Buccaneers: Fair evaluation of OC Byron Leftwich in 2021

Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

What do the Buccaneers have in offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich?

Byron Leftwich can be a polarizing figure in Tampa depending on the day, and understandably so.  The Buccaneers job is a tough one. Being a young coach with one of the most talented offensive rosters in the NFL is a tall order. When the unit works, it’s all about Tom Brady, Mike Evans, etc. When it doesn’t, the story is the poor play-calling.

This has been the case in Tampa for the past year with Tom Brady, but the impact of Leftwich goes far beyond his age and what the stats show.

As a young coordinator behind one of the best offenses in the NFL, Leftwich is starting to garner some attention as a head coach, and there is plenty of evidence that backs this up.

Leftwich has changed his game on the fly to accommodate various key roster changes, and it isn’t Bruce Arians making these decisions either. Arians has given Leftwich the freedom to choose his own path on offense, and it is working out very well for the Buccaneers.

Despite losing “gunslinger” Jameis Winston and getting a brand new quarterback without an offseason, the past two years for the Buccaneer offense have been nothing short of spectacular.

The Bucs have the best scoring and passing offense since 2019, and the rest of these stats speak for themselves. This offense has been one of the best in the league for three years now, and the biggest constant has been Leftwich.

You may hate the first down runs and some of the conservative efforts, but the game against the Colts showed how well Leftwich can adjust to what the defense is showing. The Bucs aren’t a great team at running the ball, but the Colts may see it differently after Tampa rushed for four scores in one of the biggest wins of the season.

Leftwich has adjusted when necessary and the offense is still the best part of an 8-3 team in a perfect position to compete for a Super Bowl.

Good teams always find ways to get better even when something is working, but the overall product with Leftwich leans far closer towards great rather than anything else.

The Buccaneers will miss him greatly if he leaves this offseason.

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