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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On the Move: Bucs Plan More Pre-Snap Motion in 2024 Offense

Under new Offensive Coordinator Liam Coen, and with some influence from new Pass Game Coordinator Josh Grizzard, the Buccaneers expect to utilize pre- and at-snap motion and shifts quite a bit more than they have in the past


In 2023, Thad Lewis was in his first year as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterbacks coach after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant wide receivers coach. That promotion came with much more change than just the sign on his office door; Lewis was working for a new offensive coordinator in Dave Canales and coaching a starting quarterback new to the team in Baker Mayfield.

It went well. Mayfield rebounded from a couple unsatisfying years of bouncing between multiple teams to have the best season of his career, ending up in the Pro Bowl. The Buccaneers won the NFC South for a third straight time – defying national expectations following the retirement of Tom Brady – and advanced to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Mayfield got a new deal in March to remain the Bucs' starter for multiple years to come.

This year, Lewis knows who the starting quarterback is going to be well ahead of the season, and that quarterback is fully confident in his position. There is, however, still going to be plenty of change for those two to navigate. Canales used his strong first season as a coordinator to catapult him to a head coaching job in Carolina, which means the Bucs' offense will have a new director once again. That is Liam Coen, who has roots in the Los Angeles Rams' system with Sean McVay and most recently was calling plays at the University of Kentucky.

As the Bucs work through the early stages of installing and absorbing Coen's offense, Lewis has already noticed one major change compared to how the Bucs' operated last season.

"I would say the motions and the shifts and things like that," said Lewis. "We didn't do much of it; we did some of it. But right now I would say you'll see a lot of it, just trying to dictate the defense, getting man/zone intel. I'm pretty sure the guys will talk to you about that, but the motions and shifts I would say for sure is the biggest thing. You can count on that being done. It will definitely be more than last year for sure."

According to ESPN analytics, the Buccaneers' offensed used motion before or at the snap on 42.8% of its snaps in 2023, which ranked 25th in the NFL. The Miami Dolphins led the NFL in that category, using motions and shifts on 82.8% of their offensive snaps. It likely is not a coincidence that one of the coaches the Buccaneers added to their staff this season to help Coen fashion a prolific offense is from that Dolphins system. Josh Grizzard, the Bucs' new pass game coordinator, spent the past five seasons in Miami, including the last two under Head Coach Mike McDaniel, a product of Kyle Shanahan's system in San Francisco. The 49ers were second on that shift list behind Miami in 2023, putting players on the move before the snap on 75.4% of their plays; the Rams were third at 70.4%.

Earlier this week, Grizzard described his role on Coen's staff in terms of what he's helping Coen accomplish now and what he will do during the season. A good part of it is deciding what to incorporate from other offense's around the, including the Dolphins' tendencies.

View photos of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' rookies arriving for Rookie Minicamp.

"During the season, it's more of helping him get ahead on different parts of the game plan," said Grizzard. "Looking at different tendencies around the league, things that we can utilize from other places, things that I've done in the past, things that he's done in the past, and just trying to be a sounding board for him on some ideas."

Grizzard and Coen are definitely on the same page in the value they see in utilizing shifts and motion on a majority of plays.

"A lot of things that Liam was around as well, whether it be at Kentucky or his history with the Rams [is familiar]," said Grizzard. "We're aligned on that, on the utilization of motions and shifts to manipulate defenses [and] attack space. A lot of that stuff you'll see here as well."

Grizzard has seen how that has worked for the past two years under McDaniel; Miami's offense has been historically explosive at various times during those seasons. It is almost certainly the fastest offense in the NFL, featuring the likes of Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Raheem Mostert and De'Von Achane. McDaniel used that speed to unlock some new features in his attack, such as the "speed motion" concept that worked so well to quickly get Hill into open space. The Bucs, or any other team, may not be able to match the Dolphins' current team speed, but those same concepts can work for Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, two of the more accomplished receivers in the league, according to Grizzard.

"They've had a lot of success around here, the things they did over the last couple years," said Grizzard. "Not that they have the same skillset as the guys that I've been around in the past, but being able to utilize some of those things that we did in Miami just adds to their repertoire."

Coen has previously noted that giving Mayfield more options to change plays in the huddle could be part of breathing life back into the Bucs' sputtering ground game. It appears that more frequently putting players in motion before the snap could be an equally important change in the passing attack.

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