Jaguars Rumors: Bucs’ Byron Leftwich Expected to Interview as Early as Friday

AP Photo/Brian Westerholt

The Jacksonville Jaguars are not waiting until the end of the season to start going after their top head coaching candidates.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that Jacksonville is expected to interview Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich for its head coaching opening as early as Friday. The Jaguars reportedly put in a request to interview him during the regular-season window.

The Jaguars are taking advantage of a new NFL rule that allows teams that have fired coaches or informed a coach he will not be retained next year to begin interviewing candidates in the final weeks of the season.

Leftwich, who played quarterback for the Jaguars for four seasons, has served as offensive coordinator of the Buccaneers since 2019 when Bruce Arians was hired as the team’s head coach. Arians coached the Arizona Cardinals from 2013 to ’17 and gave Leftwich his first coaching role in 2016, which was an intern position. Leftwich became Arizona’s quarterbacks coach in 2017, and he remained with the team for one more year—eventually being named interim offensive coordinator in October 2018—after Arians retired following the 2017 season. 

Tampa Bay has finished no lower than third in scoring offense under Leftwich’s leadership. This season, the Buccaneers lead the NFL with 405.8 total yards per game and rank second with 29.4 points per game. 

For his part, Leftwich has not fed into the rumors that he’s a coveted option for teams with head coaching openings. He’s said that his main focus is his job as offensive coordinator and trying to help the Buccaneers win a second straight Super Bowl title.

“Obviously, as a coach anytime your name is thrown around, I guess it is what it is, but it really means nothing at this point,” Leftwich said before Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. “It really means nothing at this point and I kind of think it’s disrespectful to the guys that you really work with every day. That’s really how I view that.

“If I’m ever fortunate enough to be in that situation that’s when I’ll handle it, but as of right now, I’m really focusing on the opponent we’re about to play and getting us ready to try and play our best football.”

The Buccaneers are 12-4 and will play their season finale against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The Jaguars (2-14) will face the Indianapolis Colts and will likely be in line for the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL draft.

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