Bucs fire offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich as part of extensive housecleaning

TAMPA — When Byron Leftwich arrived for work Thursday, he discovered a painted commemorative NFL soccer positioned in every coach’s locker congratulating the employees for successful back-to-back division championships for the primary time in franchise historical past.

An hour later, the memento took on a brand new which means for the Bucs’ offensive coordinator: Thanks, you are fired!

Following a shedding season and one-and-done playoff look regardless of having Tom Brady at quarterback, the Bucs made large modifications to Todd Bowles’ teaching employees.

Leftwich and 5 assistant coaches have been fired whereas three others retired. Gone within the housecleaning are receivers coach Kevin Garver, specialists coach Chris Boniol, working 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 outdoors linebackers coach Bob Sanders, 69.

The choices have been made after Bowles met with members of the Glazer household, which owns the Bucs, and basic supervisor Jason Licht.

“We respect the arduous work and contributions that each one of these coaches made to our success over the previous 4 seasons,” Bowles stated 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 have been very tough choices however one thing that I felt was essential to our soccer staff going ahead.”

Bowles gathered his whole teaching employees round 10 am and commenced the assembly by saying the staff was almost $60 million over the projected 2023 wage cap, confirming they might have a troublesome time signing many free brokers. Tom Brady will value the Bucs $35.104 million in useless cap area. Then Bowles started calling his employees members into his workplace and informing them of their destiny one-on-one.

Some of the firings have been to employees members who weren’t thought-about important however slightly have been former head coach Bruce Arians’ outside-the-box hires. Boniol, for instance, solely labored with place-kicker Ryan Succop and was below particular groups coach Keith Armstrong. Locust was among the many first full-time feminine assistants ever employed by an NFL staff however served as an assistant to defensive position coach and co-defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers. Kastl assisted Leftwich with varied duties.

Bowles wasn’t promoted to move coach till March 30 and mainly inherited Leftwich and the teaching employees from Arians, who retired to take a job as senior advisor to Licht.

Despite the Bucs rating final within the NFL in dashing yards, common and makes an attempt, the Bucs retained, for now, offensive line coach Joe Gilbert and working sport coordinator Harold Goodwin.

Coordinator Byron Leftwich noticed a steep drop in scoring this season. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
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Leftwich’s firing was not surprising after the Bucs suffered one of the 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 evening’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 part of Arians’ authentic teaching employees. His firing comes after a season by which the Bucs scored 198 factors fewer than they did in 2021.

The Bucs averaged greater than 30 factors per sport below Leftwich through the 2020 season, after they gained Super 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.

But this season, Tampa Bay struggled simply to common 18.2 factors through the common season. The staff solely twice eclipsed 30 factors, together with a 41-31 loss to Kansas City on Oct. 2.

The Bucs will start a direct seek for Leftwich’s alternative. Among the candidates are Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. The former 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 may be employed as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken is a reputation to observe if he have been to be keen to return to Tampa Bay in the identical place he held calling performs for Dirk Koetter in 2018. Looking on the present roster, the Bucs may think about 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 below contract for 2023.

Leftwich performed quarterback with the Steelers when Arians was Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator and was a disciple of the “No Risk 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 Super Bowl championship.

He adopted that up by main the NFL with 5,316 passing yards, 43 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2021.

But below Leftwich, the Bucs may by no means produce any stability with the run sport. In the previous two common seasons, Brady led the league with 719 and 733 passing makes an attempt.

It is unclear what, if any, influence Thursday’s teaching modifications could 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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