Bucs’ Byron Leftwich Could Have New Landing Spot, Says Analyst

Byron Leftwich Buccaneers

Getty The Bucs' Byron Leftwich could emerge as a candidate for the Bears head coaching position.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich could have the opportunity at his first head coaching gig this offseason.

According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the Chicago Bears will have interest in Leftwich for their head coaching position if Matt Nagy is let go. Nagy is currently in the midst of a 4-7 season and there have been rumors of his eventual firing in recent weeks.

“If they make a move, the Bears are expected to consider Tampa offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, among others, and it has been well-known throughout the industry for years how high Bears ownership is on Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who numerous NFL teams have pursued in recent years,” says La Canfora. “However, sources said that Fitzgerald, who recently signed a big extension to remain at the school he also played for, would not be interested in a jump to the Bears.”

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Bucs Have Become Offensive Powerhouse Under Leftwich

Leftwich has served as the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator since the 2019 season, when head coach Bruce Arians was brought on board. The 41-year-old Leftwich previously served under Arians when the latter was with the Arizona Cardinals during the 2016 and 2017 seasons as a coaching intern and quarterbacks coach.

Under Leftwich’s lead, the Bucs offense has emerged as one of the very best in the league. Even prior to Tom Brady’s arrival in 2020, Tampa Bay ranked third in points scored and yards gained with Jameis Winston as the quarterback in 2019.

Since then, the Bucs offense has carried that consistency with Brady at the helm, ranking third in points and seventh in yards last season. This year, the Buccaneers lead the league in points and rank second in yards as Brady leads the league in touchdown passes at the age of 44 with 30 touchdown passes.

Leftwich Didn’t Receive Interview for Head Coach Position

Despite Leftwich’s impressive resume, the young offensive coordinator didn’t receive a single interview for a head coaching vacancy during the Bucs’ Super Bowl season. Needless to say, the lack of interest in Leftwich angered Arians.

Via Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports:

“I was very, very pissed Byron at least didn’t get an interview this year,” Arians said during Super Bowl media availability back in February “For the job that he’s done — I get way to much credit and so does Tom Brady. I think next year people will see he took Jameis Winston — who broke every single record here for scoring and passing — and now Tom has broken both.”

Arians had a theory for why Leftwich didn’t get an interview — teams were focused on hiring defensive-oriented guys for head coaching vacancies.

“He’s done a fantastic job. He’s everything — supposedly — what people are looking for, although this year was kind of a defensive cycle,” Arians said. “You never know how the owners are going to go. I’m very, very proud of our staff.”

However, that isn’t entirely true. Only two of the seven head coaching hires prior to the start of the 2021 season had defensive coordinator experience in the previous season.

The Bears desperately need a head coach that can help develop and mold their young rookie quarterback, Justin Fields. Considering Leftwich was a franchise quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars, maybe the former first-round draft pick could be the right candidate for the job after all.

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