“Next man up” isn’t just reserved for players.
Now that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally decided to put ailing offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford on the shelf to recuperate from a late-August heart procedure, quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo is officially bumped up to the role of primary play caller.
“We’re onto the next plan, next guy up,” Bucs head coach Lovie Smith said about the situation at O.C. and his readiness to get past the near-daily questioning. “Again, we keep talking, and there’s not a whole more I can tell you, Jeff is not going to be with us. We’re going on like he won’t be with us the rest of the year. The rest of the group will continue to work hard like they’ve been doing.”
The move was officially announced Tuesday evening, but basically confirms what Bucs watchers have expected for over a month. Along with other offensive coaches, Arroyo has been calling plays since the preseason through the first three regular-season games. The 34-year-old came to Tampa Bay with collegiate experience calling plays – also the height of Tedford’s experience, though as a head coach as well – and did so last year at Southern Miss.
Players said Wednesday that Arroyo is filling his unexpected role to the best of his abilities and that an outsized portion of blame for the team’s 0-3 start doesn’t belong on his shoulders.
“It’s a credit to him because he wasn’t coming in here expecting to call the plays,” said right tackle Demar Dotson. “He stepped in and is doing the best he can. We don’t put the 0-3 start on him. We don’t put the struggles of the offense on him. We put it on ourselves. He stepped in and accepted that role. He’s doing the best he can. We have to make him look good because he calls the plays and we run them. We have to make him look good, and we haven’t so far.”
Fellow lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith spoke similarly, though saying he doesn’t think his personal evaluation matters much considering he has other matters to focus the bulk of his time.
“At the end of the day they call football plays and I just run them,” he said. “I can’t sit there and look at his call sheet and tell him how to run [the offense], I don’t do that. I get paid to block the big people and make sure that they don’t hit the guys that have the ball in their hands. At the end of the day I can’t really tell you differences or anything like that. It’s something that you’d have to ask them.”
Smith was asked about that later Wednesday afternoon and the Bucs’ first-year head coach said lack of consistency and continuity hasn’t been an issue.
“I think Marcus and the rest of the offensive staff … this is the way we’ve worked throughout the season,” Smith said. “It’s not like we have to change an awful lot. Yes, I have been pleased with how we’ve been getting plays in and out. We just have to execute better.”
Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay’s likely starter Sunday in Pittsburgh considering Josh McCown’s continued absence from practice, said Arroyo should be praised more than torn down considering the circumstances.
“I think you have to give Marcus a lot of credit and you also have to give the other assistants credit because they’re working together now,” Glennon said. “They’re working to be one voice. Although Marcus is calling the plays, it’s a team effort. From my standpoint, as a player, it’s gone really smooth. I don’t think there’s been a problem with it. Those guys are working their butts off to get this thing right.”
Play calling, execution, injuries, talent issues – it can be disputed as to what stands out as the main culprit behind Tampa Bay’s early offensive woes. One fact, however, remains indisputable. Something’s not working. The Bucs are ranked 30th in the NFL in total yardage (271.0 per game), ahead of only lowly AFC teams in Jacksonville and Oakland, 29th in points per game (15.0), 28th in average time of possession (26:41) and only Kansas City owns a worst turnover differential than Tampa Bay’s current minus-4 figure.
Sunday the Bucs will be taking on Pittsburgh’s Dick LeBeau-devised defense, but one that’s about as beat up as their own. The Steelers continue to set up in their base 3-4 and are known for a zone blitz scheme that’s attracted plenty of praise around the league for confusing offensive linemen and quarterbacks for years.
“They’ve got good players,” Dietrich-Smith said of facing Pittsburgh. “The more I looked at it, they’ve got a lot of high-round picks on their defense, they’ve got playmakers on the backend and Dick, statistically, has always had a really good defense in some way, shape or form. But it’s one of those things where his defense has kind of stood the test of time. He does some very similar things and basic concepts as far as 3-4 goes, but he coaches it extremely well. The guy’s been coaching in the league for a very long time so you have a lot of respect for him in that sense. But at the end of the day we’ve got to go out there and execute what we want to do on offense and not worry so much about what they’re doing on defense.”
Hard to put a positive spin on something that is swirling down the drain. I’m sure the offensive staff with Arroyo leading by default is “doing the best it can.” But if the stewardess (flight attendant nowadays)takes control of the cockpit she’ll be trying hard to fly the plane until it hits the ground. This is a bigger deal than the organization is willing to state publicly. I guess there’s really no better option than just ride out the season and hope to survive. Of course some will bail out. Geronimo!!!!!!!!!!!!!
scubog, I’ve observed this phenomena that causes “something” to swirl down the drain. It is governed by Newton’s law of motion where the Coriolis Effect causes that “something” to swirl down the drain in a clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere. If we were the Australian Buccaneers that “something” would swirl down the drain in a counter-clockwise direction.
The point here is that no matter where you live “something” this bad will always swirl down the drain, one direction or another. lol!
We all thought the offense would be a work in progress, I’m more worried about the defense. Arroyo said something telling in his presser, the head coach has final say in everything. Seems Lovie wants to depend on a defense that doesn’t exist, and an offense that’s only allowed to throw on third, and long, maybe. The team is playing more to not make a mistake, then to make a play. Our secondary stands like statues in there zone fearing to move from there landmarks. I think the poor tackling in part is do to the effort of stripping the ball. If you hit them hard enough in the right spot the ball may come out, but how many times has a back got extra yards carring a bunch of Bucs pecking at the ball? Like Gruden use to say, let it out your arse!! Lovie needs to loosen the reigns, and just go for it.
Out the rest of the year? We’re *$%&ed. Where’s my exorcist Licht?
Disappointed that they don’t bring an an available OC (ie Chan Gailey) who could adapt/learn Tedford’s system and help Arroyo out. Kevin Gilbride is available too.
I coach my sons Pop Warner Team and the underlying theory is the same you need players to execute a scheme it wouldn’t matter if we reserected Bill Walsh from the ashes the fact still remains we don’t a O- line and a starting qb= no success. I’m watching qb’s in college with the hope we will have one next year to save us from the nightmare of watching McCown and Glennon. No Scu, I don’t wish either qb will suffer a “Theisman” injury as you eluded to earlier
I guess the OC will be the excuse this week…Prepare for another beating,this is yet another game the Space Pirates will lose…
macabee, I have been to Sydney. Your words are true. You do not speak with forked tongue.
I am not looking forward to the rest of this season. It doesn’t matter what quarterback we have in play, unless the o-line shapes up, it will not be pretty.
That said, I still hope the offense opens up this week and throws a couple of long balls. Put in an extra lineman at running back and give the qb a few seconds!
Are they lining up behind them, or just hiding?
I think what Lovie needs to learn is that the way other teams stay out of third and long situations is to get the first down on first or second down. Here’s an idea that every fan has: get 6 or 7 yards by using your hight advantage and have them go up for the jump ball on first down, then run it if you must.
height, P.S. PR, I hate that you can’t edit anymore
It was Gary Huff JonnyG. His injury was nothing like the one Joe Theisman suffered. No one wanted him hurt…..some just wanted anyone else behind center. And if it took an injury to relegate him to the bench, so be it. When a QB is struggling fans always want the back-up…….even guys like Randy Hedberg.
I know the injury you were referring to I was being sarcastic due to your comment as saying ” I was one of those guys cheering Huff as he was lying on the ground hurt” comparing a more severe type of injury to a stubbed finger
Two out of three games, the BUCS were in it until the end. They should have won both but didn’t!!! There is no explanation for the Falcons game so we just move on and forget about it. There is nothing to learn from that type of game. The Steelers are next and the BUCS have a good opportunity to win back the fans they have lost. This season is not lost…..yet!!!
Sorry Bill, but I have to respectively disagree here. After watching the games, it’s apparent that all three phases are consistently looking poor. IMO it’ll take another 10 weeks or so to begin to look like a respectable football team. Those 1st 2 games were home games where the QB’s were 2nd & 3rd stringers. With no pressure or pass coverage, both had their way w/ the Bucs D. This only got worse in ATL. It didn’t begin there. Add in the injury situation & that the Offense looks utterly lost, and here we are.
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