Former GM: “Major Alterations” Pearl Harbored Bucs Offense

December 21st, 2022

Bucs stop here?

A former colleague of Bucs coach Todd Bowles believes failing offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is being hung out to dry.

While many — including Joe — have had it with Leftwich running the offense, former Eagles and Browns shot-caller Joe Banner claims Bowles made radical changes to the Bucs offense and Leftwich is basically doing what he’s told.

Typing for The 33rd Team, Banner doesn’t give Leftwich a total pass but believes blame for the Bucs’ woeful offense begins at the top with Bowles.

The impact a head coach has on an offense can be underestimated. Core team philosophy impacts play calls coordinators end up making. Fans rarely see how much coordinators are affected by the head coach in charge. You watch coordinators move around from team to team, and they have completely different results.

In the Buccaneers’ case, they have the same offensive cast from last year, yet we’re witnessing a completely different strategy in terms of play-calling. That’s likely because Bowles is dictating to offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich he likes running the ball on first down to get to reasonable down-and-distances on second and third down. Leftwich’s job is to get that done. That’s what coordinators do.

Joe believes there is some truth to this. Remember, Bowles is on record saying he didn’t want a no-risk-it; no-biscuit offense, in part, because the Bucs were on fumes in the loss to the Rams in the playoffs and that offense had the team drained.

(Interestingly, running the very same offense, the Bucs were not on fumes playing more games in 2020 when the Bucs won the Super Bowl over the Chiefs, a game in which Tom Brady has publicly stated that may have been the best all-around game the Bucs played that season.)

But here is why Joe doesn’t give Leftwich a pass. And Joe will use the predecessor to Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians as an example.

When the Bucs hired then-offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to take over the offense in 2015, Koetter had a well-established reputation as a throw-first, Don Coryell-type play-caller. But then-head coach lousy Lovie Smith did not want that. Lovie wanted a run-first offense, in part because he had a rookie quarterback, Mr. Entertainment, Jameis Winton.

So what did pass-happy Koetter do? He built one of the best run offenses in the NFL that season.

The Bucs were fifth in the league in yards rushing and rushing yards per game in 2015. Koetter accomplished this with two rookie offensive linemen (Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet), an undersized center (Joe Hawley), and a washed-up right tackle (Gosder Cherilus). His distracted running back (Mollie Hamster) even made the Pro Bowl.

It was the last time the Bucs had a 1,000-yard rusher and the last time Doug Martin was worth two cents.

Now that is an excellent example of a coach who could adjust and still do a decent job, even though he was outside his comfort zone.

Leftwich? When has he shown this year any morsel of evidence that he can adjust? At least, adjust successfully?

Banner may be accurate in thinking Leftwich is taking direct orders from Bowles. But no sir, Joe’s not letting Leftwich off the hook here. If Leftwich has been ordered to run a run-first offense, he has demonstrated week after week he is incapable of succeeding with it.

36 Responses to “Former GM: “Major Alterations” Pearl Harbored Bucs Offense”

  1. KingLDavid54 Says:

    Garbage take… the Bucs personnel on offense bears little resemblance to their offensive cast last year and in 2020 across all position groups minus QB and tackles.

  2. adam from ny Says:

    this coaching change has been a disaster…

    nothing else really has to be said…

    in bowles speak, “it’s fubar”


  3. Buczilla Says:

    Unless we win a playoff game the prudent thing would be to fire every last person involved with this putrid season. That includes Licht unless ownership has forbade him from firing these coaches over the last couple of months. When those who work under you repeatedly fail at their jobs and you refuse to make changes, then that’s on you.

  4. 941bucsfan Says:

    How is no jensen, marpet, cappa, gronk, and antonio brown “the same cast” as last year??? Lol… you guys are so funny

  5. TDavis Says:

    Sorry this is just not true. The Bucs have been a run on first down team since Arians has been here. We’ve been complaining about it for years. Even when they were good, we were complaining about it because they could’ve been even better.

    This year, Brady doesn’t have enough time because of the offensive line, so he checks it down a lot. Even when he has time, he’s been jumpy. It all goes back to the offensive line.

  6. FrontFour Says:

    This has been my point for weeks but for some reason it’s still being ignored. And same thing on defense with the loss of Suh and JPP, especially from a leadership stand point. The talent level is not the same, yet we keep hearing, “for a team with this much talent.” It’s just not the same team.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Good to see that many savvy Bucs’ fans are looking at the bigger picture and not swallowing the media BS hook, line & sinker. What the Bucs are putting on the field offensively is nowhere close to the ‘same offensive cast from last year’ as Banner contends. Faulty assumptions = faulty analysis.

  8. Roc Says:

    I love these articles

    “Bowles is the problem “ said many NFL insiders

    Joe agrees. BUT ……..

    Sorry No Buts BOWLES is not a leader he showed that in NY and he has shown that here. PERIOD

    Nothing about this team looks the same

    Injuries don’t effect attitude or drive

    Bowles was out COACHED Sunday

  9. NYbucsfan Says:

    They both suck and have been forced on this team and fanbase!!!

  10. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Bad take. I agree that Bowles fundamentally changed the offense but this team has 8-9 new contributors on offense . Maybe he thought he had to go conservative because of this or maybe it’s just him. Regardless it happened. I refuse to believe a head coach would sit back and do nothing while the O.C. tanked the offense while losing games when ultimately it put the HCs job in jeopardy.

  11. Cchead Says:

    For the people bitching about the o line. It was good enough to put up 17 and with a decent kicker 20 points un the first half last week against a good defense. This seasons failures fall on the coaches.

  12. Onetrickpony Says:

    Fire those cannons !…… at Bowels and Leftwich

  13. rrsrq Says:

    That Dirk K year, Jameis had 5 rushing TDs, it still goes back to not having a one demesional predictable QB. Prior to Tom’s knee issues, he could still move and scramble a few yards, but this year it does not like even a remote possibility (unless Donovan Smith holds)

  14. alton green Says:

    same as last year, same as last year, same as last year. WOOPS!!!!! looks like some of you are forgetting a different coach, Bowles reminds me of the bizzaro world episode on Seinfeld. Everything is opposite. can’t run? run more can’t gain any yards on 1st down? run on 1st down more hahahaha

  15. Gofortheface30 Says:

    Lmao Molly Hamster

  16. Duane Says:

    The most frustrating aspect of all of this is that as fans, we can see the issues in real time, but will have to put up with all the excuses they give us next season when they are out of jobs. All you get is wooden personalities and cliched coach speak from Bowles and Lefty. By the time they admit they were over their heads in challenges, roster injuries, or last minute BA plans, and start speaking some truth, the season will be over. Kinda hard to empathize with these guys if all they do is talk in riddles and pretend that the fan base that supports them are another obstacle that comes with the job.

  17. Sucatkane Says:

    He probably is right on the team was gassed last year we were so bad on defense we were toast the whole run first works and would help us big time if we could get it to work but in a frame of things that still doesn’t help when our oline Is very weak doesn’t give the old slower qb time to throw you can tell he isn’t hanging in there long enough and I don’t blame him he also misses wide open WRs running I’ll bet if marpet and Jenson were here we would be a whole different team

  18. Razor Ramone Says:

    Duane, well said. Go Bucs!!

  19. BucsNoles Says:

    May not be the exact same talent level
    However this team was built to push the ball downfield with a pass first offense
    How could you not with the GOAT behind center????

  20. Henry Says:

    This whole mess is just sour grapes. Leftbehind is upset he got passed over by the Bucs for the Head Coach position, so he is naturally undermining the offense. Empty Bowls does not want to be shown up by his OC in fear the Glazers can him, ala Lovie Smith/Dirk Koeter. So, he prefers to win with HIS defense versus Leftbehind’s offense, hence the conservative/scared game plan and dumb dumb calls. The trouble is that his undisciplined defense can’t get off the field and are gassed.

  21. Alanbucsfan Says:

    In the Buccaneers’ case, they have the same offensive cast from last year, –

    that statement is either ignorance or a blatant falsehood and destroys Banner’s credibility

  22. Cobraboy Says:

    When Bowles swore off No-Riskit-Biskit, exactly what did casuals expect?

    DC’s like to grind and keep their beloved D off the field. That’s not how this O is built.

    This is Bowles mess, and until these buffoons are spitcanned, don’t expect ant different outcomes.

  23. BrianBucs Says:

    Ray Charles and Hellen Keller can see that Bowles has totally handcuffed Leftwich and Brady.
    Why can’t you?

  24. Eric b Says:

    Keep the playaction going my god it was going great against one of the best defense in the league!!! We have to start fundamentals with tackling its horrible!!! Use motions, creativity like thst first half!!! It works!!!!!

  25. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    So what did pass-happy Koetter do? He built one of the best run offenses in the NFL that season.


    I’m tempted to say go after Koetter to replace Leftfoot, but Koetter was horrible in the red zone. If I remember correctly, Koetter allowed Monken to call a few games, and Monken had noticeable success in the red zone. Then Koetter took the clipboard back. I guess his pride couldn’t handle it.

    Which is why I’ve been saying, go after Monken for offensive coordinator!

  26. CoryC Says:

    @Eric b. Not that simple. Bengals made adjustments and then terrorized Brady. Play Action worked only because the Bengals didn’t anticipate it at first. Teams are not as stupid as you think, especially the better teams Bucs cannot compete with.

  27. CoryC Says:

    Those parroting Tony Romo haven’t watched the 14 games played. Offence is broken, injuries, poor coaching, etc. And, Brady has lost a step.

  28. Ontario Mike Says:

    Romo commented on the great increase in pre-snap motion and play action in the 1st half vs Cincinnati with great success. 2nd half, it all but disappeared…why ?

  29. Bucamania Says:

    “Bowles made radical changes to the Bucs offense and Leftwich is basically doing what he’s told.”

    I’ve been saying this all season. This stagnant offense is all on Bowles.

  30. Pewter Power Says:

    What we witnessed last week is exactly what fans have been screaming all year. Yes that third quarter was bad for Brady but where are the in game adjustments. Clearly they aren’t doing any at halftime.

    Leftwich has always been run first especially on first down so he deserves to be fired but so does Bowles he can’t even tell his coordinator to scheme up plays for evans who was killing it in the first half. Bowles sucks period.

  31. Joe Morello Says:

    “NoBalls”Boles s**ks as a head coach. He proved that with the Jets and now with The Bucs. What the hell were they thinking. Maybe the front office thought Brady would be able to compensate and fill that big hole in “Noballs” Boles head.

  32. captivajim Says:

    this is what I’ve been saying. Bowles dosen’t want an aggressive offense that scores quickly . thats why he keeps pushing Leftworst to call run plays . Bowles , himself, said months ago that otherwise the defense gets gassed . He further went on to say ; we lost the Rams playoff game becuse the defense was gassed .

    Unfortunately , Bowles started this strategy with a poor to average O-line .

    As long as BA is an “advisor” next to Licht–Bowles does NOT get fired ,as much as I would like to see that happen

  33. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    captivajim Says:
    “this is what I’ve been saying. Bowles dosen’t want an aggressive offense that scores quickly .”

    Such bass ackwards thinking. What gasses them faster, a 10-12 play hurry up drive, or a 3-and-out? Bowlswich logic.

  34. Crickett Baker Says:

    Joe, that was a really great article and opinions. I guess because it just about perfectly jived with what’s in my head. Loved it.

  35. Purplepirate Says:

    “In the Buccaneers’ case, they have the same offensive cast from last year”

    Except for Gronk, AB, Marpet, Jenson, Cappa and a healthy Godwin… sure, totally the same.

  36. BOAT Says:

    The Bucs are running the same offense the Jets ran when Bowles was their coach. The fact that so many fans and media are blaming this on others (90% on Brady / 10% on Leftwich, Evans, O-line, run game, etc.) is really ridiculous.

    Everyone knows this is the Bowles’ Jets offense, and yet he’s getting a complete pass for taking the blame for it, and Brady is getting crucified in the media for it.

    It’s really absurd that the media that covers the Bucs just refuses to even mention that they are running the old Jets offense. Instead we get article after article about how it’s all the fault of Brady or Evans or whatever. Just ridiculous.