The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not had the luxury of having offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford join them as, well, an offensive coordinator this season. The veteran coach had to undergo a heart procedure in the preseason which has kept him away from the field, and has been on an indefinite leave of absence since week four. Watching his offense fumble around can't have been good for his health.
Since his leaving the team indefinitely, we haven't heard a thing on Tedford or his health. Quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo has taken over as the de facto coordinator, with the other coaches pitching in on a collaborative effort. This has almost certainly been a factor in the team's lagging offensive performances: you can't lose 20% of your offensive coaching staff and not feel any effect.
At this point we have to wonder whether he's coming back this season, or whether he's even coming back at all. He made a push to resume his duties early this season, but his health wouldn't allow him to do so. Now Pewter Report's Scott Reynolds says Tedford won't be back this season, or perhaps ever. Tedford has to do what's best for his health, and it's entirely possible that that entails not coaching football -- ever.
That's a big blow to an offense that was supposed to be managed by one of the best offensive coaches in football. Everyone who knew Tedford gushed about him. There were reasons to be skeptical -- Tedford had an outstanding reputation, but he had no NFL experience and his offenses in recent years had not been very good. There was definitely reason for hope, though.
But now it looks like we'll never find out what his offense would have looked like. The Bucs installed his scheme this offseason, and he had some involvement with gameplanning through the first three weeks, but he was not part of the day-to-day coaching that goes on every day. He wasn't on the field correcting players and his own staff.
Another question is what will the Bucs do next season if Tedford can't return? Will they stick with Marcus Arroyo, who may grow into this role, the way they stuck with Greg Olson in 2009? Will they try to find a coach with a little more experience to run the same system? Or will they pivot and give the Bucs yet another new offensive coordinator?