowles Prevent Offense.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    HC Grover … Why do so many want to have it both ways? One minute it’s BA’s offensive scheme. Next minute it’s BL’s scheme. Then it’s Tom Brady’s. Now it belongs to Todd Bowles. I’m actually surprised no one has credited it to Clyde Christiansen yet.

    Seems to me that the Bucs won the first 2 games with an average run-pass ratio of roughly 50%. Seems to me also that we lost the third game with an average run-pass ratio of less than 25%. There seems to be some significant differences in our attack game-to-game. Please tell me WHICH attack scheme is the one you’ve labeled ‘Bowles Prevent Offense’.

  14. gotbbucs Says:

    @ Defense Rules

    Now the next piece to that puzzle is what formations are they running out of?

    I’m of the opinion that Leftwich tries to run the ball way too much out of a tight packed formation. I’d rather get defenders out of the box and give the o-line a fighting chance. Motioning recievers inside to block just creates one more guy to run around and one more defender in the box if it’s man coverage.
    Goal line formations on the 50 yard line on a 1st and 10 down/distance is idiotic.

  15. FIRE Leftwich Says:

    F**k this CLOWN BL

    (say my name)

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    gotbbucs … ‘Now the next piece to that puzzle is what formations are they running out of?’

    I wish there was a way to tell that from stats, but there isn’t (none that I’ve found anyways). But you’re exactly right, certain formations seem to be dead giveaways. I’d bet that to guys who study game film for hours like defenders have to, they see lots of ‘tells’. Certain formations probably make RBs cringe, knowing that the rate of success is minimal out of those against certain opponents.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    gotbbucs … Forgot to mention, running on 1-and-10 isn’t nearly as frustrating as running on 3rd-and-2 or less AND failing to make the 1st down.

    Against Dallas, we had 4 situations of 3rd-and-2 (or less). We ran on all 4. Made a 1st down on 3 of them. On one we ran Fournette between the tackles; got stuffed. On the other 3 we ran around the end; made a 1st down on all 3.

    Against New Orleans, we had 2 situations of 3rd-and-2 (or less). We ran on both, but screwed up both of them. On one, TB12 fumbled the snap at Saints 26 yd line & Saints recovered. On the other Fournette was stuffed on a 3rd-and-1 (we made it on 4th down … thanks to a penalty on New Orleans).

    Against Green Bay, we had 3 situations of 3rd-and-2 (or less). We ran on 2 of them, both between the guards. On one, Lenny got stuffed for no gain, but we went for it on 4th down and made it (by passing). On the other, Bucs made the 1st down by running Lenny up the middle. On the 3rd one (with 18 seconds left at the GB 1 yd line), TB12 passed to Gage for the TD.

    So all-in-all we had 9 situations of 3rd-and-2 or less and ran on 8 of them (and were successful on 4 of those). Passed on 1 and scored a TD. I guess that 5-for-9 isn’t terrible, but on the 4 we didn’t make it on, there was an aborted snap on 1 and we ran between the tackles on the other 3. Put another way, we only made a 1st down on 1-of-the 5 times we ran between the tackles. Wondering now if that might tell us something about our OLine’s ability to win their 1-on-1 battles in those situations.

  18. Goatfarmer Says:

    Boron the Moron. I’m done with him. Without BA his pudliness is exposed.

  19. Goatfarmer Says:

    And DR – between the tackles is exposed as you pointed out. Without Donnie, running wide left isn’t working very well. And Boron doesn’t run right. Where the best O-lineman is.



  20. Bucfan Says:

    Hope Lefty gets the next head coaching that becomes available THIS season.

  21. Listnfrmafar Says:

    How about you don’t call a double reverse pass with only 3 offensive starters and running up the middle on 1st & 20 doesn’t help your 3rd down & long problem. High school playback. I am surprised Brady goes along with it. I guess he can only deal with one premadona at a time. I’m not feeling the Bowles/BL holier than thou attitudes. They’re not that good at their jobs.

  22. Eckwood Says:

    Arians was great about backing up from situations and Giving the Facts or very close to what all can’t truthfully , when brought forward ignore !! He did that for the whole staff and players like it or not !! Can Lefty and Todd have that same accurate confident clarity / understood message ?? They def have more talent ( less current o line ) but are they in leadership facts mode or the norm players friend excuse mode ??? Its kinda like this : Hey Num Nut !! It’s not what your saying it’s what’s being Heard !! …….. BTW they don’t teach that at Yale or Harvard !!

  23. Wild Bill Says:

    Jeez everybody in the NFL knows the Bucs are going to run on every first down unless they are way behind in the second half. They need to keep defenses honest and mix things up! Now opponents are loading the box on first down everytime! Fournette is getting beaten up fighting for measly first down yards. Head coach needs to get on the offense coach to mix things up.

  24. bigdaddio Says:

    Personel matters here too. If we are playing WR4-5-6 defenses can play more aggressively and not get hurt as bad. You load up the box with Evans and Jones in the game its a bit dicey.

    I don’t want to abandon the run but we have to have more creativity in run plays. Mix up inside outside and formations. Just going jumbo and clogging the middle with bodies on 1st down leads to a lot of 2nd and 8.