There were visions of a grand offensive scheme that was going to change Lovie Smith's reputation.
Jeff Tedford was the architect.
Smith handpicked him, describing Tedford as a Leonardo da Vinci in headphones.
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Smith, the coach noted for defense and conservatism on offense, was going to have a makeover.
Now everything will have to wait, or perhaps be forgotten.
Due to a heart condition that surfaced during the preseason, Tedford will be taking an indefinite leave of absence. His future with the Bucs is uncertain.
The only thing we know for sure is that he never called a play.
His health is most important and everyone wishes him well, but speaking just football this couldn't have happened at a worse time.
The Bucs offense is mired in quicksand, and the heralded defense that was going to create turnovers and score points has been on an extended leave of absence of its own.
It couldn't generate anything last week against an Atlanta Falcons team that ranks next to last in the NFL with eight giveaways.
The Bucs are last with nine.
They also are last in scoring efficiency percentage, 29th in passing yards per attempt and three-and-out percentage and 31st in plays per game with 54.7.
Vincent Jackson, the Bucs' go-to receiver, is dropping too many passes and has a wrist injury. Center Evan Dietrich-Smith has looked lost.
It's a Bucs life.
The impact of Tedford leaving is more than just losing an X's-and-O's guy. Former NFL head coach Herm Edwards says Tedford could have persuaded Smith to open up his offense more last week
because of all the injuries on defense.
"If you are smart, get into a shootout, make it who can get to 30 the fastest. Don't worry about trying to play defense. But that didn't happen," Edwards said.
Tedford and Smith spent a good part of last year together out of football dissecting defenses and putting in a plan that was supposed to be a cure-all for the Bucs Rip Van Winkle offense.
Tedford's presence was part of a reason the Bucs signed quarterback Josh McCown and made Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins their first two draft picks dubbing the 6-foot-5-plus duo and Jackson the Dunkaneers.
Unfortunately, they have been underutilized.
McCown is now hurt with a sprained thumb that might keep him out indefinitely. So it's time to use Mike Glennon again.
We did this last year didn't we?
Glennon has been called the check-down quarterback. On third and long he often throws short passes to his backs, which makes his completion percentage pretty but doesn't win games.
It was reported the Bucs worked out Terrelle Pryor on Monday.
He is younger than McCown, more athletic than Glennon and has experience. He is 6-6 and runs a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, which are things you can't teach.
But Tedford is gone.
Quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo will call the plays for the Bucs with input from the staff.
It's not the best of worlds.
It's the Bucs world.
Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter @ADellSports.