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Bucs' Coordinator Slated as Head Coaching Candidate

The rising offensive coordinator is listed as a potential head coaching candidate following the 2022 season.

Each year the NFL coaching carousel becomes a wild frenzy as teams look to gain an edge over others by finding the next great coaching mind out there. This upcoming offseason's coaching carousel shouldn't be any different, and it appears that once again one of Tampa Bay's coordinators will be up for an NFL head coaching gig.

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In his list of candidates to become a head coach in 2023, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero listed current Bucs' offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich as one of those coaches who will garner interest around the league.

"Leftwich got a long look as a head coaching candidate last year, interviewing with the Jaguars and Bears and getting a request from the Saints. The 10-year NFL quarterback was a backup in Pittsburgh under then-offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who hired Leftwich as QB coach in Arizona in 2017 and brought him along to Tampa two years later to serve as OC. The Bucs’ offense hasn’t been as prolific this season, but it shouldn’t be forgotten how dangerous the attack was in Leftwich’s first three seasons, which included Tampa’s run to a Super Bowl LV victory once Tom Brady came aboard."

Leftwich was a hot commodity who garnered the attention of multiple NFL teams last season after taking over full-time play-calling duties from former Bucs' head coach Bruce Arians. However, after the Bucs' rough 5-5 start to the season, Leftwich's stock for becoming an NFL head coach looks to have taken a hit. After nearly averaging 30 ppg last season, the Bucs' offense has struggled so far this season averaging just over 18 ppg. 

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The knock on Leftwich during the 2022 season has been the opposing defenses' knack of knowing what the Bucs' offense is going to do. The play-calling seems to be one-dimensional and has lacked creativity. The Buccaneer's run game has also come under scrutiny this season and is a major reason why they can't seem to sustain drives and open up the field for Tom Brady to complete easier passes. Even with all the scrutiny Leftwich has faced, it is important to note that he is dealing with a much different team after losing Ryan Jensen, Ali Marpet, Alex Cappa, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski. 

This Bucs' team is different, but the majority of the core is still there. Leftwich will have to look to get things turned around here late in the season and into the playoffs in hopes of turning his head coaching stock around.

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