There are plenty of NFL people taking in the warm weather, sunshine and Super Bowl XLIII festivities in Tampa this week, but not Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik.
They have been busy interviewing candidates for their vacant offensive coordinator position this week. The Bucs have been coy in their search for a new offensive coordinator, but several candidates have been identified, including Bengals quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese, Titans quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson and current Bucs quarterbacks coach Greg Olson. The Bucs are also believed to be interested in talking to Chiefs offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, who still is under contract with Kansas City.
Morris took time out of his busy schedule to chat with the media at the Tampa Convention Center on Wednesday afternoon. Read his comments regarding Tampa Bay's search for an offensive coordinator, the hiring of defensive coordinator Jim Bates and more in the transcript provided below. Raheem, how is the search for an offensive coordinator going?
"We're going through the process. It's been fun. We're listening to people talk and listening to people that are smarter than I am. I'm enjoying it. It's always fun to do these things. We're obviously be nearing an end soon and we'll get going in the offseason program and things of that nature. But when we make a decision you guys will be the first to know."Have you determined or identified what type of scheme or philosophy you want to implement on offense yet?
"Sure. We want to score touchdowns. We're going to let the guy come in, run his system, believe in his system and some of it will be dictated by how games go. But people get caught up in schemes too much. It's about winning football games."
With Jim Bates hired as defensive coordinator, is there any plan to change things in terms of philosophy or will you keep things the same?
"You have to hire people with great capabilities and let them do what they do. If he chooses to use some of the things we've used in the past, he will. But he has some good things coming from his plays, too. Talk to the guys in Miami about Jim Bates. They were pretty fired up about him. He has a lot of similar techniques and system. He's just an overall great coach."Is it going to be hard to make difficult decisions on guys you're close with in terms of releasing or trading players, or things like that?
"Sure. Life is hard. It's a tough deal out there. You have to go out there and accept the challenge. I've been put in a position of power. Now I have to go out and execute because a lot of people and fans are counting on me."Have you identified areas on the team that need to be improved through free agency and/or the draft?
"You're always trying to get better. Anywhere I think we can get better I'm going to try to address that situation. If there's a chance to improve your situation then you do it."What are you going to do at quarterback?
"We're going to get better. Whether that player is the same or we get a new person, whatever the situation is we have to get better."What is your view on Jeff Garcia, Simeon Rice and others making critical comments regarding Jon Gruden?
"Everybody is entitled to their opinion. You guys got my opinion about Bruce Allen and Coach Gruden. I respect the heck out of those guys. They mean a lot to me and are very important in my life. Some people feel differently. That's just life."Has the Super Bowl in any way interfered with Tampa Bay's search for an offensive coordinator in terms of possible candidates being on Arizona or Pittsburgh?
"I have a job to do. There is no such thing as interference. There is a bunch of capable, qualified candidates that we've interviewed. I'm proud of all of them. They have all done a great job. We're continuing our search - it's not over yet. We're obviously getting to the point where we need to make a decision here."Is Antonio Bryant a guy you would say you'd like to have in a Bucs uniform next season?
"That question is easy to answer. Antonio had an excellent season last year. We were all proud of him. Of course you want Antonio in a Bucs uniform. We just have to figure out if we can make that happen."Has Shelton Quarles been promoted to director of pro personnel?
"Promotions and things of that nature, you'd have to ask Mark [Dominik]. He's in charge of that. Guys have different roles. All of that stuff will be sorted out as we get our staff and as we get situated for the offseason."What prompted the Bucs to bring Patriots tight ends coach Pete Mangurian onto your staff?
"I don't even know if that's been confirmed. When you know a guy like Pete, and I do know Pete, he's a good offensive line coach that I trust and I know what he can do. I believe he can get us better. That's what drew me to him. It's not just what he did with the Patriots. It's what he did throughout his career. His stint with Dan Reeves in Atlanta, Denver and the Giants. His stint at Cornell. His vast knowledge and ability in terms of what he brings to the staff is great."It sounds as though you're open to doing things completely different on the defensive side of the ball with Jim Bates onboard. Or, will you stick with what you've done and add some wrinkles to the defense from his end?
"If you know Jim at all you'll find that it's not that different. His tweaks will definitely be added because it's got to be him and his character. You can't ask him to duplicate another guy. You've got to let that guy go out and do what he does best."In an effort to get pressure on the quarterback will you do more blitzing or things of that nature?
"You can have a bunch of variations. Shoot, you could sign a top-notch pass rusher and maybe you don't blitz much. Or, maybe you don't sign a top-notch pass rusher and you have to come up with different ways to cause pressure. We have plenty of time to figure all of that out in the offseason. The plan is set, the people are in place and I'm going to let them do their job."Monte Kiffin said the offensive coordinator position is the biggest hire you're going to make.
"Every single decision I make is an important one right now. I'm going to take my time, not make any emotional decisions, figure it all out, and try to put the best people in place to help us win. If I have the chance to do that it gives us all the chance succeed."Have you completed the interviews for the offensive coordinator position?
"No, we're still in the process. It's a daily thing. It's what I'm doing when you guys don't see me. It's good."At age 32, are you ready for this opportunity to be the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
"I don't believe in that, whether it's 62, 42 or 32, it is not going to be any different when you take this job. There is nobody telling you what to do. There is nothing on your desk to tell you what to do. There is no way to prepare for it. You have to step in those shoes and prepare for it. That's what I'm planning to do right now."Do you worry about getting the respect of your players when you're so close with some of them and are now their boss?
"My mom is my best friend. My dad is my best friend. They were both the boss. I worked by the plan of not disappointing those guys. You can have a best friend, and when you give them direction they're not going to want to disappoint you. That's how they feel about me."What impressed you about Jim Bates as a defensive coordinator?
"His energy, his passion, his knowledge, his history, his background - everything about him. He's the perfect mesh with me. He brings energy, I bring energy. It's a little bit different, but it is what it is. I love it."Do you like surrounding yourself with older coaches who have kind of been there and done that?
"I'm not going to say they have to be older because people could say that about me. I'm surrounding myself with people that are smarter than me. I don't have all the answers, and I don't claim to."Will Coach Bisaccia stay onboard as both special teams coordinator and running backs coach, or will he be relegated to just special teams duties?
"We have not filled the running backs coach position yet. Coach Bisaccia is on staff. He's a great coach and that's why he's here. I don't want to put any limitations on what Coach Bisaccia can do. For now he's a Tampa Bay Buccaneer."How much consideration are you going to give Greg Olson for the offensive coordinator job?
"Greg is a really good coach. He has a talented background and he's really smart. I want to talk to everybody. I want to hear everybody present themselves, and that includes Greg."Has it been fun getting on the board and watching some of these offensive coaches at work and hearing some of their ideas?
"Any way you can get information from people, I love it. I have taken something from everybody that has come talk with me. I have learned something from each of them and will take it with me. There are a lot of good coaches in this league. If you take the time to listen you'd be surprised what you learn, what you hear and what you can take from it. I feel like I've gotten better."Has Titans quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson interviewed for the offensive coordinator position?
"How do you guys get these names? I don't want to reveal anybody who has come in and talked with us because it's competition for these offensive coordinators. There are a lot of good coaches out there with a lot of good minds. I don't want to give away anything because I don't want to hurt myself."You had to familiarize yourself with Denver's personnel before you interviewed with the Broncos. How much does it help you and Mark Dominik in the fact that you were both promoted from within, so you're familiar with the offense, defense and special teams personnel?
"I've always been a personnel guy. I've always wanted to see everybody. Kind of nosey-like. When we're in draft meetings and we were talking about personnel in free agency I didn't just limit myself to just defensive backs. I wanted to see everybody, or at least get a taste of everybody so I could know them better. Then when you go through a 16-game season you see other teams' personnel, so you really know. You may not think you do, or you may give yourself a refresher course, but for the most part you know. If you do it long enough, and I'm not saying I've done it a long time, but if you do it enough you study people and you know a lot about them."The Bucs were a West Coast offense for seven years. Do you have the personnel to run a variety of different systems?
"We do. We have talented players all over the place. You have to utilize your talented players. Like I've said before about [Ravens linebacker] Ray Lewis, there's not a system he can't play in. There are a lot great players in this league. I'm just using Ray as an example. [Colts quarterback] Peyton Manning is in the same boat. We've got talented players that can play in a variety of systems. We have coaches that can coach a variety of systems. We're going to take it day by day and see what we do best as a team, and then go from there."
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