Better Coaching Already Showing Up?

June 5th, 2024

New Bucs offensive coordinator Liam Coen.

Joe hopes never to be one of those media guys who is terrified to be critical of a player or coach but then piles on the guy once he leaves the Bucs.

That’s been a common tactic of mainstream media over the years. And Joe gets it, corporate employees sometimes fear upsettng people and getting kicked off the Bucs beat and relegated to covering high school golf in Pasco County.

Or perhaps they worry about Bucs access, mean looks or angry texts, or straight up getting fired.

Joe brings this up because Joe has been accused of piling on departed playcaller Dave Canales since he bolted for the Panthers’ head coaching job — and this post is about improved Bucs offensive coaching.

Hopes are high at world headquarters for new Bucs offensive coordinator Liam Coen and his staff.

Joe laughs at any suggestion of going easy on Canales when he was in Tampa and being hard on him now that he’s gone. Joe wrote repeatedly about the Bucs’ dreadful running game, one that couldn’t figure out how to run behind Tristan Wirfs and improve on the mess it inherited. Canales stuck too long with plays that weren’t working and Joe wrote about it.

Last year, Tampa Bay was the first team to rank last in the NFL in yards per carry in consecutive seasons since the Arizona Cardinals in 2006.

Joe did, however, cut Canales some slack for being a first-time offensive coordinator. (That wasn’t the case for Byron Leftwich in 2022.)

The Bucs offense was improving when Canales left, but that doesn’t mean it was good. Tampa Bay trailed the Saints 20-0 in the fourth quarter in Week 17 and clung to a 6-0 lead in the fourth quarter against miserable Carolina a week later.

Yesterday, in addition to learning about how invigorated Chris Godwin is by his new offense, Joe also was intrigued hearing head coach Todd Bowles note that the offensive line seems unusually far along in its development process under new assistant coaches.

“This is real early for them to be in sync. For me, I thought that would take a little bit of doing. But [offensive line coach Kevin Carberry] and assistant {O-line coach Brian Picucci] have done a great job getting those guys ready,” Bowles said. “Obviously, we’re out of pads right now, but the chemistry is coming in pretty good and that’s what I like about it.”

Bowles spent the last five seasons around former Bucs co-offensive line coaches Harold Goodwin and Joe Gilbert. So it’s noteworthy to Joe that Bowles expected his current O-line to be at a certain level in early June and the line is significantly ahead of that pace.

46 Responses to “Better Coaching Already Showing Up?”

  1. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Canales had a learning curve and certainly some flaws but you dont get a head coaching job in this league for no reason…..he was still excellent at scheming guys open on 3rd down and helping Mayfields development.

    New doesnt always mean better, what in the world has Coen done to suggest he’ll be better than Canales? Theres a very good chance he wont..…wait to see

  2. Tbbucs3 Says:

    And as far as Leftwhich, he helped the Bucs get a superbowl, Ill let 2022 with a washed Brady slide.

  3. gotbbucs Says:

    I won’t say anything bad about the former offensive line coaches. If there is anywhere on a football team that you absolutely cannot hide a turd, it’s on the offensive line, and we’ve consistently had a couple floaters in there since Marpet, Cappa, and Jensen left the unit.
    Whether it be guys playing out of position or just guys being plain old outmatched like Hainsey, it’s damn near impossible to coach it up if the ingredients aren’t there.
    Coen on the other hand, I believe, will be an improvement over Canales. Canales was better than Leftwich, but that bar was set so low, it would have been almost impossible to perform worse.

  4. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Gotbbucs, in what world is calling plays during a superbowl run a “low bar”?

  5. Dude Says:

    Yea, Wirfs is just 1/5th of what we need to field a productive run game and for all the talk of “predictability” all it’d take is one game of running behind him too often for the team we play next to make that a focal point of stopping us in their game plan.

    I’ve watched some cut ups of Coens’ offense at Kentucky, there’s a 30 minute vid on YT of him breaking down all of Will Levis’ tape and you get a good feel for how Coens’ football mind works. You can even find tape of Coen at Umass slinging the ball all over the place.

    Love the “players not plays” mantra, but all this undeserved praise while players aren’t even wearing shoulder pads yet is too much too soon and I’m asking eveyrbody to pump their brakes. At least wait until joint practices against an actual opponent to rah-rah the guy Bucs fans replaced the rah-rah coach.

  6. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    I haven’t read any unfair criticism of Canales from JBF. Pointing out facts, even if they are unfavorable should not be considered “Piling On,” people are WAY TOO SENSITIVE these days.

  7. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Joe

    Who is currently starting at left guard for that Bucs?

    Barton is our starting center – is Robert Hainsey getting any reps at LG?

  8. David Dana Says:

    I did not understand the accolades Canales got, and was appreciative of his criticism. The combination of a non existent run game with predictable passing options put too much unnecessary pressure on the entire team. The only reason why the offense looked good on paper (rarely did it look good on tape) was because Baker and Mike were bailing Canales out on broken plays, and the defense was there to constantly get the ball back.
    I know this is way too early to get excited, but the fact that these reports are out so early makes me wonder how bad the offense was last year at this time. And makes me very optimistic for this year.

  9. Boss Says:

    Not buying anything until I see it on the field. Still think Brady made the line all pro and not the other way around.

    If they can get an OL that get’s push and can run I will be impressed. That is what they have been trying to do for several years now.

    rather than using one of the top WR duo’s in the league to open up the run. Makes no sense to e…but whatev I suppose

  10. infomeplease Says:

    The o-line getting bigger/stronger and grasping the new offense scheme fast does make the coaches look good. If the coaches can get this offense installed and running on all cylinders by September, this team take it’s share of W’s. Time will tell.

  11. dvashun Says:

    The 2020 offense was BA’s, Byron was just the guy with the title.

  12. David Says:

    I am in no way piling on, I thought Canales was a horrible pick from the beginning. I mentioned several times how in a passing league they went and hired someone who likes to run run run.
    I gave him a little benefit of the doubt because the O line interior was atrocious But he insisted on running behind them constantly. He did improve this time went on, but they were really lucky to hang onto some wins at the end and make the playoffs.

    The new OC is an improvement. Just look where he has been and look at his offenses. Add in improved and beefed up O line and I am very optimistic.

    The D line and DB’s feel like an improvement as well. Still hesitant about how the past rush will look, but my main concern is linebacker depth.

  13. Buddha Says:

    Canales is an excellent quarterback coach but an average, at best, play caller. Carolina is not as bad as people think. There defense is quite good. They could surprise a lot of people especially if the quarterback improves.

  14. SlyPirate Says:

    “Accused of piling on Canales.”

    When your team ranks last dead last in rushing, that’s not piling on, that’s a fact.

    Canales is a marvel. Everyone standing too close to the situation (coaches and media) sees a wonderfully well spoken, kind, motivational leader. Every fan sees bad football — a terribly predictable offense, that doesn’t exploit mismatches, and requires a magician QB to save you on 3rd downs. An offense that finished 19th in the league (and was 28th for most of the year).

  15. drdneast Says:

    Canales was a better offensive coordinator than Lefto but how much is that saying. Lefto can’t even get a high school coaching job. Anyone who thinks he was responsible for the game plans during our SB season needs to check in to the closest mental health facility and get an IV bag of Thorazine pumped into their system.
    We saw how effective Lefto was as an OC when he didn’t have BA’s teat to nurse off of.

  16. BucVoyager Says:

    Making the playoffs and Canales getting a head coaching job might have the been a gift for us. Getting Coen as part of the deal was really nice. The scary part is that if he does well with our offense, he may be out the door as well and we’ll be back to square one.

  17. Dude Says:

    “The scary part is that if he does well with our offense, he may be out the door as well and we’ll be back to square one.”

    I honestly don’t expect to see Bowles coaching in 5 years, he’ll probably retire. Best case scenario, we have a strong season, make the postseason, and win a playoff game in each of the nest 1-2 seasons we keep Coen as HC and maybe coach Foote & Rogers stay on as Co-DCs. I’d be shocked, if Bowles son finishes his career at UGA and Todd is still coaching but that just me.

  18. BucVoyager Says:

    As great as that sounds, that’s not the Glazers style. The closest they got was canning Gruden for Raheem and we see how that turned out.

  19. Boss Says:

    all those hating on canales better eat some crow when the kitties own us this year!

  20. BucVoyager Says:

    Unless Bryce Young turns into Drew Brews, I don’t see them doing anything. Us losing to them is nothing new. We lose to inferior QB’s all the time.

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    I feel the same way about Coen as I felt about Canales … Wait & see. They both have good backgrounds, and both appear to have been well-received by the Bucs’ players. None of that means a lick IMO until the bullets start flying in Game 1. Everything until then is either underwear football, or very vanilla play-calls, or just walk-throughs. Let the adrenalin start pumping in all 53 of them THEN let’s see what we’ve got.

    The other part that I care most about is GROWTH throughout the season. Anyone who’s been watching the Stanley Cup playoffs recognizes that the quality of NHL hockey rises to a whole new level in the playoffs. The NFL isn’t much different. Bucs’ fans saw that in our 2020 Super Bowl team that was 7-5 three-quarters of the way through the season then went on an 8-game win streak to bring home the championship. Our playoff performances were at a whole new level. It’ll be important this season IMO to finish strong.

  22. Fan of the South Says:

    When you look at the 22 Rams where Coen was OC it’s not real impressive.
    27th in points scored @ 18 per game . Factor out the 51 against the Broncos when they turned it over non stop all game and it’s 16 points per game.
    27th in passing. 28th in rushing. Is not real difficult to see why he ended up in Kentucky. McVey made the right decision.

  23. J Says:

    Fan of the south… in 2022 the Rams had 3 different QB’s start after Stafford was injured, Bryce Perkins, John Wolford (now a Buc), and Baker Mayfield. Please tell me how many OC’s in the NFL have successfully managed that exact same scenario?

  24. Cobraboy Says:


    Coaching matters?

    Be still my heart…

  25. BucU Says:

    I’ll bet a mortgage payment that Coen’s offense will be far superior to Canales’.

  26. Cobraboy Says:

    @Tbbucs3: Flat Brim had Arians looking over his shoulder with that red pen in the SB season.

    Leftwich was a messenger boy that year.

    ‘When Arians stepped back and dropped the red pen we saw the Real Flat Brim.

    Has he found a job yet?

  27. J Says:

    You could always tell when Arians ripped the playing calling duties away from Leftwich.

  28. geno711 Says:

    It was not either of the Joe’s that were that high on Canales. It was Sean Sullivan.

    Sean was suggesting that he was certain that Canales was going to run an outside zone scheme run game because that is what Seattle supposedly run the year before. It just turned out to be incorrect.

    There is always a lot of guessing of what type of scheme the Bucs OCs are going to run on this site without any real football input by guys who played or coached the NFL game. A change this year would be valued (an actual breakdown from a coach or player that has been with Cohn). Yawn. The Rams offense is there for all to see. How Coen will operate with the talent he has and the freedom he’ll get (or won’t get) is another story altogether. –Joe

    In all the years of Arians, the Joe’s pushed the theme that no risk it no biscuit means that Arians favored long developing pass plays for huge results over safe plays. What a gross mischaracterization.–Joe

    That was never what no risk it no biscuit meant (or maybe better said that is just the kindergarten interpretation). But it still seems that is how 90 percent of Joe’s readers and both Joe’s believe it to mean.

  29. Fan of the South Says:

    J Says:
    June 5th, 2024 at 1:25 pm
    Fan of the south… in 2022 the Rams had 3 different QB’s start after Stafford was injured, Bryce Perkins, John Wolford (now a Buc), and Baker Mayfield. Please tell me how many OC’s in the NFL have successfully managed that exact same scenario

    Alex Van Pelt did it with 5 QB’s in 2023 and made the Playoffs. Actually it was probably the brilliance of Stefanski. That same brilliance that had Mayfield at the Rams to begin with or at least the Panthers..

  30. BillyBucco Says:

    There is the EAR test in the offseason leading up to Training Camp with very few EYE tests available until the regular season starts. We are hearing the EAR test right now and what what I have HEARD, directly from the players and coaches is that this offense will ACTUALLY BE what I thought Canales was going to run. Now the media, fans, myself COULD HAVE , hoped it would look like that, but I never actually HEARD Canales speak logically about things that got me even remotely excited.
    1st, Saying the offense will run 1st through ME13, then CG14, OUT LOUD is dumb. What was that high school football? You scheme guys open and not every play runs that way. No wonder Otton didn’t have success until the playoffs. Did Baker ever look his way with the FIRST read? Sorry but Coen SOUNDS way more intelligent at this point and the players and staff back that up.
    2nd, Coen has actually called plays. You just can’t underestimate the value of having ACTUALLY done it. I’ve watched film from Kentucky and every game Baker played for the Rams and Coen did an excellent job mixing things up. It was with WAY LESSER talent in both cases. The Rams were decimated at WR.
    3rd, This team has EXACTLY the talent level you need to be successful in a West Coast Offense. Exceedingly smart guys. Baker can absolutely handle the calls in the huddle.
    Listen, it might not equate to more wins because last I checked the Falcons will be running the exact same thing. Bjian Robinson quoted he expects to be used like McCaffrey and Zac Robinson comes from the Rams too. I think our defense is better than the Falcons though, and we will see which tram picks up the new scheme the quickest.
    But from the ear test alone, Coen and staff are SAYING the exact right things to be encouraged.
    Now you start throwing in some EYE TESTS, and your THEORY, starts to manifest.
    LFG Bucs.

  31. Curse of Gruden Says:

    Canales in year 2 as Bucs OC > Coen in year 1 as Bucs OC.
    My expectations are in check for 2024.

  32. Bucswin! Says:

    So what you’re saying is the the stinking Panthers will be the last place running team in the league now. Noted. Go BUCS

  33. toad bowels Says:


    Where is Byron Leftwich coaching this year? I want to follow that team and see if his play-calling has improved.

  34. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Some folks still fail to realize how dreadful the Bucs Oline was in 22….pair that with an aging immobile QB who had one foot out the door to retirement and clearly didnt want to take any big hits…..little to no OCs wouldve had success with the Bucs that year.

    Arians certainly got out at the right cause I guarantee you that Bucs offense wouldnt have looked much better even if he was there….yes, Arians is a great coach, but lets cool it with the “mastermind” image.

  35. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Also not to mention the entire time Brady was here, he had a major influence on the offense and play calls….if the literal greatest football mind of all time couldnt figure it out, then nobody wouldve that year……

    Getting a more mobile Baker Mayfield and the development of R. White, Cade Otten and Luke Goedeke helped the Bucs offense make a jump from a dreadful 2022.

  36. ModHairKen Says:

    No one with any sense wanted the Carolina job. The owner is a tyrant. He threw a drink on a fan. He talks crap about his coaches. He’s a horrible person.

    Canales was a really decent guy. I’m sorry he felt the need to jump at the first HC job offered. I hope he does second best in the NFC South every year.

  37. ChiBuc Says:

    How can we possibly compare before a real down has been played? However, it does seem logical that a NFL OC/ college HC would be ahead of a 1st time play caller QB coach moving up to OC. We’re talking upper management vs area supervisor. I suspect Coen has a clear vision, established terminology, and experience being in charge of assistant coaches, while Canales was the leader of the smallest position group and was just another “bro” in the room. It’s been reported (and said by Canales) how heavily he leaned on the coaches he scalped from the bucs, so it is no surprise Coen is ahead at this point. With that said, the guy running ahead the first mile of the Gasparilla Marathon, isn’t necessarily the guy who wins the race.

  38. gotbbucs Says:


    Where is Sluggo Leftwich coaching now? If he was a hot commodity he would have a job. He was exposed terribly as soon as Arians wasn’t there to hold his hand.

  39. Stan says Says:

    Anyone heard fron ( Rod munch,) he’s M.I.A. hope you are good my man. Love your insite and the banter back and forth with sone of us. Go Bucs!!!!!

  40. D Cone Says:

    was just another “bro” in the room. It’s been reported (and said by Canales) how heavily he leaned on the coaches he scalped from the Bucs, so it is no surprise Coen is ahead at this point.

    If any coaches were scalped it was from the Seahawks after the 22 season.
    When Canales left the Bucs he took guys he brought along with him to the Bucs.

    Canales has Dom Capers and Jim Caldwell as Senior Advisors with tons of Head Coaching Experience. If he leaned on his assistants then Canales is smart enough or without the Ego to get help from the one’s around him. Definitely would not sell him short.

  41. Daniel Hammond Says:

    He’s a Tampa Bay reporter you don’t rag on a coach while he’s with the team. Especially in the middle of the season I mean you may say not a good running game they did wrong plays here and there but you’re not going to totally call a coach out it’s that’s not what a Tampa Bay Buccaneer reporter does or for any other team for that much anybody that reports for a team is not going to straight up call out any of their coaches until maybe the end of the season even if they’re still there I don’t agree with Joe on everything but you’ve he’s got to do what he’s got to do I mean he is a Tampa Bay reporter he’s not supposed to he’s supposed to let you know a little bit about the bad things which we see on TV ourselves but he’s not there to criticize coaches to the point of them getting fired

  42. Oneilbuc Says:

    I was wrong on Baker against the lions

  43. Booger Says:

    Tepper (Panthers Owner) just recently, about a month or so ago, was d just driving down the road and happened to pass by a restaurant/bar with a sign out front on the side of the road that read something like, “Let The GM Pick The Players In The Draft This Year!” LoL. He seriously, stopped his car, turned around, & pulled into the parking lot, THEN stormed into the local business, AND DEMANDED to know ‘WHO’ was responsible for putting it out there!!!! Seriously. What a thin-skinned lil doosh. Absolute Tyrant. Just SUCHA Small, Deranged, Self-Centered, Entitled, Narcissistic Little Man.

  44. Bakersbucs says Says:

    Boss says do u ever think before u post? Boss of what total BS!

  45. Bakersbucs says Says:

    rod munchkin u miss that know it all bout nothing banter plz

  46. BuccoChacho Says:

    The critics that suggested the Bucs would finish last in the south last year didn’t simply do it bc of Tom Brady’s retirement. Realistically DC did an amazing job with the roster on paper last year. He hid deficiencies and this years offense will be better bc it is better on paper with less holes to hide. Idk what will happen with cg tho bc it seems like they are prepping to trade him and JTS. We will see what the return is but at least two top ten players in positions of need I personally don’t want it.