Buccaneers hearth offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, a source confirmed to ESPN Thursday.

The decision to fire Leftwich after four seasons as the team’s offensive playcaller was Todd Bowles’ first major personnel move since becoming head coach on March 30.

The Tampa Bay Times was the first to report Leftwich’s firing.

The Bucs went 8-9 this season and won the NFC South, but fell far short of their expectations, ending with a 31-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the wildcard round of the playoffs.

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Leftwich has been widely credited with merging former coach Bruce Arians’ “No Risk It, No Biscuit” offense with quarterback Tom Brady’s preferred elements in the New England Patriots’ system. The Bucs won Super Bowl LV in Brady’s first year with the team, despite not having an offseason program because of the pandemic. During the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the Bucs averaged 30.39 points per game in the regular season — the most in the NFL.

However, those numbers dropped significantly in 2022, with the Bucs averaging 18.41 points per game — ranked 25th in the NFL. The Bucs also had the league’s worst rushing offense, averaging 76.94 yards per game, forcing Brady to attempt a career-high 756 pass attempts at age 45.

The Bucs’ offense has been hampered this season by injuries on the offensive line and receiving corps. Also contributing to the decline were the retirements of tight end Rob Gronkowski and left guard Ali Marpet, the loss of right guard Alex Cappa to free agency, and the loss of wide receiver Antonio Brown. However, it was Leftwich’s inability to adjust to the Bucs’ available staff and predictability that stifled the offense.

team Rush YPG endgames
2008 maps 73.6 Lost Super Bowl
2022 Bucs 76.9 Lost wild card
1999 lions 77.8 Lost wild card
2008 foal 79.6 Lost wild card
2009 stallions 80.9 Lost Super Bowl

Brady is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but the Bucs will keep him abreast of their plans, and the right offensive coordinator choice could go a long way in luring him back for another season.

Leftwich, 43, is a year away from being one of the hottest head-coaching prospects in the NFL after interviewing the Jacksonville Jaguars (twice), the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints last offseason. His ability to relate to players is considered his greatest asset, having spent 10 seasons in the NFL as a starting quarterback and backup.

His meteoric rise in coaching began with a 2016 internship under Arians with the Arizona Cardinals. Within two seasons, Leftwich was named interim offensive coordinator, then joined the Buccaneers in 2019.

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