Bucs oust offensive coordinator Leftwich, 5 other assistants

Jan 18, 2023, 9:41 PM | Updated: Jan 19, 2023, 11:43 am
FILE - Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich walks on the field during an NFL f...

FILE - Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich walks on the field during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec.11, 2022, in Santa Clara, Calif. Byron Leftwich has been fired as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a person with knowledge of the dismissal told the Associated Press on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.(AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

(AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

              FILE - Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich watch before an NFL football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. Byron Leftwich has been fired as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a person with knowledge of the dismissal told the Associated Press on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
            
              FILE - Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich walks on the field during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec.11, 2022, in Santa Clara, Calif. Byron Leftwich has been fired as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a person with knowledge of the dismissal told the Associated Press on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.(AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Byron Leftwich is out as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are shaking up their coaching staff after finishing with the only losing record Tom Brady has had in more than two decades as a NFL starter.

Leftwich, 43, was fired Thursday, three days after the Bucs were eliminated from the playoffs by the Dallas Cowboys and just two years removed from helping Brady win a record seventh Super Bowl in the quarterback’s first season with Tampa Bay.

Bucs coach Todd Bowles also announced Chris Boniol (specialists), Kevin Garver (wide receivers), Jeff Kastl (offensive quality control), Lori Locust (assistant defensive line) and Todd McNair (running backs) will not return next season.

In addition, quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, senior offensive assistant Rick Christophel and outside linebackers coach Bob Sanders have decided to retire, the team said.

“We appreciate the hard work and contributions that all of these coaches made to our successes over the past four seasons,” Bowles said.

“As a collective group, we did not meet the high standards that had been set for this past year and my focus now is on doing what is needed to ensure a successful 2023 season,” Bowles added. “These were very difficult decisions, but something that I felt was necessary for our football team going forward.”

The Bucs went 8-9 during the regular season, but nevertheless held off the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons to repeat as NFC South champions. They became only the fourth team in league history to make the playoffs with a losing record in a non-strike season.

Brady’s contract expires this winter, and the 45-year-old quarterback hasn’t given any indication if he plans to retire, return to the Bucs for a fourth season, or possibly move on to another team.

It’s not known how the decision to fire Leftwich might impact Brady’s plans.

Bowles was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach when Bruce Arians announced his surprise retirement last March. He inherited the former coach’s entire staff, including Leftwich, who — like Bowles — joined Tampa Bay as assistants in 2019.

Jameis Winston threw for more than 5,000 yards in Leftwich’s first year as Bucs offensive coordinator, however the 2015 No. 1 overall pick also led the league in interceptions and was allowed to leave in free agency.

Enter Brady, who signed with Tampa Bay in 2020 after a historic 20-year run with the New England Patriots and has led the Bucs to three straight playoff berths, including back-to-back division titles for the first time in franchise history.

Arians entrusted Leftwich to work with the five-time Super Bowl MVP to meld components of Arians’ “no risk it, no biscuit” offense with elements of the system Brady ran with the Patriots.

The results were impressive until this season, when the Bucs had the league’s second-ranked passing attack at 269.8 yards, but finished 32nd in rushing (76.9) and 25th in scoring (18.4 points per game) after averaging more than 30 points the previous two years.

Brady led the league in passing yards (5,316) and touchdown passes (43) in 2021, when Tampa Bay set a team record for regular-season victories (13). He was third in passing yards this season with 4,694 but only had 25 TD passes as the offense struggled to sustain drives and get the ball into the end zone.

Meanwhile, Leftwich has gone from being interviewed for several head coaching vacancies a year ago to out of a job.

___

AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this report.

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Golden State Warriors center Draymond Green (23) drives against Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Br...
Associated Press

Warriors’ Green, others sacrifice minutes to boost backups

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Draymond Green dribbles the ball up court and takes charge of Golden State’s backups, directing two-way teammate Anthony Lamb on the wing, dishing the ball to Donte DiVincenzo or finding Jonathan Kuminga down low. The move Warriors coach Steve Kerr made with Green in November to boost the defending champions’ then-struggling […]
1 day ago
FILE - Fans at RingCentral Coliseum watch a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Hou...
Associated Press

A’s running out of time to find home in Oakland, Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Oakland Athletics have spent years trying to get a new stadium while watching Bay Area neighbors the Giants, Warriors, 49ers and Raiders successfully move into state-of-the-art venues, and now time is running short on their efforts. The A’s lease at RingCentral Coliseum expires after the 2024 season, and though they […]
1 day ago
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays his second shot on the 13th hole during the first round of t...
Associated Press

Reed fares better than McIlroy after delayed start in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Patrick Reed fared better than Rory McIlroy after some pre-tournament friction as the Dubai Desert Classic got off to a wet start Thursday with only 11 players managing to finish their weather-affected first rounds. Play only began at the European tour event after a delay of six hours caused […]
1 day ago
FILE - Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett looks on before an NFL football game against the...
Associated Press

Jets hire former Broncos coach Hackett to run offense

The New York Jets hired former Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett as their offensive coordinator on Thursday. The 43-year-old Hackett replaces Mike LaFleur and fuels some speculation about whether the Jets could pursue Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, whose playing future is uncertain. Hackett and Rodgers have a connection: Hackett served as the Packers’ offensive […]
1 day ago
FILE - Britain's King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort meet Wrexham Soccer team co owners...
Associated Press

Wrexham eyes Hollywood ending in impressive FA Cup run

LONDON (AP) — The Hollywood owners of Wrexham are still learning the vernacular of British soccer. They don’t need guidance, though, to set the scene for this weekend’s FA Cup match against second-division Sheffield United. Rob McElhenney, who co-owns the fifth-tier club with fellow actor Ryan Reynolds, joked that he’s visited Sheffield and likes the […]
1 day ago
FILE - Brian McBride waits for an MLS soccer match between the Chicago Fire and Portland Timbers, M...
Associated Press

Earnie Stewart leaving US Soccer as part of shakeup

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Soccer Federation sporting director Earnie Stewart is leaving to join PSV Eindhoven following the departure of American general manager Brian McBride, a management shakeup that leaves men’s coach Gregg Berhalter in uncertainty. Berhalter and McBride were hired by Stewart, and the coach’s contract expired Dec. 31. Three days later, the […]
1 day ago
Bucs oust offensive coordinator Leftwich, 5 other assistants