Byron Leftwich Officially Fired as Bucs OC; Several Coaching Changes Expected

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 19, 2023

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 16:  Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 16, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich after their 31-14 playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the team announced.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times first reported the news.

Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported Georgia offensive coordinator and former Buccaneers OC Todd Monken could be a target to replace Leftwich in Tampa.

The move is part of "sweeping changes" to the coaching staff, per Stroud, with up to five offensive assistants and two defensive coaches expected to lose their jobs.

Tampa Bay struggled to an 8-9 record this season despite returning much of the roster from last year's squad that went 13-4 with a trip to the divisional round of the playoffs. The Bucs won the Super Bowl after the 2020 season.

Former head coach Bruce Arians retired last offseason, leaving Todd Bowles in charge of a group that fell well short of expectations in 2022.

Leftwich received significant blame for the team's struggles, leading an offense that finished 25th in points per game. The unit ranked in the top three in scoring in each of the previous three years under Leftwich, both with Tom Brady and Jameis Winston at quarterback, sparking interest in him for head coaching vacancies around the league.

The 43-year-old was close to finalizing a deal to become the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach last offseason, per Stroud, but the position went to Doug Pederson.

Leftwich remained with the Buccaneers and couldn't find the same success without Arians' oversight.

The offense ranked second in the NFL in passing yards in 2022, although efficiency was a problem at just 19th in net yards per attempt. The run game was an embarrassment, ranking last in yards, average per carry and touchdowns.

Tampa Bay failed to reach 20 points in six of its final eight games, including the playoffs, and only reached the postseason thanks to weak competition in the NFC South.

Brady also struggled one year after being an MVP candidate, seeing his passer rating drop from 102.1 in 2021 to 90.7. The veteran ranked 18th in the NFL with a 52.6 Total QBR.

The quarterback is a free agent, although the Buccaneers appear ready to overhaul the staff regardless of who is under center in 2023.

Monken could be an interesting choice after helping Georgia win back-to-back national championships as the offensive coordinator. The 56-year-old was the Buccaneers' offensive coordinator from 2016 to 2018 under Dirk Koetter and held the same position with the Cleveland Browns in 2019.