The buccaneers have dismissed Byron Leftwich as offensive coordinator. On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced they had let go of eight coaches, including offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.
Leftwich was let go as offensive coordinator after four years with the team by new head coach Todd Bowles, who took over on March 30.
Despite winning the NFC South division, the 8-9 record and the 31-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round of the playoffs were far below the Bucs’ hopes for the season.
Chris Boniol, who coached special teams, is going, as are Kevin Garver, who coached wide receivers; Jeff Kastl, who coached offensive quality control; Lori Locust, who coached the assistant defensive line; and Todd McNair, who coached the running backs. Clyde Christensen, Rick Christophel, and Bob Sanders, formerly the quarterbacks, offensive coordinator, and outside linebackers coaches, respectively, have all elected to retire.
Bowles issued a statement thanking the coaching staff for “their hard work and contributions” over the past four seasons. “As a team, we fell short of the expectations set for us in 2018, so I’m putting my energy into planning for a breakthrough 2023 campaign. These were tough calls, but I made them because I believed they were vital for the long-term success of our football club.”
Leftwich was notably responsible for combining quarterback Tom Brady’s favored aspects of the New England Patriots’ scheme with the “No Risk It, No Biscuit” approach of former coach Bruce Arians. During Brady’s first year with the Bucs, the team won Super Bowl LV despite not having an off-season program because of the pandemic. The Buccaneers had the highest regular-season scoring average in the NFL at 30.39 points per game during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
In 2022, though, the Bucs averaged just 18.41 points per game, good for 25th in the NFL. And with the league’s weakest rushing offense (76.94 yards per game), at age 45, Brady was forced to attempt a career-high 756 passes.
Unfortunately for the Bucs, the offensive unit was hampered by injuries to key players on the offensive line and in the receiving group. The wide receiver Antonio Brown departures, right guard Alex Cappa, and tight end Rob Gronkowski in free agency all had a role, as did their retirements. Unfortunately, Leftwich’s inability to adjust to the Bucs’ personnel and predictability stymied the offense.
The Bucs will keep Brady updated on their plans as the offseason approaches. If they pick the right offensive coordinator, it may be enough to get him to return for another season once he becomes an unrestricted free agency.
Leftwich, 43, was formerly one of the NFL’s most sought-after head coaching positions. He had interviews with the Jacksonville Jaguars (twice), the Chicago Bears, and the New Orleans Saints in the 2017 offseason. His most significant strength is his ability to connect with players, thanks to his decade spent in the NFL as a starter and backup quarterback.
His coaching career skyrocketed after an internship with the Arizona Cardinals in 2016. Leftwich joined the Buccaneers in 2019 after serving as their interim offensive coordinator over the previous two seasons.