Time Clock

October 20th, 2023

Easy vs. hard.

We live in a microwave, fast-food-drive-up, video-on-demand world. We want it now! Five minutes is five minutes too late.

Joe is sensing mounting frustration with the transition of the Bucs offense from elite with Bucco Bruce Arians to gallingly bad with inept, arrogant and ill-suited Bryon Leftwich to rookie play-caller Dave Canales and his offense’s growing pains. This despite the Bucs being in first place in the NFC South (imagine!).

Yesterday at One Buc Palace, the clear theme of the day was, “It takes time.”

The Joe typing this here post believes Canales’ explanations for the offensive struggles are both reasonable and logical. The other Joe cites Greg Schiano having a much better offense in his first year with the Bucs, also with a first-time playcaller: Mike Sullivan. Schiano had the luxury of having Doug Martin in that 2012 season, too. Rachaad White ain’t no Doug Martin.

So yesterday, Canales, the first-year Bucs offensive coordinator, sounded an awful lot like a philosophy professor Joe had in college.

This professor told students on Day 1 that he thought they wanted an easy class that was interesting. The professor then argued how “easy” and “interesting” are incompatible, an oxymoron. So the only way to make the class interesting was to make it hard.

Only a philosophy professor, man. SMH

But that’s what Canales said about his offense yesterday. He freely admitted he could simplify his offense for the running backs — read: dumb down — but that would also make it easier for opposing defenses.

So Canales believes suffering through growing pains with a complex scheme may not be pretty now, but it will pay off when it all comes together.

“I think, for me, the challenge is this: if you over-simplify, it makes it easy for the defense to stop what you’re doing,” Canales said. “That may lead to success on a couple of plays, but I think that in the pass game, and the run game, if we put the strain on ourselves now – early in the season – by the time we hit midseason and as we go, the guys get familiar and accustomed to having all the different variety, having the different types of runs, the different types of passes, the fly motions, the shifts, the different things that we’re working on. That does take time.”

Still, Canales confessed he has to find a way to get production while he makes his players swallow the cough medicine.

“It’s kind of like I don’t want to sacrifice where we’re heading for right now,” Canales said. “At the same time, we’ve got to find a way to make yards.

“We’ve got to find a way to make first downs and continue to have success while we’re figuring that stuff out.”

Lastly, Canales said production (or lack thereof) from his offense ultimately is his responsibility.

“That task does fall squarely on my shoulders and the staff really helping me to put together a good, versatile attack.”

Joe doesn’t care about a versatile attack. The Bucs need a productive attack. There’s a difference. As former Bucs coach Dirk Koetter used to often say, the NFL is a production league.

If having a productive offense means going all pass, so be it. If that means all run, so be it. Whatever works, do it. This shouldn’t be calculus.

Joe gets what Canales is saying. But Joe is also trying to be reasonable and open-minded, which aren’t always popular qualities.

Joe understands Canales doesn’t want to “sacrifice” what he’s worked on for short-term success. Problem is, the Bucs need short-term success. Especially Sunday.

Without points now (Sunday), there may not be a tomorrow (2024).

Canales must use his talented passing game against the Dixie Chicks. Atlanta struggles mightily to obtain and maintain leads. The Bucs need points. Now.

Go ahead next Thursday and work on your new offense and run to nowhere. Nobody expects the Bucs to win in Buffalo. Use that game as a fourth worthless preseason game, if you wish, so long as you take care of business on Sunday.

This Atlanta game is way too important to p!ss away thinking a running back who has no vision and has had one good game — one! — in the last 23 will magically turn into Emmitt Smith (or Doug Martin). The division title and jobs are on the line.

Less isn’t always more.

30 Responses to “Time Clock”

  1. BucU Says:

    Excellent article. F A C T S.

  2. Jmarkbuc Says:

    This is starting to sound like double talk.

  3. Dew Says:

    Canales is a breath of fresh air for sure. Hey the Bucs were down by 4 points near the end of the 3rd quarter. A few breaks & we would of had had the lead.

  4. Baking with Canales Says:

    Some drop passes and bad throws don’t happen and this article is not written.
    We know what lost the game. Or at least we would have looked more competitive in a win or loss.

    If you want progress, you better not panic. It was just a loss. Is not time to rewrite the script.

    Go Bucs!!!

  5. Joe Says:

    Excellent article. F A C T S.

    Thank you BucU!

  6. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Bucs will continue running the ball.
    If opponents even think the Bucs have abandoned the run, Mayfield will be running for his life

  7. Bojim Says:

    Logical yes but it sure is frustrating for everyone. Not just the fans.

  8. TDavis Says:

    Isn’t he talking about simplifying the run and the pass, not just the run?
    Anyway I agree with him and you. Don’t sacrifice the long-term of where the offense needs to go, but do whatever needs to be done to win on Sunday against the Falcons.

  9. Mike S Says:

    You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shinola.

    Baker is not the answer.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Loved this article Joe because it hits the nail on the head. As I was reading it, it reminded me of Joseph Heller’s book ‘Catch 22’. In the book, the main character, a bombardier named Yossarian, is in the hospital & wants to be declared “crazy” so that he can stop flying bomber missions. Doc Daneeka explains that this is not possible due to one of the military’s inherently paradoxical stipulations:

    ‘Any rational man would ask not to fly combat missions, so anyone trying to evade missions is therefore not “crazy.” The only people who are truly “crazy” are those who willingly fly missions. Daneeka refers to this paradox as a “Catch-22.”

    Somehow I get the feeling that Canales is gonna keep running the ball even though running the ball is not working, because … apparently that’s what we’re supposed to do. As Doc would probably say … ‘OK, so you need to be able to run the ball to win.
    But only people who are truly ‘crazy’ would willingly keep running the ball when they can’t. Say hello to Catch-22.’

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Thus far. the primary difference between Canales & Leftwich is their command of the English language.

  12. A Bucs Fan Says:

    @DR you’re exactly right. The Bucs needlessly will lose games this season then dismantle the offense and put it back together how they want it in the offseason because of this stubborn vision.

    Versus adapting to what they have to win now then slowly pivot over time.

  13. RGA Says:

    I may be wrong but it doesn’t seem to complicated to run the ball up the gut time and time again. Going exclusively to a passing offense is a recipe for disaster, the Bucs don’t have the QB for that.

  14. Since76 Says:

    Rga ……your right the opposing defenses are going to keep shutting down our run until Mayfield makes them pay for it. I don’t see that happing.

  15. Buddha Says:

    Carr threw 55 passes; Lawrence 29. Guess who won?

  16. SlyPirate Says:

    Good take, Joe.

    The point is to win. Points win games. Players get paid if the team wins. Coaches have jobs if the team wins. Owners get paid by fans if the team wins.

    6 POINTS doesn’t win games. The 3rd worst offense doesn’t win games.

    Canales’ patient pursuit of a philosophical concept (I just gagged on the smell of liberal BS) will turn real ugly once Canales’ philosophy starts costing people money (see ticket sales).

    Bucs Jobs on the Line: Bowles, Mayfield, Evans, Wirfs, Winfield, White

    Practically all the leaders on this team will be turning on Canales real soon.

    Atlanta is a must win.

  17. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I got curious and looked at the past 10 Super Bowl winners. 9/10 were in the top 10 for pass attempts per game.

    The only outlier was the 2014 Seahawks who ranked dead last with a young Russel Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and The Legion of Boom… soo Bowles ball has worked once in the past 10 years.

    Remind me why a commitment to the run is important in the current NFL?

  18. Buccos Says:

    I see the Bucs winning the division and making the playoffs. How much better we get between now and then is going to determine if we win one in the playoffs

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    SlyPirate … ‘Practically all the leaders on this team will be turning on Canales real soon. Atlanta is a must win.’

    Totally agree that Atlanta is a ‘must win’ Sly Pirate, but no way the leaders on this team will be turning on Canales, soon or otherwise. Thus far in our 3 wins against average to below-average teams, the Bucs have put up 27, 26 & 20 points. We won the Turnover Battle handily in each of those games. We won the TOP Battle in each of those games. And in each of those games we ran more (times) than our opponents (100-52) for just about a 50-50 run-pass ratio (even though our run production stunk IMO).

    In our 2 losses, the Bucs put up 11 & 6 points. We tied or lost the Turnover Battle in each of those games against 2 of the best offenses in the league (and both of them have solid defenses to match). We lost the TOP Battle very handily in each of those games. And in each of those games we ran considerably fewer times than our opponents (33 – 102) for roughly a 35-65 run-pass ratio.

    I always look for the obvious first Sly Pirate, because the obvious is the easiest to overlook. The most obvious IMO is that we’re fairly decent against average to below average teams, but meh against top tier teams. I think that’s understandable at this point since the Bucs are in Year 1 of a ‘retooling process’ that’ll likely take 3 years (my guess) if we make excellent decisions along the way. Maybe more.

    Another ‘obvious’ to me is that the Bucs were manhandled by the Eagles, but not by the Lions. Our defense played a good enough game to win IMO, given that they were on the field for 36 minutes. Our offense didn’t get the job done. In retrospect I think it was a combination of a good game by the Lions’ defense & a lousy game by a number of players on our offense (not all by any means). Best way to make up for it? Win against the Falcons.

  20. kaimaru69 Says:


    What Canales said is opinion. Nothing of what he said is even remotely verifiable. There is no proof our line and our backs will figure out this “complicated scheme.’ We cannot know if it is truly more complicated than any other running scheme, and he can’t either without stealing 31 other playbooks. We have no proof that even if line and backs figure it out that the backs will have the vision to find the right holes. There is no proof that not changing what he is doing will improve gaining yards as the “figure it out.” This is the exact opposite of facts

  21. BillyBucco Says:

    Great article that spurs Real conversations.
    This getting yards while you are learning is my source of contention.
    After watching Jacksonville and NO last night there were several good play calls by Pederson that worked like a charm.
    One in particular was a great one handed pitch against the grain so to speak.
    Kirk went in motion and stopped and came back to his right. The linebackers all shifted right when he did this. The O line came off the ball right except for the TE who came across the formation to seal. It was a one handed pitch to Etienne with tons of space and a blocker. He won easily outside and scored his 2nd rushing TD. Defenses in EVERY SINGLE GAME this year have over pursued on our run game. This is the type of misdirection play you call after running it right 4-5 times in a row etc. make the defense THINK you are doing one thing and do the other.
    What pisses me off is this play doesn’t take an entire offense gelling. It takes practice between the QB and RB to get the pitch right.
    It’s a play that should be run Sunday IMO.
    Let the fans see some exotic plays that shows you are trying.
    Even against the Saints, the plays might not of worked, but it still keeps the defense honest.
    Next time, the trick/variety plays might also work and the defense is really reeling.
    3rd and 1 on the 14 and you say you wanna run the ball, but you pass it to Mike on a fade without even play action? Run the ball twice and go freaking score a TD. Put Vita Vea in the backfield, but pick up a dam yard.
    Hind sight is 20/20 yes and maybe Canales was thinking try for the score and then come back and go for it on 4th and 1 and the PI by Evans screwed that up, but it’s NOT a high percentage play anyway.
    It’s the timing of plays and personnel issues IMO. Why did we try a pass to Rachaad White in 4 wide in a group? Why did we try a wheel route against Alex Anzalone? Why do we try a physical quick slant to the smallest WR (Thompkins) and expect him to win?
    Canales is closer but not ON TOP OF IT YET.

  22. Joe Says:

    Why do we try a physical quick slant to the smallest WR (Thompkins) and expect him to win?


    Of course, if (soft) Cade Otton makes the block on the linebacker, Thompkins possibly scores as he already beat the corner. Thompkins had zero chance against Campbell, who had 90-100 pounds on Thompkins.

    But yeah, totally get what you are saying.

  23. Joe Says:

    Good take, Joe.

    Thanks Sly! 👍

  24. Bucs'n'Bucks Says:

    Mike S…. quit whining about Baker. In case you didn’t notice, there are 21 other players out there!

    Defense Rules….. I like your use of stats but they’re a little skewed. The reason for fewer running plays is directly related to TOP and 3rd down conversions. A completed pass here, a better block there and there would have been more opportunities to run the ball.

    I feel that this team is super talented and when things “click” the bandwagon will fill up fast.

  25. EEK Says:

    White does seem to be a bit late on hitting the holes or making the first read

    Is that scheme?

    If it takes better players at RB then it would be nice to see if there may be a trade option out there

  26. Joe Says:

    We have no proof that even if line and backs figure it out that the backs will have the vision to find the right holes.

    Exactly. Tomorrow Joe will post the full word-for-word question Joe had for Canales on vision for running backs recognizing daylight and Canales’ word-for-word (it was wordy) answer.

  27. Bucs4Life Says:

    Once again sir I concur.

  28. garro Says:

    Society has found no better way to screw up a good young mind than “a Philosophy class”. Been many years and has taken me that long to discount and replace College Philosophy with real life factual experience. It works great if you want to live in lala land or be an attorney though. LOL

    His challenge is not to lose while trying to turn this offense around. These guys looked very unpolished in the zone runs I saw, and that includes everybody. However they show some progress.

    Recievers and TEs?… Except Godwin…

    Play calls and personnel usage is suspect Coach Canales. Not even gonna get to Baker.

    Go Bucs!

  29. Garry lewis Says:

    To have access to Tom Moore bring it offensive Play card general staff so we certainly has views even Bruce Aaron that’s a great source to get this offense on track who’s he consulting

  30. Kalind Says:

    Honestly, what is the point of this? We can’t beat the Eagles, Lions, and Bills. But we’re fighting to get into the playoffs? Why. So we can pick 24th? This is Sisyphean. This is people desperate to save their jobs under the guise of playoff appearance despite admittedly not having a chance in those games. Quixotic.