Few people enjoy a good homecoming story as much as yours truly.
And even though I wish the Bears would’ve given Byron Leftwich a second interview, I compartmentalized it, following a line of thinking that led me to believe he was heading to the Jacksonville Jaguars. There, Leftwich would return to the place where he was a first-round pick, coach up Trevor Lawrence, and lead the Jaguars to new heights. The storybook stuff would’ve written itself.
Unfortunately, it sounds like we can cancel the book deal:
Hearing Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is expected to remove himself from consideration for the Jaguars head coaching job soon. Former Raiders interim HC Rich Bisaccia and former Eagles coach Doug Pederson remain strong candidates.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) February 3, 2022
Rick Stroud, who covers the Buccaneers for the Tampa Bay Times, reports that there is an expectation that Leftwich will pull out from consideration for the Jaguars’ head-coaching vacancy. Jacksonville, which has had an opening since Urban Meyer was fired on Dec. 15, 2021, is seemingly fumbling the bag here. What felt like a mortal lock is now on the cusp of being off the table altogether. What an astounding development. And it is one that could impact the Chicago Bears.
There has been a belief that Rich Bisaccia is someone the Bears could consider as their next special teams coach. After all, Bisaccia and new Bears coach Matt Eberflus were together for some time with the Dallas Cowboys. It is easy to connect the dots. However, the ball can’t get rolling on that reunion if Bisaccia is still in contention for a head coach position. And as Stroud notes in the tweet above, Bisaccia is a candidate to get the head coach job in Jacksonville. The Raiders’ former interim head coach showed what he could do in a pinch taking over for Jon Gruden. And in the middle of a tumultuous season, no less. But after the Raiders chose to hire Josh McDaniels, Bisaccia is free to test the market. That market still includes an opportunity to be a full-time head coach.
In other words, the Jaguars could be holding up things for the Bears. I realize that special teams isn’t a top priority for some this time of year. Then again, I know enough Bears fans who hold the third phase near to their heart. So the Jaguars keeping the Bears from landing their top choice for their open special teams coordinator spot is annoying. Seriously, get it together, Jags. You’re muddying it up for the rest of us.
Then again, Bisaccia is right to want to exhaust all potential head coach opportunities before committing to a special teams coaching position. So while Chicago has yet to fill that special teams coordinator role, and Bisaccia makes sense as a perfect fit, there is still the matter of the Jaguars coaching search throwing a potential wrench in that possible plan.
And then there is Leftwich. A coach whose star is on the rise, had things lining up for a promotion, a chance to coach a hot-shot quarterback prospect with potential, and an opportunity to carve his own coaching path. Instead, leave it to the Jaguars to muck it up for him — not to mention Trevor Lawrence and the rest of the team. Don’t get me wrong. The Bears aren’t the most efficiently run team in the NFL. But at least they aren’t tripping over themselves in their coaching search the way the Jaguars have been since mid-December.