“Punt Team, Get Ready!”

December 20th, 2022

Stunningly bad stat.

When Joe read this stat, it took Joe back to his high school football days.

Back when Joe played high school football, whenever Joe’s team had the ball and it was third-and-long, Joe’s coach would holler, “Punt team, get ready!”

It wasn’t like Joe’s old coach loved to punt. He just didn’t want guys with their heads up their tailpipes forgetting they were on the punt team for that game. Or more importantly, guys forgetting they weren’t on the punt team for that game and then getting flagged for too many men on the field.

(Joe can hear that voice right now.)

So Joe read a truly horrific stat this week and Joe’s not sure if Mike Glennon had worse numbers.

Joe’s good friend Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders shared a stat that pretty much sums up how bad the Bucs offense has been this year. Basically on third and fourth downs when the Bucs need at least 10 yards to convert, Bucs coach Todd Bowles may as well holler, “Punt team, get ready!”

Tom Brady has converted just four first downs on 42 pass attempts (plus four sacks) on third or fourth down and 10-plus yards to go.

Now Joe knows legions of readers are probably screaming the following three words in unison (in part, because it is too predictable and sadly habitual).


There is more to it than that. Does Brady miss foot-rubbing Rob Gronkowski that badly? Probably.

Do the Bucs miss headcase Antonio Brown that badly? Joe would say, yes. Who else stretched the field as well as Brown? Certainly no one currently with the Bucs.

Did it take this long for Chris Godwin to play more like the Chris Godwin of old since his knee surgery? Probably.

Did the Bucs change the offense to the point that if they have to throw downfield they are all out of whack? Very likely.

(Joe recently learned indirectly from a current NFL player that this year’s Bucs receivers are running very different routes than the past few years and these are routes known more for run-blocking than getting open for big plays).

Could it be that failing Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich (“Nemo”) is so over his head he doesn’t know how to develop successful plays to regularly gain 10 yards? Joe would lay money on that.

Simply put, this offense is such a total mess.

28 Responses to ““Punt Team, Get Ready!””

  1. Larry Says:

    The head man is ultimately responsible. It is his responsibility to keep things running smoothly. If it isn’t, it is his problem to fix them. There have been far to many head scratching moments under Todd Bowles. He was was a great assistant coach but he just can’t get it done a s a head coach. Whatever happens on the field it is ultimately Todd Bowles responsibility to fix them Period! end of story!

  2. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Joe, I wouldn’t be surprised if these same Bucs go down to the desert and lay an egg. There is plenty of sunshine and heat to fry one or two, the issue is pride. I learned many years ago that after a Tampa Bay loss it isn’t necessary to kick your dog or be mean to your cat. Ignore your wife or husband and be baligerent to your coworkers. You can’t control a bunch of millionaires that have checked out and are ready for the beaches in Aruba. To be honest after rooting for this team since 1979 I have learned to continue with your life as if, don’t get involved emotionally, it’s not worth it.

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    It’s like they’re allergic to converting on 3rd down or something! We’re almost always behind the sticks because we refuse to call plays that move the chains. Look at the 1st half of that Cincy game, methodical and practically unstoppable.
    Take the 4 TOs away and we looked like we just turtled in the 2nd half. I feel like a broken record when I say this but, this team should not be this bad. And it is capital B-A-D, BAD!

  4. Bucs Fan Since ‘76 Says:

    Joe, technically, “THE OFFENSIVE LINE” is three words. 😎

  5. BucU Says:

    Pewter Stiff Arm well said. Being a Bucs fan as long as us you learn not to get too emotional with this organization. I get aggravated with them from a safe distance now a days.

  6. Smashsquatch Says:

    More like “get the bus warmed up”. I’m disgusted with this team. I like Bowles as a person, and a D coordinator, but he’s failing miserably as a HC. Time to rip the band-aide off. He’s got to go. The lack of adjustments, in game or in season, is glaring. Coaches who fall in love with their philosophy become blind quickly. He’s driving through a storm at night with sunglasses on. Actually, he’s in the back seat and letting Byron drive blind.

  7. SufferingSince76 Says:

    I thought the old Buccaneers were behind us. Apparently not. It’s all sad. Just sad.

  8. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Accumulation of Talent or lack thereof falls squarely on Jason Licht. So let’s admit we are not even average talent cumulatively on Oline or Dline , football games are won and lost in the trenches boys and girls-pure and simple. Bucs record is 6-8 , right now Bucs are decidedly below average. Licht has shown no ability or willingness to acquire better talent , so what is left? Two things are left-Strategy and Attitude…. I saw some attitude in 1st half of Cincy and some average line play on both sides , need to remember it is a 60 minute game. Strategy left with BA-we saw all the STRATEGY FAILURES in the Cincy game, so there is that. Thompkins has been a severe downgrade from Darden, Thompkins put us in horrible field position at crucial moments in the game , funny how no one talks about that.
    Maybe just maybe Bucs cobble something together that looks more like the 1st half of the Bengals game moving forward.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I can assume that this is a bad stat for the Bucs but I have really nothing to compare it to. How do other teams do on 3rd/4th & 10 passes?
    I would also assume….not to well.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucsfanman … ‘Take the 4 TOs away and we looked like we just turtled in the 2nd half.’

    Problem is that you can’t take the 4 TOs away; nor can you take away the muffed fake punt which PRECEDED them to open the 3rd quarter. Bucs were LEADING 17-3 when that happened. They’d been doing quite well to open the 3rd quarter … 4th & 1 at their own 26 yd line. Should Todd the Gunslinger have gone for it with the fake punt? In retrospect no, BUT I personally liked the call (gutsy & showed confidence to keep the pressure on & NOT turtle). And it was to a sure-handed RB (Gio). It caught the Bengals’ S/Ts off-guard & would’ve made the 1st down. There was only one problem, and none of us really know WHY it happened (conflicting stories?).

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucsfanman … ‘Take the 4 TOs away and we looked like we just turtled in the 2nd half.’

    AFTER THAT, the Bucs never regained their composure. It was an implosion unlike anything I’d ever seen before. And yes, it was led by Tom Brady (INT, sack-fumble, fumbled handoff, INT) over the course of only 14 offensive plays covering only 5:35 of clock time on those 4 drives. I’m sure that every Bucs player was shell-shocked as those TOs kept happening … INCLUDING Tom Brady.

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucsfanman … ‘Take the 4 TOs away and we looked like we just turtled in the 2nd half.’

    Still, the game’s RESULT wasn’t unexpected (honestly, how many thought we’d win that game BEFORE the game started?). The 1st half though gives me hope. Our offense moved the ball very consistently, and our defense held Cincy’s powerful offense to only 3 points on an INT, 3 punts then the FG in 5 drives using a total of 21 plays covering only 9:33 TOP. Our offense in comparison scored 17 points on 2 TDs, 1 FG & 1 missed FG on our 4 drives using a total of 42 plays (TWICE as many as Cincy) covering 20:27 TOP. All we have to do is get THAT TEAM to show up from now on & we’re a Super Bowl contender.

  13. ModHairKen Says:

    This is a forgotten year. No one is merely satisfied with making the playoffs and there is serious doubt at this point of whether they can even win one more game.

    Everything and everyone who was supposed to deliver has failed. Evans. Failed. Godwin. Failed. Gage. Failed. Donovan Smith. Failed. Tom Brady. Failed. Devon White. Failed.

    Name one player. One. Name one player who is having a good year.

    Not one.

    This is the coaching. You cannot have this many failures and blame anyone or anything else.

    If the Glazers retain Bowles, then I am done. I said the same thing when they dumped a SB winning coach for a moron with no experience. I did not watch the Bucs until that mistake was corrected. I am nothing if not disciplined. Yeah, big deal you say? They don’t need me as a fan? Okay. But guess what? I am not alone.

    Let’s see how they feel about empty seats and unsold hot dogs.

    There is no margin for error here. The moment the season is over, they need to politely thank Bowles and show him the door.

  14. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Wrong Ken-The Glazers will be mightily satisfied hosting a playoff game and increasing their bankroll by untold millions in so doing. Bowles is not going anywhere, but they will flush the assistants.

  15. alton green Says:

    Bucs Fan since 76 says
    But Biden would say “IN THREE WORDS. Offensive Line” hahahhaha

  16. alton green Says:

    Wanna know what all the screaming about Lefty and Todd should be fired reminds me of these idiot students that want to do away with algebra because they can’t pass it. They haven’t fired them because they simply can’t. Remember the college that fired the professor because they said his class was too hard? Folks it’s a matter of time before this subject will be on the curriculum. “I gotta a carrot and she gotta a taco” IN GRADE SCHOOLS” College students couldn’t pass it, Biden got 80 million votes

  17. Allbuccedup Says:

    Joe when you played high school football they didn’t have face guards on the helmets right.

  18. Kentucky Buc Says:

    This is Bowles Ball. Different routes ? Just figured that out ? It’s been obvious all year. Turtle ball.

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    ModHairKen … ‘Name one player who is having a good year. Not one. This is the coaching. You cannot have this many failures and blame anyone or anything else.’

    You apparently don’t see the dichotomy in what you wrote Ken. Neither do many others it seems. Some JBFers chastise me for sticking up for Bowles, but I’m just a believer in looking at the CAUSES of why things got screwed up, versus focusing on the SYMPTOMS. Bowles didn’t throw 2 INTs & fumble twice on Sunday. He wasn’t the one who muffed the fake punt. Those very things have been practiced by these players hundreds maybe thousands of times, and yet they STILL got screwed up. THAT’S on the players’ execution of those plays.

    BucsFanSince76 nailed it IMO … ‘let’s admit we are not even average talent cumulatively on Oline or Dline; football games are won and lost in the trenches’. They were doing quite good UNTIL the turnover waterfall started, then they imploded.

    Does our coaching need to be better? Of course; right now it’s structurally set up to fail (dual-hatting coordinators doesn’t work 90% plus of the time). Taking ‘command’ of someone else’s staff rarely works either (because of loyalties?). But that’s just 1 aspect of what needs to improve. Personally I’m still optimistic about the way we manhandled the Bengals in the 1st half. If THAT team can find itself for the rest of the season, we might make some noise going forward. If Bowles doesn’t focus THERE he’s a fool.

  20. Faspro Says:

    The Cards are gonna whoop their @sses, lol…

  21. Captain Oblivious Says:

    @Defense Rules,

    I am not trying to pick a fight and agree with most of what you say but, you grossly underestimate the effect of the brain dead fake punt call made by Bowles. Best case they get the first down but are still deep in their own territory. Worst case they are stopped and turn the ball over on downs deep in their own territory. Actually botching the play, like they did, is very rare and I don’t think that is on Bowles. So, 2 of the 3 possibilities are bad and the 3rd (getting the 1st down) is only marginally good. If Bowles is going to roll the dice then why not go for a 1st instead of the missed FG attempt? They were in the opponents territory which is where you take some risks, not deep in your own territory, with a 14 point lead.

    I believe that the botched fake punt was the game changer. It completely changed the momentum for a team that was up 14 points. The subsequent 4 turnovers would not have ever happened without that momentum shift. Football is an emotional game and the fake punt was a gut punch to the whole team.

    *rant off*

  22. Bucsfanman Says:

    Defense Rules- It was “Jeckyl and Hyde”! A different team emerged from the tunnel after halftime. And after the 2nd TO, the team’s body language spoke volumes.
    No matter how good, 4 TOs is tough to overcome. The percentages are not in your favor.

    Lastly, as said above, this team lacks depth. Nobody is going to cry for us so we have to do better.

  23. NEfan Says:

    Bucsfan@ the Jeckle and Hyde is on the coaches. Why wasn’t this team as excited coming out as going in. Was Brady and the O told we are changing things up to protect the lead and we saw the results? Or was it after the fake punt debacle Bowles got nervous and directed BL to go back to what he knows best playing conservative and protect the lead. Bowles gave them back to back FG’s that’s on him. I suggest you all go back and watch that play, a LB was charging in off the edge, Bernard would have to juke him to get away.

  24. NEfan Says:

    DR, your analytics are second to none on this site but man I am losing total confidence in your input when you claim the fake punt was remotely a good call. That call us normally made between the 40 yd lines when a team is losing a game. It’s not as bad as the Cleveland TO debacle but worse than a 55 yd field goal. In both cases he gave to opposing team field position to score and they did. Sorry man but unless you can come up with a stat that supports that decision, you’ve become the biggest Bowles groupie on this site. JC/DC, stinks at both, 79 points in two games, unheard of unless you were on his Jets squad.

  25. NEfan Says:

    HC/DC damn autofil

  26. captivajim Says:

    I am certainly NOT a fan of Leftworst . But , if receivers are running different routes that are known for run blocking –that change would fit with Bowleszo wanting to slow down the offense so his defense dosen’t get gassed–which heclaims is why we lost that Rams game in last yrs playoffs.

    If Bowles dosen’t get fired, or put back as DC next yr; nothing will change with or without Leftworst

  27. Nick2 Says:

    We need a guy who stretches the field. Just think how much better this team would be if we passed on Logan Hall signed Suh and drafted Chris Olave!!!!!!!!!!!! We need a speed receiver but until then please give Scotty Miller and Thompkins more playing time. Our receivers are stuck in molasses!!!!!!! This isn’t rocket science defenses KNOW WE ARE SLOW!!!!

  28. Vadertime Says:

    I am not sure what transpired when Arians suddenly quit as Head Coach. I would love to be the fly on the wall that was there when all that took place. Bowles is out of his depth just like he was with the Jets. I’m not sure what the story is with Leftwich, but he was the OC when they won the Superbowl. It just seems like this whole team is out of whack and is terminally bad. If they make the playoffs it’ll be a miracle and they certainly won’t deserve to be there. Luckily they are playing in a horrible NFC South this year so they have a shot, but they really should be out of the playoffs at this point. Better teams are out of the playoffs in much tougher divisions. This team needs a total rebuild in 2023 going forward. Let’s reset the Bucometer. Go Bucs.