Getty Todd Bowles remains on thin ice in Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles remains on the hot seat amid a four-game losing streak, and the Buccaneers could turn to a new head coach soon or in 2024.
Bowles hasn’t been the Buccaneers’ head coach since taking over in 2022, when his team went 8-9 and was beaten in the playoffs by the Dallas Cowboys. Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report suggests Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson as an option if the Buccaneers can wait until after the season to fire Bowles.
“Brian Johnson has had a rapid career rise,” Ballentine wrote. “He started as a quarterbacks coach at Utah University and became offensive coordinator at his alma mater after just two seasons. His college resume also lists a stint at Mississippi State, where he helped develop Dak Prescott into an NFL prospect.”
As good as Shane Steichen was, Brian Johnson might simply be viewed as an improvement because there is no other coach who understands Jalen Hurts better than Johnson himself.
Their relationship dates back to when Hurts was just 4 years old. Hurts’ father coached Johnson… pic.twitter.com/YgSdqrGie5
— Kendall Beck (@KBeckEagles) February 28, 2023
Tampa Bay will need a new coach to develop a quarterback, most likely a 2024 draft pick, and Johnson could fill the role. If the Buccaneers’ slump continues, the team will have an early pick.
“Everywhere Johnson went, he was promoted or hired. Therefore, after just four years in the league, he should be a candidate for head coach,” Ballentine wrote. “Developing a quarterback is a big part of success in the NFL, and he has a proven track record of playing a key role in that process.”
Brian Johnson could bring magic to the Buccaneers offense
Despite the Buccaneers’ overall offensive struggles, Johnson could resume the Buccaneers’ offense in 2024.
“The Bucs would make a lot of sense,” Ballentine wrote. “Baker Mayfield was good, but not good enough to be the long-term guy. With Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Johnson would have his AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith to build an offense around.”
Brown and Smith combined for 109 receptions, 1,538 yards and 10 touchdowns. Evans and Godwin still perform at a high level despite a weaker offense. They totaled 77 catches for 1,062 yards and six touchdowns this fall.
“The 36-year-old [Johnson] would be ideal for a team looking for a shot in the arm offensively and either has a young quarterback or is in the market for one,” Johnson wrote.
Tampa Bay needs a boost offensively. This year’s Buccaneers squad is averaging just 19.8 points and 302.5 yards per game – both of which rank in the bottom half of the league.
The Buccaneers didn’t fare much better in Bowles’ first year in 2022, and he had a quarterback named Tom Brady to work with. Tampa Bay’s offense struggled, allowing 18.4 points and 346.7 total yards per game and was the worst running game in the league last year.
Buccaneers still shot for a turnaround
Johnson’s trip to Tampa Bay could be put on hold if Bowles manages to right the ship in the final nine games this season. The Buccaneers started 3-1 before the four-game losing streak, but the team is now losing to teams backed by young signal-callers like CJ Stroud and Desmond Ridder.
Tampa Bay’s remaining roster features a variety of young quarterbacks, starting with Tennessee Titans rookie Will Levis in Week 10. If the Buccaneers move to 4-5 with a home win over the Titans, a turnaround in the season remains plausible.
However, the Buccaneers could consider Johnson or other 2024 candidates sooner rather than later if the team slips to 3-6 for the first time since 2017 and loses for the fifth straight season.
Matthew Davis covers the NFL for Heavy.com, focusing on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers. He has also covered prep sports in Minnesota as a writer for the StarTribune since 2016. More about Matthew Davis
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