Was It The Offensive Line’s Fault?

August 10th, 2023

“It wasn’t all just me.”

Bucs fans are still trying to figure out what the hell happened to their beloved offense last year.

The Bucs had one of the most explosive, high-flying offenses the NFL had seen for two years with Tom Brady slinging the rock.

Then, almost overnight, the offense became impotent despite still having many of the same players that guided the Bucs to 29 wins in two seasons.

How could this happen?

Was it new Bucs coach Todd Bowles’ defensive DNA of running the ball, scoring less and a death-like allergy to interceptions? Was it the profound incompetence of then-offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich? Was it everyone’s favorite crutch, the offensive line? Was it Tom Brady’s tropical vacation in August?

Or was it a little from all of the above? Well, Scott Spratt, typing in Aaron Schatz’s Football Almanac 2023, believes it was a combination of Brady and the offensive line being riddled with injuries.

No, Spratt doesn’t pin the blame on Brady taking off to a private enclave in the Caribbean. He noted that Brady is mortal, meaning there was only so much Brady could do to cover for an offensive line too often overwhelmed while pass blocking.

One might see that the Bucs maintained their No. 1 ranking in both adjusted sack rate and offensive pressure rate from 2021 to 2022 and assume that all the turnover on the offensive line was just a minor inconvenience. But the team’s fall from a 60% (19th) to a 55% (25th) Pass Block Win Rate per ESPN told more of the story. Tom Brady could mask the Bucs’ pass-protection issues with quick decisions and throws, but his adjustments made the offense dramatically less explosive.

And the Bucs were dramatically less fun to watch and, more importantly, less productive.

Joe doesn’t think this lets SpongeBob Leftwich off the hook. Remember the Rams-Bucs game in the playoffs in January 2022? In the first half the Rams were curb-stomping the Bucs’ front line and both Bucs tackles, Donovan Smith and Josh Wells, were being completely abused by Von Miller and Leonard Floyd.

What happened at halftime? Bucco Bruce Arians and his offensive line coaches adjusted and the Bucs had no trouble moving the ball in the second half.

Last year, Arians was gone. And frankly, SpongeBob couldn’t even adjust his cup much less adjust the offense on the fly.

So while Joe can understand why people howl about the offensive line, they likely got zero help from the man they needed help from the most. That was SpongeBob.

31 Responses to “Was It The Offensive Line’s Fault?”

  1. Obvious Says:

    And the ENTIRE PLANET could see that…

    Guy can’t even pick up a middle school coaching job..

    Good thing he siphoned all that Glazer loot before everyone figured it out. Yeah, poor him…

  2. DR. POPS Says:

    In reading your article it seems it could be a combination of all the above Bad this Bag that.

  3. catcard202 Says:

    Who’s decision was it to abandon the “No Risk It – No Biscuit”??

    Sure as hell wasn’t Lefty…It was Bowles & he spoke to that change in offensive philosophy in AUG 2022 with other media outlets available on the internet.

  4. tbbucs3 Says:

    Leftwhich had to call plays designed around an washed statue at quarterback with 0 running game and a bottom 5 Oline…..If the Bucs tried to run no risk it no biscuit last season, then a skinnier than usual Brady wouldve gotten demolished.

    Brady had a ton of input on the offense too, he worked closely with Leftwhich daily, if the greatest player of all time couldn’t figure it out, chances are nobody (or very few) coaches would’ve had any real success with the Bucs offense last season.

    But don’t expect Canales to come in and be a life savior with this current Oline and mysteries at RB and QB.

  5. unbelievable Says:

    I mean… duh?

    Inexperienced, overwhelmed o-line
    + incompetent offensive coordinator
    + immobile 45 year old quarterback
    + a head coach who played not to lose
    = 2022 Bucs

    Problem with the o-line is they were even worse in run blocking than pass blocking. And it sounds like Jensen isn’t coming back. Gulp.

  6. tbbucs3 Says:

    And bad tight ends*

  7. Delusional Intelligence Says:

    I look at that picture of spongebob, and all I hear is…

    Gold Hat from Treasure of The Sierra Madre Says;

    “Pass on 1st down? We ain’t got no pass plays for 1st down. We don’t need no passes on 1st down. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ passes on 1st down, not even a sweep”

    The federale wanna be

  8. Trask To The Future Says:


    I love Brady, but you could see how his accuracy really suffered last season. It’s like “Father Time” finally caught up to him. He threw a lot of bad balls in almost every game.

  9. FortMyersDave Says:

    Leftwich should have been launched after the Pittsburgh debacle. Complete ineptitude.

  10. kgh4life Says:

    Everyone had a helping hand in the offense being abysmal, but the majority of the blame should go to Leftwich and the offensive staff. They knew the oline was in transition, the skill players were not the same: Gronk retired AB was released, Julio Jones was passed his prime and Godwin was coming off the acl injury. Leftwich couldn’t adjust because he was in over his head, he was just a play caller that’s it.

  11. kgh4life Says:


    Even if the Bucs tried to implement the “no riscuit no biscuit” philosophy, it wouldn’t have worked. The oline was below average and they have the high caliber skill players necessary. No Gronk, no AB, Julio was washed and Godwin working his way back from the acl.

  12. ModHairKen Says:

    Don’t know why Arians lost all sense of objectivity with this guy, but he did. And the team paid for it.

  13. garro Says:

    Yup Yup Yup
    Sprat your new favorite stat geek Joe?

    Did not need stats to tell my eyballs that Brady new he had a piss poor O-line and no time to scan the field, in Leftnuts plays. Our guys got no push on run plays at all. Our run game was 3 pass plays all season at or near the LOS. Leftnut refused to adjust and equally refused to run any play action. Which Brady has been deadly at in the past.

    So Yeah Joe. All of the above less the stats.

    Go Bucs!

  14. Irishmist Says:

    Even my dog new what was coming on first down.

  15. Irishmist Says:


  16. Da Bucs Guy Says:

    No way could Arians adjusted last year, huge difference between sliding protection over at halftime then overcoming the talent loss due to retirement, free agency and injuries last year.

  17. Duane Says:

    The example given by JBF of Arians making “adjustments” in the second half in a playoff game to allow a comeback is just plain stupid and meaningless.

    Arians had the horses in the barn to make O line adjustments. Bowles and his OC did not – they lost them all in the offseason, pre-season, and during the season.

    This is just another example of how dumb most sports writers and lots of fans are, when they blame coaches for players not being on the field and performing. It’s not the job of coaches to acquire players – that’s strictly on the GM and his staff. If’s not the job of coaches to somehow pull a rabbit out of their hat and replace a scrub with a top line starter when the top line starter isn’t on the roster, or is on IR.

    HERE’S A CLUE, JBF: players play the game, not the coaches. Coaches can coach up players, sure, to try and improve on what’s available in the tank given their talent, age, condition, etc. But you can’t win the Kentucky Derby with a nag on the way to the glue factory. You can’t win the Indy 500 with a Toyota Camry. And you can’t have a successful winning season with an O line made up of scrubs.

    Some of that is on Jason Licht, and some of that is on the players, and some of that is on just having back luck. With all those things that can go wrong, even with the best coaching in the universe available, it is no surprise that no team has repeated Super Bowl championships since 2003-4. It’s damned hard to keep all the parts in perfect working order, no matter who the coach is.

  18. Since76 Says:

    The offense was terrible because of Byron plain and simple. What a waste of Brady’s last year.

  19. Joe Says:

    Even my dog new what was coming on first down.

    Did he run for the cover of the couch or begin tearing apart pillows like many dogs do with an approaching Florida summer afternoon thunderstorm?

  20. D-Rome Says:

    Losing Ali Marpet to retirement was a huge deal and hardly anyone acknowledges it. He was a pro bowler in 2021 but quite frankly we all know he was playing at a Pro Bowl level for many years.

  21. Kev@Inverness Says:

    Well said Duane.

  22. tbbucs3 Says:

    Arians abandoned ship at the right time cause the Bucs offense wouldn’t have been much better even if he was here last season with useless players now many Bucs fans believe his departure was the only reason we sucked last year…..

    the Bucs personnel issues on offense were something even the “mastermind” Arians couldn’t fix.

    The idea that the 22 Bucs offense would’ve been explosive like it was in 20/21 if BA was here is nonsense. This roster on offense will be exposed again this year regardless of who gets the starting nod at Q.

  23. geno711 Says:

    The way I see it, is the OL was a well below average pass blocking line, but you did not notice that as much because the line might have been the least physical run blocking line in the league led by the weak Robert Hainsey.

    But really, since Leftwich was so exposed without Arians, who knows.

  24. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “tbbucs3 Says:
    August 10th, 2023 at 1:18 am

    Leftwhich had to call plays designed around an washed statue at quarterback with 0 running game and a bottom 5 Oline”

    I hardly think Brady is a wash. He just had his first (and last) down year…proving he is human.

  25. catcard202 Says:

    kgh4life – I do not buy that the OL was so bad that the offense that helped the Bucs score over 28pts a game for 3 yrs straight – including 2019 with JW3 tossing 30 picks – would not have been more effective in 2022, than the 18pt/game that the Bucs got from the (Bowles & Brady preferred) dink&dunk.

  26. teacherman777 Says:

    One of the worst rushing attacks in the HISTORY of the NFL.

    Dead last in the NFL.

    No running game? No play action? No offense!

  27. Jeffrey Becker Says:

    reason 1 – divorce. reason 2 – leftwich’s inability to adjust reason 3 – sketchy blocking jeopardized brady’s health so he threw earlier reason 4 – defense giving up long, time consuming drives. reason 5 – wideout injuries

  28. Infomeplease Says:

    Joe, you make a great point about the Rams game. That BA ( the Head Coach at the time) got together with the offense coaches at halftime and made effective adjustments! Last season, switch out BA for TB ( the Head Coach for 2022 season) add in pretty much the same offense coaches and you get pretty much NO apparent ADJUSTMENTS at half time ! Repeat this game after game after game, including the Dallas playoff game!

    I hope things change this season!

  29. Infomeplease Says:

    Adjustments at half time or even sooner could improve the run game i.e. bring in a heavy o line or use 3 TE sets more often. This could have bought TB12 more time. How often was ME13 wide open and TB12 dumped the ball off to the safety valve. Making adjustments is something TB as Head Coach needs to be part of or at least demand implemented during games!

  30. firethecannons Says:

    The Line was a sieve and Brady got jumpy and it was not good, his passes were all cya passes, very few plays were allowed to develop. It was a series of dump offs. The 1st ddown run up the gut/middle over and over was soul crushing to this team. Last years only silver lining was beating the slimy rotten saints. That was so perfect it made it possible and likely to feel a debt of gratitude to Tom Brady for the rest of my life. Dam it was almost as good as when we beat them in 2020 run to the SB playoffs. It was almost as good as the 2020 SB. I mean really beating the saints like we did in December was so perfect and hurtful to them.Brady came up the podium after pulling that miracle off. I think I will rewatch that tonight.

  31. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    No line
    No gronk
    No bueno