TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The long-awaited news of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich’s future with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was finally announced on Thursday.
According to Buccaneers’ senior writer Scott Smith, the team parted ways with six assistants, including specialists coach Chris Boniol, wide receivers coach Kevin Garver, offensive quality control coach Jeff Kastl, assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and running backs coach Todd McNair.
Smith added that quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, senior offensive assistant Rick Christophel and outside linebackers Coach Bob Sanders decided to retire.
“We appreciate the hard work and contributions that all of these coaches made to our successes over the past four seasons,” Bucs’ head coach Todd Bowles said in a statement. “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. These were very difficult decisions but something that I felt was necessary for our football team going forward.”
After reports came out that Leftwich was expected to be fired following Monday night’s Wild Card loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Bowles stated that no decision was made on the coordinator’s career in Tampa.
Bowles noted that evaluations and decisions about the coaching staff would be made at the end of the week.
According to Pewter Report, the move to fire Leftwich has been expected for a while, especially with the change of leadership after head coach Todd Bowles replaced Bruce Arians.
On Wednesday’s episode of Bucs Bonus, Bucs Insider Dan Lucas said that he believed Leftwich was on his way out.
“I think that Byron Leftwich is probably on the way out,” Lucas said. “If there’s any doubts of Leftwich, it has to happen soon.”
However, Bucs Insider Karen Loftus said there’s more to the decision than just bringing in different people to fill positions. Loftus said you have the think about the entirety of the team and how these decisions will affect everyone involved.
“You’re looking at the entirety of this team, how these pieces work together, what worked together, what you need to move and just the domino effect of different decisions that are going to be made,” Loftus said.
Lucas added to the conversation, saying that the decision to let a coordinator go will alter the team because once the coordinator changes, everything changes.
“When you change coordinators, you change playbooks, you change language, you change scheme,” Lucas said. “It’s not as simple as plugging a guy in there and going on to instant success, although that does happen.”
According to both Bucs Insiders, one NFL team that’s targeting to add Leftwich to the coaching staff is the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8), who finished their season short of the playoffs.
Leftwich has been with the Buccaneers for four seasons, having joined the team in 2019 as the team’s play caller.
During his time as offensive coordinator, the Buccaneers set several records and even achieved a Super Bowl victory in 2020.
Leftwich also assisted with quarterback Tom Brady’s transition into the Buccaneers.