Tedford says there's no real mystery to Bucs' offense
They say a man’s eyes are the windows to his soul, but Jeff Tedford isn’t going to let you peek into his windows.
On Tuesday, the Bucs’ offensive coordinator’s eyes were obscured by black tint and hiding behind a pair of Nike sunglasses. It was fitting. Only the structure of Tedford’s offense has undergone more concealment since he was hired in January.
Although the Bucs workouts during Organized Team Activities have been open to the media one day per week as mandated by NFL rules, there still has been an element of secrecy surrounding certain aspects of the offense Tedford brought with him from Cal-Berkeley to the NFL.
Is it just up-tempo or no huddle? Do they operate primarily out of the pistol formation or the shotgun? Are they going to spread teams out with five receivers or run mostly one back, two tight end sets?
Players, such as quarterback Luke McCown, have consistently, albeit politely, declined to give many specifics. Therefore what everyone sees on the practice field may or may not be what you get during games this fall.
“I don’t know. I think most teams are prepared for anything, to tell you the truth,’’ Tedford said. “So I don’t know how much of an element of surprise there will be. Like I said, there’s nothing earth shattering about it. Everybody has different tempos that they go at, so there’s nothing earth shattering about it. Football is football. It’s about matchups and getting things done with personnel and making sure we put people in the right positions and execution. That’s what it’s about.
"No matter how much you think you can trick people, it still comes down to execution. It’s not about tricking people. Obviously you need to keep people off balance in certain phases of the gamed and we’ll try to do that, but there’s really nothing earth-shattering about anything that’s going on.”
Perhaps not, but the NFL has been turned a little on its axis by the migration of spread offenses and mobile quarterbacks from the college game. The Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, the 49ers Colin Kaepernick and the Panthers Cam Newton have recently thrived.
Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly brought his up-tempo offense to the Philadelphia Eagles and in his first season it finished ranked second only to the Denver Broncos in total yards with 417.2 per game.
“I’m very familiar with (Chip Kelly’s offense) because we played against it every year in the PAC-12,’’ Tedford said. “So I was not surprised by their efficiency and their success because he does an excellent job of doing what they do. I think you can see through the NFL that more and more teams are incorporating it a little bit more.”
Tedford did reveal a few basic tenants of his offense Tuesday. Start with the fact that he believes more in a running back by committee approach.
"I think you have to alternate,'' Tedford said Tuesday. “Even when we had two, 1,000-yard rushers (at California), J.J. Arrington was a 2,000-yard rusher and and we had a couple times guys had a thousand yards apiece. But I don’t believe that one back can carry the load. It’s just too physical. I think you probably need to have two to three guys to bring different things to the table. But I think you at least need to have two to be able to spell them here and there and keep them healthy and tat type of thing.
Two years ago, when he led all rookie rushers and was voted to the Pro Bowl, running back Doug Martin had 368 touches on offense. But Martin can expect a considerably lighter workload than that this season. The Bucs drafted West Virginia running back Charles Sims in the third round and return Mike James and Bobby Rainey.
Speaking to the media for the first time since being hired in January, Tedford had some other interesting takes Tuesday: On the 34-year-old McCown: “Josh McCown is one of the truest professionals I’ve ever been around, as far as just an unbelievable leader, so knowledgeable, puts in extra hours every day studying film,’’ he said.
On first-round pick Mike Evans and the Bucs’ offense-exclusive draft: “(Evans) showed the first couple days he’s a real talent out there,’’ he said. “No doubt about it. He made a great catch out there right in the middle. I don’t know if any of you saw it. I thought the ball was probably 10 yards overthrown and he made a one-handed catch, put it away and just kept on running. So we have those guys on the outside with Vincent (Jackson) and him and when (Austin Seferian)-Jenkins gets here he bring another tight end with some range and some size.’’
How do they plan to utilize all those weapons? Apparently the future is so bright, you’ll have to wear shades.