Sources: Bucs’ Leftwich for interview for Jags job

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Jacksonville Jaguars interviewed Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich on Friday, sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Leftwich is in his third season with Bucs and head coach Bruce Arians and is working in his second season with quarterback Tom Brady. Leftwich was also the Arians’ offensive coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals in 2018.

The Bucs lead the NFL in yards per game. match (405.8) and passing yards per. match (306.6) and is in second place in points scored per. camp (23.4). They were ranked seventh, second and third in these categories in 2020. For rushing yards per game, the Bucs were ranked 28th in 2020 and 27th this season.

The Bucs’ offense led the NFL in passing and finished third in points per game. match and yards per. match in 2019 with quarterback Jameis Winston.

The Jaguars requested permission on Dec. 28 to interview Leftwich, but he said he did not want to talk to the Jaguars because he wanted to concentrate on the upcoming game against the New York Jets. Something apparently changed his mindset this week because he was interviewing two days before Bucs (12-4) host Carolina (5-11) to close out the regular season.

Tampa Bay is currently the No. 3 seed in the NFC, but can move up to No. 2 by beating the Panthers and causing the Los Angeles Rams to lose to San Francisco on Sunday. They could also drop to No. 4 seed if Dallas beats Philadelphia on Saturday and the Bucs and Rams lose.

“I really think it’s disrespectful to the Jets and whoever you play that week when you talk about things that really have nothing to do with Sunday’s game,” Leftwich said last week. “I’m completely focused on this football game on Sunday. It’s clear that as a coach, every time your name gets thrown around, I think that’s what it is, but it really means nothing at this point. It really means nothing. at this point and I kind of think it’s disrespectful to the guys that you’re really working with every day.That’s really how I look at it.If I’m ever so lucky to be in that situation “It’s when I want to do it, but right now I’re really focusing on the opponent we’re playing and getting ready to try to play our best football.”

If Leftwich were to be hired – the Jaguars have already interviewed Jim Caldwell, Doug Pederson, Tampa Bay defense coordinator Todd Bowles and are also scheduled to interview Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett within the next week – it would be a homecoming for him. The Jaguars drafted Leftwich in overall third place in 2003 out of Marshall, and he ranks fourth in franchise history in terms of yards and touchdowns.

The Jaguars also plan to interview current Alabama offensive coordinator and former Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien next week, a league source told ESPN, confirming an NFL Network report.

O’Brien won 52-48 in six plus seasons with the Texans, leading the team to four AFC South titles and four playoff appearances from 2014-20. He was fired after the team’s 0-4 start last season.

O’Brien’s tenure with the Texans crashed hard in 2020 after he became the permanent GM. He had served as the factor general manager in the 2019 season after the team fired Brian Gaine in June 2019. Although the team appointed Chris Olsen as interim GM, O’Brien had the last word on all football issues and Olsen was fired after the 2019 season ended.

O’Brien was named the permanent GM and named Jack Easterby executive vice president of football operations at the end of January 2020. O’Brien traded receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who had received at least 1,165 yards in six of the previous seven seasons, and a fourth-round pick for Arizona to drive back David Johnson, a second-round pick in 2020 and a fourth-round pick in 2021, a move that was criticized throughout the league.

The Texans fired O’Brien on October 5, 2020 after a 0-4. A report later surfaced that O’Brien came into a heated exchange with defensive lineman JJ Watt at a training session before the team’s Week 3 game against Pittsburgh. A source told ESPN’s Dianna Russini that the day of the altercation was the moment O’Brien “lost the team.”

O’Brien spent the 2020 season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator – working with former Jaguars coach Doug Marrone, who is Crimson Tides’ offensive line coach – and helped quarterback Bryce Young win the Heisman Trophy. The Crimson Tide plays Georgia on the national championship Monday night.

O’Brien went 15-9 in two seasons as Penn State’s head coach in 2012-13 before taking the Texans job.

The Jaguars have also requested interviews with Dallas offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Indianapolis defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.

The Jaguars fired Urban Meyer with cause just before noon. 1 ET on December 16, after going 2-11 and committing a series of embarrassing mistakes that included two viral videos of him behaving inappropriately with a woman who was not his wife, reports whether he scolded beyond his assistant coaches, tried to hire a strength coach who was accused of making racist remarks and bullying black players in Iowa, and having the No. 1 draft of Trevor Lawrence changing days with the first team with Gardner Minshew during training camp.

Former kicker Josh Lambo on December 15 also accused Meyer of firing him during the warm-up before a training session in August, a claim that Meyer disputed. A spokesman for owner Shad Khan issued a statement to The Associated Press saying Khan made the decision to fire Meyer following the Jaguars’ 20-0 loss in Tennessee on Dec. 12.

ESPN’s Jenna Laine contributed to this report.


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