Byron Leftwich looks like favorite to become Jaguars next head coach
The Jacksonville Jaguars continue their search for a head coach and have started a second round of interviews. They wasted no time and scheduled another meeting with Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich after their last-second loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional of the 2021 NFL Playoffs. While it may be a bit of a conjecture, signs point towards Leftwich being the favorite to fill the vacancy left by Urban Meyer last year.
Not long after Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reported that the Jaguars have narrowed down the list of candidates for their head coaching opening, he broke the news the organization was going to meet with Leftwich Tuesday. To be fair, Eric Dillard might have gotten the scoop first. Either way, it looks like Leftwich has a good chance to land the job, and those that are monitoring the situation closely and make a living doing so seem to agree.
Keep in mind that nothing is set in stone and it’s not a given that the Jaguars will hire Leftwich. Wilson also named Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, interim head coach Darrell Bevell, and Indianapolis defensive coordinator Matt Ebeflus as candidates for a second interview. The Jags already met with Eberflus and unless Leftwich is the clear-cut favorite for the job, the organization may still conduct interviews with the rest of the candidates.
Byron Leftwich checks all the boxes, can help the Jaguars win some games.
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says that he will resume calling plays on offense if Leftwich gets a head coaching job. The fact that Arians is embracing the possibility of Leftwich leaving is telling. Also, the head coach has previously said that his offensive coordinator deserves more credit for Tampa Bay’s offensive success over the last three years.
Under Leftwich, the Bucs have not ranked lower than No. 3 in the NFL in point scored since 2019. Sure, having an All-Pro wide receiver such as Mike Evans, potential Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski and one of the best quarterbacks in league history in Tom Brady helps intensively.
However, Leftwich also oversaw Jameis Winston during his most productive campaign as a pro. He wouldn’t have the same kind of talent in Jacksonville and he might not suddenly turn the Jaguars into an offensive powerhouse but he would be a good fit due to his football smarts and his ability to connect with players.
Even though the Jaguars need to revamp most position groups, they have enough resources to make meaningful upgrades this offseason. They will have the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and around $60 million in cap space should aid Leftwich or whoever ultimately gets the job.
If the Jags aren’t convinced Byron Leftwich is the right man to fill their head coaching vacancy, they will most likely meet with other candidates but if he’s their top choice, it won’t be shocking to see them announce in the upcoming days that they come up with a decision.