Former Bowles Assistants Could Join Bucs Coaching Staff

As expected following Monday’s 31-14 playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Bucs parted ways with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and several offensive assistants on Thursday, including wide receivers coach Kevin Garver and running backs coach Todd McNair and offensive quality control coach Jeff Kastle. Bucs quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen also retired, which opens up three position coach opportunities on the offensive staff.

Offensive assistant Rick Christophel, who previously served as the Bucs’ tight ends coach from 2019-21, also retired.

One of the coaches who could be coming to Tampa Bay this offseason in some capacity is Karl Dorrell, who has coached with Bucs head coach Todd Bowles for years, dating back to the 2008 Miami staff under Tony Sparano. Dorrell, who was a wide receiver at UCLA (1983-86) coached both wide receivers (2008-10) and quarterbacks (2011) with the Dolphins while Bowles coached the secondary and was the assistant head coach.

Karl Dorrell And Todd Bowles

Karl Dorrell and Todd Bowles – Photo by: USA Today

The two reunited in New York in 2015 when Bowles hired Dorrell to be the Jets’ wide receivers coach for all four years from 2015-18. After Bowles was fired following the 2018 season and landed in Tampa Bay as Bruce Arians’ new defensive coordinator, Dorrell returned to Miami as the assistant head coach to Brian Flores and the team’s receivers coach. With his varied background on the offensive side of the ball, Dorrell could serve as Tampa Bay’s wide receivers coach or quarterbacks coach.

Dorrell oversaw the development of Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall, as well as Eric Decker and Robbie Anderson in New York.

Dorrell, who was the head coach at his alma mater from 2003-07, became the head coach at the University of Colorado from 2020-22, compiling an 8-15 record. He sat out of football during the rest of the 2022 season after being fired by from Colorado following a 0-5 start.

Bucs Might Pursue RBs Coach Mitchell – If He’s Available

Another coach Bowles might be interested in is Stump Mitchell, who was Bowles’ running backs coach from 2017-18 with the Jets. The two worked together in Arizona (2013-14) and again in New York, where Bowles was the Jets head coach. Mitchell is a former NFL running back and has coached the running back position for 20 years in the league, with stops in Seattle (1999-2007), Washington (2008-09), Arizona (2013-16), New York (2017- 18) and Cleveland (2019-22).

Browns Rbs Coach Stump Mitchell

Browns RBs coach Stump Mitchell – Photo by: USA Today

Under Mitchell, five different NFL runners – Ricky Watters (1999-2000), Shaun Alexander (2001-05), Clinton Portis (2008), David Johnson (2016) and Nick Chubb (2019-21) — gained 1,000 rushing yards in a season. Andre Ellington produced 1,000 yards from scrimmage in each of his first two NFL years (2013-14) and Kareem Hunt topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage in 2020.

Mitchell also helped his backs find the end zone as Alexander (five times), Johnson (twice) and Chubb (twice) produced 10 or more scrimmage TDs in a season multiple times. Alexander set an NFL record with 28 scores in 2005 and Johnson led the league with 20 in 2016.

Mitchell sat out the last 10 weeks of the 2021 season due to a health concern over previous knee surgeries, but returned to coach the Browns running backs in 2022. It is unclear if Mitchell is under contract with Cleveland for the 2023 season or not.

Bowles Might Promote Lewis To Full-Time Assistant

Bucs Assistant Wrs Coach Thad Lewis

Bucs assistant WRs coach Thad Lewis – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Thad Lewis joined the Bucs in 2020 as a coaching intern under Bruce Arians and was promoted to assistant receivers coach in 2021. Arians has spoken very highly of Lewis, going so far as to say he could become an offensive coordinator one day. Bowles also thinks highly of Lewis, who has a very good football IQ

Lewis has worked with Garver the last two years and aided in the development of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Lewis could be promoted to wide receivers coach, replacing Garver, or perhaps Bowles wants to give him a shot at coaching the quarterback position.

Lewis, 36, was a quarterback at Duke and is said to have a very good grasp of the passing game. He is a relative newcomer to the Bucs coaching staff and spent the 2018-19 seasons with UCLA working under head coach Chip Kelly and having exposure to a different offensive scheme rather than just Arians’.

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