Why it’s unfair to blame Byron Leftwich for most of Buccaneers problems

Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Byron Leftwich is getting the brunt of the blame for the woes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That is unfair to the Buccaneers assistant.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have, shall we say, “underachieved” so far in 2022. Any Buccaneers fan can see that, regardless of how rose-colored (or pewter) their lenses may be. There is a lot of blame to go around, and it’s perfectly fair for fans to be frustrated. What isn’t fair if to put the majority of the blame on one person.

When it comes to discussing offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, it’s a subject that is usually met with a lot of scorn. He has become quite the lightning rod figure amongst Bucs fans, and all of a sudden finds himself as public enemy number one to the fanbase. Before we go on, it can’t be stressed enough that in no way is what is about to be said saying that the offensive coordinator is blameless. Now then…

It really is quite the fall from grace. When Leftwich was coaching under Bruce Arians, he was seen as a man being on the fast track to becoming an NFL head coach. In fact, he was even connected to the Jacksonville Jaguars job when it was vacant this past offseason. Now, Arians is out, and Todd Bowles is in.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it. The Buccaneers have the worst running attack in the NFL, which is pretty crazy considering the personnel they have, and the fact that Tom Brady is the quarterback. His talent and overall aura always has forced opposing defenses to keep him honest, and thus opening up the rushing attack. That said, Leftwich, Bowles, and the team have shown a commitment to sticking with the run game despite running into a brick wall over and over. Bowles even suggested that they may have to run the ball MORE to get it going.

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With all of that being said, it is still unfair for Buccaneers fans to put all, or at least the bulk of the blame on Leftwich.

Sure, Leftwich has certainly been exposed a bit now coaching under Bowles as opposed to Arians. However, calling for his job is a bit much. When looking at the overall body language and the way some of the players are playing, one thing is patently obvious.

What is that you ask? The players look like they got complacent. They won a Super Bowl with one coach, they have the greatest quarterback to ever lace up a pair of cleats, so naturally they feel like they can still win with another head coach. It doesn’t look like this staff has the locker room, and fortunately they have a long week to try and right that wrong. Some of the biggest culprits of this are on the defense, as evident by the increasing amount of missed tackles. This is obviously a Bowles problem and not a Leftwich one.

Speaking of players, and the quarterback, we haven’t even gotten into Brady yet. Look, he may be the most competitive human being to maybe ever walk the planet earth, but his mind is elsewhere. There’s no need to dwell on what exactly he has going on and off the field, but clearly it’s affecting him on the field.

Honestly, how could it not? If it didn’t, then there would be serious questions as to whether or not he was actually human as opposed to a robot. Heck, we can even start with android. The fact that his offensive line is a shell of what it once was, whether it be due to injury, departures, or otherwise, along with the myriad of dropped passes,certainly is not helping.

The point of all of this is, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a plethora of problems to deal with. Sure, Leftwich has been one of those problems, but anyone thinking that the ship will turn right around if you were to be fired, or leave the playcalling duties it’s just silly. Byron Leftwich deserves blame, just not all, or even most of it.