Could Byron Leftwich’s NFL story come full circle this offseason?
The Buccaneers offensive coordinator is expected to interview for the Jaguars’ head-coaching job in the near future, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Jacksonville selected Leftwich with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, and he played for the Jaguars from 2003-06. After starting his coaching career with Bruce Arians’ Cardinals staff in 2016, Leftwich joined him to Tampa in 2019, and he has earned plenty of praise from both Arians and Bucs quarterback Tom Brady over the past two seasons.
“Byron has been amazing for me to work with, and I know he’ll have a lot of [head-coaching] opportunities,” Brady said last month. “He’ll do a great job.”
“Byron (Leftwich) has been amazing for me to work with…” Tom Brady said of OC Byron Leftwich, who will interview to the Jags HC job. Brady believes Leftwich will get his opportunities to be a HC in the future. pic.twitter.com/X0b7KSmizT
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) December 30, 2021
But Leftwich isn’t the only offensive coordinator on the Jaguars’ radar.
The franchise is also set to interview Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett during the first week of the NFL playoffs. (Green Bay has already clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC, so it will have a first-round bye.) Similar to Leftwich, Hackett has a previous relationship with the Jaguars organization, having served as the team’s quarterbacks coach (2015-16) and offensive coordinator (2016-18) before joining Matt LaFleur’s staff.
“When [the Jaguars] reached out early, I owed it to this organization, all these players, we wanted to be able to wrap up that No. 1 seed,” Hackett said Thursday. “That was so important to do. And it’s absolutely an honor to be even considered for something like this. So we’re going to do [the interview] during the bye because we wrapped up that No. 1 seed.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity. I mean, it’s a dream for any football coach to even have an opportunity to potentially become a head coach.”
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Jacksonville fired Urban Meyer on Dec. 16 after a tumultuous 13-game stretch that featured poor play and an abundance of off-the-field drama. Darrell Bevell took over as the interim head coach after Meyer’s firing, and he has expressed interest in becoming the head coach on a permanent basis.
Unfortunately for Bevell, the Jaguars’ interest in several outside candidates could mean that his time running the team will be short-lived. In addition to Hackett and Leftwich, Jacksonville is expected to consider Todd Bowles, Jim Caldwell, Matt Eberflus, Kellen Moore, Doug Pederson and Dan Quinn as Meyer’s replacement.