NFL

Bucs’ OC Search Still Includes “The Brady Effect”

The Bucs’ off-season plans for 2023 would no doubt be shaped by the decision Tom Brady makes about his future. Will the 45-year-old future Pro Football Hall of Famer return to Tampa for another season? Is he playing somewhere else? Is a real retirement in play this offseason after his short hiatus last offseason? Don’t ask Brady himself, as he said very plainly to Jim Gray about his Let’s go! podcast earlier this week.

ā€œJim, if I knew I’d fucking do it, I’d already fucking do it. Okay?” Brady said in a slightly joking manner. “I’m taking it one day at a time.”

Bucs QB Tom Brady ā€“ Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

So, for all the speculation that Brady has already said goodbye to Tampa, he is interested in joining the Raiders or he is about to become a Miami Dolphin, there is no sign of that yet. Brady takes a moment before making a decision about what the future holds for him. And since he hasn’t decided anything yet, a return to the Bucs can’t be ruled out.

That’s why head coach Todd Bowles and the Bucs approach their search for offensive coordinators with “the Brady effect” still in mind. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported this on Wednesday that he was told that those interviewed for the vacant position of the team’s offensive coordinator are being asked what their plan would be once Brady is back in red and tin for the 2024 season.

It makes sense, of course, since the Bucs will be trying to lure Brady back for their 24th season. If they are successful, they need them new attack coordinator to be prepared for the task of teaming up with the seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback. They don’t really have a backup plan at the moment given that 2021 second round pick Kyle Trask is the only quarterback on the roster for next season.

At the same time, Bowles and the Bucs will still go on their quest, knowing full well that even if they have Brady in the middle in 2023, he won’t be signing a long-term contract. So there is a balance they need to find with Byron Leftwich’s successor. Tampa Bay interviewed Broncos passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak and is expected to interview Jaguars passing game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and Vikings receivers coach Keenan McCardell, a former Bucs receiver on the 2002 Super Bowl team.

Will fame bring Brady back to Bucs when he plays in 2023?

Bucs Qb Tom Brady and Oc Byron Leftwich

Bucs QB Tom Brady and OC Byron Leftwich ā€“ Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

No one can really know what Brady is going to do this off-season, especially if Brady doesn’t even know himself. But if he chooses to play a 46-year season, can the familiarity he has with those in the Bucs facility keep him in Tampa? Of course, he will no longer have Leftwich as his offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen has retired.

But Brady loves Bowles, has a strong relationship with general manager Jason Licht, and certainly has a lot of ties to those he’s played with over the past three seasons. Is that enough to pique his interest in a fourth season in the Bay?

Brady will understandably want to see who the Bucs bring in as their new offensive coordinator. It’s unlikely that the team will hire anyone based solely on the fact that they have a pre-existing relationship with Brady, but whoever the final hire is will definitely factor into the quarterback’s decision in some way.

If Brady doesn’t retire, he’ll almost certainly be faced with the prospect of learning a new offense wherever he ends up. The exceptions might be Las Vegas, where his former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is the head coach, and New England, where another of his former offensive coordinators, Bill O’Brien, had just been hired. But there are obstacles that can prevent any of those teams from being real options for Brady. For starters, Vegas is several time zones away from its kids, while reuniting with the Patriots can be awkward. Until further notice, however, it’s all speculation about the former MVP’s future.

Despite another offense with a new offensive coordinator, the Bucs have the familiarity factor in their favor with Brady. He knows his offensive linemen and has a developed rapport with star wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Whether that will be enough is not clear, but at least the Bucs are still looking for coordinators with Brady in mind.


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