Sunday, February 25

Jaguars coach rumors: Byron Leftwich expected to replace Urban Meyer in Jacksonville

The Jaguars are reportedly targeting former Jacksonville quarterback and current Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, according to multiple reports.

According to professional soccer netLeftwich has been considered among the favorites for the job since the start of the Jaguars’ interview process. Jacksonville will seek a change from its disastrous experiment with Urban Meyer, who had never managed in the league and made multiple critical mistakes almost as soon as he took over. He was fired before he could complete a full regular season.

MORE: How Byron Leftwich went from Jaguars QB to Buccaneers offensive coordinator

Leftwich began his coaching career with Bruce Arians’ Cardinals staff in 2017. He remained in Arizona in 2018 as interim offensive coordinator after Arians retired from the Cardinals after the 2017 campaign.

He rejoined Arians in 2019 as his offensive coordinator at Tampa Bay. He couldn’t curb Jameis Winston’s boom-or-bust style of play that season (he threw for 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions), but he contributed to the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl in 2020. Tampa Bay’s offense was buzzing with Leftwich in charge in 2021, occupying the second place. in the NFL with 29.9 points per game.

Leftwich’s system also helped quarterback Tom Brady set career highs in completions (485), attempts (719) and yards (5,316) in 2021 at the age of 44. He also recorded 43 touchdowns and a 68.9 completion percentage, both of which ranked second in his career in terms of single-season production.

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Leftwich, whom Jacksonville selected No. 7 overall in the 2003 NFL Draft, played four seasons with the Jaguars between 2003 and 2006. He did not finish his playing career with the team that drafted him, playing with three more franchises. for five seasons: Atlanta (2007), Pittsburgh (2008, 2019-12) and Tampa Bay (2009).

The Jaguars conducted several interviews to replace Meyer, including former Texans head coach and current Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. But Leftwich’s status as a former player who has paid his dues as an assistant is reportedly one reason Jaguars owner Shad Khan and general manager Trent Baalke held him in such high regard. .

According to PFN, Leftwich participated in his second round of interviews Tuesday with the Jacksonville front office. He is expected to be named coach barring an unexpected breakdown.

MORE: Urban Meyer explains why he struggled with Jaguars in ‘the worst experience I’ve ever had in my professional life’

One of Leftwich’s most important tasks is ensuring the development of Trevor Lawrence, the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Lawrence struggled considerably in his rookie campaign under Meyer’s leadership, completing 359 of 602 passes (59.6 per percent) for 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He added 73 runs for 344 yards and two touchdowns, but also was sacked 32 times for 238 yards.

Both Brady and Arians praised Leftwich for his plays in 2020 and 2021.

Arian said:

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“Yeah, that really pissed me off, I’ll be honest with you,” Arians told Tampa radio station WDAE in January 2021. “The job he’s done is coaching quarterbacks. He calls plays. He is everything everyone says they are looking for. He was very hopeful that he would get the first few interviews from him and maybe get a job. I can’t speak to what the owners think and who they listen to sometimes, but it’s only a matter of time before he gets his.”

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