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Falcons Rival Saints To Interview Bucs Coach Byron Leftwich

Byron Leftwich could remain in the NFC South, but no longer as the Buccaneers' offensive coordinator

The Atlanta Falcons' fan base likely took a sigh of relief when it was announced that Sean Payton was stepping down as the New Orleans Saints head coach.

But the next hire could potentially be as scary on the offensive side of the ball. 

The Saints have submitted a request to interview Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Leftwich is also expected to be considered a front-runner for the Jacksonville Jaguars opening, though talks have slowed over the past several days. 

New Orleans is also expected to current defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. Glenn was a member of the Saints staff from 2016-20 before being named the Lions new coordinator under former Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell. 

Leftwich, 42, who during his playing career spent one season in Atlanta, began his coaching tenure in 2016 when he was hired by then-Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians as an intern. A year later, he was promoted to the team's quarterback coach and later was named the interim offensive coordinator following the firing of Mike McCoy in 2018. 

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Arians returned to football as the Buccaneers coach in 2019 and named Leftwich his offensive coordinator. After mixed results with Jameis Winston, Tampa added six-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady to the roster, thus giving Leftwich a new name to work with for the 2020 season. 

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Over the past two seasons, Tampa Bay's offense has become one of the league's most consistent passing attack thanks to Brady and Leftwich. The Buccaneers have posted top 10 numbers over since 2020, finishing with the second-ranked offense in 2021, trailing only the Dallas Cowboys. 

On Tuesday, it was reported that Leftwich was in final negotiations to be name the Jaguars head coach, but talks since have stalled. According to multiple reports, Leftwich, a former first-round quarterback for the Jags, wants current general manager Trent Baalke fired. In his place, Leftwich for Jacksonville to hire Adrian Wilson, who currently serves vice president of pro scouting as the with the Cardinals, as the team's new GM. 

Since Leftwich's arrival with Tampa Bay, the Falcons have lost five of their six games against the Bucs. They have been outscored 210-146 behind Leftwich's play calling.