The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be in the market for several new coaches as offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles are popular names for NFL head coach vacancies. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Jaguars have requested to interview both Leftwich and Bowles.
“Jaguars head coaching candidates, on Day 1 of the interview request window: Bucs DC Todd Bowles, Ex-NFL coach Jim Caldwell,
Colts DC Matt Eberflus, Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett, Bucs OC Byron Leftwich, Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, Ex-Eagles coach Doug Pederson, Cowboys DC Dan Quinn,” Pelissero tweeted on December 28.
Leftwich has been linked to the Jaguars opening since Urban Meyer was fired. The Buccaneers assistant spent four seasons (2003 to 2006) with Jaguars as a player notching 44 starts at quarterback.
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Bucs in Danger of Losing Both Coordinators
Bowles may not have the same Jaguars connection but the defensive coordinator played a critical role in the Bucs’ Super Bowl win over the Chiefs. The Bucs assistant designed a nearly flawless defensive game plan to shutdown a thriving Chiefs offense led by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. One day prior to the news of the Jaguars’ interview list, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians noted that he had not received contact yet but added he would “welcome” his assistants talking with other teams.
“No, I don’t know, I mean, none of the paperwork’s been put in yet,” Arians told reporters on December 27. “They have to go through channels, and I welcome it if it is.”
Despite the team’s offensive success on the way to the Super Bowl, Leftwich did not get an NFL head coaching interview during the last hiring cycle. This appears to be changing heading into the current coaching carousel. Pelissero explained why Leftwich has a strong chance to land serious consideration from NFL teams.
“One of the surprises of the last hiring cycle was Leftwich not getting a single interview request, even as he called plays for Tom Brady and a Bucs offense that made a Super Bowl run,” Pelissero explained on November 17. “That figures to change this time around. The 10-year NFL quarterback was once a backup in Pittsburgh under then-offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who hired Leftwich as QB coach in Arizona in 2017 and brought him along to Tampa two years later.
“An uninspiring stint as the interim OC for a doomed Cardinals team three years ago under Arians’ successor there, Steve Wilks, is further in the rearview now. And Leftwich continues to show he can manage a room with veterans such as Brady, who’s more than two years older than his OC and has made his love for Leftwich clear.”
Arians Was ‘Pissed’ Leftwich Did Not Get an Interview Last Offseason
Bowles has head coaching experience from his four seasons with the Jets (2015 to 2018) along with the Dolphins in 2011. Arians has openly campaigned for his assistants to land head coaching opportunities elsewhere. The Buccaneers coach admitted he was “pissed” Leftwich and Bowles did not get more chances in 2021.
“They’re the best coaches I know. It starts with that,” Arians noted on February 1, 2021, via Fox News. “I was very, very pissed that Byron didn’t at least get an interview this year for the job that he’s done. I think I get way too much credit, and so does Tom Brady, for the job that Byron has done. Hopefully, next year people will see that he took Jameis Winston and broke every single record here scoring and passing. And now Tom has broken both.
“He’s done a fantastic job. He’s everything supposedly what people are looking for. Although this year was kind of a defensive cycle, and you never know with the owners, and how they’re going to go. But I’m very, very proud of our staff.”