TAMPA — After a lost season and a single playoff appearance, despite Tom Brady serving as quarterback, the Bucs are making massive changes to Todd Bowles’ coaching staff.
Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and three other offensive assistants and two defensive assistants were fired, the Tampa Bay Times confirmed Thursday morning. Among them are receivers coach Kevin Garver and running backs coach Todd McNair.
Quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, 66, has decided to retire after 43 years as a coach.
The decision came after Bowles met with members of the Glazer family, who own the Bucs, and general manager Jason Licht.
All of Bowles’ coaching staff, which he inherited from Bruce Arians, turned up for a staff meeting on Thursday, unaware of the changes.
Tampa Bay ranked last in the NFL for rushing yards and rushing attempts while suffering one of the biggest dips on offense in league history, from 61 touchdowns in 2021 to just 31 in 2022.
Brady attempted a career-high 66 passes in Monday night’s 31-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC wildcard game, two fewer than the league’s playoff record and most in his 383 career games, including playoffs.
The 43-year-old Leftwich joined the Bucs in 2019 as an offensive coordinator and was part of Bruce Arians’ original coaching staff. His release comes after a season in which the Bucs scored 198 points fewer than in 2021.
The Bucs averaged more than 30 points per game under Leftwich in the 2020 season when they won Super Bowl 55 and 2021 when they won the first of back-to-back NFC South titles.
Even with Jameis Winston at quarterback in 2019, the Bucs were averaging 28.6 points per game.
But this season, Tampa Bay struggled to average just 18.2 points in the regular season. It has surpassed 30 points only twice, including a 41-31 loss to Kansas City on Oct. 2.
The Bucs will begin searching for Leftwich’s replacement immediately. Among the candidates is Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. The former Penn State and Houston Texans head coach was Brady’s quarterback coach and offensive coordinator for three seasons in New England.
Tampa Bay had discussions with O’Brien a year ago when they believed Leftwich could be hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach.
Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken is a name to keep in mind if he were willing to return to Tampa Bay in the same job where he called games for Dirk Koetter in 2018.
Bowles was not promoted to head coaching until March 30, essentially inheriting Leftwich and the coaching staff from Arians, who retired to take a job as senior advisor to general manager Jason Licht.
Leftwich played quarterback for the Steelers when Arian was Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator and was a student of the “No Risk It, No Biscuit” offense, which involved a wide-open, deep passing game.
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In his first season with the Bucs, Brady rushed for 4,633 yards with 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and led Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl championship.
He then led the NFL with 5,316 passing yards, 43 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2021.
But under Leftwich, the Bucs could never strike a balance with the running game. In the past two regular seasons, Brady led the league with 719 and 733 pass attempts.
This story will be updated.
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