Have you ever heard of the NFL’s five seasons? There is pre-season, regular season, postseason, draft season and ranking season. And folks, we are well into that fifth season. Pro Football Focus has been coming hot and heavy with their rankings of different aspects of NFL organizations. This week, it released a really interesting one that featured Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.
Leftwich, who is entering his fourth season as the Bucs’ offensive coordinator, placed third on PFF’s top play callers list. This puts Leftwich in elite company, just behind Andy Reid of the Chiefs and the Cowboys’ Kellen Moore. He also ranked just ahead of offensive masterminds Kyle Shanahan (49ers) and Sean McVay (Rams).
The ranking model relied heavily on EPA (expected points added) as well as other metrics such as efficiency. Leftwich was able to rank high for, among other things, two major reasons. The first is that Leftwich is loath to run the ball in second-and-long situations. The second is that he tends to run a pass-heavy offense in general. The passing game has proven to be more efficient in the aggregate than the running game. It’s these two factors that help buoy his ranking.
Looking beyond these metrics, it is easy to see that no matter how you slice it, Leftwich shows favorably as a play-caller. His offenses have ranked no worse than No. 3 in points per game since coming to Tampa Bay. Additionally, they have ranked No. 3, No. 7 and No. 2 in yards per game over that same time period.
And while you may say that the offense was bound to be successful with the weapons at Leftwich’s disposal, pump the breaks. The team has proven to be able to score points even without its stars. The Bucs put up 27 points in the NFC Divisional Round last year without Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin. And don’t forget at the end of the 2019 season, when both Godwin Mike Evans were lost to season-ending injuries. Jameis Winston and the offense still put up solid offensive production in their absences.
With many weapons back, some added and Tom Brady at the helm, look for Leftwich to continue to call plays that will help the Bucs score a ton of points in 2022.