There’s some reason to suspect the Buccaneers will be in good hands for years to come. Surprisingly, I don’t even expect it to be because of the players (not directly anyway). I believe that Head Coach Bruce Arians is putting the pieces of the puzzle together to set up Tampa Bay for the long-term.
Reunited with his old running mate, Todd Bowles, who now has a chance to revitalize his coaching career after a bad display with the New York Jets. Alas, he now sits in a position where he’s most comfortable. Defensive Coordinator. However, at 55, Bowles knows if he’s ever to get another real shot as a Head Coach, it’ll likely be in Tampa Bay.
Insert Byron Leftwich. Life has completely come full cirlcle for the former Buccaneer QB. After playing 9 years in the NFL, including a stint with the Buccaneers, Leftwich returns to Tampa Bay to lead a high-powered, Arians’ offense. At just 39-years-old, and with the approval of Arians, the young Offensive Coordinator will lead the Bucs offense in just his first season full-time.
So here’s what I’m saying. Arians signed a four-year contract with Buccaneers not too long ago that included a fifth year option. It would be one hell of a run if he were able to go the entirety of that contract, but at 72 by the fifth year, it doesn’t seem feasible. Now, let’s say Arians gives Tampa Bay 3 solid years. Which would be enough time to completely implement his system and to configure the roster. As well as enough time to properly prepare Leftwich for the coaching ranks whenever he decides to call it quits.
I don’t say this as if I unlocked a formula for the Bucs season. No, what I am saying is that Todd Bowles and Byron Leftwich are probably much more aware of this fact then anyone else. Consider the next few seasons as “friendly competition” if you will between the two, but don’t think they don’t both realize what the end game is. A realistic shot as Head Coach.
I expect Todd Bowles to take the responsibility of turning around this Buccaneers defense personally. If he rights the ship on that end and brings with him a top 10 defensive team, then perhaps the position is his when Arians retires.
Or maybe it’s the up-and-comer, Byron Leftwich, who soaks up as much knowledge from Arians as possible and leads Jameis and the Buccaneers high-octane offense to even higher heights. Is it his position to win at that point? Remains to be seen, but that’s the beauty of competition.
The current Bucs regime as of late has promoted from within, and with Bruce Arians bringing in “his guys”, I doubt that trend will change. I believe Bowles and Leftwich are definitely front-runners for the next Head Coach position in Tampa Bay, and it will be fun to watch. Offense vs. Defense. In hindsight, it makes the Buccaneers a much stronger team. And I’m all for it.