Less than 12 months after being considered a leading candidate for multiple NFL head-coaching vacancies, Byron Leftwich faces an uncertain future in his role as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator.
Bucs coach Todd Bowles was asked specifically on Monday if a decision has been made to move on from Leftwich, less than a day after Tampa Bay’s season came to an end in a 34-14 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
“No, there hasn’t been any decision,” Bowles said.
Leftwich faced increased criticism as the Bucs’ season wore on. Tampa Bay finished 8-9 in the regular season and reached the playoffs courtesy of winning the woeful NFC South.
The Bucs ranked 15th in the NFL in total offense at 346.7 yards per game. But that was a byproduct of throwing the ball a league-high 44.2 times per game while often forced to rally from behind.
Tampa Bay ranked last in the league in rushing at 76.9 yards per game on the ground — 10 yards fewer than the next-worst rushing attack that belonged to the three-win Houston Texans. The Bucs also averaged only 18.4 points per game, 25th in the NFL.
Bowles said Leftwich’s performance will be evaluated along with that of every player and coach in the organization.
“I don’t have any assessment,” Bowles said. “Right now, we are evaluating players. We meet as a coaching staff later in the week.
“I’ll meet with individual coaches as well as the staff, which we do every year, and we will make those assessments then.”
Last February, Leftwich was believed to be a front-runner for the Jaguars’ head-coaching vacancy before pulling his name from consideration. He also interviewed with the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints.
Leftwich ultimately remained with the Bucs, but he quickly became a focus of intense criticism.
Tampa Bay’s offense dropped from 61 touchdowns in 2021 to only 31 during the regular season. The Bucs then fell behind 24-0 to the Cowboys in a game that wasn’t even as close as the lopsided score.
The organization could undergo a number of changes this offseason, with the biggest question being the future of 45-year-old quarterback Tom Brady. But Bowles said he does not envision a rebuilding project while declining to speculate on whether there would be changes among his coaching staff.
“I will meet with the staff at the end of the week, and we’ll talk about everything then,” he said. “I don’t want to sit here and say we are talking about things when I haven’t even talked over things with my coaches.
“We do our yearly assessment just like we do with the players.”
–Field Level Media