Practice Great, Play Terribly

October 25th, 2023

Practice chatter.

Last Thursday, Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales stood before the local pen and mic club at One Buc Palace and confessed he nearly had a religious experience at practice.

The Bucs offense nearly had what Canales believed to be a perfect practice, the kind where players take over vocally and hold every one of their offensive teammates accountable and to a high standard.

Canales said it nearly gave him “chills.”

Then the Bucs offense went out Sunday against the Dixie Chicks and laid a rotten egg, a painful loss that did damage to the Bucs’ playoff hopes.

So yesterday when Canales held his weekly presser, Joe asked him if he had any sort of read how his offense could have such a stellar practice and yet look on Sunday like they hadn’t practiced all week.

“A great week, really,” Canales said of practice. “I’ve got to be honest about utilizing some of the tempo things we’ve been doing and trying to keep the tempo package tighter where our guys don’t feel like they have good control over what we’re doing. I have to look at that and be honest about that.

“… Some mental lapses – some really simple [things]. We’re early on a cadence, we lined up improperly on one – we should never have false starts from the receivers. We have growing pains that we’re still going through on a lot of those mistakes. Those made it harder for us.

“But we did, we had a really good week and I was excited about getting out there to be able to do that, but we did step on our foot a little bit at different times throughout the game.”

Joe doesn’t know how to explain some of those penalties by the offense that would upset a typical high school coach. (“Everybody but the center.”)

Seeing those penalties made Joe wonder if a coach has to pull back and restart with the basics. You know, fundamentals.

Canales has mentioned more than once his offense is complex and that is one reason it will take time to learn. Could it be so complex for some players to digest that they aren’t locked in on fundamentals enough on gameday, which should be automatic to avoid dumb penalties?

44 Responses to “Practice Great, Play Terribly”

  1. Statistically Insignificant Reader Says:

    Canales schtick is beginning to stale.

  2. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Please do not forget the damning holds on actually successful running plays(Rarity). You know what KEEP HOLDING ,as you will only get caught half the time………………and it is the only way to get yards running.

  3. FortMyersDave Says:

    I wonder if anyone asked Canales why Vaughn is still on the roster, let alone stinking it up on the field. Also, I know Ira pointed out in his podcast that the Bucs’ center has been identified as a weak link and a big part of the problem with the running game but that opens up another question that goes beyond Canales being a used car salesman impersonating an NFL OC: the Bucs have a below average center, they also probably knew Ryan Jensen was not going to play this year but they kept it secret. So that begs me to ask:
    So why on Earth did they not try to bring in someone else to compete with Robert Hainsey? Who would go in if Hainsey gets injured? Leverett, Stinnie?
    Seriously, how did the Bucs simply not have a better insurance plan if Jensen was not available? Did they think Hainsey would be decent? Just like they thought the RB situation was okay? Someone dropped the ball big time with talent evaluation. Do not get me started on loafing Ryan Neal but his ineptitude could have been overlooked if the offense was at least average and got 20 points on Sunday. 3-3 could easily become 4-8 or 3-9 if they do not figure out a way to score points.

  4. HC Grover Says:

    He made it too complex. Over thunk it.

  5. Since76 Says:

    If they had a great practice and then that’s what we got on Sunday maybe the teacher is the problem. How much practice did the starters get in preseason games. What I’m seeing out there ……..not enough.

  6. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Running around in shorts at practice is not a NFL game. I could look good at practice.

  7. BucU Says:

    Dave, all we know is that was a disgusting performance by YOUR offense. AGAIN.

  8. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    Are they though?

  9. Ultra ClodHopper Says:

    Deja-vu. I swear this is the third losing coaching staff to say this in the last 15 years.

  10. Razor Ramone Says:

    Complex? I guess. It complicates things when you lose on 1st down every drive.

  11. garro Says:

    Starting to think that todays NFL practices have a lot of weak sauce to them.

    Just saying.

    Go Bucs!

  12. Deadwood South Dakota Says:

    Very sad showing especially when dave said what he did.. we didn’t take pre season seriously and it shows. I agree why no competition at center we need a angry and mean lineman .it seems that in the red zone we havnt had one decent looking play last week.. I am happy we have bake cuz brady would have been destroyed.. to many un blocked guys running right at baker, drop balls NO RUNNING GAME.. devin looking like a rookie logan ryan one of those guys talented who just takes a pay check no effort. seriously our corners over rated.. thank goodness for winfield.. pay him devins money and trade devin..
    t.. the only thing we have going is talent and the nfc south.. now will the Bucs coaches take advantage of that.. come on coaches step up
    .Let’s Go Bucs!!

  13. Joe Says:


    As for your question about Robert Hainsey, he has *strong* and vocal support from offensive coaches and his fellow offensive linemen.

    Last year Joe spoke with several coaches and players about Hainsey both on and off the record when people were freaking out in training camp to go trade for a center.

    When Joe dared to even question to some of the assistant coaches if Hainsey was up to the task, it was as if Joe told them he slept with their wives the previous night.

    Hainsey may be reviled by fans, but inside that building known as One Buc Palace, he’s close to beloved.

  14. Deadwood South Dakota Says:

    I listen to the press conference.. media never calls them out.. just nice and soft questions.

    Maybe u should do a thread b4 each press conference and we could give u some questions.. cuz it seems no accountability held by the press.. they sucked last week and if u listened to the news conference .the press is so weak in the questions.. devin white sucked and not one question on the breakdown.. that was a big play .. he is a leader and he is playing like a rookie

  15. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Spot on, garro. And it shows on the field.

  16. McBucky Says:

    We need a head coach.

  17. 941Boltsfan Says:

    In the words of The Great Basics Coach Schiano ” TOES ON THE LINE!”

  18. Bojim Says:

    Like to see him get chills over a game.

  19. Mike S Says:

    The guts and bravado guy can’t pull the trigger when it counts.

  20. Winny Testaverde Says:

    “Can Do” Canales has been peddling his snake oil since day one. His offense has been awful…covered up by some early turnovers by the opponents. Bucs feel like a 1-5 team no vs 3-3. He will be coveted in the off-season. Not as a head coach but as a timeshare salesman. Sean The Scout may want him on his squad as well. “You Can Do It, Davey!”

  21. Robbie Says:

    Moxie on the field, talent on the bench enough said. You can’t save a qbs career that never had onecin the first place and there’s a very talented qb waiting for his number to be called and seemed to be doing better in preseason at practice and in preseason games. Might not be Canales is the problem, js.

  22. Mike S Says:

    Winny in fairness to DC – Bowles has made him start and scheme for Baker.

  23. Eckwood Says:

    Please for the love of Football do not put Devin White back on the field until he is fixed . He is not currently an NFL caliber player and this is on the coaches , he flat out should not be playing !!

  24. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    Discipline and fundamentals are on the coaches, even the ones with “chills”.

    Practice rules may have changed to limit the number per week and lessened the ability to “practice hard and hit” but the rules don’t put gags in the coaches’ mouths.

    Some players whine about playing for hardass “taskmasters” like Tom Coughlin, Belichik, even Bienemy, but they got results. You could put together a clip reel of over 2 hours of just Belichik screaming at Brady in practice alone. “No, no, NO TOM!!! What are you thinking? Do it again!!” Tom freaking Brady, not some rookie. Did it shatter his confidence? Did he go running for a “safe place” to get away from mean old Bill? No. He got the play down.

    As far as “too complex” goes, these great offensive minds out there aren’t splitting the atom or applying quantum physics to their game plans. They’ll even tell you as much. Sure, they use analytics and defensive tendencies, etc but they evaluate their 11 guys, understand their strengths, analyze their upcoming opponent’s weaknesses and put their guys in the best position to succeed.

    They also don’t fall in love with their playbooks. If a play is a dud they rip it out and put it in one of 2 piles….save it for a different opponent or scrap it until they have the right personnel to make it work. They don’t stubbornly keep running it because “it should work” or they think it’s “pure genius”.

    And “philosophies” don’t win games either. A “balanced run/pass plan” sounds fine but if it won’t work against a certain opponent or whatever, be willing to abandon it. A couple of years ago, the Patriots with rookie cry-baby Mac Jones went up to Buffalo in blizzard conditions against a strong Bills team led by Josh Allen and won. They only threw the ball 3 times the whole game. Jones went 2 for 3 for 19 yards with no TDs or picks. They won 14 to 10. Not very “balanced” but they went with what worked. Sure, that’s an extreme example but that’s kind of my point. Be “extreme” if the situation calls for it.

    Crap plays can work in practice against your practice squad or scout team with contact at a minimum but “try that sh*t” against a starting D at full speed and actual blocking and hitting and see what happens.

    My fear this week is Canales and Co will look at the Bills defense sitting at #23 against the run (by yards per game avg) and think that’s the ticket for beating them. We shall see.

  25. unbelievable Says:

    “Being too complex” is a nice excuse (read: lie) for the real issues:

    They’re sloppy and undisciplined. Doesn’t matter what the scheme is.

  26. Rayjay1122 Says:

    They look great in practice because they are facing other Bucs. Games show how bad they are against NFL players.

  27. Jack Sparrow Says:

    Maybe the Offensive practice they had the previous week was meant against a JV High school team. Canales forgot they are playing in the NFL. How did this waterboy in the Seahawks organization got promoted to OC for the BUCS….. come on man !!!!

  28. Irish Laughter Says:

    It’s amazing how fans are treated to the same old BS week in and week out by coaches and players who routinely fail on Sunday (Thursday). The same comments get discouraging when we see the results going south. But a turn around is about to happen. By the way Joe, Tom Brady isn’t happy when the Bucs lose. Sop trashing.

  29. Bucfan37 Says:

    Todd Bowles is simply not head coach material. It was more than obvious when he came here that he would become head coach eventually. Kind of like sliding to the bottom. ugly.

  30. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Maybe a little more discipline and a little less love is needed

  31. Saul Says:

    Why does every offensive coordinator we play looks so great and we struggle on calling simple plays?? Bring Byron back thought I would never say those words ever again

  32. SlyPirate Says:

    Good question, Joe.
    “How could you have great practices yet play so poorly?”

    Remember the week before? Bowles said the Bucs were sluggish and had a bad week of practice which led to the Detroit blunder. Before the Atlanta game, the coaches said the Bucs had a great week, but it ultimately led to the same blunder.

    If a good practice and a bad practice led to the same result, can’t we surmise the coaches don’t know how to practice?

  33. Proudbucsfan Says:

    Mr. Blows hired the wrong O/C, Todd Monken has the Ravens scoring 38 points against the Lions. How many points did we score against them ? Oh yeah 6, apparently Monken’s Offense is complex also, are the Raven’s personal smarter then the Bucs ? I don’t think they are. We are just getting told excuses. I fell into that trap from Canales, being well spoken and sounding intelligent but it didn’t last long. I think I can speak for all Buccaneer fans and say we want to see results.

  34. Mike S Says:

    We told you but you didn’t listen.


    The Trask Mob

  35. Mike S Says:

    Proudbucsfan are you suggesting Baker Mayfield is equal to Lamarr Jackson??

    Ho ho ho ho ha ha ha ha

  36. Cchead Says:

    Half truths and deceit is all you get from this coaching staff. No accountability for players. How refreshing would it be for them to just say so and just did not have a good game and has to play better. Nothing worse than not telling the truth.

  37. Bucfan37 Says:

    As the hangover continues like the old Bucs expansion team.

  38. Beej Says:

    I’m afraid other teams are going to do what they saw Atlanta do to us in the red zone. Rush three, and drop eight. It’s unlikely you’re going to complete a pass into that mess, and they assume we won’t be able to run it. I don’t know what play call would work there

  39. Proudbucsfan Says:

    I’m nowhere close to suggesting that. Mayfield is not on the Same level as Lamar. I’m just stating basically that if we would have hired Monken our offense would probably be much better. I’m also sure one of the reasons Todd Monken chose to go to the Ravens is Lamar Jackson. IMO we wouldn’t be completely lousy, like we are on offense.

  40. Lombardi Lenny Says:

    This dude is starting to rub me the wrong way. Just STFU and coach your players. No one GAF about all these feelings and chills you’re talking about. You creep

  41. MelvinJunior Says:

    Just realized these are ALWAYS, ‘the words’ spoken by straight-up LOSER Coaches. Has everyone else, ever notice this before!? It’s every time. Lookin’ good in PRACTICE. Always. REALLLLL Gooood. Juggernauts, I TELL YOU. A lot of the time, it’s like… Well Yah, Of Course, Just Look WHO You’re Goin Up Against!!!! Geeeeez. Every Time. 💯

  42. StretchOMatic Says:

    Canales needs to realize he can’t make the offense too complex, because he’s dealing with more like a classroom of Gabe Kotter’s Sweathogs and not a group from the Mensa Society

  43. D1 Says:

    @the trask mob,

    Practice don’t matter

  44. Rick culler Says:

    It has been clear that we do not have an effective running game and no matter what they say, these running backs are not hitting the gaps hard enough. They either run into the backside of an offensive
    linemen and stop or they run up to the line and there feet stop. It’s been since grade school that we were taught those feet don’t stop moving until the whistle blows. I have seen multiple times where the rb runs into his own player and stops when there is an opening to either side and the rb doesn’t reevaluate the option and shoot the gap, we need more effective RB’s, Also, it’s clear that we gain more distance off of baker mayfield and his throws compared to the run, so why are we setting ourself up for failure, seems like when we are on their goal line and need 99 yards to score, canales goes with a run play and we get hammered at the line, or get screwed and smashed in the end zone. The press has to be more vocal and say Canales, stop doing a run play when we only have 4 downs and 99 yards to go,put it in baker mayfields hands, throw it to Godwin, or Mike or anyone as that has a higher success rate than any run that we do. I could only imagine if the plays are typically split 50/50 over all, how much better our record would be if we just passed it 100% of the time and used the RB as an offensive blocker for mayfield, or had someone that could actually run the ball. CANALES IS NOT AGGRESSIVE ENOUGH, AND IS NOT HARD ENOUGH ON HIS PLAYERS. This will only get worse.