Bucs: Play-calling from Byron Leftwich is only getting worse
By Rob Leeds
First down effectiveness
The Buccaneers may be one of the most frustrating teams in the NFL on first down. On an offense that has the best pass-catching group in the entire NFL and a quarterback that is still open to being the main contributor, the Buccaneers continue to defy logic with their first-down plays.
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The recent weeks have been the worst by far, but yesterday’s game could be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The Buccaneers ran the ball on first-down 16 times yesterday. Sixteen. Let that sink in. With the highest potential for a potent passing attack in the NFL, the Buccaneers willingly chose to run the ball 16 times on first down. Based on the numbers, this is the worst possible time to run the football, yet the Bucs did this 16 times out of 26 total rushes (62%).
On those 16 first-down rushes, the Bucs accounted for 61 yards. This averages out to 3.8 yards per carry, which is a horrific average to maintain. If you take out Jones’ 16-yard rush, that average drops down to 3.0 yards per carry. Any back that average either YPC is getting replaced.
If you look at second and third-down runs, the Bucs averaged a much better 4.6 yards per carry, and that includes three rushes by Tom Brady for negative yards.
The Buccaneers were exponentially better at running the ball on any down other than third, just like the numbers dictate, and the exact opposite of what Byron Leftwich calls. Leftwich is hamstringing players like Ronald Jones, and the offense is suffering because of it.