Positive shift coming to Buccaneers offense following coaching change

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers moving on from offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich should at least lead to a positive change in the running game.

Byron Leftwich was never long for his current job on the Buccaneers after the 2022 season that we’ve seen. No coordinator should be able to keep their job after such a dramatic production drop-off with so many weapons, but it is also fair to say that Leftwich’s overall performance has been a success.

A Super Bowl win, two division titles, and one of the best offenses in the NFL during his tenure is hard to ignore with Leftwich’s resume. A bad season might be enough to create a change, but that doesn’t mean it is enough to say Leftwich is a bad coordinator.

Leftwich has built his career and name on one of the most successful passing attacks in the NFL. Whether the quarterback was Tom Brady or Jameis Winston, Tampa’s offense dominated under Leftwich up until this season.

If there has been one major red flag in Leftwich’s career, it starts and stops with the run game.

Tampa’s run game has been terrible during the Leftwich era. Part of this is due to it generally being an afterthought in an offense that has Tom Brady and all of his pass-catching weapons, but the scheme has worked against the Bucs more often than not as well.

Leftwich calls runs at the wrong times. Blocking assignments appear ineffective over the bigger picture. The run gets too much emphasis at the wrong time in a Byron Leftwich offense, and this has left the Bucs with an all-time terrible rushing attack in 2022 and a bottom unit in the league for most of the rest of his tenure (including the Super Bowl run).

Regardless of who the Bucs hire to take over the offensive coordinator job, one has to think that an influx in modern offensive ideals should lead to an improvement in the quality of the run game.

Assuming the Bucs can make a home run hire (which might be too much to hope for), an analytics-savvy coordinator could make this one of the best rushing attacks in the league if that is what Todd Bowles is looking for (see 49ers offense).

Throwing the ball might be king in the modern NFL, but Tampa’s inability to run the ball at a top-16 level for any part of the Byron Leftwich era has led to a decrease in overall offensive efficiency. This change has been needed for a while, and it stands to reason that this change should come regardless of who the next coordinator will be.

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