Five Things

October 24th, 2022

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If this rotten NFC South wasn’t as horrible as it is, Joe would be calling for a firesale this morning to load up on draft picks to go get Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. Alas, the 3-4 Bucs are tied with the Dixie Chicks in first place. Imagine. So let’s get going on this grim Monday.

Offense Circling The Drain With Byron Leftwich

If Todd Bowles won’t do it, then someone above Bowles’ head on the organizational totem pole at One Bucs Palace will. Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is simply overwhelmed, overmatched and over his head as this team’s play-caller.

Joe was almost done with Leftwich after he horrendously and irresponsibly botched the gameplan against the Steelers. Joe was hoping maybe, just maybe, Leftwich learned from his mistakes. He suggested he was open to change in his weekly presser last week.

Man, was Joe conned.

On the very first play from scrimmage yesterday, what does Leftwich do? He calls his favorite play: Leonard Fournette up the middle. It was as if Leftwich was giving the middle finger to everyone criticizing him for his fetish for running up the middle (especially on first downs).

This guy Leftwich ain’t gonna change.

Joe’s last hope for Leftwich came early in the third quarter. Leftwich already had benched struggling left guard Goedeke with Nick Leverett. Of course, Leftwich was going to run up the middle no matter how many GD times it goes nowhere. So Leftwich started handing the ball off to Rachaad White, not Playoff Lenny.

And for once, the Bucs were getting positive yards. White ran up the middle for 11 and 6 yards. Even Playoff Lenny had a run up the middle for nine yards.

Alright, it seems the Bucs have a personnel combo worthy of running Leftwich’s favorite play. Most reasonable coaches would at best keep this play and personnel grouping in their back pocket for a needed important play. Most other reasonable coaches would/could see the Bucs finally gaining meaningful yards up the middle with a new personnel grouping.

But Leftwich is not a reasonable play-caller.

To open the second half, Goedeke was back out there at left guard. Odd, but OK. Usually, guys aren’t benched for two or three series unless they are dinged up.

On the Bucs’ second possession of the second half, a third-and-one call sent Playoff Lenny up the middle behind Goedeke. Fail. Fourth down.

(The Bucs went for it on fourth down with a run to the right side and it sure seemed to Joe that Playoff Lenny ducked and curled up quickly.)

And only minutes prior were the Bucs, with Leverett at left guard, getting chunks of yardage with runs up the middle. Again, two of them were from White.

After that Fournette fail, Joe closed the door on any hope of Leftwich adjusting. This was the seventh game. That run up the middle has gotten nothing all season but a play here or there. You would think at some point in Week 7, Leftwich would rub his chin and say, ‘Maybe having Lenny run up the middle with Goedeke on the field is a wasted play?’

Nope, not Leftwich.

Unless Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians come down from the press box, puts a headset on, and takes over the offense, this offense will not adjust and will not improve so long as Leftwich has full control of it. Joe has seen enough.

If Leftwich was capable of adjusting, he would have done so by now. Tell Joe where the offense has improved since Week 1. It hasn’t. In fact, it’s grown worse against two bottom-feeder teams.

And that, folks, is a direct reflection of poor coaching.

The Bucs have scored two touchdowns in the past 10 quarters of football against three teams with losing records. For a team with Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Playoff Lenny, Tristan Wirfs, Donovan Smith and Shaq Mason, that is a fireable offense.

Joe cannot fathom how much cash Leftwich is costing Team Glazer right about now.

An XFL Quarterback Knows Better

Riddle me this, Batman:

With the Steelers’ secondary decimated by injuries, with All-Pro pass rusher T.J. Watt out, the Bucs (Leftwich!) decided the best way to attack the Steelers was to run, run, run and run some more? Pretty irresponsible, right?

Well, an XFL all-star knew better.

Yesterday when Antoine Winfield had his bell rung after making a terrific tackle, that left the Bucs without three starters in the secondary. Logan Ryan is on injured reserve. Carlton Davis missed yesterday with a hip injury.

Did anyone notice what Stinking Panthers’ fourth-string quarterback P.J. Walker did? He started testing the Bucs’ secondary.

Imagine that. A fourth-string quarterback, an XFL refugee no less, and his offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo (!) knew this was common sense. And the Panthers chewed up rookie cornerback starter Zyon McCollum throughout the game as he filled in for Davis.

Leftwich last week? What’s the point of testing backups with your superior talent advantage when you can run Playoff Lenny up the middle for a one-yard loss?

Defense Wasn’t Great, But…

Joe sees more than a few folks hollering about the Bucs defense and how it let the team down yesterday. Joe cannot kill the defense.

Yeah, they got burned. But you know what, the Bucs in these last two horrific losses have given up 41 points. So round that up to 21 points each game.

Do you mean to tell Joe that an offense with Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Playoff Lenny shouldn’t be able to put up 21 points on garbage defenses?

No sir. The defense did enough for the Bucs to win.

It’s not the defense’s fault that the offense has tuned out Leftwich. It’s not the defense’s fault Leftwich cannot scheme ways to utilize his crazy talent. It’s not the defense’s fault Leftwich appears fully over his head without Arians to hold his hand.

Are The Bucs The Worst In The NFL?

This is not hyperbole. This isn’t a hot take. Joe really wants to know.

As of this morning, Oct. 24, are the Bucs the worst team in the NFL? Sure, the Bucs are 3-4 and there are teams with worse records. But please point out to Joe who is playing worse.

The Bucs — with a loaded offense — have scored two touchdowns in the past 10 quarters. They nearly gagged away a home win over the Dixie Chicks, spared by one of the worst roughing-the-passer calls you will ever see.

The Bucs lost to the Steelers when any half-arsed team would have lit up their practice squad secondary.

The Bucs followed that up with no touchdowns against a team that just fired its coach, shipped off their its player, traded away another receiver (the pair had accounted for 40 percent of the Panthers’ offense) and is in the middle of a fire sale quarterbacked by an XFL refugee of a fourth-string quarterback.

The Bucs have also lost four of their last five games and have yet to score more than 21 points in a win. In fact, the Bucs have only scored more than 21 once and that was in a loss to the Chiefs.

You tell Joe who is playing worse right now.

What we are witnessing with the Bucs offense is the lousy Lovie Smith syndrome. Never ever underestimate how bad coaching can drag down a team. That’s what is happening to the offense.

Can’t Blame Turnovers

Yeah, the offense is bad. But imagine how bad it would be if the Bucs were committing turnovers.

The Bucs have done an excellent job care of the ball. unfortunately, that hasn’t turned into points.

The past three games, the Bucs have not turned it over once. The bad news is the Bucs’ defense hasn’t forced a turnover in the last three games either.

Since beginning this slide of losing four of five games, the Bucs have lost two fumbles against the Packers and two against the Chiefs. That’s been the last of their turnovers.

So Leftwich’s offense is so bad, it’s been playing mistake-free football and still cannot score.

(Fun fact: If Leftwich somehow survives to return as offensive coordinator next year, just think: In roughly 10 months we will get to see Leftwich craft an offense for Kyle Trask.)

40 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. Hodad Says:

    Yeah Joe this is a loaded roster. Evans, and Godwin are two very good recievers. Niether are burners who can take the top off a defense. The rest, Miller, Gage, Periman, Darden have been a joke. Calling them talented would be a stretch. Lenny, good back, but he can’t keep a defense honest, he ain’t running one in from 80 yards out. After him we have White. No change of pace back, who can also catch, and stress a defense, the Chiefs, and Bills have three of them. Tight ends? No Kelce’s in our bunch. QB, never a threat to run, easy to rattle. Where’s this scary talented loaded roster Joe? I don’t see it. I see an old brittle team that lacks elite speed, and to make things worse playing with no disire.

  2. steele Says:

    There is nothing wrong with smashmouth. There is nothing wrong with a short passing offense. IF YOU HAVE THE TOOLS FOR IT. If you do it creatively, not stupidly and predictably. There is nothing wrong with imposing seemingly too simple offense and defense IF YOU HAVE THE TOOLS FOR IT. Motivated, nasty, physically superior players, led by ruthless coaches and coordinators.

    Bucs have none of these right now.

    It’s hard to even tell what this team does well at the moment. Exactly what should be emphasized, with this bunch? What is its identity?

  3. BucsBro Says:

    I’m starting to think Cole Beasley retired because he realized the coaching on the team was hopeless and he would not be used properly. He was probably right if that’s what he thought.

    Unfortunately, Arians could not save us either. The personnel on the team is not made for Risk It playing. At least not the healthy talent. Julio on the shelf, Gronk gone, AB gone, Godwin not up to par yet, Gage disappointing, the offensive line not blocking properly, and so forth.

    Contrary to what Ira keeps pushing, playing check down ball and reduce-turnovers-first is the only way this compromised team has any shot at winning at the moment.

    Brady is getting hit a lot more than he should. And the Risk It plays aren’t paying off, as seen with Evans’ drop or the ridiculous incompletion off the call to go for like 25 yards on 3rd and 2 against the Panthers. That’s stupid playcalling, especially when you’ve shown you can make a 3 yard slant.

    There are a couple of problems with Risk It playcalling. First, the quarterback takes a lot of hits. Ask Carlson Palmer about that. Second, you’re more prone to turnovers. Third, your defense ends up on the field a lot more because drives are short in duration (even if you score). Thus, your defense can wear down faster.

    What this team needs, as a coach and as an offensive coordinator, is someone like Sean Payton or Josh McDaniels. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Payton was supposedly attached to Brady in the Miami rumors.

    Byron is not there, if he’ll ever get there. He has no conviction (except stubbornness) in his play calling, he can’t adapt, and he and Brady just don’t seem on the same page. It’s not going to work. If Bowles and Byron stay in place, this seems for sure Brady’s last year in Tampa.

    Arians did a good job with the offense, even if he and Brady didn’t see eye-to-eye. But that was with Gronk, AB, Healthy Godwin and a better offensive line. Also Scotty Miller was better in the past, too.

    By all means, bring back Arians over Byron. That would be an instant upgrade. But don’t expect Risk It to solve the problems. It’s just not there right now, the ability to do that style.

    If people want to understand more about the Bucs problems, I would suggest watching a guy on Youtube (I’m not him; not plugging my own stuff here) named Jackson Krueger. He gets the All-22 film stuff and he knows how to break it down. He’ll run and re-run plays and point out where assignments were missed, how schemes worked/failed, etc. Seeing that footage can help make sense of what is taking place.

    For now, we’ve got to stop the bleeding. There is more than enough footage for Byron to see what works and what does not. Run more hurry up, use a lead blocker with Lenny, use White more, use more play action, use more pre-snap movement, etc. We’re still going to have trouble in the red zone, but we should be able to move the ball much better than we have.

    It’s up to Bowles to motivate the defense and the team. Byron has to fix the offense, but Bowles must get the team’s head fully in the game.

    Brady is Brady. I’m not worried about him. He’s only still playing at 45 because he wants another ring. He’s motivated. He’s not the guy to worry about. Younger guys who got paid and already feel ok because they have 1 ring are the issue, along with the coaching.

  4. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    To answer your question, right note the Bucs are the worst in the nfl. E we just lost to the two worst teams in the nfl badly. By default that puts us in the argument. I will argue that perhaps the only thing worse than our play calling is play design. We don’t have plays designed to beat zone, plays to beat man coverage. No picks or rubs. Our pass routes are goes or comebacks. Haven’t seen but 1 slant all year. The reason we never see a receiver with separation is because we don’t design plays to get a guy open like every other team in the nfl does.

  5. AKicknTheBucNuts Says:

    I pray the Glazer Boys read this article.

  6. Stan the man Says:

    I was talking to my football buddies after B.A. retired/stepped down. I explained to them with coach Bowles being named Head coach. No playoffs for our bucs this upcoming year they all said I lost my mind no way. I gave my reason as being coach Bowles as a defensive coordinator there is non better love the guy,as a head coach I knew he would in over his head from passed experiences. Leftwich had B.A. to tell him I like that call or no we are never putting in that play again. I don’t think the offenses player believe in Leftwich I just don’t see the fire in them we did last year. We all know some people are made to be coordinators and some people are head coaches. Leftwich without B.A is neither, Bowles is the best damn defensive coordinator in the league. In my opinion it is that simple just think about what has changed.

  7. jehzsa Says:

    Looking at the bright side, ain’t you glad Bowles and Leftwich are not running the country?

  8. Bob in valrico Says:

    Bowles spoke recently about toughness. In this last game Mental toughness
    showed its ugly head. The one thing the team seems to be lacking is the ability
    to overcome its mistakes. Lenny seems to have lost his ability to make first downs and the short passing game that Brady depends on has not been as effective, might just be because teams will let that happen all day, because when push comes to shove we are not converting enough third downs after
    these completions that are often short of the sticks. We need a little more air under these passes to protect our receivers and move the chains.


  9. gotbbucs Says:

    There’s not one single player performing better than they were last year. Not one. There’s not one single player playing at an even level to what they were last year. That is damning to a coaching staff.

  10. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Shades of Tony Dungy/Mike Shula going on here and we know how that turned out.

  11. Christina olive Says:

    Losing JPP and SUH proved they were the real motivators of this D. Letting both personality’s walk was the biggest mistake of the season. And Vita isn’t the same without Suh.

  12. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    “… the Panthers chewed up rookie cornerback starter Zyon McCollum…”

    He absolutely blew his contain assignment on play action flares and sweeps. Fundamentally unsound.

  13. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    “If Leftwich somehow survives to return as offensive coordinator next year…”

    At this point, we are either going to commit to “all-in,” or we are going to clean house. You simply cannot go all-in with Leftfoot. If they do, it’s organizational suicide to waste the talent we currently have, and Leftfoot has no business surviving to week eight, never mind next year.

  14. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    No passes for Jason Licht here

    Licht has FAILED MISERABLY , the Bucs simply do NOT have the horses on the Oline or the Dline.

    Ira and JOe need to start applying some VERY DIRECT pressure to Mr. Licht and ask the questions that need to be asked in a public forum:

    ” It is patently obvious Jason that the Bucs are in DIRE need of help on the line both sides , so who are you going to sign?” “Are you talking to Suh or JC Tretter , and if not WHY NOT?”

    Media has a RESPONSIBILITY to ask these questions.

  15. SB~LV Says:

    Sean Payton

  16. Four Tuddy Says:

    Y’all really need to lay off Leftwich and Bowles. I was at the game yesterday, Brady was throwing so many balls in the dirt. He’s throwing little screen passes every play. Low balls, high balls… like I get that there has to be a fall guy other than Brady, but it just looks a little weird that now it’s a manhunt for these guys. They aren’t playing and damn sure aren’t blocking. Brady had a clean pocket many times yesterday, with a few people open and he missed them. So bottom line if you wanna come at these guys so hard, spread it where it needs to be. Just because the guy won us a Super Bowl huh, well Leftwich and Bowles won us a Super Bowl as well. Maybe the guys age is catching up to him along with the coaching.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    Hodad … I agree with you that calling this roster talented would be a stretch right now. A big stretch actually. Fans & media always want ‘simple solutions’. Fire this coach or add this one player and voila, we’ll be Super Bowl champs once again. It just doesn’t work that way though, and all I keep seeing is a bunch of emotional comments on the part of most JBFers & media.

    It all starts in the trenches IMO; if those suck, a team won’t win anything. We’ve seen what happens when the beasts in the defensive trench turn out to be puddy tats; opponents run through them like a knife through butter. When you give up 173 rushing yards to the Panthers, your DLine is a bunch of puddy tats.

    Their softness is only exceeded by that of our OLine IMO. It was really hard to watch that group try to block the Panthers’ DLine yesterday. Far too often they lost the 1-on-1 battles. And they’re not at all playing like a unit; like I said, hard to watch. Their ineptitude was reflected in our incompetent run game & in Brady not being able to move around in the pocket (actually all too often there was no pocket).

    We’ve got a number of other problems to be sure (injuries in several position groups, inexperienced TEs, etc) but even those pale in comparison to the unimaginative coaching that we’re all seeing right now. Coaching doesn’t seem to even be trying to compensate for personnel problems, etc, and I think that’s got the players very frustrated right now. When we fell behind even 14-3, I doubt any of them truly felt that Tom Brady could bring them back. The air had gone out of their sails by that point.

  18. Bobby M. Says:

    This defense is built to attack with leads, not to shutdown offenses for complete games. They’ve done a decent job but you can see they tire at the end of games. I’m convinced this is part of the rationale to run the ball regardless of the results.

  19. #8 Says:

    All starts in the trenches.
    If Jensen comes back soon miraculously, then perhaps there is life. The O cannot function with zero time to let plays develop with a statue at QB. Especially when the enemy knows we cannot run (see Jensen).
    Add Suh.
    Thats some juice on both sides.
    Help us Obi-Wan Suhnobi.

  20. HC Grover Says:

    The Carolina Scrubs looked to be sharp. disciplined, and well coached. The Bucs looked confused, sloppy, and lost. Carolina was far and away the better team. Bowles had his normal Blunders of game managing and planning complimented by his sidekick Lefty. It was Bowles prevent game plan executed perfectly by his team. It is proof that this bunch of losers is not a one off or just a bad day. The conclusion is a fail of coaching the players from top to bottom. It is over for this team unless the owners take instant drastic action and clean house. Otherwise get your old trusty head bag out of the closet for deployment on Thursday Night at the half.

  21. Ghost of Tom Brady Says:

    Does anyone still think that whole thing about Arian’s red pen was BS?

  22. Bucsfanman Says:

    “Uninspired” and “unimaginative” are the best two words to use to describe this team’s play yesterday.

    I’ve half-defended Leftwich at times but no more. I’ve seen better play-calling at the college level and I’m a Hokies fan! That should tell you how high that bar is!

    This team is flat out getting out-coached in every game. That’s the bottom line.

  23. Razor Ramone Says:

    Start courting Payton, they’ll have to overpay him, he’s a smug grinning pr!ck, but he will have the offense humming.

  24. HC Grover Says:

    Before the game yesterday I made my prediction. ‘only the Bucs can beat The Bucs against the Carolina Scrubs’….well the Bucs beat the Bucs.

  25. Greg Says:

    Seems like Arians “red pen” was actually working. Leftwich was passed over by his Jaguars for a reason, they saw what we are currently feeling. He needs help or needs to go.

  26. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Defense Rules Says:
    “When you give up 173 rushing yards to the Panthers, your DLine is a bunch of puddy tats.”

    Not so sure that was all on the DL. It sure looked like lot of those yards came when Zion was responsible for outside contain, and he was getting sucked in and blew it. Poor fundamentals.

  27. Roc Says:

    Really Joe Defense did enough

    Come on

    A bottom Panthers Team Ran all over the Bucs D , a Fouth Stting No Named QB threw and had a 120 QB rating against the Bucs D

    AND JOE STATES “ They did enough”

  28. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Is coaching going to “magically” create running lanes where there are none.Is coaching going to “magically create more time to throw? Bucs are the WORST rushing team in the NFL at 3.0 per and only personnel changes will create better blocking-that is Jason Lichts job-so do it.
    Is coaching going to enable our defensive line to stop the run or get more pressure? No it will not , but personnel change will-that is Jason Lichts’ job-so do it.
    SIGN SUH and JC TRETTER like you should have months ago Jason Licht or it will be your head on the chopping block at year end along with everyone else.

  29. Cobraboy Says:

    When you lose to the two worst teams in thr NFL, you are the worst team

    Thanks, Todd & Byron

  30. tampabuscsbro Says:

    Roc the offense should be able to put up 21+ on the panthers but couldn’t score a touchdown due to Byron being the biggest clown in the league and being mentally soft or….something I’m not sure.

    If the defense wasn’t on the field so much the rushing may not have happened.

  31. Ed Says:

    A defensive line that can’t make a tackle or blow up a running play is a worthless defensive line. Devin White was awful yesterday. Barrett has done nothing vs 2 last place teams in a row. Vea made a sack but doesn’t stuff the run anymore.

    Panther’s receivers running wide open.

    Evan’s dropping balls, Godwin isn’t fast anymore. Fournette isn’t running tough like he did in Dallas. Brady throwing some darts but some of his throws are too high or too low. Gage stopping on a pattern near goal line.

    The team is playing awful and it starts with the head guy as he isn’t getting through to his team. How does this thing get turned around is my question.

  32. Statistically Insignificant Reader Says:

    I am no exballer and suffered from LOFT since birth, but this is getting very painful to watch. Players seem disinterested, coaching doesn’t have the answers. Panthers played better without the fired head coach. Lucky for the Bucs McAffrey was traded or it would have been worse. If Glazers even thinking of a changing head coach they better start now. Next year will bring a drive of coaching changes again. What the Hell, go get Sean Payton. Yes he is a prick but at least he will be OUR prick.
    Enough of my rambling. I am still pissed.

  33. WTFBucFan Says:

    The Jags ownership must be experiencing a combination of laughing their ass off and breathing a sigh of relief since dodging a bullet by not hiring Leftwich last year. It’s a shame that arrogant moron demanded to have control over the organization’s GM which caused the Jags to turn him down. Now we’re stuck with this substandard OC which if the Bucs fire him would put both Todd Bowles and BA between a rock and hard place. Sadly, I can’t think of any NFL team looking for an idot OC to hire.

    It’s awful that Brady chose the Bucs and a possible Super Bowl ring over his marriage and has Leftwich leaving him with what looks to be a losing season in what is probably his last year in the NFL.

  34. Manny Says:

    Heres my take. Its the coaching. Brady is fine. The dude hasnt thrown a pic since week one. Bring back suh, gronk, and fire bowles right away. Ive never seen such an unmotivated coach in my life. You need a gutsy coach like arians or sean payton. This team can turn it around but the front office is too afraid to make firings because they dont want to hurt anyones feelings. If you want to win yoou have to make those hard choices. How does a team who last year went 13-4 with so many injuries all year long, especially the secondary and almost went to the nfc title all of a sudden go 3-4 and can barely score 20 points in a game. They were scoring 30 ppg almost last year. We are healthier this year. Its the coaching and i really think brady is fine. Yall are so quick to call out brady and send him packing. Everything hes done for yall! Let them bench him and if you think the bucs suck now, just wait!

  35. AbucAway Says:

    I don’t think the Glazers will be firing any coach, at least, not until the end of the season. They could, but, they won’t for obvious reasons. If Bowels doesn’t have the balls to replace his OC, then the Glazers need to force JL to put in place an ‘assistant’ that replaces ol Lefty in the areas that we are so lacking. And if Lefty doesn’t like it, he is welcome to quit. It would be very welcome, actually.

  36. Capt.Tim Says:

    We cant block, cant tackle.
    Cant win

  37. WillieG Says:

    If Build Back Better was a football team…..

  38. Bucamania Says:

    Jets fans were trying to tell us that Bowles is a terrible head coach.

    We didn’t listen.

  39. unbelievable Says:

    (Fun fact: If Leftwich somehow survives to return as offensive coordinator next year, just think: In roughly 10 months we will get to see Leftwich craft an offense for Kyle Trask.)


    Leftwich doesn’t know how to craft an offense, he never has.

  40. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    WillieG Says:
    October 24th, 2022 at 10:50 am
    If Build Back Better was a football team…..

    All we need is a trillion dollar emergency spending bill to save the “too big to fail” league from the scamdemic.