Hopefully, A Smart Offense Is Born Today

September 10th, 2023

A fresh start.

Just from watching 20 or so practices this summer, Joe can tell you the Bucs offense will look very strange for Bucs fans.

Since Dirk Koetter took the job to run the Bucs in 2016, the Bucs have very much been a vertical offense. Throw often and throw deep.

Last year, well, Joe has no clue what that was.

There is no question Bucs coach Todd Bowles wanted to get away from the no-risk-it; no-biscuit offense. It seemed as if playcaller SpongeBob Leftwich had zero idea how to adjust.

For Joe, the thing that will forever stick out showing how inept Byron Leftwich was as an offensive coordinator came in Pittsburgh. The Bucs were a 13-point favorite. Pittsburgh had so many injuries to their secondary they were pulling practice squad dudes off the street.

This looked like the ultimate mismatch. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin going against glorified USFL players.

But instead, Leftwich decided to pound the ball, right into the teeth of the Steelers’ top-shelf run defense. Joe was in the press box of (nee Heinz Field) and could not believe his eyes. A two-bit high school coach would know better.

Joe maintains that was the most irresponsible gameplan he has ever seen. Leftwich shouldn’t have been on the plane back to Tampa. If Joe had a major gripe with Bowles last year, it was hanging onto Leftwich until after the season.

Fast forward a few months and Joe was at media day at the Pro Bowl and had a chance to speak with Steelers Pro Bowl defensive tackle Cam Heyward. Joe asked him if Leftwich that day dissed the Steelers by trying to run on them so much.

“I didn’t look at it as disrespect,” Heyward told Joe. “I just had to keep showing up.

“It was their choice to do it. I had to make them wrong.”

He sure did do that.

So Joe will raise a glass at Big Storm Brewing in Clearwater today, toasting the fact Leftwich is long gone and a new offense is here.

Joe doesn’t think Canales will ever try the stunt that Leftwich did in Pittsburgh last year.

(Fun fact: Remember when Leftwich called Notre Dame looking for work? Well, the tight ends coach Marcus Freeman hired to take over the Irish offense, his third option, seems to have been a smart hire over Leftwich. Notre Dame through three games is averaging 47 points a game. The Bucs last year in probably Leftwich’s final season as an NFL offensive coordinator, with Tom Brady, Evans and Godwin, averaged 18.4 points a game, 26th in the NFL.)

Bring on the 2023 season!

26 Responses to “Hopefully, A Smart Offense Is Born Today”

  1. Tye Says:

    Win or Lose, the Bucs NEED to look competitive… Canales came from a talented coaching tree… Hoping he shows that rubbed off on him calling his first game…

  2. Dave Pear Says:

    Hopefully Canales + Baker + The Matadors can offset the Todd Bowles factor. The Matadors need to step up their game to FCS level.

  3. garro Says:

    Puzzled still by the so called advisory role of Arians. Surely he had little to do with the fiasco that was our offense last season. Was Bowles responsible for Arians lack of input? If not …Who? Was Leftnut so stubborn as to disregard Arians input?

    Go Bucs!

  4. Cleanhouse Says:

    I believe Bowles handcuffed Leftwhich then scapegoated him.

  5. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Some defensive coordinators that become head coaches seem to demand ‘conservative offenses’ . Prime example, the tony Dungy years in tampa.
    I think it’s just in their nature.
    I clearly remember seeing run, run, pass, kick, more times than not with very little deception in the Dungy days from the offensive side of the ball. now arians and koetter were not this way as was Sam wyche too, which were all offensive coordinators before becoming head coaches.

  6. captivajim Says:

    maybe bowles couldn’t fire leftwich because BA was still there as ” Advisor”

  7. Lowest Common Denominator Says:

    I’ve come to believe that Pittsburgh game was actually Bowles doing.

    Based on everything I’ve heard from other media outlets and everything I’ve heard from Bucs brass this off season is that Bowles number 1 issue with Leftwich was that he didn’t run the ball enough.

    Maybe that Pittsburgh game was Leftwich trying to show Bowles that what he wanted wasn’t going to work.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Lowest Common Denominator … ‘I’ve come to believe that Pittsburgh game was actually Bowles doing. Maybe that Pittsburgh game was Leftwich trying to show Bowles that what he wanted wasn’t going to work.’

    So you’re saying that Leftwich INTENTIONALLY threw the game to teach Bowles a lesson? Sure, we’ll go with that. It’s as reasonable as every other conspiracy theory I’ve heard.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Cleanhouse … ‘I believe Bowles handcuffed Leftwhich then scapegoated him.’

    Bowles apparently wanted the Bucs to run more, but instead the Bucs ran LESS than every other team in the NFL. And oh ya, LESS than they even did under Arians when Leftwich was the OC.

    So Bowles HANDCUFFED Leftwich? I believe that you’ve got it backwards Cleanhouse. Leftwich handcuffed Bowles. I for one agree with Joe … ‘If Joe had a major gripe with Bowles last year, it was hanging onto Leftwich until after the season.’

  10. Lowest Common Denominator Says:

    No DR. I’m saying that Leftwich gave Bowles a taste of what he wanted, which was to run the ball more despite how ineffective this team was at running the ball.

    I’m by no means exonerating Leftwich, he was a dreadful play caller last year and his continued unemployment is deserved.

    But I do believe that Bowles was a major part of the problem as well. And I think that he will continue to be this season. Guess we’ll find out over the next several weeks if that’s the case, starting today.

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    LCD … I honestly believe that ALL of us want the same thing: for the Bucs to ‘just win’. Pro-Bowlesers & Anti-Bowlesers want exactly the same thing. Same with Pro-Mayfielders & Anti-Mayfielders … ‘Just win baby’.

    Today we’re pitting our strength (defense) against the Vikings’ strength (offense). Looking at the games they lost last year, that match-up favors us IMO. Sack Cousins 3 or 4 times, get a couple (or more) takeaways, keep the 3rd/4th down stop rate around 60% plus neuter their running game and we’ll be halfway there. Then all we need is for our offense to put some points on the board, minimize giveaways & HOPEFULLY control the time-of-possession (to keep their offense off the field as much as possible). That’s not asking for a whole bunch, is it?

    Hard to predict games like this, but I like our chances. Bucs 20 Vikings 14.

  12. Jeff Says:

    Bowles, AKA Lovie Smith 2.0, will have an absolute trash game plan ready complete with failed blitzes, dink and dunk passes and turnovers. Go Yucs! Let’s get that first pick overall!

  13. TDTB Says:

    Compare the Cardinals offense under Leftwich as OC to the Bucs last year. The production in both examples got Leftwich fired both years.

  14. Voice of Truth Says:

    In Vegas for work this weekend – spent last evening at the Cesar’s sports book – the money moving the line must be silent because an unofficial poll had about 99% of people picking the purple

    I marked this as one of the 6 wins this season because I believe Canales is going to be our bright spot this year and Minnie has no D

    I think we beat Chicago too – then lose 4 in a row as Todd’s D falls apart by injury and half our starters are rookies and street free agents by mid season

  15. HC Grover Says:

    Will Bowles take his foot off the brakes?

  16. DoooshLaRue Says:

    If Todd starts sporting a big gray beard at some point this season and staring mindlessly at the scoreboard we’ll know what’s really happening.

  17. Since76 Says:

    Leftwich was the weakest link in the O last year….not even a close second. I think Mayfield can be Average to just below average game manager. Just as long as Canales can help him with his int problem. If he can we could be decent.

  18. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    That game against Pittsburgh was the only game you needed to watch to see who the Bucs were last season.

    The run game = the definition of insanity. Keep doing the same thing in the sme way over and over, expecting different results. No play action. No creative blocking schemes, etc.

    Not attacking a team’s weakness. Blame the OC for the plays called or blame the HC for not forcing the issue. Blame them both for not making adjustments at halftime. A rag-tag bunch of DBs for Pittsburgh should have been schooled by our experienced receivers. We not only had Evans and Godwin but Gage as well who I predicted would have a monster game given his ability to get open against anybody, let alone a group of scrubs. He only had 2 catches for 20 yards, but I don’t blame him for that.

    Our D played well enough against a sub-par offense only giving up 20 points. They did their job. They probably should have dominated and kept the score even lower, but that was our 2022 defense. Capable, but not great.

    This Vikings game today also features a weak secondary (but not nearly as weak as the one we faced in Pittsburgh last yesr). Let’s see if any lessons were learned. The Vikings don’t look to be a juggernaut on offense but they do have big-play, quick scoring capability in Jefferson. We’ll need more than the 18 points we put up in Pittsburgh last year.

    As for the D today, take out their best player (Jefferson), put LVD on their tight end and make them rely on their run game and force Cousins to look for a 3rd option in his reads, hopefully giving the pass rush enough time to track him down and plant him or force some bad throws.

    This first game against Minnesota is the perfect “first test” to see where we are, where we can be and especially what we learned.

    Go Bucs! 27-13 then bring on da Bears!

  19. Sly Pirate Says:

    This horse is dead. No need to kick it. Let’s let the BL era go.

  20. Jeff Says:

    Smart? Wouldn’t go that far, but scheme wise it will seem exotic and mysterious to Yucs fans who suffered with Loser Leftwhich.

  21. Buddha Says:

    Some of you don’t understand sports wagering. It is true that more people and touts are picking the Vikings but 80 per cent of the total money, money from wagering syndicates is on the Buccaneers and most of this money was wagered early when the line was at 7 or 6.5. Today it is 4.5, but it may drift up again as the sharps come back in and try to middle the game.

  22. Citrus County Says:

    Defense Rules…Call it a conspiracy theory if you like.

    Read history. Two names in particular: Judas and Brutus. Throughout history and with many current examples, you will find betrayal. If you think Leftnut was exempt from having a frail human condition and committing betrayal you are incorrect. His actions were so obviously bizarre and unexplainable that I can only come to one conclusion and that is sabotage.

  23. Joe Says:

    maybe bowles couldn’t fire leftwich because BA was still there as ” Advisor”


  24. Fred McNeil Says:

    New year. New beginnings. Time to forget last year.

  25. Citrus County Says:

    Joe’s Hhhmmm is right on the money. Remember Nicholson in the movie Departed using the very old phrase ” I smell a rat.” ?

  26. Fred McNeil Says:

    Wow! What a game!!! Defence looks AWESOME!!! Offence …. we will see.