Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich took to the podium ahead of the team's Week 14 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts to talk about various subjects regarding the offense. He said the team has a formidable challenge going up against a Colts' defense that's 'about as sound as they come.'
Leftwich provided that and other updates during his weekly Thursday press conference, also touching on a few other notable topics, such as:
1. Getting tight end O.J. Howard and wide receiver Breshad Perriman more involved in the game against Jacksonville
Having two receivers already over 1,000 yards comes at a price. It means they're inadvertent ball hogs, not that the Bucs' offense is complaining. Tampa Bay has scored the most points through 12 games ever with 340 points and have the fifth-most passing yards per game with an average of 380.4. But last Sunday against the Jaguars, the two leading receivers weren't named Evans or Godwin, they were Howard and Perriman.
"Well, the ball just got there and Mike [Evans] and Chris [Godwin] didn't have one of those monstrous days. It's tough when throughout the year – I think it's been five or six time this year – we had a guy almost go for 200 [yards receiving]," Leftwich said. "It's hard for the ball to really spread itself around. But you saw where they were trying to do certain things – it [happened] organically [and] that's how it's supposed to happen. It's supposed to happen organically. We don't want to have to force feed anybody the ball – we trust in our guys. We've trusted in them since the beginning and we'll trust in them now that when they're in position to make plays, they will make those plays. As you see, those guys stepped up and made some plays. That's what we expect from them all of the time because that's what they do on a daily basis."
2. How the offense feeds off defensive execution
Speaking of the game in Jacksonville, it was quite the day for the defense. They managed four takeaways in the game, giving the offense extra possessions to run up the score. They even scored a touchdown of their own – taking the pressure off the offense.
"We, as an offense, trust in those guys," Leftwich said of the defense. "Me personally, I trust in Todd Bowles. We never view it as anything such like that – we view it as one team. We view it as we're always in this thing together. We've got to play well together for us to win football games [and] we know that. We never separate sides of the ball like that where you begin to think like that. We trust in the building, we trust in the room and we trust in the locker room. That's the way we go about our business."
3. What he thinks of the run-pass balance
It's no secret the Bucs are a passing team. You don't have the fourth-ranked passing offense in the league without emphasizing the air game. But there are a multitude of benefits to running the ball and having a balanced offense- one being that it keeps the opposing defense guessing. Specifically, Leftwich was asked if 30 rushing attempts is satisfactory as a goal each game, to which he had this to say:
"I don't think of it as a number," Leftwich explained. "I just go through the game. I never could really tell you how many attempts we have until after a game. I'm never looking for a certain amount of attempts. I'm just running the ball, calling the game [and] trying to call the best plays for us to win football games – that's how I kind of see it. Sometimes you can win the game with 20 attempts, sometimes you can win the game with 37 attempts – whatever it takes to win the football game, that's what we are going to try to do."