One thing is becoming clear with the Chicago Bears head coaching search. They are planning to explore the minority market extensively. Already they’ve set up interviews with Leslie Frazier and Todd Bowles. Now another top black assistant will get a look in Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Many believe him to be one of the top candidates on the market. Especially after winning a championship last season.
It was a major shock Leftwich didn’t get any interviews last year. A travesty Bucs head coach Bruce Arians lambasted teams for. The Bears don’t seem interested in making that same mistake. They have good reasons to be in on him. Leftwich is a former 1st round pick that played several seasons in the NFL at quarterback. He rapidly rose through the ranks until he became the Buccaneers offensive coordinator in 2019. Since then they have never ranked lower than 3rd in points scored. With two different quarterbacks no less.
Bears requested permission to interview both Bucs coordinators, OC Byron Leftwich and DC Todd Bowles, per league source.
So Bears interested in both Bucs coordinators and both Bills coordinators, Brian Daboll and Leslie Frazier.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 11, 2022
The concerns with Leftwich center around how deep his influence goes.
Most are chalking up his success to having Arians as the head coach and Tom Brady as his quarterback. While understandable, it isn’t entirely fair. Arians has reiterated multiple times that he has no say over the play calling and coordination of the Bucs offense. Byron Leftwich has full control. As for the Brady question, it’s worth remembering the young coach got 5,000 yards passing and 33 touchdowns out of Jameis Winston the year prior to Brady’s arrival.
So he has shown an ability to adapt and maximize his quarterbacks. The big question that the Bears will want answered is whether he has the leadership qualities to command an NFL locker room. Being a productive coordinator is one thing. Getting an entire locker room to play hard for you is another. Either way, this was absolutely a meeting the organization had to have.