“I Don’t Believe Lenny Is The Problem With Our Short Yardage”

October 25th, 2022


Failing Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich dug his heels in and stuck up for Playoff Lenny.

Playoff Lenny is having a rough year. The Bucs’ run game hasn’t gotten really on track since Week 1 and Playoff Lenny has been a victim of that. And there seems to be evidence that Playoff Lenny shouldn’t be fed the rock so much in short-yardage situations.

Today, Leftwich was informed that Rachaad White, when running on third and fourth downs, has converted all four of his attempts. Playoff Lenny entering last week’s game was running at 33 percent conversion, three of nine attempts, worst in the NFL.

So Leftwich was asked why lean on Playoff Lenny when he only needs a yard. Leftwich denied Playoff Lenny is the culprit.

“Lenny hasn’t been the problem on those,” Leftwich said. “We did a better collective job on those plays [with White running].”

Leftwich was then reminded that both Playoff Lenny and White have run behind the very same offensive line. Leftwich still waved off the evidence.

“I don’t believe Lenny is the problem with our short yardage,” Leftwich said.

This is related to Joe’s final straw of having Leftwich as offensive coordinator: Last week against the Stinking Panthers after left guard Luke Goedeke was benched for Nick Leverett, White piled up nice runs on Leftwich’s signature play: running straight up the gut.

Despite having success up the middle with Leverett blocking, Leftwich put Goedeke back in the game. Soon after when the Bucs had a third-and-one, Leftwich reverted to his favorite play again in a personnel grouping that has proven to struggle: Lenny running behind Goedeke up the middle.

And guess what happened? All together now: The Bucs failed.

And that’s why Joe’s done with Leftwich. Even when there are solutions right in front of his eyes, he doesn’t adjust or change.

Joe has no faith Leftwich is capable of fixing this offense.

46 Responses to ““I Don’t Believe Lenny Is The Problem With Our Short Yardage””

  1. Beej Says:

    I forget where I read it, but those plays with Nick Leverett and White were not against a stacked box, they were back in pass protection

  2. Red Skeleton Says:

    I Agree with him in that Lenny is NOT the problem. I agree with Joe that Leftwich may be most of the problem. White hasn’t carried when the 1 yard run was needed on 3rd or 4th down. When the back gets the ball and the defender ..or 2 have their grubby little hands on the RB 4 or 5 yards behind the line I cant blame Lenny or White.

  3. Rod Munch Says:

    Who watches the tape and actually thinks any of the Bucs running backs are the problem? Are they missing holes? Are they not reading the plays right? Or is the defense properly guessing the ultra predictable play calling by Leftwich and run blitzing and getting 3 defenders in the Bucs backfield before the RB is even at the line of scrimmage?

  4. Your Mom Says:

    pretty small sample sizes to judge effectiveness

    still, try something different Byron. And if it works, make them prove they can stop it before giving up on it.

  5. captk Says:

    This article is so arrognant. A journalist insisting they know more than a NFL Football coach, although one that needs to move on.

  6. Statisticly Insignificant Reader Says:

    WTF. That all I have to say about that. Credit to Forest Gump

  7. Jack Sparrow Says:

    We all know Lenny is not the problem, Byron is the main problem

  8. sasquatch Says:

    I’m hoping he’s fired Friday morning after this team receives an epic buttkicking on Thursday night.

  9. Rod Munch Says:

    Beej Says:
    October 25th, 2022 at 3:56 pm
    I forget where I read it, but those plays with Nick Leverett and White were not against a stacked box, they were back in pass protection


    I was the one that was pointing that out. The nice runs by White were on 2nd down – not on 1st down, not on 3rd and short, in both situations opposing teams have been, in obvious run situations, stacking the line and hitting the RBs in the backfield.

    I have a ton of confidence in White and think he’s going to end up being a star, but there’s nothing White is doing that is special, he’s just getting carries in non-obvious run situations, which means catching teams off guard. When Lenny gets the ball, it’s almost always in obvious running situations, and the Bucs offensive line is not good enough to run when the other team is expecting it.

  10. D-Rok Says:

    The only play I’ve seen recently where the ball-carrier did a poor job was that jet sweep by Darden.

    Lenny is an interesting back and he rarely seems to stick his head in a pile and try to drive forward. He does that often when in space on the perimeter.

    It’s plain to see for even casuals the line isn’t blocking well on runs. Heck, I paused a run, grabbed my wife who doesn’t know much about football except enduring my highs and lows as a fan…I showed her a 4-yard loss and asked her if she thought Lenny wasn’t fighting or did his blockers not block for him? Her answer was a resounding, “Well, there were 3 bad guys on him instantly. He had no chance to get past the blue line.” (LOS). I know it’s a ridiculous story, but if my wife can plainly see the blocking wasn’t adequate, well…

    Biggest need is better run blocking.

  11. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Red

    I agree. Lenny is not the problem with this offense.

    After watching the Carolina game again I noticed that TB12 is having some accuracy issues – partially due to the offensive line struggling.

    The Bucs are 4 for 45 on 3rd down and 7 or more… That is deplorable…

  12. Joe Says:

    This article is so arrognant. A journalist insisting they know more than a NFL Football coach, although one that needs to move on.

    Sure. And Joe is confident Mike Smith and Lovie Smith and Mike Sullivan knew a helluva lot more football than Joe. Should the Bucs bring those guys back?

    Joe is quite confident Byron Leftwich knows more about football than Joe. Hell, he played in the NFL. But that’s not the point.

    Please point out where Joe is wrong in his analysis that Leftwich is doing a horrible job.

  13. PSL Bob Says:

    Leftwich said “I don’t believe Lenny is the problem with our short yardage.” He’s absolutely right, Lenny’s not the problem, Leftwich is. No creativity whatsoever. If it’s so easy for us Bucs fans to figure out what play is coming next, I imagine opposing coaches have no problem either.

  14. Rod Munch Says:

    Marine Buc – Brady is on pace for a career low INTs, which is why I don’t think he’s having any real accuracy issues. Yes, he does seem to not be ultra accurate, and he’s throwing into the ground a bit, but I wonder how many of those plays he’s bailing on because he knows it’s a garbage play from Leftwich, he’s reading the field (faster than anyone else alive) and see’s there’s no options so he’s bailing early. If he was having legit accuracy issues, like related to his arm, you’d expect to see turnovers, and those just aren’t happening.

    Just something to consider.

  15. Quiet Chaos Says:

    He’s not the problem. Its the playcalling and blocking. With poor blocking the only reasonable cure is a RB with more speed to shoot through when a small window does open. They aren’t open long enough (if ever) for Lenny to get up to speed.

  16. Bucanero Says:

    “Collective job” is the way to blur individual responsibility. Would have liked at least the use of the singular first person instead of the plural third.

  17. Smashsquatch Says:

    Lefty reminds of Dungy, stubborn to the core. Dungy was responsible for his own demise, and admitted as much after he left. Only Byron can save Byron.

  18. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Rod

    It’s not the low “throw away” passes that really bug me.

    It’s the wide open receivers he is throwing high and a bit left or right…

    Again – I noticed it more against Carolina then previous games.

    Perhaps his hand is hurting more than we know.

  19. JA Says:

    Lenny runs hard when the room is there. But he is not a blast forward guy. He’s more of, per Tiny Tim, a ‘tiptoe through the tulips’ runner. Can’t do that on short yardage Le’veon Bell had success with that style for a short time, but I can’t think of too many more..
    Whatever happened to players leaping over the pile when it’s all stacked together like an oversized mole hill?

  20. Nicky666 Says:

    While I do agree with your analysis that lefty hasn’t made necessary adjustments all year in terms of the run game – in this interview it seemed like he was trying not to single out Lenny simply because he knows calling Lenny out would be awful for his morale not to mention the potential for locker room drama – Lenny definetly isn’t playing how were all used to seeing but he has been running behind stacked boxes & patchwork offensive line all year – I personally don’t feel like he’s the sole problem with our run game – as always GO BUCS!!!

  21. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Just call him Fournette. He’s a prima donna who has not earned it.

  22. Daryl Green Says:

    Oh Tip Toe is the problem.
    Arnold is just…. Well Arnold🤙🏾👊🏾

  23. TBBucsFan75 Says:

    I believe Tom Brady still has the ability to option out of a play he sees presnap isn’t going to work. Why isn’t that happening?

  24. JimmyJack Says:

    Dude just admitt defeat and pass the ball on 3rd&1.

  25. Rod Munch Says:

    Marine Buc – I haven’t really noticed him missing an abnormal number of passes where the guys are open. He has missed on a few, but he’s done that since he’s been here, it’s still fairly rare, but he’ll sky a ball once in a while.

    With that said I do think his hand has been an issue, at least to a small degree. But, I’ll also use that Carolina game as an example of why I think his arm is just fine. That pass in the 4th quarter where he zipped it into Evans, about 20 yards down the field, in between 3 guys. It literally had to be a perfect pass, thrown with velocity, and it was right there.

    I don’t know if you think his arm is failing, but if that’s the case, I just don’t see it. Watching Manning and Brees fall off, it was obvious they just couldn’t throw with any zip, and Brees literally seemed like he couldn’t get the ball more than 20 yards down the field at the end. Brady isn’t have any of those issues, not that I see, anyways.

  26. Rod Munch Says:

    JimmyJack Says:
    October 25th, 2022 at 5:04 pm
    Dude just admitt defeat and pass the ball on 3rd&1.


    I don’t know if I’d call it ‘defeat’ or not, but I do know the Bucs should NEVER EVER run in obvious running downs.

    In the past I’ve always said in 3rd and short play from under center so you at least make the defense think you might run, but now I’m to the point of saying, just go to shotgun and let Brady scan the field and make a play. Your chances of him doing something are dramatically higher than getting 1 yard, vs a run defense, with this offense.

  27. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Everyone repeat after me….”Let’s go Byron” instead of “Let’s go Brandon”

  28. GABucsFan Says:

    If the play calls are so bad, why doesn’t Brady call a better play? Can he override what is called from the sideline? Just asking for a friend.

  29. Natron Says:

    Let’s go Byron!!!!

  30. steele Says:

    Thank you, JA. I’ve been saying for a long time. Lenny IS a problem.

    He is not explosive. He is not a power back. He tip toes, doesn’t blast forward, even with adequate blocking. He needs several steps to gather momentum, and is easily taken down. He needs open space, and even when he does, other backs are better. Short yardage, especially behind this OL? You see it. He tip toes, and down he goes. Lenny is an average back who is better catching the ball, and has to have open space. In other words, not a feature back.

    Rachaad, similar problems. He is a high runner, a strider, who needs a good OL and open space. He is a #3 type change of pacer. Like Lenny, better as a receiver.

    This team needs a new set of RBs, especially a lead feature back sledgehammer who can carry an offense.

  31. unbelievable Says:

    You guys just realizing the Leftwich is both clueless and stubborn?


    Welcome to 2019.

  32. JimmyfromNY Says:

    You’re either a troll or don’t know football. He threw an absolute dime to Evans but the Hall of Fame receiver dropped it and quit, his throw to Otton over the middle was one of the best from last weekend, the balll to Evans between three guys might’ve been the best ball thrown all weekend. Every quarterback every game misses throws , EVERY ONE!!. Not all of them have historically bad running game, horrific offensive line and even worst playcalling. When he leaves he’ll be back to another MVP season and the Bucs will be a 3 win team for a decade. The Bucs had the worst winning percentage in the history of professional sports but a 2020 the greatest football player of all time came to your team and won a Super Bowl, had the greatest comeback in NFC history a blown assignment away from being back to another Super Bowl and you guys trash on them. Hysterical

  33. DungyDance Says:

    GA – a lot of BL’s moron plays have 3 TE’s in to block for the garbage run play. In that situation Brady really is limited with the personnel out there as to what he could change up.

  34. ClwJB Says:

    We have a nice set of complimentary backs

    Lefty can’t figure out how to use them all – Vaughn is wasting away inactive most of the time

    It’s a travesty the OC is so simple he can’t scheme
    To the talent

  35. Davenport Says:

    Byron – stop talking. Nothing you can say will matter unless you start delivering 30/game

  36. GABucsFan Says:

    DungyDance there is no better option with three tight ends other than up the gut. Just askin…..

  37. Defense Rules Says:

    Rod … ‘Brady is on pace for a career low INTs, which is why I don’t think he’s having any real accuracy issues.’

    Career low INTs is nothing to brag about if your team ends up with a losing record. Brady’s throwing at a 66.9% completion clip, a couple percentage points ABOVE his 64.2% career average, and right inline with the 66.7% clip he’s had for his 3 years here.

    You’re right, accuracy’s not the real problem. He’s throwing a lot fewer deep & intermediate balls, probably because of (1) poor protection & lack of time; and (2) receivers not getting open. The OLine blocking problems are well-documented.

    But something’s going on with these receivers. Not sure what the answer is, but if it was me I’d be trying some different things, because what we’re doing obviously isn’t working.

  38. Defense Rules Says:

    BTW Rod, Godwin is having a mediocre year … for him … and his yards per target (6.7 yards average) is by far the lowest of his career. Gage is in the same boat; lowest yards per target of his career.

    Mike Evans, on the other hand, is actually having his best year in terms of catch percentage (68.8%), but is down in terms of TDs. Our other WRs (Perriman, Miller, Darden, Julio) are all having mediocre years. And our TEs really haven’t made all that much of an impact either. And our RBs are getting far too many targets.

  39. HC Grover Says:

    Hard to run against a brick wall.

  40. Outsider Says:

    Or maybe he’s actually right!?

  41. Coburn Says:

    Therr have been a couple where he tip toes too much, but others where our line just gets pushed backwards

  42. gotbbucs Says:

    Lenny may not be the problem, but here’s what I see out of Lenny. He is going to get the yards that are available and provided for him. If the hole isn’t there he isn’t going to work for it. After he pulled up with the hammy in Dallas he went into self-preservation mode.
    Maybe a different running back would try to take it upon themselves to try to create some yards when they aren’t readily available….or just keep banging our heads against the wall doing the same old crap and proclaiming after the game the “we” discussed it and “we” need to change something for next week.

  43. T REX Says:

    He is hestitant right now…o line stinks

    Licht let us all down

  44. Eckwood Says:

    How can an nfl coordinator not realize a back isn’t a good short yardage back ……. mind boggling !!!

  45. BillyBucco Says:

    Beautiful formation and a wide open Ko Kieft and we never see that formation again. Brilliant.
    White gets 7 yards and out he goes.
    This guy is totally wrong about White.
    He is literally the only guy on the team outside WRs who can take it too the house.
    Leftwich is not only wrong about this topic, but the wrong guy for this job
    The guy listens, no problem, but he can’t make the right decision on the fly.
    He is NEVER ahead of the defense for a whole drive.
    That’s why we don’t score in the Red Zone.
    Dumb plays down there. Embarrassing.

  46. Hodad Says:

    Lenny has been doing a little to much dancing before hitting the hole when there is one. He’s just not fast enough to beat the D line when he does have a crack to sqeeze through. So he is part of the problem. If you are going to run Lenny up the middle how about doing it from a direct snap? If you take Tom out for a play, put in an extra blocker, and direct snap to Lenny he might be able to get that yard. You could also put Gabbert in for short yardage. Use him like the Saints use Hill. Some solutions that reqiure scheming, and imagination two things Leftwich lacks.