ADVERTISEMENT

Pirates fire offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich after four seasons

ADVERTISEMENT

“We appreciate the hard work and contributions all of these coaches have made to our successes over the past four seasons,” Bowles said in a statement. “As a collective we have not met the high standards that were set for last year and my focus is now on doing what is required to ensure a successful 2023 season. These were very difficult decisions, but something I felt was essential for our football team going forward.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Leftwich’s tenure began in 2019 when he followed Bruce Arians to Tampa, joining the Buccaneers as offensive coordinator and directing the league’s #1 passing offense and the third-ranked unit in total yards per game. That was the season James WinstonHis final campaign with the Pirates, in which he threw for 5,109 yards, but finished as the NFL’s unenviable first 30-30 club For touchdown passes and interceptions.

With so much talent on both sides of the ball, it became apparent that the Buccaneers could become a serious contender if they could only solve their conundrum in the middle. Tom BradyHis sudden decision to move south provided the exact answer Tampa Bay was looking for, and in their first year together, the Buccaneers were an instant success, finishing seventh in yards per game (and second in passing) on ​​their way to victory at Super Bowl LV.

The good times rolled over into 2021, when the Buccaneers got back into the top two in total yards per game, but fell short of the Super Bowl after that. loses to the Rams at home in the divisional round. In that game, cracks began to show within Tampa Bay’s offense, and when injuries plagued the offensive line in 2022, the Buccaneers’ decline was inevitable.

Tampa Bay’s struggles in 2022 reflected poorly on Leftwich. Despite having enough talent to continue performing at a high level, the Buccaneers routinely failed to establish an offensive rhythm throughout the 2022 campaign, achieving most of their success when they forced a two-minute drill. Basically, Brady has proven to be the best contact of the Leftwich, Buccaneers blast loss to Dallas to wrap up Super Wild Card Weekend – a game in which Tampa Bay only scored points when in a hurry – sealed Leftwich’s fate.

Leftwich’s firing caps a tumultuous year that included the height of his prospect of becoming a Jaguars head coach, and the low of his dismissal from the Pirates’ staff. Brady’s plans for 2023 remain uncertainwhich means Tampa Bay’s next steps could be pivotal to the team’s near future.

University of Georgia offensive coordinator and former NFL caller Todd Monken is one of the people to watch in the Buccaneers’ hiring process, according to Rapoport and NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo. Monken worked for Buccaneers OC under former head coach Dirk Koetter from 2016 to 2018 before Koetter’s firing also cost Monken his job, sending him to Cleveland for one season he spent under head coach Freddie Kitchens. Monken has spent the past three seasons with the Bulldogs, helping Georgia win consecutive national titles in the past two seasons.

The Bulls are expected to vet a number of candidates before naming Leftwich’s replacement. Whoever the Bulls choose will have an important task ahead of them: reviving the Buccaneers offense, with or without Brady.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
%d bloggers like this: