Todd Bowles: We’re Still Learning The Offense

September 27th, 2023

Patience, grasshopper.

Todd Bowles said something very interesting about the new Bucs offense with new Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales.

It’s still a work in progress.

Now Joe knows some folks will roll their eyes knowing Bowles said this yesterday. Oh, baloney! They’ve been working on this offense since OTAs.

Well, remember the glorious 2020 season? The Super Bowl-winning season? That offense didn’t click consistently until right after Thanksgiving.

The Bucs signed Tom Brady that spring and traded for foot-rubbing Rob Gronkowski. They drafted Tristan Wirfs and added Playoff Lenny right before opening day to join many starters from the previous season. Head coach Bucco Bruce Arians decided to give Brady a crash course on his offense rather than run the Belicheats offense for Brady.

Arians, with sound logic, thought teaching one of the smartest quarterbacks the league had ever seen the offense rather than teaching 20-plus other guys the Belicheats offense would be much smoother for all.

Brady struggled that season at times. But in the second half of the 27-24 loss to the Chiefs in late November, the Bucs offense began to hum. The light bulb had officially gone on.

Everyone was finally on the same page. The Bucs offense averaged 37 points a game the rest of the regular season ran the table with eight wins including a rematch with Kansas City in the Super Bowl.

One reason it took so long for everyone to get on the same page is because The Sickness canceled OTAs, minicamp and the worthless preseason games.

Joe brings this up because Bowles noted yesterday the Bucs were still grasping the new offense.

“[Canales is] learning some things along the way that [are] going to benefit us as the year goes on,” Bowles said. “We’re still learning ourselves as an offense.

“We came up against a good defense [Monday night] that played very well and we can adjust some things and we will.”

So Arians only had to teach three guys his offense in 2020. That would be the quarterback (Brady), the right tackle (Wirfs) and the running back (Playoff Lenny). Everyone else knew it.

(Antonio Brown knew the basics of Arians’ offense from their time together in Pittsburgh.)

Canales has to get over a dozen players on the same page. None played for him in Seattle.

If you consider it took a smart guy like Brady three months of the regular season to learn Arians’ offense, imagine getting 11 guys on the same page learning a new offense — with a coach learning the players, too.

So Joe doesn’t think Bowles is blowing smoke here. It makes sense. The offense isn’t fully clicking now, but give it time.

31 Responses to “Todd Bowles: We’re Still Learning The Offense”

  1. hizzie Says:

    Not only are the players learning the offense. Canales is learning how to be a play caller in real-time. It’s a steep learning curve for everyone. You never know this offense could be clicking in a few games. At times they’ve looked really good this season. A consistent running game would really help out though.

  2. Bucsfanman Says:

    This is a truthful statement. You can clearly see the process unfolding each game. Our defense has kept us in all these games and will be relied upon until the offense gels.

  3. Hodad Says:

    We’re right where we should be. We had three games together. Our opponent Monday have been together through an NFC championship season. Big difference. Still we hung with them almost till the half. A few plays go our way we might have a game. This team has a long way to go. This weeks game will determine a lot going into the bye week. If the running game can’t get out of 1st gear this week, Licht better do something during the bye. If Players like JTS can’t get it done, let’s see what Yaya has. We can compete in this division, but this year should be about finding out who we are, and what we want to become as a team, and with who moving into the future.

  4. NJbucs23 Says:


    I give it 6-7 weeks to gel. It takes time to put a new system in. We al remember the 2020 season, going into that bye after KC game, we were all raging.

    By week 8 I expect this offense to be humming.

    Now about eagles game, the eagles pass secondary is not great. That’s on coaching to have a game plan to go after their weakness which is pass defense.
    The Bucs should have spread them out and aid routes up and down the field.

  5. Natedawg12345 Says:

    If you go back to earlier in the year, there are articles on this site even confirming that it was expected for the Defense to carry the team for the first part of the season while the offense learns and gels…. this will happen eventually (after White is benched, obviously) and if we can get to 3-1, we are in a good place considering.

    I do recall the Bucs getting blasted by the Chiefs a couple years back before the bye week, which seemed to wake the Beast and we know how that season ended for us 😇😇😇

  6. SickofLosing Says:

    If you recall the first Super Bowl season with Chucky bringing his west coast offense in; the whole offense needed to learn it. It took almsot half the season for the offense to start clicking. But when they got it they rolled. Hopefully history repeats itself this year for our 3rd chip. Probably being overly optimistic but one can hope.

  7. Upstate NY BUC Says:

    Good article Joe, very true we need a few more games. I think playing against a very tough Eagle D and getting are butt whipped will help us Sunday. Go Bucs!!!

  8. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I was expecting us to struggle more offensively early on than what we showed in the 2nd half of the Vikings and in the full Bears game basically.

    If I was grading the coaching I don’t have a problem honestly. You can’t just NOT run the ball in the NFL lol. Canales had a few bad calls for sure but ultimately the Eagles had the horses on the DL / OL / RB that we don’t. And they have been running that offensive system together for a while. That push play is so annoying lol.

    Our interior OL / RB room have been the weakness of the team so far- which lines up with all the changes.

  9. Senor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    And Canales is still learning…

    Hopefully he is learning it is a terrible idea to go against another team’s strength, Eagles have a super strong DL, with your own team’s obvious weakness, your interior Oline, and run up the middle….

    on your own friggin 1 yard line.

    How many times does one hear, “its a game of match-ups”?

    Maybe he thought the Eagles would not be expecting something that stupid? Not even BL would use that!

  10. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Total in Vegas for Bucs game is 40.5 and there really should be no way the total goes over. Bucs score 17 here and the worst they do is OT , score 20+ and it will be a W. Both teams will be running heavily , Bucs because that is who Canales is , and Saints because that is who they are and too many throws by JW results in turnovers. Bet Under 40.5 total.

  11. Bojim Says:

    Makes sense to me.

  12. Weebs10 Says:

    This is exactly why the Eagles game didn’t send me into panic mode. It’s obvious they are still trying to gel. All of us would have taken a 2-1 start to the season a month ago!!

  13. Why Bowles? Says:

    True but a huge reason the team did not click in early 2020 was the lack of discipline. The Bucs were so used to losing they became a chippy team. Do you remember all the drive killing penalties? Bowles team today are for the most part far more discipline. Unlike Brady who played system for 20 years (old dog new tricks) Baker should be accustom to adapting to new a new system. Canalas is a different story, he finally met adversity now let’s see how he handles it. It sure does look a LOT like last year’s offense.

  14. HC Grover Says:

    Hope Winston is the QB. Gotta beat Stainks or season in big dangerville.

  15. StickinUp4Centers Says:

    So Arians only had to teach three guys his offense in 2020. That would be the quarterback (Brady), the right tackle (Wirfs) and the running back (Playoff Lenny).

    What about Gronk?

  16. D-Rok Says:


    Gronk no learn. Gronk catch ball. Gronk run.

  17. unbelievable Says:

    Yup- and has been said, and maybe most importantly – Canales is also learning. He’s literally never called plays before.

    And that showed against Philly. They will keep improving with time, I’m not worried.

  18. Since76 Says:

    Maybe if the 1st team actually played during preseason they would be a little more prepared. But maybe actual practice games at game speed doesn’t matter. 1 less practice game every year. What does it matter if you don’t get your players that are actually going to play ready. Use practices to evaluate the ups drivers.

  19. David G Says:

    We need a straight up trade with the Colts. Devin White for Jonathan Taylor and the Bucs get a 3rd round pick with it,

  20. David G Says:

    We need a straight up trade with the Colts. Devin White for Jonathan Taylor and the Bucs get a 3rd round pick with it.

  21. CleanHouse Says:

    The only sickness now is Todd Bowles as coach.
    We will never win

  22. MiamiBuc Says:

    The run game is a no-brainer. I call BS.

  23. Lt. Dan Says:

    “…worthless preseason games.” Lt. Dan is triggered.

  24. pmarcello Says:

    This is not rocket science. Championships are achieved in Nov,Dec,and January. That is why the Philly loss is not the end but the beginning.Need to win [by any margin} Sunday . Need to get the guys healthy again during the bye. Need a true break away back to emerge and hit the holes faster and break some tackes.Need to turn loose Baker’s arm with more deeo stretch the defense plays to make them respect the threat. Use those three stallion wr s and the line has to keep Baker standing long enough to crank it up and unload. Not to fear ints because an INT on a long deep ball is almost as good as a punt.

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    Was just thinking about how far the Bucs roster has evolved since our 2020 Super Bowl championship.

    Our 2023 defense has 7 starters remaining from that team (Vea, Shaq, LVD, White, Davis, Dean & Winfield) plus a couple of key rotational players (Nelson, Gholston). We’ve lost quite a few others, but that’s still an excellent core to build around because all but 3 are still quite young.

    Our offense is a whole nuther matter because we only have 3 starters remaining from that team (Wirfs, Evans & Godwin). Brady’s gone (replaced by Mayfield). Gronk & Brate are gone (replaced by Otton & Kieft). Brown, Miller & Tyler Johnson are gone (replaced by Palmer, Thompkins, Jarrett). Fournette & RoJo are gone (replaced by White & Tucker). Donnie Smith, Marpet, Cappa, Jensen (IR) gone (replaced by Feiler, Hainsey, Goedeke & Mauch).

    Seems only reasonable to expect that our defense will have to carry the team for the 1st half of this season while we see what we’ve REALLY got on offense. (Too many injuries to our defense could certainly derail that, but hopefully the BYE week let’s us get healthy). All of these new guys are playing their tails off, but reality (I think) says that we’re at least 1 and more likely 2 drafts away from being a Top-10 team. Only time will tell though …

  26. David Says:

    Toilet Bowl says; “They all learning the new offense”
    What a joke !!!!!! New Learning Process.
    Do you even know what would be the name of this offense (west coast, pro set, spread, RPO) while you are learning as you go ?

    How do you manage a team if you do not exactly know what system you are running ? Did you place suitable OL before switching to this new system with a rookie OC ? If this is not a re-build, why did you even change old system the opposite of the system you already have an invested in your 2021 draft pick in your roster.

    1. Bucs draft Trask to be the future qb to replace Tom Brady.
    2. Trask is not even allowed or compete to play as a back up for two years.
    3. Toilet Bowl becomes the head coach and hires a new OC with entirely new system than Tom Brady the system Trask was drafted for.
    4. Toilet Bowl hires a garbage qb named, Baker as he can’t find any other veteran qb due to Bucs limited cap.

    Now Toilet Bowl expects the fans to be patient as the team going through the new system learning process.
    He is utilizing the implementation/understanding of the new offensive as the excuse for this loss and upcoming failures.

  27. Dave Pear Says:

    Having no one that can run block better than a corpse is a liability no banner how familiar they get with the offense.

    Nice safety.

  28. JimBobBuc Says:

    I have always thought the OL would struggle in the early games at least through the bye week. I wasn’t expecting much from the OL and Baker in these early games. They are actually doing a little better than I expected New offense and new positions for the OL.

    I think our schedule has prepared us for the Aints – IF IF IF we learn from our mistakes and do something different. We faced a Super Bowl team from last year, a very tough test. We need to learn about our players’ strengths and weaknesses and look at the matchups with the Aints. Don’t repeat things that aren’t working.

  29. orlbucfan Says:

    We’ll beat the Aints which puts the Bucs at 3-1 going into the bye week. For once, it’s early and NOT at week 14 or whatever. Canales and Mayfield and the new OLine have to have time to work together. Iggles were the #2 NFL team last year. They still have that bunch and the coaches. I could care less about the Stupid Bowl this year. I just want to see us repeat as Division champs and get in the playoffs. We’re hobbled by the Salary Cap and paying off Brady, etc. Bucs will be in better shape next year even though we’ll probably lose CG14 and a few others, not LVD and ME13, to free agency. Them’s the breaks.

  30. Kidfloflo Says:

    I get that Canales is green at calling plays but when my girlfiend is yelling before the play, don’t run up the gut on the saftey play with our pitiful run game into a stout Eagles line, how in the world can a guy at the NFL level not realize it!?

  31. garro Says:

    Todd Bowels baffles me at times with the things he says and the things he doesn’t say…

    I have never heard any HC say anything like that during a season. Setting the table for some future excuses for the Glazers perhaps? If not… and it is true which I doubt…I don’t think I would announce it. That Sir is a bad look.

    Granted they have not got down in to Canales tweeking this offense, and the O line is still not as cohesive a unit as you might want, But come on man!

    I know BA is at the lake now, but damn. When he talked it was not this kind of BS riddles and half truths.

    Go Bucs!