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Byron Leftwich Was Asked About Bucs' Struggles This Year

Byron Leftwich on the field for the Bucs.

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 23: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich before the NFC Divisional playoff game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 23, 2022, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , FL. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have struggled to mount much offense early in the 2022 season.

Although they lead the NFC South at 2-1, the Buccaneers have scored 51 points while ranking 27th in total yards.

When asked about the underwhelming start during Thursday's press conference, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich pointed to one key issue the unit must fix.

"We're just not good enough, really, on first and second down," Leftwich said. "You look at last week – we're starting off on third-and-12. It's tough to execute on third-and-12 – especially when you're a banged-up football team."

He followed up by stating the obvious: "It's hard to score and punt at the same time."

Leftwich expects improvement from an offense that has endured multiple injuries early this season.

"What we've always done around here is [give] ourselves an opportunity to score at a high level. We're just not doing that right now. I think that's something that we will get corrected. I'm excited, but that's what's really going on right now."

As noted by NESN's Jason Ounpraseuth, the Bucs have dropped to 21st in expected points added on early downs after leading the NFL last season.

They have converted just 28.6% of their third downs this season after extending the possession on 47.1% of third downs in 2021

Only the Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, and Chicago Bears have earned fewer first downs than Tampa Bay (50) this season. Of course, those other three teams don't have Tom Brady at quarterback.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion has gone from averaging 7.8 adjusted yards per attempt to 6.7, matching his lowest clip since 2006. He's averaging his fewest yards per completion (10.0) in 22 seasons as a starter.

While Brady hasn't played up to his usual standards, the Bucs could reverse the concerning trends Leftwich discussed by calling more passes on first down. Establishing the run hasn't worked too well for them thus far.

Tampa Bay's offense will hope to find a spark, potentially with Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and Donovan Smith back in action, on Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.