Will Bucs Pull A Byron Leftwich Special?

December 9th, 2023

Failed Bucs OC Byron Leftwich.

Last year’s Bucs-Steelers game in October completely turned Joe off on former Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

The game was in Pittsburgh and the Steelers were hurting, both physically and record-wise.

(The next game losing against the hapless Stinking Panthers, just days after firing Matt Rhule, was the final Leftwich straw for Joe.)

In the days leading up to the game, the Steelers secondary was beaten to a pulp. Pittsburgh pulled practice squad dudes out of Mario’s Saloon to start. Star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was out. Future Hall of Fame edge rusher T.J. Watt did not play. If ever there was a game to attack a team’s secondary with your superior passing attack, you know, Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, it was this game.

Besides, the Bucs’ run game was struggling and Pittsburgh was known for its ferocious run defense.

So what did Leftwich do? Run the damn ball right into the teeth of the Steelers defense. When Leftwich did have the Bucs throw, it was dink and dunk.

Joe was in the press box of nee-Heinz Field and was fully outraged. Leftwich stupidly and moronically played right into Mike Tomlin’s hands. Joe couldn’t believe how downright dumb this was.

It was the most irresponsible gameplan Joe has ever seen. If Joe didn’t know any better, Joe would have thought Leftwich threw the game.

Sunday is sort of shaping up to be a similar test for the Bucs.

The Bucs’ strength is in the passing game and their weakness is the run. Sadly, Bucs coaches willingly choose to ignore this (if you want to tell Joe they don’t know any better, well, that’s a much deeper conversation) and pound the ball between the tackles way too often with the league’s worst rushing attack.

Make it make sense.

Atlanta’s starting corners are less than 100 percent. A.J. Terrell is coming off concussion protocol and Jeff Okudah has a bum ankle. Both are questionable for Sunday.

That doesn’t mean the Dixie Chicks are barren in their secondary. Pro Bowl Jessie Bates is still roaming around.

But man, with receivers like Evans and Godwin, shoot even Trey Palmer, go after those corners early and often to see if they can measure up.

Football really is a simple game: Get your best players the football, preferably matched up on the defense’s weakest links.

Joe might add the Bucs are 5-7 this season.

57 Responses to “Will Bucs Pull A Byron Leftwich Special?”

  1. Times Up Says:

    Bucs offense:

    Rush attempts- 294 (26th in the NFL)
    Pass attempts- 411 (20th in the NFL)

    Completion %- 63.5 (20th in the NFL)
    Rush yards per attempt- 3.5 (Last in the NFL)
    Pass Yards per attempt- 6.8 (22nd in the NFL)
    Recovering yards- 2790 (19th in the NFL)

    The Bucs actually pass on roughly 58% of their plays and rush on 42%. If you look at the actual data and most importantly the film you would notice the Bucs just suck this year. Time for a change

  2. Popcorn Mike Says:

    You know Joe, after watching the Bucs in their second year under Bowles, I am seriously wondering if Leftwich was as bad as he looked. Joe just mentioned that last year the Bucs under Leftwich ran the ball right into the teeth of the Steelers defense. Sounds familiar, Bowles philosophy., run run run in a passing offense. Also Bowles was who fired Leftwich why? Because his play calling was that bad or because Leftwich didn’t want to run run in a passing offense

  3. Marine Buc Says:

    Byron Leftwich to Mike Tomlin – “Hey coach I know your offense is struggling – I think I can help – Can I get a job?”

    Mike Tomlin to Byron Leftwich – “No thank you.”

  4. stpetebucfan Says:

    The Falcons have the 10th overall defense. They are pretty balanced so if their secondary is hurting attack their passing D. Makes sense.

    @Joe This is not really related to this post but I didn’t know where else to ask you. I read this and would like some clarification since you seem to know all things gambling.

    No longer waiting on judges, Seminole Hard Rock opens its sportsbook
    After a red carpet ceremony that included the introduction of craps and roulette to Florida, the Seminole Tribe now has in-person sports betting to go with its statewide app.

    Statewide app. Does that mean we can gamble from the comfort of our homes or is it just for out of staters.

    The rest seems pretty clear unless I’m mistaken. The Tribe no longer fearing Judges is just going to open their betting parlors. Really? I can now drive out to the Hard Rock and place a bet in person?

  5. PSL Bob Says:

    The Bucs have the talent to win this game. It all comes down to game planning, particularly offensive play calling, and execution. Hopefully, Mayfield won’t have happy feet and Canales will target Evans and Godwin much more than he has been. But why am I fearful that won’t happen.

  6. Bee Says:

    This team will do what it always does, double down on what doesn’t work. Then they’ll get down by 14 pts, throw to get back into it and then run on the final drive to lose the game.

  7. walleye Says:

    How do we know Bowles was not dictating to Leftwich the offense to run?

  8. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Harp on the offense all you want- some of it deservedly so, but the Bucs rank 27th in NFL in Defense- that’s 6th worst.
    Why the Bucs choose to place their starting corners 10 yards off the opponents’ receivers and then pay them 13 and 14 million per year respectively is beyond me. – seems like a huge waste of cap money that could’ve been spent on an elite pass rusher

  9. walleye Says:

    How do we know Bowles was not dictating to Leftwich the offense to run?

  10. Aubpierce Says:

    If the Bucs are going to win this game Mayfield must roll out and take off sometimes. If he stays in the pocket as much as he has been lately he will get balls batted down and possible multiple interceptions. I keep going back to the picture of Trask and Mayfield standing next to each other and it appears Trask is one head length taller. If Trask is 6’5″ then Mayfield is 5’10’ not 6’1″. Or is it an illusion.

  11. realistic-optimistic Says:

    @Marine Buc, it’s even funnier when you consider the horrible game Joe mentioned in this article. Lefty shows Tomlin his offensive genius in that game, then just a few months later goes to him asking for the OC job. Seriously tone-deaf.

  12. Lt. Dan Says:

    Just loose already and (FINALLY) draft a franchise QB. Who are we gonna beat in the playoffs..? Dallas – SF? Child please.

  13. Since76 Says:

    The OC is doing what Bowles is telling him to do run and run again. Then in the second half they have to be one deminsional the other way and pass more to catch up. That doesn’t happen because the QB can’t get it done. What a disaster this season is.

  14. HC Grover Says:

    Nothing left to do but cross your fingers and hope for Falcon Blunders. It is possible for a win. Playoff money is on the table. Do not Get the Ranch though.

  15. Duane in Sanford Says:

    Its the Bowles mentality. He wants a ball control offense and to win the game through the turnover margin. How is it working out with all those turnovers we get? You cant win those games if you lack the discipline and pick up penalties. We ran Jameis out of town for turning the ball over, but he put up points. We forget those defenses he had gave up points like they were going out of style. Bowles is supposed to be a defensive genius, why would he not recognize flaws in opposing defenses? He is also the head coach. The one consistent feature of this team is a bend and break defense that loses games with broken run fits and coverage. We got the wrong guy.

  16. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Realistic

    Exactly… LOL!!!!


  17. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Just give Ridder/Heinecke a chance to blow it and they will. Interesting game though, ATL plays Robinson, TB plays Kancey and YaYa. Totally different dynamic, but i think the Bucs can squeak this one out by 3. Hopefully

  18. Tony Says:

    I know if I was a player or a coach I’d get tired of constantly losing every year after awhile & I’m sure the players are, too! Just really seems like the coaches & the Glazers could care less. I had them going 7-10.

  19. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    Joes, Bowles is inept as a head coach.

    What’s his overall HC record.

    You are what you are…you think this leopard is changing his spots?

    You continue to give Jason Licht a free pass.

    What’s Jason’s record without Tom Brady? It sucks.

    This organization needs a complete overhaul from ownership on down.

    The Glazers are a bunch of losers. They lucked out with Brady. Yes, LUCKED OUT.

    Then they tried to hold the fans hostage by making them purchase TWO years of tickets. They can go pizz off too.

    Get your brown bags ready because that’s what we are now.

  20. Tampa2ATL Says:

    Concur with historical perspective alignment with my patience personally.

    As a Tampa native who now lives in ATL, I am praying that this now defined “Byron Leftwich” phenomenon does not occur Sunday.

    Desmond Ridder. Arthur Smith. Arthur Smith’s mustache. <-We cannot allow this to beat us out for a division title. I’m 44 YO and have suffered many indignities as a lifelong Bucs fan. This would be top 10 🤮.

    Please don’t be the ghosts of Buccaneers years past. Todd Bowles, you don’t have to be Tony Dungy’s offensive philosophy. Dave Canales, you don’t have to turn into Byron Leftwich. It’s not too late!

  21. 941bucsfan Says:

    Question Joe… How was it the coach fault that Brady dinked and dunked? Lol.

  22. Beeej Says:

    One difference between the first game and NOW, is Mauch and Goedeke are maturing into a VERY good pair of lineman, and Feiler is on the bench where he belongs. Stinnie is a HUGE improvement

  23. HC Grover Says:

    My worry is a Bowles Special.

  24. Bobby M. Says:

    Common denominator is Bowles…..like I said Brady didn’t suddenly forget how to QB. He got handcuffed to Bowles and made the most of it but the philosophy is counter productive to our actual strengths.

  25. Bobby M. Says:

    Bowles is the only coach ever to take the ball out of the hands of Brady with the game on the line because he was worried about a turnover.

    Bowles is the HC that Brady ever had a losing record with.

    Bowles has a losing record as HC regardless of where he’s been or what division.

    Bowles is the common denominator….he’s terrible. He couldn’t lead proven winners last year, it’s a fantasy to think he would coach better this year.

  26. Glass (almost) Half Full Guy Says:

    I’d love to hear Brady give an HONEST assessment of the 2022 season. HC, play calling, o-line play, etc. I know it’s not his style to bad-mouth former coaches or teammates (he’ll clap back in his own defense tho).

    Maybe once he settles into the broadcast booth and let’s it rip we’ll know. It was his final season so he’ll continue to be asked about it.

    I’d bet my left one that poor coaching, bad offensive “philosophy” and a total lack of being competitive led to him calling it quits or at least helped him make that decision. I’m sure he felt he could still play but with THAT team and coaches or starting over elsewhere at 46? Naw.

  27. All_da_way Says:

    Bowles as a HC has the power to dictate the game plan so if the Bucs offense plays timidly you can’t blame Canales. Canales has called up plays to attack mismatches.

  28. All_da_way Says:

    I agree the no risk it no biscuit offense looked like a modern NFL offense. But the flipside is that the Bucs don’t have enough talent on the offensive side of the ball yet to make that or Canales offense work.

    But Bowles as a HC has to adjust to the team’s strength. On offense it is the WRs by a far margin. Even the RBs the Bucs have are far suited to a passing attack
    and catches in the flat or wheel routes.

  29. Old Sombrero Says:

    This team has a roster problem and not the good kind when there’s too much to share one football. One, maybe 2 pro-bowlers – Evans and David. I like this year’s draft class, Mauch, Palmer, YaYa, Kancey. , But man the veteran Roster is weak. The playmaker positions are weak. Vita Vea is not disruptive. D White is not disruptive. David can be but not his style. Winfield is disruptive but nobody else in secondary is. Evans is the only explosive offensive player. ZERO TE production. No 3rd receiver option a-la Brown or Humphries or even Perriman. R White shouldn’t be the 3rd receiver option for two reasons not the least of which it implies Godwin is getting too much attention. Godwin’s per play yard average is down; below 10 yards I believe (less than a first down). R Whites per run avg is just barely above a first down x 3 runs. That means you have one guy, Evans, whose per play average is a first down. I’m assuming Otton’s per play avg is below 10 yards. Even if it’s above his sample size is too small – he’s not used.

  30. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I’m being forced to attend the baby shower for my first grandchild tomorrow.

    I’ll be listening to the game…but…

  31. HC Grover Says:

    The edge for the Bucs is desperation. Bowles and Mayfield are playing for their lives. Dos Desperados.

  32. T. McGee Says:

    What has this guy been doing for a year? Anyone know? Talk about tanking your career. Win the Super Bowl as an OC and now you are in witness protection?

  33. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    Like DeJa’Vu, all over again.

  34. Rod Munch Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai Says:
    December 9th, 2023 at 2:47 pm
    I’m being forced to attend the baby shower for my first grandchild tomorrow.


    We have a blanket rule in our family, that if you schedule anything for a Sunday during football season, don’t expect anyone to show up. I’m very thankful to my grandfather for making that rule decades ago – and it’s out of respect to him that I maintain it (and certainly not that I’d just rather watch football).

    Anywho, you should start that as a new tradition for the sake of your descendants.

  35. Rod Munch Says:

    “So what did Leftwich do? Run the damn ball right into the teeth of the Steelers defense.”


    No, Joe, you don’t get it. The Steelers never would suspect that when you have Brady and Evans and Godwin that you’d just run it up the middle the entire afternoon – they never would see that coming! It was truly a brilliant idea from a brilliant and misunderstood man.

  36. Irish Laughter Says:

    Where Bowls goes (HC) teams lose, players retire, and players quit. End of story.
    Keeping it real in Ireland.

  37. HC Grover Says:

    The underdog has won the last 6 Falcon-Buc games in a row.

  38. Mr. Editor Says:

    @HCGrover: I hope that’s true in this case, but past performance is not indicative of future results.

  39. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    Antonio Brown was Brady’s 2nd option. Gronk was #1. Godwin 3 and Evans 4th.

    FACTS bear that out. Force feeding Evans is bad for the “TEAM”. Evans is a great player but whines when he isn’t the focus. Mike will get paid but he’s a loser more than a winner. 100% FACT.

  40. Obvious Says:

    I cannot believe it Joe…………………..

    You Finally mentioned that at least “maybe”, it might have been SABATOGE!

    It Sure looked like it to me……

  41. Georgia Redneck Says:

    I have seen several Falcons games. (I live in Georgia) They are a better team than many are crediting them. The Falcons can easily win this game.

  42. NE Fan Says:

    Haven’t they so far this season? Except Leftnut got Godwin the ball.

  43. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Evans is a great player but whines when he isn’t the focus

    Huh? When did Evans whine about his usage? I don’t ever recall this happening.

  44. Cleanhouse Says:

    I said all along that I made no sense for Leftwhich to suddenly be horrible just because of Arians departure.

  45. realistic-optimistic Says:

    When was Leftwich not horrible?

  46. LongSeason Says:

    Falcons 48
    Bucs 10

  47. Tony Marks Says:

    Aubpierce Says:
    December 9th, 2023 at 11:07 am
    . I keep going back to the picture of Trask and Mayfield standing next to each other and it appears Trask is one head length taller. If Trask is 6’5″ then Mayfield is 5’10’ not 6’1″. Or is it an illusion.


    its a well known illusion caused by the flattening effect of long distance lenses. It makes the nearer person look like they are standing nearer than they are and also taller than they are in comparison. When more likely real side by side shots are viewed ( like on the sideline”) the 4 inch difference bears out. No way is it 7″ like you are thinking

    As for the total myth you are repeating

    Purdy is the same height as baker at 6 foor 1 inch

    and Treveor Lawrence is 6 feet 6 inches and has more batted passes than baker.

    Batted passe have more to do with the oline, defensive players getting their hands up, the release point regardless of height and whether its a long throw or short. On short passes you still have to hit the receiver in the hands with a bullet not a loft so the trajectory based on basic physics is going to be lower.

    Thats why the batted pass thing is a total nothing burger. The difference for most starting Qbs is fractional per game. as in it effects on average one throw or less per game. and yes that includes Mayfield.

  48. stpetebucfan Says:


    Thanks for bringing some FACTS to the height debate.

    Now if I may once again. A lot of sentiment here that agrees with Lt. Dan.
    “(FINALLY) draft a franchise QB.”

    We tried that seven years ago with the #1 pick in the entire draft. How’d that work out for us. One of the problems for all 1st round picks at QB is that they generally go to a team sorry enough to draft that high, occasionally someone even as astute as John Lynch totally messes up with 3 first round picks wasted.

    Bottom line is MOST 1st round picks go to sorry teams and so they too suck. Check your sheets! Warren Sharp has checked his.

    ….There have been 38 quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2011, the year the NFL changed the collective bargaining agreement to set a wage scale for rookie deals, making it extremely affordable to draft a quarterback.

    These 38 first round quarterbacks have made a total of 1,909 starts. Their record? 1034-1035-7. Technically that is a losing record. No matter how you slice it, it’s surely not a winning record.

    This is from Business Insider…I know what do they know about football? And they are a conservative pubication. They say…The NFL draft is coming. If your team drafts a ‘franchise’ quarterback in the first round, brace for failure.

    Build a good freaking team FIRST! That is what saved Lynch. The Niners were sooo good that Mr Irrelevant could save them.

    And again…WHO is going to make this huge gamble…who has succeeded picking QB’s currently in the Bucs org? A new coach…maybe.

  49. Saskbucs Says:

    Yeah Bowles is a huge problem. He must want to drag the offense down so his D can look better by comparison. I would be shocked if Todd wasn’t dictating runs early and often. Canales seems too bright to keep banging his head against that wall. I’m sure he’s truthful talking about balance, as what team doesn’t want that in order to keep defenses on their toes. This is the time of year, everyone has a ton of tape on you, to flip the script. Every down you would normally run, throw it. Every down you normally throw it, keep throwing it, mix in a run on 2nd down here and there.

  50. JD12 Says:

    Brady would have been here this year if Toilet Bowles wasn’t leading the charge. Lefty was one of the worst OC’s in the game with the offensive fire power he was given. Arian’s should’ve been kissing Brady’s A)) instead of pushing him out the door.

    This franchise has a lot of clowns running the show right now.

  51. Joe Says:

    We tried that seven years ago with the #1 pick in the entire draft. How’d that work out for us.

    Joe is sorry, but for a smart guy this has to be the dumbest statement people parrot. Worse than moronic.

    Does Joe really need to go down the list of positions the Bucs drafted in the first round where a guy was a bust? By your logic, you’d never draft again because the Bucs had busts (multiple) at damn near every position.

    You feel the same way about a pass rusher? Bucs have whiffed on more of those than quarterbacks. But by your logic, the two most important positions on the field the Bucs should never draft those positions again, even if a stud falls in their lap, because the Bucs didn’t develop Jameis well enough? 🤦‍♂️

    Folks, they lurk among us. smh

    (Fun fact for Jameis haters: Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw and Fran Tarkenton, all Hall of Famers, had worse interception percentages than Jameis. Uh, oh.)

    The Bucs drafted Charles McRae and Kenyatta Walker each in the first round. Both were monster busts. So by your twisted logic, the Bucs should never have drafted Tristan Wirfs.

    Somebody, please. Make it make sense.

    Let Joe guess, you also believe Chucky won with Father Dungy’s players?

  52. stpetebucfan Says:

    Honored that you made that response Joe and I’m happy to answer..,
    even if it is worse than moronic. LMAO

    Here you go…
    Pro rates among first-round picks, 25-year sample

    Position Drafted All-Pros All-Pro rate
    LB 87 23 26.4%
    S 35 9 25.7%
    C 12 3 25.0%
    G 32 7 21.9%
    OT 84 16 19.0%
    DL 170 28 16.5%
    RB 96 15 15.6%
    CB 91 14 15.4%
    WR 99 15 15.2%
    TE 28 4 14.3%
    QB 57 3 5.3%

  53. garro Says:

    I am learning to never underestimate Bowles stubborn nature. Canales will tell us the analytics told him to run the ball but we all know who told him.

    Go Bucs!

  54. BucU Says:

    I think the word guru should be permanently banned in the same sentence as Todd Bowles.
    The only thing he’s a guru at is losing. He lost that chip in his pocket in the Rams playoff game.

  55. NE Fan Says:

    In 2022 I am convinced now the O direction came from Bowles. Why else would Brady befriend Leftwich. It always seemed like the two got along on the sidelines and Blows was the outcast. Brady knew the offense wasn’t going anywhere with that direction, like a good soldier through divorce and everything played out the season.

    Just a few of Brady’s records broken under Bowles:

    1. 1st losing regular season. ( would not have happened if Brady wasn’t pulled from Atlanta game, total sabotage)!

    2. 1st loss when leading going into 4th qtr.

    3. First loss to Dallas

    4. Biggest playoff loss

    5. Only coach to take the ball out of Brady’s hands in crunch time.

    Bowels sucks!!!

  56. Rodney Willis Says:

    Please stop giving the ball to white let’s go to the bench depth because he’s not that guy 😒!!!

  57. Vinny Says:

    Byron Leftwich was fired to be the scapegoat for Brady being unable to perform…Before that season, James and Brady had career years under him….our offense is sad right now and fans aren’t calling for his head, why?!?!