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2024年 2月 27日 火曜日

Buccaneers HC Todd Bowles on future of OC Byron Leftwich: ‘There hasn’t been any decision’

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A day after its season-ending loss and amid rumblings of impending change, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff remained intact.

Head coach Todd Bowles made no assurances Tuesday that things would stay that way, though.

Bowles said staff evaluations are upcoming and only then would any decisions be made on potential changes.

“I will meet with the staff at the end of the week, and we’ll talk about everything then,” Bowles said in his season-ending news conference, per team transcript. “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.”

A groundswell of doubt has surrounded the future of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, in particular, after the Bucs’ once-mighty offense finished an 8-9 season ranked 25th in points scored.

“No, there hasn’t been any decision,” Bowles answered flatly when asked about Leftwich’s status.

Just two years earlier, Leftwich was a guiding force in the Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl.

The former NFL quarterback joined the Tampa Bay coaching staff when Bruce Arians became head coach in 2019. Over his first three seasons, Leftwich’s offenses finished in the top three in points scored.

This year saw an epic tumble, though, as quarterback Tom Brady and the offense never seemed to be in sync. While Brady’s travails and inability to consistently get on the same page with Mike Evans and others garnered the most headlines, it was a dismal running game that finished dead last in the league in attempts, yards, touchdowns and yards per attempt.

“I don’t have any assessment,” Bowles said of Leftwich. “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.”

Though the Bucs won their second straight NFC South title, they were a postseason product of the league’s worst division. Hence, they emerged having won a division despite being outscored 358-313.

Bowles, who completed his first season as the Bucs head coach after taking over for a retired Arians, handled the defense this season and was hands-off with the offense. In addition to Leftwich being the OC, Harold Goodwin was the assistant head coach/run game coordinator.

With the offensive struggles across the board, it’s not inconceivable that a major offensive staffing overhaul could lie ahead.

For the moment, no changes have been made aboard the Bucs’ staff, but the days ahead could change all that.

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