TAMPA — This was the week the Bucs believed ailing offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford would finally call plays. But now they have no clue whether he will be well enough to return this season.
Tedford, 52, is taking an indefinite leave of absence to recover from a surgical procedure on his heart, the team announced Tuesday.
Tedford, the former California coach hand-picked by Lovie Smith to lead the offense, underwent a coronary angioplasty to have two stents placed in an artery near his heart last month. He has only worked part-time since the procedure and been an "extra pair of eyes" on game day. Tedford did not attend the Bucs' 56-14 loss Thursday night at Atlanta but was supposed to return to full-time duty Monday.
Tedford was in his office at One Buc Place over the weekend but did not attend practice Monday. Less than a day later, Tedford decided to take a medical leave.
"The Buccaneers coaching staff will continue to work collectively to fulfill his responsibilities," the team said in a release.
Bucs quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo, who worked under Tedford for two seasons at Cal, will continue to be the team's primary play-caller and could take on some additional game-planning responsibilities.
After a 0-3 start, the Bucs rank 30th in the NFL in total offense with an average of 271 yards from scrimmage per game, ahead of only the Jaguars and Raiders. The Bucs' 45 points in three games is 29th in the league.
The loss of Tedford is a significant. During his year away from football, after being fired by the Bears following the 2012 season, Smith spent a lot of time in "his basement,' at his home in Illinois watching film and streamlining his offensive philosophy.
A defensive-minded coach, Smith had four offensive coordinators during his nine seasons as the Bears head coach, so the position would be key to his success.
Smith struck an accord with Tedford, an innovative offensive mind at Cal who had never called a play in the NFL. Tedford's offense was expected to feature a strong running game, three- and four-receiver sets and include an element of the no-huddle approach that has been so successful under Eagles coach Chip Kelly.
But the Bucs have failed to score more than two offensive touchdowns in any game this season.
Murphy in, Owusu out
Looking for help after an 0-3 start, the Bucs continued to tweak their roster, waiving receiver Chris Owusu and re-signing former Lakewood and Gators receiver Louis Murphy, who was among the team's final cuts.
Owusu, who caught a touchdown in the season opener and returned a kickoff 45 yards against the Rams, played no offensive snaps Thursday at Atlanta, though Smith said an ankle injury had factored in that decision. Murphy, whose contract would have been guaranteed if he'd made the opening-week roster, is on his fourth team in as many seasons.
The team also made two more cuts to its practice squad, waiving linebacker Ka'Lial Glaud and defensive end Adrian Robinson.
As reported Monday, the team also waived safety KiMario McFadden from the practice squad.
Murphy is the sixth player on the current 53-man roster who has been cut by the Bucs in the past month and then re-signed to the roster. In all, 10 players on the roster have been signed since rosters were initially set Aug. 30.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report. Contact Rick Stroud at [email protected] and listen from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-AM 620. View his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bucs. Follow @NFLStroud.