December 7, 2023

Bucs Life

Bringing You The Best News

Leftwich on the short road to being a head coach in the NFL

4 min read

Arians knew who he would offer the O.C. job to right away

When Bruce Almighty Arians was hired to become the next coach of the Buccaneers.  One of the most important things that he knew had to be done, was get Jameis Winston straightened out.

Some passing stats don’t mean Jack!

Even though the Bucs finished first in NFL passing yardage last year.  It’s a deceiving stat, it sounds all Jacked Up and impressive.  In reality it means a whole truckload of Horse Apples.  Which is to say, it don’t mean Jack!!!!  5,125 Passing yards from scrimmage is what the Bucs churned out in 2018.  It might as well have been 10,250 yards.  It would have been twice is unimpressive.  Check this out Bucs Fans, and remember it.  When it comes right down to it, there is only two stats on the Offensive side of the ball that means anything at all.  That stat is scoring Offense, and Red Zone Efficiency .  The Only reason the Offense takes the field is to score touchdowns.  Only reason the field goal team ever comes out, is because the Offense couldn’t score a touchdown.  Punt team comes out when no points can be scored at all.

The Heart Of The Matter of 2018

In overall scoring in 2018, the Bucs finished 12th in the League.  In RZ Passing Efficiency, the Bucs finished 30th out of 32 clubs.  So they rank first in the NFL in Passing yards, but almost dead last in passing inside their opponents 20 yard line.  Appears to me that teams would let the Bucs sling the ball all over the field.  Until they reached the red zone, then their opponents would slam the door.  I can’t tell you how many times I read on Bucs Social Media how we needed to completely focus on Defense, because our offense was good, and wasn’t a problem, that we were first in the NFL in passing yardage booyah, and hip hip hooray, and all that big ball of rotten bologna.  Way too many fans were gulping the Kool-Aid.  Mention anything pre-draft in 2019, about drafting a big, strong, agile offensive tackle in the first few rounds, and you would have thought you were talking about their Mommas.  Nowhere else is a dominant offensive line more important than in the Red Zone, but I digress.

Back to this year

Bruce Almighty had this to say about turning his offense and play calling over to Leftwich.

“I’ve been training guys for this job. I always said I would never give up [playcalling] and look over anybody’s shoulder until I found one I knew could do it,” Arians said when he was first hired by the Bucs.”

“I think he’s a rising star in this business.” – both quotes per Jenna Laine ESPN staff writer

ESPN’s staff writer Jenna Laine went on to say this about B. Leftwich becoming the Bucs Offensive Coordinator.

“After playing 10 seasons in the NFL with four teams, Leftwich, 39, wanted to get away from football. The seventh overall pick in the 2003 draft wanted more time with his family and to cultivate other passions.  Arians’ unrelenting phone calls were too much. He’d been trying to lure the former quarterback into coaching for years after Leftwich served as Ben Roethlisberger‘s backup when they were with the Pittsburgh Steelers, developing the kind of relationship in which Leftwich could tell what Arians was thinking and the plays he’d call next. Leftwich took special note of the way he handled quarterbacks.”

Arians knew early on Leftwich would make a great coach

So it is no surprise why Arians believes in Leftwich.  Learning from Arians, and like Arians,  having played the most important position on the offense, makes Byron a natural fit as O.C..  As well as a naturally tried and tested teacher for Jameis Winston.  It’s been reported that after Leftwich took over the O.C. position in the last half of the year in Arizona last year, players praised him and his ability to instill confidence.  The offensive numbers improved under him, and Arians was watching from his network football analyst job.  Taking it all in, and liking what he saw in the young coach.  Arians had believed in Leftwich as a coach long before Byron himself ever considered getting into the profession.

“His demeanor and mindset exuded confidence that was infectious. He could relate to everyone in the room and he commanded respect right off the bat,” said Cleveland Browns backup quarterback Drew Stanton, who was coached by Leftwich in Arizona in 2016 and 2017.- per Jenna Laine, ESPN staff writer

In Summation

I think it is easy to say that it’s easier for a quarterback to relate to another QB.  It’s just natural that a player would respect a coach that knows everything about playing the QB position.  As opposed to a coach that may have never played in the NFL at all, much less the QB position.  It’s clear that Leftwich has the temperance, attitude, and disposition to get across to all his players, not just the QB.  My feeling is, and has been since he got here, Leftwich probably won’t be with Tampa but a short time before he gets offered a Head Coaching job somewhere else, or possibly even here in Tampa if Arians retires within a few years.  A good problem to have is that if the Bucs Offense goes off, which I fell good about it doing in 2018.  He could be gone after his first season in Tampa.  Hoping he stays for a long time. He is the Mini QB Whisperer, hopefully Jameis is listening.  Go Bucs!!