The Bucs And Avoiding Third Downs

June 27th, 2023


Somehow, sadly, this did not surprise Joe at all.

Joe would love to figure out exactly what happened to the Bucs offense last year. Todd Bowles didn’t want to run Bucco Bruce Arians’ no-risk-it; no-biscuit offense. But did he put the brakes on the offense this badly?

Or was SpongeBob simply that far over his head without his safety blanky Bucco Bruce Arians?

Joe heard former NFL coffee fetcher Michael Lombard on his podcast “GM Shuffle” say that the best offenses don’t find themselves in third-and-long very often because they don’t find themselves in a third-down situation that often. Good offenses move the chains on first or second down.

With that in mind, Joe presents some stats from handicapper turned stathead Warren Sharp.

Yeah, the Bucs offense, despite having Tom Brady, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, stunk last year. And among the teams that most avoided third downs last, the Bucs were in the bottom rung of the league, 24th in the NFL. That backs up what Lombardi claimed.

Pittsburgh (with a rookie quarterback and a total bust sharing snaps), Cleveland, Indianapolis, Washington, Arizona and Atlanta avoided third downs at a better rate than the Bucs. That’s alarming.


33 Responses to “The Bucs And Avoiding Third Downs”

  1. garro Says:

    When you basically throw away first down by running the same play every single time it is no surprise when you are in third and no chance situations.

    Go Bucs!

  2. Tap-Out Says:

    ^^^…just because you say it over ..over …over …and over and over and over again doesn’t make it a proven statement …what it dose make is a fabrication of or figment of one’s imagination!

  3. SufferingSince76 Says:

    It was coaching malpractice and it should have never been allowed to continue.

  4. Todd Says:

    The reason why mindful people don’t sport mullets is the same reason why the don’t wear flat brim hats.

    They make you look stupid.

    SpongeBob ruined everything.

    Except the mullet. I don’t think he ever wore a mullet.

  5. Bucnjim Says:

    Seemed like the Bucs were third and long most of the season though I’d like to see those stats. Gronk was the one who moved the chains for us though it looked like Brady struggled to find that person last year.

  6. Lt. Dan Says:

    Gotta put this squarely on the shoulders of Leftwich and Brady.

  7. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    Someone learned a new word

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Todd Bowles didn’t want to run Bucco Bruce Arians’ no-risk-it; no-biscuit offense. But did he put the brakes on the offense this badly? Or was SpongeBob simply that far over his head without his safety blanky Bucco Bruce Arians?’

    This horse was beaten to death so long ago that it’s already been turned into horsemeat Joe, but you keep pounding on it anyways. Bucs went into the 2022 off-season in terrible shape salary-CAP-wise … and with no Tom Brady & most of their other ‘big names’ on offense especially. Ali Marpet retired on 28 February. However, on March 13th Tom Brady announced he was coming back for one final fling. On March 14th Ryan Jensen re-signed; that same date Alex Cappa signed with the Bengals. On March 22nd Lenny Fournette re-signed. Gronk however said ‘no thanks’ and went on his merry way.

    Then on March 31st Bruce Arians kicked himself upstairs and passed the HC reins to Todd Bowles. He had no chance to create his own offensive staff with such a late ‘promotion’. Since you’re into speculation, MIGHT there have been some conditions attached to that ‘promotion’? Conditions like ‘Hey Todd, do you agree to keep BL & MY coaching staff in-place for 2022?’ BA has always been fiercely loyal to HIS guys. I can’t think of another reason why Todd Bowles would let Lefty hang on for an entire season when he had a very experienced Harold Goodwin as his assistant HC.

  9. kgh4life Says:

    When you’re running for a yard or lesser on the majority of 1st downs, that’s a great formula to set your self up for 3rd and longs.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We be not wanting to see no more of Byron.

  11. Cobraboy Says:

    Bucs prolly lead the league in 2nd and 7+ too…

  12. TB2023 Says:

    We need training camp to start.
    Please someone stop the bleeding.
    Even Joe is running out of way to spin last year’s offense.

  13. Buc4evr Says:

    Poor play calling on first down and even second down caused a lot of this. Even with third and one, the Bucs struggled to convert. Thank God Leftwurst is gone.

    Also, the O line and the TEs were horrendous at blocking. Stop blaming the RBs when they couldn’t even get a first step.

  14. Hunter Says:

    I can’t begin to fathom the number of times I’ve yelled at my TV at Byron to stop trying to get to “third and manageable” instead of first down. The dude was a clown. Third down isn’t always necessary. Why so eager to put yourself into a must-convert play or punt situation 5-7 times every single drive?!?! That makes it extremely hard to score obvi

  15. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    Todd Bowles: “Hey Byron, I would like if we could be more balanced this year, a little bit more running, gives Tom and the defense a break.”
    Boron: “Gee whiz coach, okay.”
    ::Predictably calls HB dives on 1st and 2nd down::
    Boron: “I did everything you said!!”
    Todd Bowles: “I can’t believe you’re a professional coach, but I’m too nervous to replace you.”
    Boron: “That’s fantasy football talk!”

  16. Dooley Says:

    The playcalling was poor because the execution on the field was poor, there isn’t too much to hang you’re head on when your offense has the same degree of difficulty whether it’s 3rd & 1 or 3rd & Forever, our offense didn’t do anything well enough to be trusted to get out of those jams. Also why most gameday threads I commented in I always said “first team to score twice…wins” because we were barely good enough to score > 2 TDs a game. Our offense stunk because the OC and players were kind of just going through the motions and burning daylight

  17. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The safety blanky was Jensen, Marpet, Cappa and Gronk

  18. Colonel Angus Says:

    SpongeBob was a complete disaster for this team last season. Glad he’s gone.

  19. Rand Says:

    When you’re considered a run first offense you can expect a lot of 3rd downs.

  20. Curse of Gruden Says:

    And where is Leftwich working now?

  21. Paratrooper Buc Says:

    The constant “run up the middle on 1st and 10” was the constant dumb joke we all saw. Leftwich couldn’t scheme to compensate for the weakness of the Oline and just sabotaged the team each time with that play call. That always put us behind.

  22. SlyPirate Says:

    Personally, I like 3rd and short. Converting 2 or 3 3rd downs in a drive wears the defense down.

  23. Just Leave Trask Alone Says:

    Out of the frying pan and into the check down charlie fire.

  24. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I imagine we’ll be avoiding lots of third downs the first half of the season with Mayfield turning the ball over.

  25. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    To be fair to Leftwich, the OL was injured and Brady was unstable as a result (plus he was distracted). Pass catchers were not doing well either.

  26. buccee Says:

    2nd-and-10 is no way to avoid 3rd downs.

  27. stpetebucfan Says:

    D.R. that’s some interesting speculation on BA’s condition for turning the reins over to Bowles if he kept BA’s guys. Makes sense and the entire organization probably felt that way. Why fix something that isn’t broke.

    Keeping BL was not the real mistake…keeping him after he showed he was not up to the job WAS!!!

    I think people are selling the OL short. Yes the loss of Marpet, Cappa, and Jensen hurt the Bucs enormously last year! Young inexperienced replacements, nobody to replace Jensen’s “meanass” ways…it WAS a rough year. The silver lining is the amount of snap some young guys received. That should improve depth this year.

    I don’t think it’s pie in the sky to believe the Bucs have an excellent OL IF Jensen stays healthy. The left side is HUGE with Wirfs and Feilers and experienced and successful..Jensen sets the tone but if Mauch makes the starting squad the “personality” of the OL changes dramatically. As Jensen said when Mauch was drafted…another meanarsed redhead…they are going to eff some people up.

    So the DIFFERENCE…Wirfs compared to fading injured Donovan… accomplished pro and Jensen setting the mean tone…IF Mauch makes it there’s just one spot left open and a half dozen guys fighting for it.

    IMHO the Bucs OL is the sleeper on this years squad.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete … totally agree on the OLine. Bucs will only be as good this year as it is. BOTH QBs NEED a strong OLine to be successful.

  29. unbelievable Says:

    The o-line was a shell of its former self (lost Jensen, Cappa and Marpet)

    Gronk was gone.

    Godwin was coming back from injury.

    Newcomer Russell Gage was injured all year long.

    And the leader of our team, a 45 year old quarterback, went through a divorce during preseason, which clearly affected him at least a little.

    And then of course, we had Halfwit as the coordinator, who was simply incapable of coming up with any changes to play calls or scheme to try to account for those things mentioned above. So in hindsight, OF COURSE the offense stunk.

  30. Esteban85 Says:

    This subject has been rode hard and put up wet. I don’t think we will see the same decrepit offense this year. Canales at least has a brain and plenty of experience. Lefty had neither, his experience for O coordinator came while playing Madden, riding the pine, and being a yes man.

    If you watch the SI clips and productions from our Super Bowl run you will see that it was BA who called the trap play that sprung Lenny for a TD with Marpet pulling. It was all BA who noticed the setup for that play earlier in the game and as we all know it was always BA calling the plays. I agree that it was stipulated by BA that BL had job security in 2022.

  31. ScottyMack Says:

    Seems pretty cut and dried. All but one of the top 9 teams at avoiding third down last year made the playoffs.

  32. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Lefty without Big Brother Bruce Arians was abysmal. Same with Bowles. Licht’s career record as GM was actually worse ( winning about 1/3 of the time ) than DirtStar Dominik’s until BA came outta retirement/to the rescue. BA is and was underrated. The fact that he gave all credit to others speaks to his character. Punking Lattimore from the sideline was just a bonus. 🙂 Glad BA is already in the Ring of Honor. His legacy…like his scotch…should age well.

  33. Brandon Says:

    So with 2019-2021 with Byron the OC, Tom Brady got all the credit for the offensive success. But in 2022, it was all Byron’s fault. It was as if Byron was the one constantly audibling to smoke screen passes and checking down every play and not Brady. Brady completely lost his nerve and it’s Byron’s fault? Brady led the league in attempts, completions, and lowest sacked percentage…. but was at the bottom in yards per attempt and was the worst In yards per completion… and that’s all Byron’s fault?

    Todd didn’t do away with Risk it No Biscuit, Tom did.