Former Cards coach Leftwich joining Arians in Tampa Bay

Arnold Nichols
January 10, 2019

Former New York Jets coach Todd Bowles will be joining mentor Bruce Arians as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive coordinator despite a strong push by the Chicago Bears, sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Josina Anderson on Wednesday.

In January 2018, Bruce Arians retired after the Arizona Cardinals ended their season with a win over the Seattle Seahawks in the regular season finale. Meanwhile, teams that weren't so good, are making personnel changes and firing/hiring coaches.

Arians replaces Dirk Koetter, who was dismissed December 30 after leading the Bucs to 19 wins and no playoffs berths over the past three seasons.

The news comes just hours after it was reported that USC offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury was hired as head coach of the Cardinals. They haven't won a postseason game since their 2002 Super Bowl run under Jon Gruden.

In five seasons leading the Cardinals, Arians went 40-27-1 and took Arizona to the playoffs twice, including an appearance in the NFC Championship game.

Bowles ultimately made a decision to stick with his mentor, a source said, despite the Bears' vacancy being perhaps the most attractive in the league.

The Bucs fired Koetter after consecutive 5-11 finishes that dropped his three-year record to 19-29. According to the Tampa Bay Times, "Arians reportedly did not bring a doctor's note to his interview with the Bucs".

The day after Koetter was sacked, Licht made it clear that whoever wound up replacing the coach would inherit Winston as his starting quarterback.

On the field, Winston has struggled throughout his first four years with turnovers, compiling 58 interceptions and 18 lost fumbles.

The Bucs are counting on Arians to help Winston realize his potential.

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