Jaguars free to pursue Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich after loss to Rams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) ​Byron Leftwich at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) ​Byron Leftwich at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Rams just beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-27 in the divisional round of the 2021 NFL playoffs on a last-second field goal and a clutch performance by Matthew Stafford and LA’s offense with less than one minute to go. While that’s bitter news for Bucs fans, this should be a welcome development for the Jacksonville Jaguars and their search for a head coach, as they will now be able to interview offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

The Jaguars have already met with all the candidates on their wish list and have started a second round of interviews. So far, they’ve only met with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, general manager Trent Baalke’s preferred choice for the job. However, that should change soon.

With the Green Bay Packers losing to the San Francisco 49ers, they can now talk to offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. The same is true for Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles since they no longer have any commitments for the remainder of the 2021 season. As recently as just a few days ago, Leftwich was the favorite to fill the Jags’ head coaching vacancy, and if he’s their top choice for the job, they need to get him in a plane to Duval and talk to him as soon as possible.

You could make the case that Leftwich isn’t a viable candidate for the Jags’ job after failing to score points against the ferocious Rams’ defense for there are two reasons why that would be a flawed argument. First, only one NFL team manages to win it all per year and candidates shouldn’t be disqualified just because they failed to win or play in the Super Bowl. Also, one bad performance shouldn’t be held against anyone. Leftwich’s track record as an offensive coordinator/play-caller speaks for itself.

The Jaguars can now aggressively pursue Byron Leftwich.

The Jaguars need to take their time in their head coaching search if they want to get it right. Last year, they laid eyes on Urban Meyer early in the process and had seemingly made up their mind before it even started. This year, they have taken the opposite approach and haven’t rushed things. Even Leftwich is indeed the favorite to fill their vacancy, they need to perform due diligence.

After all, Todd Bowles will also be available and it would be in the organization’s best interest to meet with him for the second time and leave no stone unturned. Otherwise, they run the risk of ending up with a candidate that may not be the best fit in Jacksonville.

Up until now, the Jaguars’ head coaching search has been relatively slow and that’s alright. It should get a bit faster now and it wouldn’t be even shocking if there’s significant progress and way more clarity in the upcoming days.

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