Buccaneers Coaches Make Conflicting Statements About Offense

Buccaneers huddle

Getty Tom Brady, Mike Evans, and company talk between plays in a 2020 game.

Before the ball is snapped, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich see things differently.

Arians touted pre-snap motion early in training camp while Leftwich claims they’re “not doing all this motion stuff,” per Pewter Report.

Before the Bucs preseason opener on August 14, Arians not only emphasized offensive motion before the snap, but he also said quarterback Tom Brady and the offense didn’t do that last season. Brady notably had only five months between signing as a free agent in a COVID-stricken 2020 offseason and the start of the regular season. Teams also had not preseason games in 2020.

“Yeah, we wouldn’t have had all those shifts, motions and all those different gadgets that we were doing today,” Arians said on August 12. “He couldn’t learn them, we couldn’t learn them. Yeah, it’s night and day having just one mini-camp and these practices versus last year.”

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No Change in Byron Leftwich’s View

Leftwich on August 17 claimed the offensive scheme hasn’t changed from last season.

“We’re doing the same stuff — the offense is based on the quarterback, that’s what I believed since I’ve been coaching,” Leftwich said. “It’s always been that way. I’ll tell you guys, it just took us time — we didn’t have an opportunity to practice, so we were trying to figure things out on Sundays.”

“But we’re not doing all this motion stuff, I don’t know where you guys get all that stuff — we put our quarterback in the best position to have success all the time — and that’s how we always looked at it,”  he added.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times noted that “the Bucs were more balanced the second half of the season, although Leftwich suggests they were more efficient running the ball; which opened up some of the deep shots.

“I think we did a better job of running because if you can’t run, there’s a lot of stuff that’s going to go — you want to be balanced,” Leftwich said. “As we got more efficient in the run game, you saw more action, you saw more different types of things that wouldn’t work unless you are efficient in the run game. So that’s what you saw really, we got better at executing what we were trying to execute.”

Where the Coaches See Eye to Eye

Both Leftwich and Arians agree on Brady being a play-caller on the field. Arians made Brady’s role in play-calling clear last season.

“We have Tom calling a lot of his own (plays), or picking his own on the sidelines from the game plan,” Arians said in November 2020, per ESPN’s Jenna Laine.

Leftwich, on Aug. 17, talked about how learned what Brady wanted to do with the offense last season.

“We all know how good Tom is, but I tell you, you can’t call plays to guys until you know him — you’ve got to know them,” Leftwich said. “It took us some time for me to know him, to figure him out, to know what he would want to do on paper and know what he is going to do on the grass. It’s two different things. We needed that time on task — me and him. It just trying to get as many reps as we can. I think we’re there.”

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