Analysis: Dave Canales Buccaneers Debut


Week one in the NFL has come and gone. New coaches all over the league made their debut. For Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales it was a chance to show fans a glimmer of hope that got him hired in Tampa. After all, he brought Geno Smith’s career back from the brink of death.

Just Warming Up

Preseasons have been shortened and offensive starters rarely play more than a single drive. Long gone are the days when the final of the old four preseason games was a dress rehearsal for the would-be starting groups. So now, Week one is always a strange place to start analysis.

With that said fans must understand week one will not be a precursor to the rest of the season. First, the playbook isn’t fully opened yet. Secondly, players still aren’t on the same page. Lastly, the offensive line is still an experiment. One they need to figure out quickly.

Balance In Numbers

When Dave Canales was hired he was brought in under Todd Bowles’ desire for balance in an offense. He was essentially brought in to be the anti-Byron Leftwich. From just the standpoint of numbers, the first impression of this offense is that of balance. Almost evenly split the team had 34 passing attempts and 33 rushing attempts. Now this looks good only in numbers.

Once you go back and look at each drive you’ll notice a trend. Dave Canales spent some drives trying to dig out of holes caused by Baker Mayfield’s inaccuracy. For example, in the first two drives (eight plays) only one was a run play.

The balance that this team hopes to achieve can only come to fruition as long as execution takes place. Week one the Buccaneers didn’t string together the amount of performance we need to see moving forward.

Confidence Built Through Conservatism

The first week Canales pushed a lot of conservative plays that were designed for one purpose. To build Mayfield’s confidence and to beat the pressure brought by Minnesota.

This can be seen by digging into the numbers further. Baker’s passes broke down to 73.7% non-play action. Designed to quickly get the ball out of his hand you start to see the impact to the offense. The average yards per play for these passes was only 5.3 yards.

Adding to the conservative approach, the 26.3% of play action passes had an average yard per pass of 4.4. Typically you want to see a larger number for play action. After all the purpose is to freeze the defense and open up soft spots in coverage.

As the season progresses we will see more deep shots and these numbers will change. Off all the passing plays 58.8% of the passes were nine yards beyond the line of scrimmage or shorter.

Rushing Direction

Breaking down the rushing attempts we start to see much of the same aspects of being conservatives to gain confidence. The vast majority of all the run calls came to the right side. Specifically between the right guard and tackle. Of Rachaad White‘s rushes 13 of the 17 went from the center to the right.

I’d fully expect this to be more balanced moving forward, especially with Tristan Wirfs playing on the left side. Canales likely knows and is getting ready to add more wrinkles into the run game. It should only be a matter of time.

Final Thought

Week one is in the books Buccaneers fans. In the books with a “W”. Unfortunately in order for this team to stay competitive and not rely on a opponents to cough the ball up, this offense has to get better. Lastly, I firmly believe as they playbook opens the better this team will do just that. Assuming they execute.

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