Tampa Buccaneers dismisses coach Byron Leftwich while Tom Brady drama brews following loss vs Dallas Cowboys

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made a significant change to their coaching staff, announcing the firing of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and eight other coaches.

The decision was part of the first major personnel moves made by Todd Bowles since he took over as head coach on March 30th.

The Buccaneers had a record of 8-9 in the past season, including a win in the NFC South. However, the team fell short of expectations, ending with a 31-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

The coaches leaving the staff include specialists coach Chris Boniol, wide receivers coach Kevin Garver and offensive quality control coach Jeff Kastl. The list further goes up including assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust, running backs coach Todd McNair, quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, senior offensive assistant Rick Christophel, and outside linebackers coach Bob Sanders.

Bowles expressed his appreciation for all the hard work and contributions these coaches have made over the past four seasons, though the team did not meet the high standards set for the 2021 season. He went on to say “These were very difficult decisions but something that I felt was necessary for our football team going forward.”

Leftwich had been in the position of offensive coordinator for four seasons. During this time, he was largely credited with merging the ‘No Risk It, No Biscuit’ offense of former coach Bruce Arians with quarterback Tom Brady’s preferred elements of the New England Patriots system.

The Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV in Brady’s first year with the team. During the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the Buccaneers had the most points per game in the NFL.

However, in 2022 the Buccaneers had the league’s worst rushing attack and the 25th-most points per game, forcing Brady to attempt a career-high 756 passing attempts at age 45. The Buccaneers’ offense was hampered this season by injuries to the offensive line and receiving corps, as well as the retirements of tight end Rob Gronkowski and left guard Ali Marpet, and the loss of right guard Alex Cappa in free agency and wide receiver Antonio Brown.

Leftwich, 43, had been one of the hottest head-coaching candidates in the NFL last season, having interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars (twice), the Chicago Bears, and the New Orleans Saints. His ability to connect with players, having spent 10 seasons in the NFL as a starting quarterback and a backup, is considered his greatest asset.

His coaching career began with a 2016 internship under Arians with the Arizona Cardinals, and within two years he was named interim offensive coordinator before joining the Buccaneers in 2019.

The Buccaneers must now make the right choice for a new offensive coordinator, as Tom Brady is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and their decision could have a significant effect on whether or not he returns for another season.



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