Byron Leftwich on Tom Brady’s influence on the offense: “The quarterback is the offense”

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The Tampa Bay offense isn’t consistently clicking. As a result, questions have been swirling regarding the responsibility of quarterback Tom Brady for the execution of the attack, and for its design.

Is he being asked to do things he’s not comfortable doing? How involved is he in selecting the plays that will be used?

The narrative that Brady has had plenty of involvement in the offense has gathered steam in the aftermath of Monday night’s loss to the Rams. Earlier this week, coach Bruce Arians made it clear that the offense rises and falls based on the quality of Brady’s performances. Arians also made it clear that Brady is “calling a lot of his own [plays], or picking his own on the sidelines from the game plan,” and that as to the notion that Brady is being asked to do things he doesn’t do well, “He can do anything, so it’s not like he can’t do it. I see him do it all the time.”

On Thursday, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich met with reporters, and inevitably he was asked about whether and to what extent the team is putting Brady in a bad spot.

Here’s the question that was posed to Leftwich by Jenna Laine of ESPN.com: “You hear the critics, and I know they’re chipping. Some of those folks had said that it seems like Tom is trying to play someone else’s offense. But I know that he does have quite a bit of involvement in the game planning and even calling some of the plays. So can you just kind of speak to his level of involvement in taking control of this offense?”

“You guys know how I am, I tell you this all the time,” Leftwich said in response. “The quarterback is the offense. I say that all the time. Remember, I understand that it’s still a version of entertainment, so something has to be said. And when plays don’t work and when things don’t work, that’s what comes with losing in this league. We all accept that, we understand that. All we can do is hopefully get the next opportunity where we can be in position to do the right thing so we can have the opportunity to win the football game. It’s hard to win week in and week out, ee understand that. Everyone expects us to win every game. We get that. But our job is to go out and prepare ourselves and get in position to try to win every football game also. So we understand those responsibilities.”

While Leftwich’s answer quickly disintegrated into coachspeak, the hammer came early. “The quarterback is the offense.” In other words, this is Brady’s show. He’s not being asked to do things he doesn’t want to do. And he has the power to not do those things or any other things.

This not-so-subtle dance has resulted in an effort by the coaches to nudge blame for the offensive struggles from them to Tom. When Brady meets with reporters (presumably today), we’ll see whether he’s asked basically the same question that Leftwich was asked: “Some have said that it seems like you are trying to play someone else’s offense. But I know you have quite a bit of involvement in the game planning and even calling some of the plays. So can you just kind of speak to your level of involvement in taking control of this offense?”

If the question is asked that way, the answer (or lack of one) could be very intriguing.

15 responses to “Byron Leftwich on Tom Brady’s influence on the offense: “The quarterback is the offense”

  1. BB walked because he started to become uncoachable and Brady wouldn’t hear of any mistakes he would make, thinking he’s above the team.

    What’s really annoying is how he felt he was entitled to win every game.

    Ever notice his face late in a game that he felt he played well enough to win, but he felt the D could have done more or needed to make a play late? He looked like someone ran over his dog and stole his lunch.

    Even after last year when he played poorly and the team won with like a blocked punt for td or multiple turnovers by the D, he was depressed at the podium.

    Hr wants to win with stats and he’s willing to blow off high iq management for risking a win, for those stats, as opposed to being smart and helping his own defense with complimentary football.

    Peyton Manning used to do this when his ego exploded, losing games for Indy while chasing stats. I can’t believe Brady went down that path.

    BB put a halt to it in 2014 with “we’re onto Cincinnati” which was more than just the team, it was about getting the old game manager Brady back.

  2. Tampa is still #7 in points per game; Tampa is 7-4; and the team only lost by 3 points to the Rams (one of the better teams in the league right now), so I feel like the “Brady is struggling” narrative is a bit overplayed.

    Brady has turned the ball over a lot more than he normally does, but he is playing in a new offense after a COVID-19 shortened offseason. His receivers have been constantly hurt all season; Tampa’s offensive line is below average; Arians’ offense historically hasn’t been very kind to quarterbacks in their first year of executing it; and Brady is 43-years-old.

    I think there’s still a pretty wide range of outcomes here, ranging from Tampa/Brady light it up for the next two years to Brady’s body breaks down and he retires.

  3. Let’s face it, Brady’s washed up. Funny how those misreads Arians talks about were receiver errors last year in New England according to Brady. It’s never Tom’s fault..

  4. loldeepball says:
    November 27, 2020 at 9:45 am
    Tampa is still #7 in points per game; Tampa is 7-4; and the team only lost by 3 points to the Rams (one of the better teams in the league right now), so I feel like the “Brady is struggling” narrative is a bit overplayed.

    Brady has turned the ball over a lot more than he normally does, but he is playing in a new offense after a COVID-19 shortened offseason. His receivers have been constantly hurt all season; Tampa’s offensive line is below average; Arians’ offense historically hasn’t been very kind to quarterbacks in their first year of executing it; and Brady is 43-years-old.

    I think there’s still a pretty wide range of outcomes here, ranging from Tampa/Brady light it up for the next two years to Brady’s body breaks down and he retires.

    2 1 Rate This

    ——————-

    Here is a good example where the data is misleading.

    Here is the criteria:

    Is the D good? If yes, he sucks and takes the cheese, meaning he should be under center more and not in the shotgun like a statue, 7 yards back almost every snap.

    If the D is bad, he looks good like he did in NE, especially if the bad D foolishly plays a lot of zone.

    So he pads stats vs bad Ds. Raiders, Panthers, Chagers. I had them losing to Chicago and was right again. Why? The front seven and man coverage abilitiy.

    Also, note how former employees or now coaches or coordinators know exactly what to do with him, or someone like Payton who is friendly with BB.

    Jug is up and Brady is too stubborn to adjust due to ego.

  5. So much for Leftwich being a head coach. He takes credit for success and any failures are Brady’s fault? Brady’s calling his own plays and is responsible for all eleven members of the offense. Why is there an offensive coordinator or offensive coaches in the team boxes during games? This has to be the most incredibly stupid move by a coach (or coaches – BA) to point a finger other than the thumb. Putting all blame on Brady while admitting to abdicating responsibility to coach and prepare a game plan should make Leftwich radioactive to owners. Why would Brady want to go through another season of being the SCAPEGOAT? If the owner wants to sell tickets next year, he might want to have a chat with BA and his boys and stop them from trying to make Brady the fall guy for an ineffective defense and an antiquated offense that has none of the motions other teams successfully use. By the way, how many passes have been dropped or wrong routes run by receivers? What’s happened to the run game and pass protection?

  6. I agree with loldeepball that things aren’t nearly as dire as some want to paint it. I also see no point in speculating about who, exactly, is calling plays. No doubt it’s a combination.

    But one thing that bugs me is the Bucs’ last drive against the Rams. The Bucs had well over two minutes, plenty of time for Brady to score. He was taking them down the field in his usual deliberate 4th-quarter comeback style when, with loads of time left, he throws that long bomb that gets intercepted. That is uncharacteristic of his end-of-the-game style. But think about this, too. What if that pass had NOT been intercepted. Things would then be set up for the Bucs to possibly score a TD quickly–TOO quickly. They would have left the Rams with plenty of time to come back and score a go-ahead TD, leaving little to no time on the clock for the Bucs. Whatever criticisms anybody may have of Belichick and McDaniels, that’s not what they’d do, and it’s not what we’ve seen Brady do time after time. I have a hard time believing that there’s not some issue between the coaches and Brady to lead to a situation like that.

    I don’t much care what the coaches and Brady say to the press. What I hope is happening is that they are having good conversations among themselves focusing on the best use of their personnel, in game plans tailored to each opponent and game situation, and not focused on particular throws.

  7. So brady is the onE who wants to run on first and run all passing plays as go routes with no dump offs bc he likes getting hit…

  8. BB and Brady are both discovering the difference between a good match and an ideal match.

    Brady/Arians and Newton/BB are good matches. Brady/BB is an ideal match.

    The coronavirus disruption and lack of preseason/practice disruptions aren’t helping matters.

  9. One thing that I’ve noticed about them this year, he plays well when their defense plays well and against mediocre to bad defenses, which might bode well for this weekend depending on which version of the Chief defense shows up. It’s like if they don’t get that boost from the defense like turnovers or short fields to get him rolling, their offense plays much worse. Against elite defenses and especially good front sevens, forget about it. He’s a liability out there trying to put up offensive output. He starts letting the ball go to quickly and overthrowing guys or getting picks because he’s not about to get hit.

  10. notaloon says:
    November 27, 2020 at 9:46 am
    Let’s face it, Brady’s washed up. Funny how those misreads Arians talks about were receiver errors last year in New England according to Brady. It’s never Tom’s fault

    So a guy that’s 4th in passing yards 4th and n TD and 4th n completions 20 or more yards can’t play but the other 3 QBs around him who right there with him are all good. Makes no sense.

    Skill position players QB , RB and WR are all judged on there stats.
    There stats more often than not are a reflection of how they played.

    This is what happens in football EVERY year people overreact to what they just watched.

    When they Bucs won 6 out of 7 after the opening day lose
    And he was on a stretch with 17 tds and 2 picks was he “washed up” then ?

  11. What’s so hard about not always drooling over your options at receiver all the time and running the ball more? Hit your intermediate targets in under 2 seconds, avoid sacks, take the occasional (stressing the word occasional) long shot, and move the chains with no turnovers? The passing game always opens up if you don’t try to ram it down everyone’s gullet.

    You could move the chains with this offense all day. Just have the guts not to be a pig about it. Have some discipline.

    These are notions that Arians has never ascribed to though. Because he’s bullheaded and seduced by the long ball, he’s predictable. Brady game is not Wilson’s and Mahomes’ – he’s still damn dangerous though.

  12. That is the Problem the QB is the Offense. There is a position on the Team called a RB. Maybe I need to spell it out for Arians and Leftwich Running back, Tailback, Halfback, Fullback. Maybe put Jones at HB and Fournette at FB. Since Antonio Brown came into the Fold your team is 1-3. Why could that be you say? Imbecile playcalling. Try 5 Runs and one was a kneel down. 18 Runs and 13 Runs. and you lost to a Bears team earlier in the yr that ran the ball 14 times. and the only reason you were in the Rams game and the Chiefs game is they were almost as pass happy as you. The Record of teams who have rushed less then 20 times in a game is 9-44-1. 41 pass plays a game to 23.1 Run plays Jones is avg more then 5 yards a carry Fournette 3.9 and Vaughn on 8 totes 5.8. The Bucs have to play the Vikings who will look to run the ball and neutralize Brady and the pass happy attack. Atlanta twice you don’t know which Atlanta team will show up the one that just smoked the Raiders or the one that blew leads against the Cowboys, the Bears, its funny how since he got the Previous Head Coach fired Dirk Koetter is running the ball. the other game is against Detroit. If Tampa does not go 11-5 or 10-6 Arians should be fired and replaced by a Coach who believes in a balanced offense. I dare Arians to try to beat any one of this future opponents running it less then 10 times. to my knowledge it has only been done once in NFL History.

  13. The Bucs are 7-5 they are on their Bye this week. They have 2 losses to the Saints, a Loss to the Bears, losses to the Rams and Chiefs who kept them in the game by not running the ball. Teams for some reason are afraid to pound the ball against the Bucs. The Bears ran 14 times against them. The Saints ran the ball more then 30 times in both games. The Defense gives up 70% completion. Not enough Footballs to go around for the Receivers they do have on the team. Antonio Brown avging a whopping 8.4 yards a catch. Arians is pissed Brady is not completing 50 percent of his passes by throwing Deep every down. That was the Gameplan in the 5 run game against the Saints. You put pressure on Brady Tackle his Receivers limiting the YAC. Its basically the same way you beat a Mike Leach team. The Bucs are throwing it like a Mike Leach team in the last 3 losses 41 pass 5 run
    49 Pass 18 Run, 42 pass 13 run. Total of 132 pass plays to 36 Runs. 78.6% pass. the other 2 losses 44 pass 20 runs for 106 yards against the bears and 39 pass 26 run game 1 against the Saints. 64.3% pass those 2 games. The 5 Losses combined 72.4% pass. the 7 wins 58.6% pass. If this was college Jones and Fournette would opt out. Those last 3 losses are basically Mike Leach. He had a 1300 yard running back not getting the ball at all on run plays. He and a ton of other guys Opted out of the season.
    At this point I am taking the Vikings when the Bucs come off there bye week.

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