Bucs fireplace offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich as a part of in depth housecleaning
TAMPA — When Byron Leftwich arrived for work Thursday, he discovered a painted commemorative NFL soccer positioned in every coach’s locker congratulating the workers for profitable back-to-back division championships for the primary time in franchise historical past.
An hour later, the memento took on a brand new that means for the Bucs’ offensive coordinator: Thanks, you’re fired!
Following a dropping season and one-and-done playoff look regardless of having Tom Brady at quarterback, the Bucs made huge modifications to Todd Bowles’ teaching workers.
Leftwich and 5 assistant coaches had been fired whereas three others retired. Gone within the housecleaning are receivers coach Kevin Garver, specialists coach Chris Boniol, operating backs coach Todd McNair, assistant defensive position coach Lori Locust and offensive high quality management coach Jeff Kastl.
Three different assistants have determined to retire, together with quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, 66; senior offensive assistant Rick Christophel, 70; and out of doors linebackers coach Bob Sanders, 69.
The choices had been made after Bowles met with members of the Glazer household, which owns the Bucs, and common supervisor Jason Licht.
“We admire the arduous work and contributions that every one of those coaches made to our success over the previous 4 seasons,” Bowles mentioned in an announcement. “As a collective group, we didn’t meet the excessive requirements that had been set for this previous yr and my focus now’s on doing what is required to make sure a profitable 2023 season. These had been very troublesome choices however one thing that I felt was essential to our soccer group going ahead.”
Bowles gathered his complete teaching workers round 10 a.m. and commenced the assembly by saying the group was almost $60 million over the projected 2023 wage cap, confirming they might have a tricky time signing many free brokers. Tom Brady will value the Bucs $35.104 million in useless cap house. Then Bowles started calling his workers members into his workplace and informing them of their destiny one-on-one.
Among the firings had been to workers members who weren’t thought-about important however slightly had been former head coach Bruce Arians’ outside-the-box hires. Boniol, for instance, solely labored with place-kicker Ryan Succop and was underneath particular groups coach Keith Armstrong. Locust was among the many first full-time feminine assistants ever employed by an NFL group however served as an assistant to defensive position coach and co-defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers. Kastl assisted Leftwich with numerous duties.
Bowles wasn’t promoted to move coach till March 30 and principally inherited Leftwich and the teaching workers from Arians, who retired to take a job as senior advisor to Licht.
Regardless of the Bucs rating final within the NFL in speeding yards, common and makes an attempt, the Bucs retained, for now, offensive line coach Joe Gilbert and operating sport coordinator Harold Goodwin.
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Leftwich’s firing was not surprising after the Bucs suffered one of many sharpest declines on offense in league historical past, going from 61 touchdowns in 2021 to solely 31 in 2022.
Brady tried a career-high 66 passes in Monday night time’s 31-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC wild-card sport, two shy of the league’s playoff document and essentially the most in his 383 profession video games, together with playoffs.
Leftwich, 43, joined the Bucs as offensive coordinator in 2019 as a part of Arians’ authentic teaching workers. His firing comes after a season during which the Bucs scored 198 factors fewer than they did in 2021.
The Bucs averaged greater than 30 factors per sport underneath Leftwich throughout the 2020 season, after they received Tremendous Bowl 55, and 2021, after they earned the primary of consecutive NFC South titles.
Even with Jameis Winston at quarterback in 2019, the Bucs averaged 28.6 factors per sport.
However this season, Tampa Bay struggled simply to common 18.2 factors throughout the common season. The group solely twice eclipsed 30 factors, together with a 41-31 loss to Kansas Metropolis on Oct. 2.
The Bucs will start an instantaneous seek for Leftwich’s alternative. Among the many candidates are Alabama offensive coordinator Invoice O’Brien. The previous Penn State and Houston Texans head coach was Brady’s quarterback coach and offensive coordinator for 3 seasons in New England.
Tampa Bay had discussions with O’Brien a yr in the past, after they believed Leftwich is perhaps employed as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken is a reputation to observe if he had been to be prepared to return to Tampa Bay in the identical place he held calling performs for Dirk Koetter in 2018. Trying on the present roster, the Bucs might take into account Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson or former Gators head coach Dan Mullen, each of whom labored with Kyle Trask at Florida. Trask is the one Bucs quarterback underneath contract for 2023.
Leftwich performed quarterback with the Steelers when Arians was Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator and was a disciple of the “No Danger It, No Biscuit” offense that featured a wide-open, deep passing sport.
In his first season with the Bucs, Brady handed for 4,633 yards with 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions whereas main Tampa Bay to a Tremendous Bowl championship.
He adopted that up by main the NFL with 5,316 passing yards, 43 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2021.
However underneath Leftwich, the Bucs by no means might produce any steadiness with the run sport. Prior to now two common seasons, Brady led the league with 719 and 733 passing makes an attempt.
It’s unclear what, if any, affect Thursday’s teaching modifications can have on Brady’s resolution to play in 2023. He might be 46 subsequent August and is an unrestricted free agent.
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