On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that Offensive Coordinator Jeff Tedford would be taking an indefinite leave of absence. Though there are 14 weeks left in the 2014 regular season, Head Coach Lovie Smith said on Wednesday that the team would be moving forward under the expectation that Tedford would not be returning this year.
As such, the Buccaneers' offensive game-planning will continue to be handled in the same manner it has been since Tedford underwent a medical procedure in late August. The entire offensive coaching staff will handle those duties as a collaborative process. On game day, Quarterbacks Coach Marcus Arroyo will send the play calls in to the quarterback from his spot on the sideline. Arroyo, who worked under Tedford for two seasons at Cal (2011-12), has handled play-calling duties in 10 of his last 12 seasons on the collegiate level.
While the Buccaneers are comfortable with this process, they also need to make sure they have a cohesive plan for their offense going forward. Arroyo says his goal is to keep that unit moving in the same direction it was under Tedford throughout the offseason and training camp.
"I want it to keep building on the identity that Jeff put us forth with, and that reason is because we've had so many reps in that direction," said Arroyo. "Collectively, that's what we know right now, that's what our guys are comfortable with. Until we feel that there's another direction we need to go – which I don't know if you can do that, if it's a smart decision in the middle of a season, to change direction – that's not a plan at all. Our plan is to stay the course and to give our guys a chance to continue doing what they're doing and get good."
Arroyo's role in the Buccaneers' game-planning and play-calling was a hot topic at One Buccaneer Place on Wednesday. More on that and other relevant discussions can be found below.Head Coach Lovie Smith
"How about the injury list here first? Mason Foster, Michael Johnson and Josh McCown weren't able to practice today, but besides that everybody practiced on at least a limited basis. It was good to get more guys on the football field. Most of you know that we sent out a release yesterday on Jeff Tedford being on an indefinite leave. We're going forward with what we have right now, there's not a whole lot more information that I can give you besides that, nothing should change. As far as Pittsburgh is concerned, they're a good football team, they have a 2-1 record and as I said Monday, they lost a tough game to Baltimore, but they really came back last week. Le'Veon Bell is a great football player, a Hall of Fame-type quarterback, good wide receivers, commitment to the run, pressure on the defensive side, Dick LeBeau – I'm trying to think of how many years I've been in the league, but not over 50, that's saying a whole lot, there's not a whole lot he hasn't seen. It's been a challenge for our team, to be able to go on the road and play well as much as anything. There are some things that we have been doing, as much as anything, that we have to clean up and we are. Today was a step in the right direction."
(On if he's been happy with the way quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo has been calling plays)
"Yeah, in comparison to with the job that we've all done. None of us has done our jobs good enough, coaches, players and all. I think Marcus and the rest of the offensive staff, I need to say the rest of the offensive staff, this is the way we work throughout the season and so it's not like we have to change an awful lot. Yes, I've been pleased with how we've been getting plays in and out, we just need to execute a little better."
(On if he expects Tedford to come back this season)
"We're going on as if Jeff isn't coming back. That's why I won't be giving updates or anything like that. This group is what we're going with right now."
(On Arroyo having to change his role)
"We hired him to come in and be an assistant coach and his duties changed. It's like players, we start the season, we put them in different roles, but your roles change throughout. It's not like 'What do we do now?' No, it's next man up, next coach, next player and it's as simple as that."
(On what prompted Tedford's leave of absence)
"There's nothing more I can tell you about the situation. He can't go, there's no need
Photos from Wednesday's practice at One Buccaneer Place.
for me to get into any more details and we're going on like Jeff won't with us for the rest of the year. Going into something medically that I don't know a lot about just wouldn't be beneficial to anybody."
(On if they're fortunate that Arroyo has coached under Tedford before)
"I think if you look at most staffs, the quarterbacks coach is very involved with everything that we're doing, the communication part. With Jeff coordinating our offense, the play came from Jeff to Marcus and then to the quarterback, now it's just the communication is easier. It just goes from Marcus to the quarterback. Again, we've prepared for any player, any coach, to miss extended amounts of time, even the head football coach. Again, we're in the next plan, next guy up and again we can keep talking on it, but there's not a lot more that I can tell you. Jeff is not going to be with us OK? We're going on like he won't be with us the rest of the year, the rest of the group is going to continue to work hard like they've been doing."
(On if confirmation of Tedford's status aides Arroyo's preparation)
"There is some conclusion to what we're doing right now. Instead of you asking me every day and for the guys to know this is what we're going with right now, players go through that always, but when they know that a player is on [injured-reserved] you move on. There's a different plan in place and that's where we are. We've been working hard. We have a good game plan for Pittsburgh, this can't stop us from playing our best ball and we feel confident with the way that we're moving forward."
(On if he's concerned with spreading Arroyo too thin)
"No concern with that at all. Again, we've been doing this for a month also, so if there were some things that we need to tweak than we've done that already. Nothing has changed and it's a story to you, but for our football team, they're moving on. No one is going to have to take on additional duties from what we did early in the year. All of our focus right now is on Pittsburgh as much as anything."
(On which quarterback will start on Sunday)
"Which quarterback will we start this week? Is that what you're asking me? It's a good chance it will be Mike Glennon. Josh is improving – I would like to stay with my standard way of doing things, I'm not talking about starting lineups before the opponent as you can understand that, but Mike took the reps today."
(On what Glennon will bring to the quarterback position and him being different than Josh)
"He is different and from what I've seen is a team player, a veteran on how he's handled the situation. Mike came to work every day preparing – if you're a part of a team, you should prepare like, if you're in a backup role, 'If I have to go the next play, I'm ready to go.' That's what Mike has done. I've talked about what Josh has brought to the quarterback room and for Mike to see a veteran does it, this has only helped him and prepared him for this situation right now. He's ready to go, Mike is one of the guys that went into the game without a lot of reps the last time we played and did a decent job, now having an entire week to get ready if he's a starter, having a full week, he should be even more prepared. The football team feels good about Mike leading."
(On the decision to bring wide receiver Louis Murphy back)
"Louis was really in contention for one of the spots on the 53-man roster before he got hurt in the last preseason game. We've liked him from the moment that we signed him on. He's healthy and he's been one of our guys, it was a tough decision to let him go then, but now that he's healthy we compare all players to see who gives us the best chance and we just felt like Louis would do that and we need him on our roster right away."
(On Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin's comment that 'Lovie is probably energized being 0-3')
"Let me think about that a little bit. I don't know if energized is the way – I would like to think that I am energized always. I'm pretty even-keeled, I'll just say that we're not happy being it and we want to get this right. I think that's what Mike is saying. Yes, our football team is anxious to play better and see what it feels like to win a football game. As I said earlier, what better team to have to get ready to play than the Steelers, knowing what type of game they're going to bring to the table, the same type that we are. It's going to be a big challenge for us."
(On what it could mean if defensive tackle Gerald McCoy's plays)
"Maybe all guys at this point are limited a little bit, but if he suits up, it's documented what the under-tackle means to our football team. Gerald is the face of the franchise, our best player to get him in the mix – we talk about how tough a chore this will be playing the Steelers, we need our best players and it's as simple as that. Gerald looked pretty good today and we can't get him back on the football field too soon."
(On how limited McCoy is with his injury and the 'contraption' on his hand)
"I wouldn't say contraption, he has the use of his fingers and it's just giving a little bit of protection on the top. He should be good to go, if he's able to go then he should be OK and we shouldn't have to worry about that hand an awful lot. On the sheet here it says limited, so he was limited today and we'll see what happens tomorrow."
DT Gerald McCoy
(On how much he is putting on his shoulders to get the defense going)
"I'm just doing what I can do. Hopefully I'll be out there Sunday and anybody that has been around me knows that when Sunday comes I turn into a wild man. Whether I have one hand, half of a hand or no hands, I'm going to give it all I've got."
(On what's different with this 0-3 start compared to last season's)
"There isn't any difference. 0-3 is 0-3, and you have no wins yet. At this point, [the attitude] was about the same, nobody was really down and out and it's like that now. It's about the same."
(On what makes him think they can turn it around)
"The thing is that we're not that far off. The Thursday night game, that was just a group of guys not being physical, not doing what we were coached to do that week and just letting that team take over. A lot of different stuff for the reason for Thursday against Atlanta. I had someone close to me, that only people close to me I would allow to tell me this and they said Thursday was 'Pathetic' and I believe that. It's kind of bad that it comes from the outside and we have to feel that in the building that our last performance was pathetic. It's very embarrassing and that's not us at all. Coach has not coached us to be that way and if won't anybody else say, I'll say it, it was embarrassing and we've got to be better."
QB Mike Glennon
(On if he feels better prepared to be the starter than he did last year)
"Yeah without a doubt. I think last year this exact time was when they announced me the starter. I didn't know what to expect then. I know what it's like to play now. I know what it's like to go out there and get hit by those defensive linemen, I know what it's like to throw a touchdown, and everything in between. So [I'm] a lot more confident, a lot more comfortable than I was a year ago today."
(On the process of quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo taking over play-calling duties)
"I think it's gone pretty well. I think you have to give Marcus a lot of credit, but you also have to give the other assistants [credit] because they're working together now and they're working to be one voice, and although Marcus is calling the plays, it's a team effort. From our standpoint as a player, it's gone really smooth and I don't think there's been a problem with it, and I think those guys are working their butts off to get this thing right and I think it's been a smooth transition."
(On if he's noticed any differences in plays called by Arroyo from offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford)
"For the most part, Marcus was with Jeff for last couple of years at Cal, so he comes from that tree. I think every coordinator might have a few plays that they favor over others, but for the most part, it's the same plays, it's the same system, it's all the same."
(On the opportunity to establish himself as a legitimate starter)
"It's always a huge opportunity when you get to play a game in the NFL. I'm going to go out there and really what my focus is though is just getting our first win. And that's where my mindset is at: to go out there and get a win and help the team in any way I can."
(On the comparisons between last year's 0-3 start and this year's 0-3 start)
"I guess it's hard to say. I mean 0-3 is 0-3 however you look at it. Our mindset last year and mindset this year is just stay the course and get that first win. And once you get that first win, things kind of get rolling. And I think that's the mindset we're taking again this year and we'll work ourselves through it. It's a long season; 13 games left in the season. Ten weeks from now, we won't even remember this. We've just got to focus on going up to Pittsburgh and getting our first win."
(On what area he thinks he has grown the most since his rookie season last year)
"Probably just from a mental standpoint, it's kind of redundant, but it is just what to expect. Until you do it, you don't know what it's really like. I know just how to prepare, how to lead, what it's like on gameday. There's just a lot of mental things that go into it. Physically, I would imagine I'm a similar player. I'm sure I'm a little more talented now just because I have gone through those situations. But it's more just the mental side of things of how to approach a game week, how to approach gameday, how to go out there and execute."
(On if the leadership aspect of the position is easier for him now that he has some experience)
"Definitely. Like I said, I didn't know what to expect of myself until I did it and the other guys didn't know what to expect until I did it as well. Guys over here last year with me know what they can expect, and guys that haven't played with me either saw me last year or have gotten to know me this year. I'm definitely more confident this go-around just with my knowledge of the game and everything."
(On how he was able to handle Josh McCown coming in as the starter so well)
"It was not the ideal situation for myself, but it's a team effort and you don't know how things are going to play out. As tough as it was at times, I just had a positive mindset through it all and knew it would all work out. We're not where we are yet as a team and I'm not where I want to be. Still have a long way to go. I just kind of, like I said, as a team, staying the course, keep working hard, and things will come together."
(On what was the most difficult time for him this season)
"Probably hard to pinpoint one particular time. It was definitely an adjustment going from playing to not. I think Josh was doing a great job and I was right there for him, just like he'll be right there for me. So we've got a great group and whoever's in there, the quarterbacks are going to be supporting each other."
(On the things McCown has taught him)
"He just immediately said, 'What can I do for you now?' He's been there before and he's just got so much knowledge. He really is just a big help to have around. Just little things here and there. Things he notices that I may not. He's been great with Jeff being out with his mind and his knowledge. He's been able to add to our offense. Can't say enough about him as a teammate of how much he brings not only to the quarterback group, but the team as well."
(On if he not only sees this as an opportunity for himself, but an opportunity to turn the team's fortunes around)
"As a quarterback, that's the most important position on the team. A lot of times when the quarterback plays well, the team wins, and vice versa. I don't have a problem putting the pressure on myself to perform well, to help this team win. With that being said, it is the ultimate team sport and a lot goes into it. But I put as much pressure on myself as anyone and want to go out there and perform well and help this team win."
(On if he sees this as an opportunity to become the starter if he wins this game)
"I'm just focusing one week at a time. We can't get to win No. 2 until we get to win No. 1. That's the mindset of this team and that's the mindset I have as well."
(On if there is a concern about trying to do too much)
"No. I mean, we have a lot of talented guys on this team, and my job is to get the ball in their hands and let them score and do their thing. I know our defense is going to play well. So just getting the ball in the playmakers' hands, be smart with the ball, and we'll be fine."
(On if he's been told if McCown will be the starter when he is back to full strength)
"That hasn't been discussed."Quarterbacks Coach Marcus Arroyo
(On how his role will change with offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford taking a leave of absence)
"The collective effort of the staff will be exactly the same. I think that's the way we've handled it the best because, again, it goes back to the questioning before: you're down a coach. The collective effort of all of us is continuing to be ramped up and that's got to stay the way it is. My role will be whatever it is, first of all, the quarterbacks need, whatever it is the head coach needs, and whatever it is offensively; I'll continue to do that."
(On if he will be more involved in game planning this week)
"Not opposed to the last three weeks. Obviously, we've been missing Jeff the last three weeks, so it will be a collective effort. We'll continue the path to do our best to put us in position."
(On how difficult it is to mirror Tedford's play calling abilities)
"The operative word to use is 'different.' We don't know. It's 'what he would call vs. what we would call' – we don't know that. We've got to do our best to have a little bit of wherewithal as to what we think we'd do here and make a decision on it and go forward. Again, it goes back to what I originally said, I think last week, was just trying to give a plan that we stick to and give our guys a chance that they believe in the plan and what we're doing and put them in the best position possible and then make the calls accordingly, and do what we said we were going to do and then let the chips fall where they may in that regard. I don't know exactly what Jeff would call and I don't know if Jeff would call what we call; vice versa. I think that's tough to say."
(On how he thinks he is progressing with his role of calling plays)
"It's a work in progress because you go through the whole offseason and training camp, and I'm nailing down the room and learning about our guys and learning about what we can do. We're all, I think, collectively in our first time together, trying to communicate effectively as to what we all believe we can become. Now, you're down a guy; you've got to have a little different vision or have a little more vision as to not only what you can become, [but] how you're going to control it. 'What can we do to put ourselves in position on Sunday?' We'll put the plays on the sheet together and calling it effectively is definitely something we're working on, and I'm working to be as good as I can be in that position."
(On how comfortable he is calling plays)
"I'm comfortable. I'm comfortable calling the plays. I don't think there's been an opportunity yet where I've felt really uncomfortable, fortunately. If that presents itself at another time, it's yet to be determined. But so far, I've been comfortable doing that."
(On if he has called plays with other teams or schools)
"Yes, at San Jose State, Wyoming, first job at Prairie View [A&M] just to go all the way back. Prairie View [A&M], San Jose State, Wyoming, Cal, Southern Miss. [Southern Miss head coach Todd] Monken, an assistant from Oklahoma State, was a blend. Calling his is almost different."
(On calling plays from the booth vs. the sideline)
"I've done both."
(On if he feels more comfortable calling plays on the sidelines or in the press box)
"I think someone asked that the other day. The difference is the communicator. When you're straight to the quarterback, it's pretty nice. If you've got one more line of communication, I think that's the thing that's different right now. Not that that didn't happen in college. In college, you get a signaler or you don't talk to them at all. It's just the way it is. But when you're down another body, it's like 'Who do you take up? Do I want to be on the field with Mike [Glennon] talking directly or do I want to go up?' You're down a guy, but your set of eyes has at least got to be a set that you trust, and the guys we've got up right now, we're trusting. So I feel comfortable doing it from the field and getting the information that's pertinent. If there's ever a time that's not, I could easily go back up and done that too. Then, it's just who communicates because, like we said, I've gone all offseason and training camp where I'm communicating from Jeff to the quarterback; now no one else is communicating to the quarterback. So that's then another step. We're making the best of what we can do."
(On the offense's philosophy)
"We've been a pro-style multiple offense that Coach Smith and Jeff have alluded to before that are a team that's going to run the ball effectively and be effective and efficient in any way we can."
(On what he saw from Glennon in the offseason and how much confidence he has in him)
"We obviously really like what Mike does; feel really confident in him. In the offseason and training camp, he did a really nice job. I liked a lot of things when we first got here. I think there's a lot of things on tape that we really like that he does that we've identified as the traits that we like in a quarterback. I think that last week was a nice start for him coming up – I shouldn't say start, a nice opportunity for him to go in and get through it, regardless of the situation. He did a really nice job playing catch and did a really good job of organizing some of the stuff we were talking to him on the sideline quickly. And so I think we have all the confidence in the world moving forward."
(On the different playing styles of Glennon and quarterback Josh McCown)
"Obviously a little different. But Mike does a really good job driving the ball; good, strong arm. Both very cerebral. We'll put the ball in places that they need to go. I think making the right decisions is the most important part no matter who is playing, and I'm confident Mike will do that."
(On if his reduced communication on game days with the quarterbacks has had any effect on their play)
"The situation is what it is. I think my focus has been, number one, to do absolutely what's been asked of me by Jason [Licht] and Lovie. Secondly is to make sure the quarterback room is in the best shape it can be. And then the next part, now in the situation we're in, is to collectively have a great group effort with our staff and just be on the same tune with what we want to move forward with. I haven't really thought outside of that just because I think the situation we're in, we're dealing with it, and I think the staff is doing a great job."
(On if he talks with Tedford about football when he checks in with him)
"The biggest thing with our relationship probably, to be honest with you, is to support him and what he's going through. It's a pretty big life deal when you're close enough to guys that think that's what you want to do with some of your mentors; make sure we're supporting that. That's a major deal that's happened and it's a big perspective check. So when it comes to checking in on football and asking about football – may sound crazy; yes that'd be great – but I also want to check and see how he's doing."
(On if he has the ultimate say-so when calling plays)
"No. Collective effort would be our offensive staff – I don't need to name them; we can go through the names. But when you say the ultimate say-so, what you mean by that is am I the last person to say the play? Most of the time. Whether it's something I've asked and asked for, meaning, 'Hey, what about the next run here?' or 'Do you like this run?' or 'What about this?' That person, they say it. All I do is relay it to the quarterback at times. We're all collectively putting this thing together and sending it out. And I think, again, the staff has done an amazing job of pulling together because we're all learning about each other in the first season too."
(On what head coach Lovie Smith's role is in the play calling)
"The head coach has veto power on everything."
(On if his eventual goal was to be a play-caller in the NFL and the differences between calling plays in college and the NFL)
"I think that anybody that's trying to do their job at a high level aims for the top, and this is the top. The opportunity presenting itself is the one at hand. Someone asked that last time if play calling is very different. I think organizing it, getting it called and all that isn't much different. The difference isn't from college to the NFL – it's just different personnel. You're playing the Bengals offense, you're not playing other teams – not to discredit anybody else of course – it's just different. It's different guys, different animals. Your protections may look a little different, your routes may look a little different, your timing a little different just because of the personnel of who you're playing. That's more development of the strategy throughout the week. The play calling, I think, has just been something we're working through and trying to get better collectively myself every day. And I think that college or now, that hasn't changed before. It's 'What can you do best to game plan these guys and put your guys in the best position possible?'"
(On if someone has picked up his duties of helping the quarterbacks)
"No. We've all picked up extra responsibilities just to close the ties."
(On if he would like to take more shots down the field or if that is predicated on the pass protection)
"The latter. Easier to dictate what you can do down the field based on coverage and defense. Hard to throw it down the field into coverage, if that makes sense."
(On if that puts a premium on the team's success with running the ball)
"I think that's probably an absolute in most offenses, your premium of getting guys in the box and being able to take shots – [in order] to take those shots you need to have the guys in position to do so. So we're excited about finding ways to continue to do that. Obviously we believe in those guys outside and we're excited about when those opportunities present themselves to take the calculated risk."
(On if wide receiver Vincent Jackson's wrist injury has affected him in practice)
"No. I have the utmost confidence in Vincent. He's an All-Pro and we see it that way."
(On if he anticipates the team signing another quarterback)
"That's really a personnel decision. That's probably out of my hands. We work out anybody they bring in. We work out guys all the time. So that's really Jason and Lovie."
(On how difficult it has been for him on a personal level dealing with Tedford's medical condition)
"Personally, I won't get too deep, but I've been through a lot and you work through these things as an adult. I think things happen that you go through in life and you find bumps and you work through them. You've got to compartmentalize with the priorities and stuff you have in your life and I think this is another one. This is another one with my job; no matter who's job it is, you've got a mentor, you've got a friend, you've got to compartmentalize how you can deal with it effectively and still be a positive impact on what you're doing, and that's really the only approach I've taken inside and outside of football. I don't know another way."
(On what defenses have done to shut down Vincent Jackson and make him appear invisible)
"I don't know exactly 'make him feel invisible.' I think we've had the opportunities to get Vincent the ball and we're going to continue to do that. The coverage will dictate where it is and how he gets open. Again, if they're going to double cover him in heavy personnel, they're going to play off coverage and certain things, and we've got to play in front of them pretty much like we did two weeks ago and play it in front of them a little bit, try and spread the ball around."