Byron Leftwich is a front runner for the Jacksonville Jaguars head coaching job. He’s the current offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was also the seventh overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft for the Jags as a quarterback. Leftwich didn’t live up to his draft position, but many Duval fans would love to see him at the helm next season. While Leftwich has never been a head coach, many see him as a top name for head coaching gigs this year. Hiring Leftwich would come with risk, but his potential could sure be rewarding. The Jaguars have the ability to start the coaching search early due to a new rule NFL owners passed recently. Leftwich should be on the shortlist.
Source: NFL owners officially passed the resolution on a one-year trial basis allowing head coaching interviews in the last two weeks of the regular season. Interview requests can go out starting 8 a.m. Tuesday Dec. 28. Employer clubs can deny.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 15, 2021
The Case for Byron Leftwich To Be the Next Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach
Pro: Leftwich Has Proven He Can Lead an Offense to Success
Yes, Leftwich is the offensive coordinator for Tom Brady. Some might say that nullifies his coaching resume. However, that’s just not true. The Bucs head coach Bruce Arians gives Leftwich a ton of credit for the job he does.
In this article by J.R. Gamble for Shadow League, Arians is quoted with high praise for Leftwich:
“I was very very pissed Byron didn’t at least get a single head coaching interview this year. Arians mentioned on Super Bowl week opening night. For the job that he’s done — I get too much credit and so does Tom Brady.”
Arians is himself an offensive-minded coach. He says that he and Brady get too much credit. He also says in the article that he doesn’t attend the offensive meetings. This vote of confidence shows that not only does Arians trust Leftwich, but Brady is a willing participant under his leadership. Granted, Brady for sure overrules play calls at times. However, it would be a mistake to dismiss Leftwich’s leadership as a coordinator the past few seasons.
Con: Leftwich Has Never Been a Head Coach
Though Leftwich is a rising star, he’s never been a head coach. The 41-year old’s coaching career is relatively short. Leftwich began his coaching career in 2016 with the Arizona Cardinals as a coaching intern. He went on to be the quarterbacks coach and eventually replaced Mike McCoy as the offensive Coordinator.
Leftwich was fired after the 2018 season when the Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks was let go. But he rejoined his old boss Arians, in Tampa Bay to be his offensive coordinator.
Leftwich’s coaching career spans six years. That’s pretty short for a coach, especially for a potential head coach.
Pro: Leftwich Is Already Familiar With Jacksonville
Jacksonville is Leftwich’s old stomping grounds. He played with the Jaguars for four seasons. To be clear, it’s been 15 years and a lot has changed. The Jaguars have new ownership. And Leftwich wasn’t exactly a fan favorite during his tenure. Nonetheless, hiring Leftwich would be a homecoming of sorts.
Leftwich is one of the fan favorites for the job. The fanbase is familiar with him. Many are aware of the heart he displayed while playing on a broken leg at Marshall for a quarter. If the reports are true that Urban Meyer alienated coaches and players, one could say that Leftwich would do the opposite. There’s no indication that Leftwich is hard to work with. But it’s doubtful he’d be a CEO type of coach who deflects to his assistants and doesn’t own his mistakes.
Fans love nostalgia and a good story. Leftwich would be the feel-good story some wanted out of Meyer without all the drama.
Byron Leftwich Would Be Great for Trevor Lawrence
The largest downside for Leftwich is his lack of head-coaching experience. But that’s about it. Leftwich is by all accounts a sharp offensive mind. He’d be a great mentor for Trevor Lawrence.
The development of Lawrence is one of the main things Shad Khan should be concerned with in a new coach. Lawerence has had a rough rookie season. He’s made mistakes, sure. However, all rookies make mistakes. What he needs is more talent around him and a coach that will guide and mentor him to reach his potential. As a former quarterback and talented offensive mind, Leftwich could be a good hire for the Jaguars.
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