Heading into the offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made it clear that they wanted to move in a new direction on offense. The Byron Leftwich inheritance did not work well for Todd Bowles and the rest of this Bucs team. This led to an unceremonious parting between the two, despite having won a Super Bowl together just a few years ago.
After a lengthy coaching search, the Buccaneers finally landed on Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales to be their new offensive coordinator. After spending more than a decade with the Seahawks and their offense, Jason Licht and Todd Bowles felt like he was ready for his big break.
Canales impresses with his positive energy and his detailed understanding of the game and how he teaches it. But more than what Canales brings as a person, the Bucs like the system of offense he is bringing with him. A system that has seen success basically everywhere and one that not even Todd Bowles has been able to stop.
This is the Sean McVay offense that has made the Los Angeles Rams incredibly successful in recent years. McVay imparted the knowledge of how to run this offense to his assistant coach Shane Waldron who held various offensive positions with the Rams from 2017-2020. Then Waldron became the Seahawks offensive coordinator in 2021 and taught the system to Canales.
What is this system and what does it mean for the Bucs this year? I took some time to examine what it has done around the league.
The McVay Offensive Coaching Tree
The league caught on quickly to how good this McVay offense was. For a time it seemed like anyone with any connection to this young offensive mastermind was being hired across the league for various jobs. This gave him a large coaching tree rather quickly.
Some of the notable names include Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LeFleur, Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Conner, and Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.
These are all offensive minded coaches that have gone on to experience a high level of success. Specifically, their offenses have driven them to great success. This is the power of the McVay system.
It’s not just the coaches who have thrived with this offensive system. Quarterbacks who have played in this system have also been very successful. You would expect this from the likes of Aaron Rodgers (2021 MVP) and Joe Burrow, but maybe not some of the other players who have thrived.
The perfect example is Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith. After bouncing around the league as a busted second round pick turned journeyman, Smith finally emerged last season. He set career highs in passing yards (4,282) and passing touchdowns (30) while also making his first Pro Bowl.
We’ve also seen the likes of Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff do well in this system. Cousins made the Pro Bowl last season while throwing for the 4th most passing yards and 5th most passing touchdowns in the NFL. Goff was a two time Pro Bowler with the Rams and also led the team to a Super Bowl appearance.
These are just some of the names who can be highlighted from this offense. Others include the likes of Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford. These have been some of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL over the last few years.
Matters For Mayfield
Buccaneers’ quarterback Baker Mayfield would fall somewhere in the middle of this quarterback spectrum. More talented than a guy like Smith, yet not nearly as good as a guy like Burrow. I don’t think it’s out of line to put him in that Goff / Cousins category.
It seems more than possible that Mayfield can expect this type of success in the same offensive system. Even if he doesn’t set career highs or make the Pro Bowl, flirting with 4,000 passing yards and 25-30 touchdowns would make this a successful season. This is the type of season that both he and the Bucs need this year.
I understand the skepticism with Mayfield. He is on his fourth team in the last year for a reason. He is flawed and he has been prone to mistakes in the past.
However, the same can be said of the likes of Smith, Goff and even Wilson while not playing in this offense. It’s a system that sets a quarterback up for success beyond the norm. It’s a system that the Buccaneers and Mayfield are betting their season on. I believe that bet will pay off.