TAMPA — Their offense isn’t the only thing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been keeping under wraps this offseason. The wizard concocting their supposedly “up-tempo’’ attack has been held in concealment as well.
Offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford hasn’t been cleared to speak publicly since a few days after he was hired in January, and when he finally broke his silence Tuesday there was still an air of mystery about him.
During a 15-minute interview held outside of One Buc Place — far away from any wiretaps that might have been planted inside — Tedford ignored the mostly overcast conditions and kept his face hidden behind a pair of sunglasses.
As for his offense, that remains clouded in mystery as well, though Tedford openly admitted that he’s not really sure why everyone else around him is trying to be so secretive about it.
“There’s nothing earth shattering about it,’’ the 52-year-old NFL rookie coordinator said of his offense. “Everybody has different tempos that they go at, so there’s nothing earth shattering about it. I mean, football is football.
“It’s about matchups and getting things done with personnel and making sure we put people in the right positions and execution. No matter how much you think you can trick people, it still comes down to execution.
“It’s not about tricking people. Obviously you need to keep people off balance in certain phases of the game and we’ll try to do that. But there’s really nothing earth-shattering about anything that’s going on.’’
You wouldn’t know that from talking to Tedford’s charges. Quarterback Josh McCown has said more than once this offseason that he’s been asked not to reveal certain aspects of the scheme.
And the media has been asked not to reveal some of what it has witnessed during offseason workouts, which is a directive usually reserved for the regular-season, when teams are installing weekly game plans.
As a result, the only detail that has so far been learned about the attack – and several players have let this part slip – is that it will be “up tempo.’’ Whether that will actually be the case, though, remains uncertain.
When asked to describe the tempo of his offense, Tedford said the Bucs attack will feature several tempos that will more than likely be dictated by the game situation they find themselves in at the time.
For example, he said every team has a two-minute offense and the Bucs will be no different. What he wouldn’t say was whether the Bucs will use their two-minute offense at times other than late in the half or game.
“I think it’s evolving all the time,’’ Tedford said of his scheme. “There’s new things we’re putting in constantly in different situations, be it third down, red zone, two-minute.
“And I think (the players) are still in the process of figuring the whole thing out too. But they’ve done a great job of it so far, and I’m really impressed with how our coaches are working with them and how fast they’ve picked up on things.’’
It isn’t known for sure, but some (maybe even a lot) of what the players have been asked to pick up on are elements from the offenses Tedford ran first as offensive coordinator at the University of Oregon and then as head coach at the University of California.
That would mean a spread-type of attack that leans mostly on the run but leaves most of the responsibility for determining protections and targets in the passing game to the quarterback.
“I think as you look throughout the NFL, a lot of teams are incorporating a little bit of that,” Tedford said of the scheme, which gained even more popularity a year ago when former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly ran it during his first year as coach of the Eagles.
“I’m obviously very familiar with (Kelly’s offense) because we played against it every year (while I was coaching Cal) in the PAC 12, so I was not surprised by (the Eagles) efficiency and success.’’
Tedford would love to replicate that success. The Eagles ranked first in the league in rushing, ninth in the league in passing and second overall in total offense a year ago.
Part of that success was due to the fact few really knew what to expect from Kelly, at least at the outset. So maybe there is something to this idea of keeping the scheme under wraps.
Then again, maybe there’s not.
“I don’t know,” Tedford said. “I think most teams are prepared for anything, to tell you the truth. So I don’t know how much of an element of surprise there will be. That’s why we’re just out here working.’’