Bucs Didn’t Like To Run A Play Tom Brady Thrived On

June 21st, 2023

Baffling lack of play-action.

No, Joe didn’t care for Byron Leftwich.

“This Joe” thinks he was a garbage coach. That is self-evident.

When SpongeBob personally lobbied to get the offensive coordinator gig at Notre Dame and Fighting Irish coach Marcus Freeman instead went with his fourth option and turned to his tight ends coach to run Notre Dame’s offense, well, that told Joe all you needed to know about SpongeBob.

Another thing that rubbed Joe the wrong way about Leftwich is how often he lied to reporters with legitimate questions about the Bucs offense. That’s when he wasn’t being downright condescending. (Like when reporters came at Leftwich with stats and he would scoff and claim the stats were “fantasy football” jibberish.)

You can get away with that when you win. When you don’t win, watch your back.

One thing Leftwich often tried to laugh off — and claim reporters were just making things up — was his aversion to play-action calls.

Tom Brady was lethal with play-action. But when asked about avoiding play-action calls, SpongeBob played (?) dumb and said he didn’t know what reporters were referring to.

Well, numbers don’t lie. And last year on “early downs” the Bucs were near the bottom of the league using play-action passes, despite Brady being one of the best when using play-action.

Only three teams used play-action less than the Bucs did on “early downs.” And again, Brady sliced defenses apart with this play.

(And no, you don’t need a running threat to excel with play-action. Advanced stats bear this out.)

How or why a play-caller wouldn’t want to use a type of play his quarterback succeeds in using no matter the down is, frankly, a football sin and grossly irresponsible.

Did SpongeBob suddenly develop an allergy to points? Did he grow sick of Brady? It didn’t make any sense.

Then again, Leftwich didn’t make sense.

46 Responses to “Bucs Didn’t Like To Run A Play Tom Brady Thrived On”

  1. Rod Munch Says:

    If Leftwich wasn’t a complete idiot, he’d use his dumb playcalling to his advantage. Instead of just running up the middle on every 1st down, if he just worked in a few playaction passes on 1st down in the 1st half of games, he would have opened up the run.

    Arians leaving completely exposed him. All he had to do was just do what Arians did, that’s all, and instead he was such an egomaniac, he thought Arians was holding him back, and he’d show the world what he could do now that he was on his own.

    Anywho, I’m just so shocked no other team sweep in to grab such a highly rated OC. So shocked.

  2. Obvious Says:

    Someone mentioned sabotage once apon a time and like you’re insinuating, It don’t add up otherwise… How could he go from Super Bowl Winner to doesn’t ha e a clue “what so ever” in nothing flat? It isn’t reality. He MUST have been we’ll say, “cooking the books” ON PURPOSE. NO WAY he absolutely forgot or never had a clue. He did qb in high-school and college AND as I recall he did in fact qb for the Buccaneers and others before he became a coach.

    There is no way he didn’t blow it BIG TIME on purpose. He MUST HAVE! It seems there are no other choices other than sabotage. Occums Razor…. in full effect.

  3. Joe Says:

    Arians leaving completely exposed him.


  4. sasquatch Says:

    Obviously, Leftwich cared as much as taking advantage of his team’s strengths as he did taking advantage of an opponent’s weaknesses.

  5. Snookman9 Says:

    I know someone in the Bucs Organization. Leftwich was a stubborn cocky sob who refused to adjust. Tom was quoted in meetings “ this is the worst play calling i have ever seen”. Organization did not fire him due to political reasons.

  6. Todd Says:

    He forever ruined flat brim hats for me.

    Now whenever I see someone wearing one, the word “dumb” immediately comes to mind.

  7. unbelievable Says:

    I literally screamed about this every day of the season and well after it ended last year.

    Every. Single. Day.

    Leftwich was clueless.

    No concept of mismatches. No ingenuity. No creativity. No misdirection.

  8. sasquatch Says:

    Stupid sabotage theory rears its ugly head. Probably same dude, different name.

    No coach with a desire to ever coach again would sabotage the offense. The simple explanation is that he was incompetent and was completely lost without Daddy Bruce. He was inflexible and, when asked for a more varied and less predictable attack (including a running game) by his head coach, was simply too stubborn or incapable of adjusting.

    No sabotage, just incompetence and arrogance.

  9. An Erection for Sacks Says:

    “Todd Says:
    June 21st, 2023 at 12:41 am
    He forever ruined flat brim hats for me.

    Now whenever I see someone wearing one, the word “dumb” immediately comes to mind.”

    Better late than never.👍

    For me, it was the very first time I saw one, around 1990. They’re almost as obvious as a backward cap as an indicator of IQ.

  10. TOMMY MORDUE Says:


  11. RuKa Says:

    So, in fact, the famous Arians “red pen” story is the other way around: we started winning when in our SB year Arians started changing the game plan…

  12. garro Says:

    Bingo Joe!
    We only saw it late in games as Brady was trying to dig us out of the hole Bowles/Leftnut dug for us.

    Go Bucs!

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    Arians leaving did much more than completely expose Leftwich. It left a whole bunch of unanswered questions.

    For one, WHY did Bowles keep BL on for the entire season? I can understand Todd’s initial loyalty to BA, and his reluctance to make a change due to the late appointment to HC, as being the reasons that he initially retained BL. But after our 21-3 loss to the Panthers in Game 7, it was obvious to literally everyone that nothing was working & that BL was in way over his head. Bowles could’ve easily replaced Lefty with Harold Goodwin, but he didn’t.

    For another, WHAT was going on with BA during this entire debacle? Leftwich was supposedly his protege, and yet nada from Arians (at least that we know of) during this entire season. Doesn’t make sense.

    And even more-so, WHY did Tom Brady not put his foot down with Leftwich & say ‘Knock this crappola off’. The extremely low use of play-action, which TB12 excelled at, is a good example.

    Tons more questions (like HOW MUCH did Todd Bowles REALLY get involved in the offense?), but I guess reality is that we’ll never know the answers. Time to stop beating the dead horse perhaps?

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    sasquatch … ‘No sabotage, just incompetence and arrogance’.

    Ding ding din. We have a winner. Nailed it sasquatch.

  15. BillyBucco Says:

    If you scroll down and look at Play Action Efficiency, the Bucs were top 5.
    NE was the most efficient yet did it the least.
    Thats Matt Patricia on offense for you.
    I have no patience for guys who were handed a job because they were friends.
    Same thing we have going on here.
    BL was way in over his head and had no business ruining TB 12s last year.

  16. Hodad Says:

    Like beating a dead horse, thanks O.J.. Let’s just be glad he’s gone.

  17. Bobby M. Says:

    Bucs had two options to chose from when Arians stepped down…..and in a passing league with a top tier offense and elite QB, they opted to promote the DC who frankly has been mediocre in his previous HC gig. You better believe there was hurt feelings. Looking back Arizona got a hard look at Leftwich, ultimately passed on him for an unproven college coach. Jags passed….Bucs passed…Leftwich is terrible. At best he’s a QB coach, maybe OC IF the existing HC is actually calling the plays. He failed to develop Rosen, Winston went down in history with 30 INTs, Trask wasn’t remotely ready now entering yr 3…..what exactly has he done that creates any degree of confidence? He sits on the street now, not even colleges are kicking his tires.

  18. Stormy Says:

    It was Arians. Byron Leftwich was nothing more than the guy who used the headset to call in Arians’ plays.

    The offense even looked decent in 2022 – until Arians was booted from the sidelines. Suspect Bruce was helping then, too, and once he was kicked upstairs Bruce decided to completely let it go.

    Leftwich was, and is a horrible coach. Anyone who thinks this fool did anything more than ride Arians’ coattails isn’t paying attention. He sucked on his own in Arizona and now here. He was the superbowl OC in name only. In reality, he was Arians’ puppet. Byron’s lips may have been the ones moving, but Bruce was pulling the strings.

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Seems to me we had affirmative action instead of play-action…

    And, no you don’t have to have a good running game……what we did is to hand it off on early downs instead of faking a handoff….

  20. DJB Says:

    During pre-season last year, Lefty said that his offense was going to be “Multiple”. WTF, I knew we were in trouble at that point.

  21. Jeff Says:

    Byron is Tony Dungy stubborn. Stubborn leaders usually fail.

  22. Oneilbuc Says:

    Dungy was the best coach bucs ever had he really changed the culture and so many people talks down on him . What was the bucs before Dungy got here they were a easy win on every one scheduled. And again I will remind y’all again Brady changed the game plan the day before the games and Joe knows it. The bucs bent over backwards for Brady they gave him all the power in the organization he had more power than the coaches and GM . But when Brady game plan didn’t work now y’all want to blame everyone else but him . BL became the scapegoat for Brady’s bad play on the field. This is why this franchise will never be considered a top franchise. Because a lot of the fan base acts just like the front office weak with no pride for team especially on this site. Some of yall wants to tank for a quarterback while teams like the Steelers keep having winning season giving their fans a reason to believe they have a chance to win or at least get into the playoffs .

  23. Brandon Says:

    Yes, let’s blame Leftwich for Brady constantly changing whatever was called to smoke screens. You know, smoke screens are almost never the called play by the OC. They are audibled to when the QB comes up to the line and sees CBs lined up giving receivers a big cushion. We ran those a ton last season… and they were seldom effective… and I’d be willing to bet that Brady called almost all of them at the line. No, Leftwich wasn’t great but I feel that his biggest weakness was him not asserting his authority over Brady who was audibling to smoke screens and checking down way too often.

  24. RustyRhinos Says:

    “(And no, you don’t need a running threat to excel with play-action. Advanced stats bear this out.)”

    Now let us just think about having a 2000-yard rushing attack and then using play-action passes, in any down or distance. I would bet my last dollar, that type of team would also excel at play-action passing.
    The D creeps up we go over the top Play-action, the D steps back we hit them in the mouth with another 4+ yard run play.

    What is difficult for me about OC Leftwich was he was an NFL QB who had to use Play-Action Passes to help his slow feet and molasses-dripping slow pass delivery. We all watched Leftwhic’s molasses-slow delivery and slow feet on display weakly here in Tampa with the Buccaneers. We cut bait with him if I remember it correctly.

    Bring on OC Canales and his version of a running-passing Offense. I am ready to see some better play calling to scheme open players with wr/te runs, screens, and roll-out passes. Having more movement in our formations. I am excited to see what we have in OC Canales.

  25. Oneilbuc Says:

    Brandon. BL didn’t have the power to tell Brady no about nothing actually no coach couldn’t tell Brady nothing but BA and Brady got him sent upstairs. The Glazers gave Brady more power than the coaches and GM. Remember BA didn’t want AB and said it publicly and the next day AB was on the team because Brady wanted him . How many times did you see Brady talking to Todd Bowles on the sidelines? That’s just like the whole 11 day absence from training camp Brady wanted off and Todd Bowles couldn’t stop him . That was never a plan thing from the beginning of camp . Tood Bowles had to say that so it wouldn’t make him look weak. Even the whole divorce thing even though I hate divorces but it’s a lot players that was dealing with divorce and still couldn’t miss training camp. Remember what Brady wants Brady gets that was the on going slogan on this site until it hit slap the bucs back in the face and now it’s every body else fault but Brady that’s what you call weak franchise and a fan base.

  26. Mike C Says:

    Oneilbuc, when Brady called the plays the Bucs drove down and won games last minute, when BL was calling it the Bucs did nothing for 3 and 1/2 quarters….. anyone who watched games last year and had an ounce of football knowledge could clearly see this. Only a weak excuse for a fan wouldn’t immediately recognize this and blame Brady for such a incompetent offensive game plan. To sum up, you are the weakness in this fan base.

  27. Oneilbuc Says:

    Mike C . It’s been documented bro but I get it you’re a Brady fan so I understand to you Brady is exempt from criticism again that’s call a weak fan with no pride in for the team. I know you believe Brady is the only reason why we won a Superbowl.

  28. Mike C Says:

    Bro been a season ticket holder since 95, not a “Brady” fan, but you clearly have alot of hate for him. So if we didn’t get Brady in 2020 we still would have won the superbowl? I am done talking to someone who is an obvious troll or just plan stupid, have a nice life being a fake fan.

  29. Stormy Says:

    The only thing that was ‘documented’ is that BL is a sorry ass OC. And as of right now, Bowles isn’t that much better as a HC.

    Their track records speak for themselves (BL in AZ and Bowles in NY) and are the only ‘documented’ thing you can point to.

    BTW – wasn’t ONiell one of the ‘fans’ complaining about launching Jameis for Brady?

  30. Mike C Says:

    Yes he was Stormy

  31. geno711 Says:

    Oneilbuc Says:
    June 21st, 2023 at 10:36 am
    Dungy was the best coach bucs ever had…

    I am ok with this take.

    However, I will go with Arians.

    I know you hate him because he got rid of your favorite Winston but Arians really has had great success everywhere and Arians changed the culture of the Bucs every bit as much as Tony Dungy did.

    Arians as the offensive coach had the better offense. Dungy as the defensive coach had the better defense.

    All other things being equal:
    Dungy’s Bucs record was 54 and 42.
    Arians Bucs record was 31 and 18 with a Superbowl.

  32. Mike C Says:

    Funny, he liked jaymiss, likes BL, likes Bowles, didn’t like Bruce, didn’t like Brady….. things that make you say hmmmmm.

  33. Stormy Says:

    The fact that he wanted to throw 20-30 mil at America’s Turnover machine vs. signing the GOAT says all you need to.

  34. Jeffrey Becker Says:

    i feel guilty picking on the learning disabled kid with a chip on his shoulder in a Lifetime movie

  35. Aaron Says:

    I was going to guess Spider 2 Y Banana

  36. Oneilbuc Says:

    😂😂 every time someone tells the truth about Brady people gets mad 😡 !! Again I care less about the quarterback position never cared about the quarterback position. The one thing I do know is the bucs have not showed they can hired the right coach to develop a quarterback. And as far as BA goes I liked BA didn’t like his offensive sceam because it was to much of a risk for any quarterback including Brady. Remember even Brady had 8 picks in 3 games back in 2020 until they changed the play book. You guys are what’s wrong with the bucs. Brady was washed up last year and that’s the truth regardless how much you guys worship him . He’s gone and Brady will always be known as a Patriot than a buc no matter how much want to claim him. And next year when the bucs draft another quarterback just know that’s going to be another wasted season. And by mid season in 2025 y’all will turn on him the same way y’all did the other quarterbacks they drafted. And less not bring up race because I can say the same thing about y’all. Y’all talk bad about Dungy Todd Bowles and BL and y’all hate Jamies and all of them has one thing in common what a coincidence.

  37. Rand Says:

    Bucs Didn’t Like To Run A Play Tom Brady Thrived On <— your header couldn't be more on target than it is. The biggest play that Tom was prolific of most of his career was almost extinct in Leftwich's play calling, and that was the diagonal slant pass. Tom murdered defenses with that play from Gronk, Welker, Edelman, Amendola, and Coates.

  38. Fansince76 Says:


  39. Rand Says:

    The choice to not use play action could have been Brady’s decision since it requires turning your back to the defense and from what we seen from Tom he was scared of the pass rush and was getting rid of ball under 2 seconds most of the time.

  40. gotbbucs Says:

    I get what you’re saying about Brady being good at play action passes, but there are good and bad teams spread all over that percentage chart. So the correlation of early down play action to winning football games doesn’t really add up.
    Nevertheless, Sluggo Leftwich was still an absolutely pathetic OC.

  41. geno711 Says:

    Oneilbuc Says:
    June 21st, 2023 at 6:01 pm
    😂😂 every time someone tells the truth about Brady people gets mad…

    The archives are there for people to see:
    Examples of how Oneilbuc has been wrong on Brady in the past:

    Oneilbucs Says:
    March 18th, 2020 at 12:38 am
    This hold team is old and yall think we going to win lol lol …

    Oneilbucs Says:
    March 17th, 2020 at 10:52 pm
    Think about it you guys are happy about a 43 year old quarterback this fanbase is a joke lol lol lol ..

    Oneilbucs Says:
    March 17th, 2020 at 11:10 pm
    Brady had a QBR of 54 in 2019 good Job Tampa bay this is why we will be at the bottom again this year .

    Oneilbucs Says:
    March 20th, 2020 at 8:48 am
    Man all this Brady stuff is going to hurt us in the next year are 2 . Why don’t yall realize this guy is 43 years old when the season starts . B.A. is destroying this team and yall still don’t see it . What makes yall think that Brady is going to come in here and ball out ? He can’t move the last superbowl run he had Gronk and he looked bad the hold playoff run . He threw only 3 touchdown the hold post season that year . And last year he was trash and led by a Defense .

    AND THIS IS THE GUY that wants you to believe that now he has been always telling you the truth. Revisionist history at its finest.

  42. NEFan Says:

    I still say Bowels had something to do with slowing down the O. It makes NO sense that Brady favored BL if he was causing all the problems. It would be very easy for Brady to get BL removed. Bowles CLEARLY stated in a presser this is NOT Brady’s O it’s BL’s. Easy scapegoat for moving away from the NO Risk It … let’s not forget the D sucked to, that’s not on BL. That being said I agree 100% BL was over his head once BA took the training wheels off.

  43. Tap-Out Says:

    ….ad just as soon as we talk about other coaches ….you get muted!

  44. Mikejp Says:

    The Pats also had the same attitude make me believe that defense oriented head coach think play action would burn out the players. They may overthink that if they play more play actions the efficiency will drop to the norm. So they want to use it as the final weapon.

  45. Stormy Says:

    And with that, Oniell and his not so subtle agenda have left the conversation.

    Great job on the wayback machine posts to pull up his anti Brady/ pro Jameis drivel.

  46. Ben Harvey Says:

    This stuff we are hearing now about Leftwhich is mind boggling. You would think a coach wpuld want to play to the teams strengths/ players strengths. Even news about not game planning around match ups is a head scratcher. Thats just laziness or pure stupidity. Pretty sure game planning and utilizing match ups in to gain advantage “is” the game of football.