When Bruce Arians was hired on January 8th one of my first questions was, what coaches and coordinators are Coach Arians intending to hire? On the same day, Arians hired former NFL quarterback Byron Leftwich as the Bucs offensive coordinator for the 2019 season. Leftwich spent the 2018 season as the offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, but due to the firing of head coach Steve Wilks, Leftwich was not retained. I noticed that Bucs fans criticized the hiring of Leftwich as offensive coordinator, but there was obviously no hesitation from Arians. Arians has won in the past by hiring good coaches and letting them run their own offenses and defenses.
Leftwich does have a lot of talent on his offense this season, but it all starts with quarterback Jameis Winston. Last season was a season that Winston would love to forget about, starting with the fact that he was suspended for the first three games of the season due to off the field issues. Struggles on the field, later, led to him being benched. I believe this is a bold move from Arians to have Leftwich be the play-caller. If you look at the statistics for the Cardinals last season, they averaged 3,865 yards of total offense with rookie Josh Rosen.
A great offense starts with confidence and it also starts up front with the offensive line and that’s a position where the Bucs have struggled since the Raheem Morris. If Jameis Winston is not getting protected, he won’t be able to get rid of that football. It will look like the 1976 season all over again when quarterback Steve Spurrier was sacked almost every play. Offensive play-calling was also a problem, I have noticed since Greg Olson was the Bucs offensive coordinator and since then, many coaches have come and gone. I have never agreed with the choices for offensive coordinator in the past, but as a fan, this is a wait see what Leftwich does with not just Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, but the entire Bucs offense.
As a fan, I have noticed that when coaches lose an offensive coordinator to a head coaching job, or when an in-house positions coach is promoted, most head coaches don’t let their new offensive coordinators run their own offense and that leads no execution and questionable play-calling; See Dirk Koetter. I have also noticed that a head coach with offensive backgrounds won’t trust a new coordinator with their own plays. They make them run the head coaches plays and sometimes even the head coach will still call the plays. I believe Coach Arians will make the right choice with Byron Leftwich as offensive coordinator and the play-caller.