TAMPA- In what has been a National Football League off-season full of curveballs from all angles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just threw another one into the mix.
Bruce Arians announced Wednesday evening that he would be retiring from coaching and joining the Buccaneers’ front office in a special consultation role. In a move coupled with Arians’ retirement, Tampa Bay named defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as the franchise’s next head coach. Buccaneers’ co-chairman Joel Glazer also announced that Arians would be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor this upcoming season.
Plenty of chatter went on during the off-season when Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady initially announced on February 1st that he would be retiring from playing. When Brady made the surprise announcement that he would end his brief retirement and return to the Buccaneers, it sparked speculation that Arians may not be the head coach for the 2022 season.
Those rumors somewhat came to fruition, but Arians in his press conference with the media on Thursday following his retirement announcement denounced any possible rift between himself and Brady. The promotion of Bowles to the head coaching position keeps in place the continuity of the Buccaneers’ coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.
One of the biggest keys was retaining Leftwich, who helped guide one of the league’s top offenses with Brady under center. Now with several new weapons on offense and the return of some veterans like wide receiver Chris Godwin, center Ryan Jensen and running back Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay could be poised for another huge season offensively.
Tampa Bay’s defensive playcalling will still be made by Bowles, but he has appointed defensive assistants Kacy Rodgers and Larry Foote as co-defensive coordinators. Many defensive players on the team voiced their pleasure of hearing Bowles being promoted to head coach, including outside linebacker Shaq Barrett and linebacker LaVonte David.
Tampa Bay is the defending NFC South division champions and has a chance to go back to back, as the division is in flux for teams like New Orleans, Atlanta, and Carolina at the quarterback position. The Saints just re-signed former Buccaneer Jameis Winston, and the Falcons signed former Las Vegas Raiders’ backup Marcus Mariota to a deal. The Panthers swung and missed in their pursuit of Deshaun Watson and plan to move ahead with Sam Darnold as the team’s starting quarterback.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.