Third Down Conversion Must Improve

April 23rd, 2023

Sad statistic.

This may sound elementary, but the way defensive-minded head coaches are so allergic to taking chances and being aggressive with the ball, the following bears mentioning.

The easiest way to win games is to score points. Lots of them. More than the other team, in fact.

One method is moving the ball down the field. To do that, it helps to be able to convert third downs. Per Sharp Football Analysis, the Bucs were bad at that, ranking No. 22 in the NFL last season.

That’s not good. But when you start peeling the onion skins back, it becomes downright alarming.

The Bucs had the greatest quarterback of all time. They had a possible Hall of Fame receiver. They had a Pro Bowl receiver, as well. They had a running back catch 73 balls and that same guy was one of the NFL leaders in yards after catch (YAC).

Yet the Bucs were in the bottom-third of the league converting third downs?

And some people wonder why disgraced former Bucs offensive coordinator SpongeBob is unemployed.

39 Responses to “Third Down Conversion Must Improve”

  1. Beej Says:

    Is there a stat that shows it average yards to go on 3rd? After running up the gut twice for 3 yards converting third gets harder

  2. gotbbucs Says:

    His nickname is “Sluggo”, but yes, he was truly awful.

  3. Alanbucsfan Says:

    In 2021, Bucs had 3 players among top 15 in explosive plays (gain of 20 yards)-
    Gronk, Evans and AB.
    Well, Gronk and AB were not on 2022 Bucs.
    Julio Jones led the league in explosive plays in 2020 and Bucs obviously signed him to make up for the loss of Gronk and AB, but it didn’t work out.
    Add in a loss of 3 starters on OLine, other aOline and RB injuries and a subpar performance by D Smith-
    Leftwich had alot to contend with.
    Obviously BL didn’t adjust well, and his playcalling was unimaginative and predictable- which is why he’s unemployed.

  4. Fansince76 Says:

    Possible Hall Of Fame receiver?

    Definite Hall Of Fame receiver!

  5. DungyDance Says:

    Ok I’ll set myself up as the out of touch dope – I don’t get the SpongeBob reference. Somebody please help.

  6. Geno711 Says:

    We were even less successful running the ball for 3rd down conversions with only 26% of our 3rd down runs gaining 1st down. On top of that we rushed for only 5 TDs on the season.

    I think our 3rd down conversion passing the ball was better than league average. My eyes suggest that it was no push from our 2 guards and our center on 3rd and short along with BL’s play calling that were last year’s biggest problems.

  7. Roc Says:

    I think the really headline should be the Head Coach must improve

  8. Infomeplease Says:

    The offense was a mess!! The coaches starting with TB, made no adjustments. The rest is history.

  9. Infomeplease Says:

    The Bucs could not effectively convert on 3rd downs, run the ball, score when in the red zone, complete deep passes, and in general put points on the scoreboard. A mess!

  10. Borkdog Says:

    Hence, why you hire a run dominant new OC, start revamping OL, draft new OT, sign big “body” FA OL, dump RB who goes down after one hit! Since no money, after all in with Tom, time for Bucs fans to watch some good ol grind out ball.

  11. Borkdog Says:

    Agree with goatfarmer, after Bucs shooting blanks in 2023, and focusing on growing OL with some big ballers, with money next year can go get a Penix to steer our ballers!

  12. Allbuccedup Says:

    Is it true Lefty got turned down for a high school football coaching job?

  13. Winky Says:

    I admire Ariains’ loyalty to Leftwich, and, it may be a while before I understand what he saw in him.

    GO BUCS!!

  14. Goatfarmer Says:

    Allbuccedup Says:
    April 23rd, 2023 at 11:23 am
    Is it true Lefty got turned down for a high school football coaching job?

    LOL! Imagine how that interview went. “We be gonna do what we do, we gotta do be multi. Games be simple, on offense we gotta be do scorin points and on defense we gotta make the other offense be don’t. “

    Interview panel: “Maybe you should enroll as a freshman.”

  15. Colonel Angus Says:

    We had an unimaginative, predictable offense last year. Replacing Leftwich alone should produce better results.

  16. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Capt. Flat Brim ain’t be dat much of a wordsmiff Goat.
    You be being generous.

  17. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Can someone explain why the Glazers thought Bowles was the best HC for Bucs?Serious question.

  18. Ran-D Says:

    That three and out offense absolutely crushed the defense, they barely got off the field before they had to go back out, between no rest and bored players they didn’t stand a chance.

  19. Buc1987 Says:

    The GOAT’s gone.

    It ain’t going to get better…

    Go Bucs!!!

  20. sasquatch Says:

    A credible running game will help with the 3rd down conversions, hopefully keeping us at 3rd and short more than like 3rd and 7 or 8.

  21. Joe Says:

    Can someone explain why the Glazers thought Bowles was the best HC for Bucs?Serious question.

    This has been written hundreds of times: Because Arians wanted Bowles to succeed him.

  22. Redeemer Says:

    Still convinced it was the offensive approach. You win on third down by not being in third and long. If you can’t run the ball, that’s hard to do. Defenses played strictly coverage against us. It wasn’t Brady’s fault. Said this many times. No QB threw into 7 plus defenders more than Brady last year. The offense was completely unimaginative. The talent drop off only made that fact more apparent. If you run a scheme predicated on winning every matchup, you’d better have an outstanding roster.

  23. HC Grover Says:

    Simple. 3rd and 3…up the gut for 1. They will do it again this year. Bowles Curse.

  24. Dooley Says:

    Another pathetically low bar for Canales to clear as a rookie OC

  25. gotbbucs Says:

    Canales can come out and be a poor offensive coordinator and still be an upgrade.

  26. Goatfarmer Says:

    Redeemer rings the Sunday Internet Bell. Spot fargin’ on.

  27. Duane Says:

    They were behind the chains more often on third down, and Brady wasnt going to hold onto the ball to let the plays pan out. Total wishful thinking to expect addition by subtraction, I still think they can score more than 20 a game regardless of qb.

  28. Goatfarmer Says:

    Doosh, you are right, my transcript of the Leftboob’s interview was far too verbose and articulate.

  29. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Silly me. I didn’t realize BA made the HC decisions.

  30. Roc Says:

    Ok so the real Question is WHY DID THE GLAZERS KEEP BOWLES????

  31. Redeemer Says:

    Roc, its simple. Ownership and management apparently didn’t believe Bowles had a fair shake. Crazy as it sounds, that’s the only reason I can come up with. I don’t care if you have Montana, Young and Brady all rolled into one guy. If you can’t run the ball to save your life, everything else is doomed to fail. They didnt even have the threat of a running game. It was Brady throwing sideways, and draw plays.

  32. TonySoprano Says:

    Kinda hard to have a good 3rd down conversion rate when you are staring at a 2nd and 10 essentially every drive. Serious question: what was going through Leftworst’s brain when he called the same exact play every 1st down? Is there a rational explanation out there?

  33. Jon Grudin Says:

    Lefty would make a great Halloween costume. Just seeing him pictures on the front of Joe’s article made me think he was coming back in some way and scared the p*ss out of me.

  34. Craig Says:

    Quit running for nothing on first and second downs and third will be a lot easier.

  35. Goatfarmer Says:

    Tony Soprano asked: “ Serious question: what was going through Leftworst’s brain when he called the same exact play every 1st down?”

    He was probably singing that song “If you be happy and be knowed it call a run, if you be happy and be knowed it call a run, if ya be happy and be knowed it then be middle you be runnin it, if you be happy and be knowed it call a run.”

  36. Vlad The Impaler Says:

    Brady is suing an AI generated comedy video that uses a likeness of him.

    He’s also dropping hints that he might play.

    Knowing Brady he’ll join the Dolphins (or another team) right before camp.
    I’d bet money on it.

    It’s better (and less depressing) than talking about sponge bob square hat

  37. Rod Munch Says:

    If you don’t waste first down just running up the middle, you won’t be in so many thirds and long.

    In addition to wasting 1st down, last year, without Arians there to tell him what to do, Leftwich thought it was a brilliant idea to repeatedly throw 0 yard WR screens on 2nd and longs, becoming, again, completely predictable on now 2 of the 3 downs.

  38. garro Says:

    Umm yeah
    Reminds me of the great Bill Russell saying in a live broadcast “the team that wins the game… will be the team that scores the most points” I still laugh when I think of it.

  39. Goatfarmer Says:

    garro- too bad Bill Russell passed away. It would be useful to share that wisdom with the Bucs current headcoich.