The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are actively working to fill the void left by Dave Canales, who recently took on the role of head coach for the Carolina Panthers after serving as the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator for one season. The team has conducted interviews with a diverse group of candidates, both from within the organization and externally.
Among the external candidates interviewed for the offensive coordinator position is Antwaan Randle El, the Wide Receivers Coach for the Detroit Lions. Randle El’s coaching journey began as an offensive assistant under Bruce Arians in 2019. During his tenure with the Lions, he has contributed to the development of the receiving corps, including standout performances from Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Another contender is Alex Van Pelt, the former Offensive Coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. Van Pelt brings a wealth of experience, having served as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for various NFL teams. Notably, he played a role in coaching Baker Mayfield during his time with the Browns in 2020-21.
Jerrod Johnson, the current Quarterbacks Coach for the Houston Texans, is also in the running. Johnson, a former NFL quarterback, has transitioned to coaching, working closely with rookie sensation C.J. Stroud in the 2023 season. Stroud led the league in passing yards per game and showcased promising skills under Johnson’s guidance.
Brian Johnson, previously the Offensive Coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, is another candidate under consideration. Johnson spent three seasons with the Eagles, contributing to the development of quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Eagles’ offense ranked seventh in scoring during the 2023 season under Johnson’s guidance.
Jake Peetz, the Passing Game Coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, rounds out the list of external candidates. Peetz played a crucial role in the Rams’ passing attack, which ranked 10th in the NFL in the 2023 season. His experience includes coaching positions with multiple NFL teams and a stint as LSU Tigers’ offensive coordinator.
Internally, the Buccaneers have interviewed Thad Lewis, their current Quarterbacks Coach. Lewis joined the Buccaneers’ coaching staff in 2020 as part of the Bill Walsh coaching fellowship program. Over the years, he has progressed through various coaching roles, including assistant wide receivers coach and quarterbacks coach. Lewis played a key role in Baker Mayfield’s development, contributing to his Pro Bowl season in 2023.
The team’s decision to explore both internal and external options demonstrates a comprehensive approach to finding the right fit for the offensive coordinator role. Each candidate brings a unique set of skills and experiences, and the Buccaneers are carefully evaluating their qualifications to make an informed decision.
In other team news, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers received Pro Bowl honors for two of their key players – quarterback Baker Mayfield and offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. Mayfield, recognized as the Most Improved Player by the Pro Football Writers of America, posted career-high numbers in completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns, and completion percentage during the 2023 season. Wirfs, a dominant force on the offensive line, earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl selection after a stellar season at left tackle.
The Pro Bowl recognition further solidifies the contributions of Mayfield and Wirfs to the team’s success. Mayfield’s resurgence and leadership on the field, coupled with Wirfs’ consistent excellence in protecting the quarterback, highlight the Buccaneers’ commitment to maintaining a competitive and talented roster.
As the team navigates the offseason, the search for a new offensive coordinator and the individual accolades for Mayfield and Wirfs underscore the ongoing commitment to excellence within the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization. The 2024 Pro Bowl Games will provide an additional platform for Mayfield and Wirfs to showcase their skills and represent the Buccaneers on a league-wide stage. The team looks forward to building on these achievements and preparing for the upcoming NFL season.