Byron Leftwich Will Maestro Offense With Bruce Arians Nursing COVID | Good Measuring Stick For Leftwich As Lead Play-Caller

Byron Leftwich has shown over the last couple of seasons that he’s one of the brightest football minds in the league. Sunday he’ll call his first game for Tampa Bay without head coach Bruce Arians on the sidelines or in the headset.

Runningbacks coach Harold Goodwin will assume head coaching responsibilities, but this opportunity comes at the perfect time for Leftwich. The Bucs OC is a coveted head coaching candidate as the season winds down and Black Monday approaches. Maybe we get a preview of what his offensive philosophy would be as the top shotcaller.

Leftwich’s offensive genius became evident in his work with Jameis Winston in 2019. Despite Winston tossing 30 interceptions, the former No.1 overall pick also threw 33 touchdowns and passed for  a league-high 5,109 yards.

He had a knack for making Winston comfortable, even when the play didn’t work out for him. To Leftwich’s credit, a lot of Winston’s turnover issues stemmed from Bruce Arians. “BA” constantly wanted to push the ball downfield. He also underutilized their two-headed monster at tight end in OJ Howard and Cameron Braite. Arians has also never been too fond of having backs catch the ball out of the backfield.

Arians’ philosophy is to chuck it around, and Leftwich pretty much said that in 2019.

2020 Brings Tom Brady, And Leftwich Finally Gets To Put His Own Stamp On Offense

During the 2019 season, Leftwich was the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator by title more than actual gameday play-calling. Yes, he game-planned and made calls on Sundays, but final autonomy still rested with Arians.

That changed in 2020 following the arrival of Tom Brady, but it wasn’t as simple as many would believe. Leftwich was put in the very tough position of meshing the Buccaneers’ downfield passing attack with Brady’s dink and dunk approach of 20 years in Foxborough. After some early season struggles working out some kinks, Leftwich figured out how to maximize Brady’s talents. He had to basically build an offense via Zoom, due to COVID-19 protocols and rules. Leftwich made it all work.

Arians credited Leftwich ahead of last year’s Super Bowl for making the necessary adjustments to mesh the two systems into one dynamic cohesive attack. Arians also said on “The Rich Eisen Show” that Leftwich has been given full autonomy over the offense.

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“You know Tom Brady is such a great, great player, but having left that system after 20 years, and ours is a whole lot different how we do things, Byron’s been the middle guy that’s just done all the work. I mean people give me way too much credit because I don’t do ‘bleep’ really. He does it all. He calls the plays. People give Tom Brady and Bruce Arians way too credit and not enough credit for Byron Leftwich.”

Leftwich Will Be Play-Calling Solo This Weekend. He’ll Be Just Fine

Despite all the evidence that Leftwich calls more than his share of plays, this weekend’s game will be heavily watched by potential employers, as Leftwich will interview for several head coach vacancies.

Leftwich and the Buccaneers travel to face the Jets this Sunday in cold and windy MetLife Stadium. As a play-caller, the expectancy is that Leftwich will dummy down the downfield passing attack and utilize his run game. With Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn pounding out 5 yards per carry, expect Leftwich to use the run game to open up his passing game.


Once the run game gets churning, then you’ll see the typical tight ends down the seams as Leftwich will look to control the middle of the field. That’ll open up some deep shots to Antonio Brown and the receiving corps. Brown returned from a three-game suspension last week to account for 10 receptions and 101 yards.

He’ll be key the rest of the way in the receiving corps with Chris Godwin out for the remainder of the season and Mike Evans week-to-week at the moment. Leftwich knows this, so it won’t be surprising to see him look to feed AB as much as possible the rest of the regular season in preparation for the postseason.

Leftwich won’t have to show a lot to move the ball or score points against the Jets. As a play-caller you want to get into a rhythm, execute your game plan and avoid injuries. He won’t need to be too exotic this week, that can be shelved until the postseason.

Point blank, Leftwich is READY!!!! There’s not much more he can do to show he deserves a head coaching job. Just ask Tom Brady what he thinks.

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