In a critical year for the franchise, and a critical year for quarterback Jameis Winston, new Bucs head coach Bruce Arians is taking a bit of a gamble by turning the offensive coordinator and play calling duties to a mostly inexperienced Byron Leftwhich.

Of course Arians wouldn’t agree, and said he thinks Leftwich is more than capable of leading Tampa Bay’s offense in 2019 and beyond.

Bucs passing game coordinator Byron Leftwich - Photo by: Getty Images

Bucs passing game coordinator Byron Leftwich – Photo by: Getty Images

“Just watching what he did with someone else’s offense,” Arians said. “I think they scored, I don’t know the exact statistic, but they scored on like 80 percent of their first drives. With third-string linemen and guys injured everywhere, so I know he knows how to script it.

“He was the smartest quarterback, maybe, that I’ve ever coached, including Peyton [Manning] and Andrew [Luck]. Because that’s the way he had to play the game. Bugging him to get off of the golf course and into coaching, I knew how good he’d be. It was instinct. With his instinct, and rapport with Carson Palmer. They were drafted in the same class and all of a sudden this dude is like begging him for information. How did you see this, when you played how did you read this, and those sort of things, and he was able to teach it right away and that’s rare.”

Arians, who was the offensive decision maker with Arizona, Indianapolis, and even for a time with the Steelers, is allowing himself to delegate with his new job. So how can Arians bite his tongue and allow his young play caller to fully handle his duties?

“I won’t bite it. I’ll bite his, but he knows,” Arians laughed in Arizona when asked the question by PewterReport.com prior to the coaches breakfast last week. “I mean, there’s going to be times when you get gut feeling during a game. And we script our gameplans so meticulously that there are only about five or six gut calls in a game. It’s time to, ‘hey, pound it, just pound it,’ or, ‘we got ‘em, it’s time for a shot.’ It’s odd because when Byron [Leftwich] called plays for me in the preseason, we called a lot of the same plays. Harold [Goodwin] called plays, he ran the ball more. He’s an offensive line coach. We ran the ball successfully, but we aren’t going to score enough points going four at a time. We’ve got to get some chunks in there. I’ll be there, in full force on the headset, with input. It’ll give Byron and I a lot of time together too.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“We’ll have to watch and make sure we don’t overcoach Jameis. That’s what Clyde [Christensen] is great at, ‘coach that’s awesome stuff, but I think we’ve got enough, I don’t think he can handle anymore.’ Being able to sit with Byron, game plan, know what I’m looking for and what he’s looking for, I’m looking forward to that.”

 

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at mark@pewterreport.com
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Buc stops here
2 years ago

Winston is being given every benefit to perform. If he still has four or five games where he cannot get out of his own way throwing a lot of INTs, he will be done in Tampa. Hoping beyond anything that he can play at a high level 14 or more games in a season, but his accuracy and decision making will have to take another step and be there for most of the games in a season. If he fails to do this in this regime his 9 lives will be up and he will be playing somewhere else in… Read more »

Bradenton BucFan
2 years ago

Most of his problems on the field are correctable he has to improve pre snap & drop back reads, & his decision making b4 & during play.

Captain Sly
2 years ago

Winston is not the problem, It’s always been the play caller that’s why he’s no longer here. Mark is right about Leftwhich being a gamble because if he doesn’t script plays designed around the talent on this roster you could be looking at a disasterous season. Expectations are high with this offense this year not because of Koetter but because of Winston.

bucianco
2 years ago

Winston has never been an accurate passer and that has contributed to his high interception rate. Watch any pass he makes when the receiver is crossing the field. Winston nearly always throws the ball behind the receiver, or down low so he has to slide to catch it. His anticipation of when the receiver will meet the ball needs work. Fix that and we should see a ton more YAC. His long ball isn’t very accurate at all. Just ask DJax. Having big catch radii on all of his receivers will do nothing but help. That way he should have… Read more »

owlykat
2 years ago

I remember when Leftwich had to start for the Bucs and he had a bad windup and was gosh awful. So if he was able to overcome all that and help other QBs overcome their problems and has become a Great OC, that is an amazing achievement for him. Of course we had a gosh awful OL when he played for us like we had last year. So he will be able to help Jameis with that too, since we kept Turnstyle D. Smith.

BUC-ASS-BOB
2 years ago

Byron first coaching job 2016 and was the OC for the last place team in the NFL in 2018.
Sounds like wrong guy to me ,but I am asshole who finds negatives
Does not sound like they giving Jameis best coach to work with.

thejerseybuc
2 years ago

Agree that this is the best possible scenario for Jameis, having BA as his HC. Not sure about Leftwich, but I guess we will see if he is ready to call the shots. My problems with Winston are that he still seems like the same player he was when he got here. Still has footwork issues, gets a little clumsy, has that long release, and tries to do too much at times. Are the turnovers more physical or mental? How much was the previous regime’s lack of coaching him up, and how much is on 3? This is his perfect… Read more »

BUC-ASS-BOB
2 years ago

If you were to want to hire the worst coaches of 2018 you would hire the OC from last place team in in NFL leftwich from the Cards last place offence last place team .
For defence hire the fired HC of Jets because Jets defence was 31st in NFL
You can not make this up it’s real .

BigSombrero
2 years ago

Cleveland had one of the best offensive lineman forever and they never had a winning season with him. Offensive linemen are over rated. Winston needs to get rid of the ball and work on his awareness. For every play like the one vs Chicago two years ago where he IMPOSSIBLY escaped pressure while running 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage and hit Mike Evans on a jump ball prayer, there are 10 others where he gets sacked, fumbles, throws a pick, or takes a nasty blind side hit. Coaching him out of stupid plays is going to be the… Read more »

Spitfire
2 years ago

If at least the Right aside of the Oline is improved then Winston will be able to feel more comfortable to work his reads and not force his throws or attention down any receivers because he’s not having to panic to get rid of the ball. His accuracy will improve and the INTs will go down… If he has it of course which I am confident he does… In terms of our coaches, Bowles record in NY has absolutely nothing to do with his ability as a DC, Leftwich took over as a first time OC with someone else’s offense… Read more »

fredster
2 years ago

More crying and complaining before they even play a single game from Suck-Ass-Bob…

GrayBalls
2 years ago

It’s ok, Bob. We know what it’s like to miss nap time.

Pick6
2 years ago

nothing about jameis tells me he’s no coachable. lots of things proved his previous coaches weren’t up to the task of harnessing his talent. i’m hopeful and i think the rapport with these guys and their ability to have real solutions to improve his game (scripting heavily with the QB’s input, Clyde’s mission to work on mechanics) can give us more to be excited about than the square-peg-meets-round-hole staff that preceded them.

Pick6
2 years ago

*nothing about jameis tells me he’s NOT coachable. typo

scubog
2 years ago

The coach who can help Jameis the most is Bowles. Fix the Defense and the PK and the Offense will be just fine.

IDGABuc
2 years ago

This article is almost a carbon copy of articles I read at least a week ago. I Love all your various articles but this one doesn’t feel up to par. No new information. I do love your site though so keep up all the usual great work!

Buc10
2 years ago

Hey Dumb-Ass-Bob, for real, get a life man. I’m all good with showing frustration every now and then…this team definitely deserves it, but when you obsess over just hating and when negativity is synonymous with your username take a break dude and chill the eff out! This team still deserves a positive vibe especially with the best coach we’ve had in over 10 years! This team is on the rise and we finally have a damn plan in place with Bruce. All the hate against signing D. Smith? Tell me who in the hell would you have replaced him with?… Read more »

Buc10
2 years ago

On a side note anyone seen where similar haters like pinkstob have been? Dude was obsessed with hating on Winston and how Mariota was the pick lol. Dudes who still lament the Mariota and Jameis debate/pick?

scubog
2 years ago

Buc10: I don’t know Buc Ass Bob, but I do know Pink. For the past few years he and his beautiful family have driven quite a distance to attend the first few days of Training Camp. We then watch a practice session or two together while discussing the team, players and prospects for the season ahead. We don’t always agree (Winston vs Mariota), but his opinions are based on his own analytics and never on blind hatred. Never without at least a valid argument. He’s a great fan, frustrated and disappointed like the rest of us. Pink is certainly not… Read more »

LIBucsFan93
2 years ago

The Bucs now are tripling down on Winston and this OL. Maybe better coaching brings better performance. Problem is the Bucs haven’t improved along the OL or at RB. The addition of OG Watford and RB Ellington are depth players. Watford should be the starting RG week one but where is the depth? OL rarely start all five for 16 games! Without improvement along the OL it doesn’t matter who is running the ball.

Leftwich is a huge huge gamble by Bruce Arians. If Winston fails to progress I’m pretty sure Leftwich will be made the scapegoat for it.

Buc10
2 years ago

Scubog, thanks for the respons and insight on Pink. Pretty cool how you two get together like that. You definitely know who the die hard fans when they show some real differences because we (most of us) really want and are desperate for this team to turn the damn corner and build a sustainable winning environment.