It’s The Jimmys And Joes, Not The X’s And O’s

February 7th, 2024

Bucs OC Liam Coen.

Joe remembers a story often told by Nick Saban about what he learned as a high school quarterback. It was a football lesson that he used over and over again throughout his career as a coach.

To sum up Saban’s cool story, make sure your best players get the ball.

(Fourth-and-12, down six late, win and make the playoffs. Saban, a quarterback, called timeout. Since he called plays, he asked his coach what he should call. His coach reminded Saban he had a three-time all-state split end and a track star at halfback. Saban’s coach added he didn’t care what the play was but Saban better find a way to get one of those two players the ball. Saban faked to the halfback and threw a touchdown pass to the left end. Ballgame. After the game, Saban’s coach told him, “It doesn’t matter what plays you call sometimes, it’s what players you have doing it.” Saban never, ever forgot those words.)

That seems to be a philosophy embraced by new Bucs offensive coordinator Liam Coen.

Coen yesterday wasted little time telling the assembled local pen and mic club that his offense will roll as well as its best players play.

“I was taught in times of crisis, you think players, not plays,” Coen said. “It’s not about what maybe I like, or the play that I might like the most, but what is going to get the ball into our best players’ hands.

“What can our guys execute at a high level, be able to go do and have confidence in? Also, in the back of my call sheet, I have a player box for multiple players.

“Ultimately, we want to get the ball in their hands, right now, no questions asked, the coverage is not going to change, it’s not [going to] matter what happens – the ball is going to their hands right now. Because this game is a personnel game, right? And at the end of the day, it’s about those guys.”

This is right up Joe’s alley. If Joe had a gripe about Dave Canales’ offense, he seemed intent on getting the ball to guys who simply were not going to make plays.

Rachaad White is an excellent receiver out of the backfield, but he too often stinks running the ball. Yet Canales was hellbent on running White up the middle.

Same with Deven Thompkins. Canales was enamored with his speed and tried to get Thompkins the ball on short passes to the outside. Did Thompkins gain five first downs all season?

Far more often than not, running White up the middle and throwing short to Thompkins in the flat were wasted plays, specifically when you had Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and White (as a receiver) to use. You only get so many snaps a game so each snap is valuable.

Hopefully, Coen doesn’t strive to waste snaps just for the sake of ensuring everyone gets a slice of pie.

19 Responses to “It’s The Jimmys And Joes, Not The X’s And O’s”

  1. Joe in Michigan Says:

    This is music to Evans and Godwin’s ears. The Bucs need you back, Mike!

  2. RustyRhinos Says:

    Said it before and I will say it again, “three incomplete passes always does equal 4th down and 10”. You need to be able to work into different down and distances to get into those advantageous situations. We could just use the shoot part of the “Run&Shoot” offense… We Buccaneer fans need to see a complete team on offense, a team able to RUN and PASS the ball around to our “best players”. Nothing like having a lead in the 4th quarter and running the ball at will. Letting the game time waste away as we take our time to line up and run it again and again and again.


  3. geno711 Says:

    Kevin Carberry will be the new offensive line coach for the Buccaneers,

    For everyone complaining about our last set of guys. Let’s see how capable this guy is.

  4. Bobby M. Says:

    This guy is definitely an upgrade over Canales, I read that he sees huge potential from putting Godwin in the slot similar to Kupp. Canales made little effort to get Godwin plays from the slot, was overly committed to the run regardless of the results, the offense started waaaay to slow all season and often times Canales wouldn’t shift gears in the tempo until it was too late in the game. I wasn’t overly impressed with Canales as an OC….he was avg at best.

  5. BucVoyager Says:

    Rashad White sucks running the ball because ours guards and center suck. Get that guy into the open field and he’s pretty good.

  6. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Canales is better looking.

    So he’s got that going for him……… which is nice.

  7. stpetebucfan Says:

    This is music to my ears! Perhaps CG14’s wife can breathe a little easier as well.

    I think CG is poised for a big year and if ME walks a HUGE year.

  8. Popcorn Mike Says:

    This seems to be what Coen emphasized in his introduction, getting the ball to your play makers. We will know for sure come October. One thing that’s concerning is, the new OL hire. If this is accurate, Carberry resume is terrible, a lot worse than the OL coaches we lost

  9. A Bucs Fan Says:

    That’s music to every fan’s ear.

  10. Upstate NY BUC Says:

    Good article Joe’s!! How true just like back yard football… Go Bucs!!

  11. Boss Says:

    I would much rather they do the UNEXPECTED when in a crunch. This reads like they are doin g the same as they have always done vs. exploiting weaknesses.

    now we know why he was hired.

  12. Marky Mark Says:

    Sounds like an NBA strategy. Give Michael, Lebron, Luka, etc. The ball and get out the way.

  13. Lord Cornelius Says:

    There’s a lot of room for offensive improvement.

    I know it sound redundant to the last few years but we need a better run game period. Upgrade the interior O-line and add a RB that hits the hole hard and moves people.

    Of the top 8 scoring offenses last year, (using 8 because 9 are the Saints and they didn’t have that great an offense it seemed) the lowest rushing yardage was 1920 (Cowboys) and the average of those teams were like 2200-2300 rushing yards.

    We were at 1509.

    In the past 4 years, only 1 team has finished top 5 in scoring while averaging under 100 YPG rushing and it was the 2020 & 2021′ Bucs lol. We were an anomaly because of Brady.

    But the Bucs that won a SB had a very competent running game to end the year and in the playoffs.


    Those are probably my positional priorities assuming we retain Evans. If we lose Evans go spend that $$ on a DE like Burns and draft a WR R1 or R2

  14. Pickgrin Says:

    “Nice” Caddyshack reference Dooosh

  15. dmatt Says:

    Canales nor Leftwich knew how to use DThompkins or maximize his skills sets. They ran schemes for him that the defense were prepared for. Also, the blocking was awful whenever DT ran jet sweeps or was featured in the bubble screen pass. DT is quick, has speed n is often one tackle away from taking it to the house. He’s tough n never gives up on a play. The blocking is poor whenever he’s feature in the pass game. Watch the tapes.

  16. rrsrq Says:

    I love what he said about “now getting him to hit the whole violently” or something like that when it comes to Rachaad, I do believe he can be a 1200 yard runner and a plus 700 yard receiver with the same amount of touches.

  17. Cobraboy Says:

    My spidey senses says Coen is a significant upgrade over Canales.

    Although continuity is important, in general the O last season was middle of the pack at best.

    How important is mediocre continuity? It’s like a homely girlfriend who can’t cook.

  18. Snook Says:

    Canales had no idea who Godwin was until CG’s wife complained on Instagram. Canales isn’t a big loss. We’ve upgraded with Coen.

  19. Joe Says:

    Canales had no idea who Godwin was until CG’s wife complained on Instagram.