Is Bill Cowher still in the mix to coach the Buccaneers? What front office changes could be coming for Tampa Bay? Who might be coming back to the Bucs? What is the status of Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris? Find out the answers here.
Things have been awfully quiet at One Buccaneer Place over the last 48 hours with coaches and members of the Bucs brass doing very little outreach to the local media. But behind the scenes there are expected to be some shake-ups coming on Tampa Bay’s coaching staff and in the front office. However, it may not be the kind of change that some fans want or expect.
The national media has been driving a story that involves former Pittsburgh head coach Bill Cowher and Tampa Bay. NFL.com’s Jason LaCanfora’s sources, which are probably from the Cowher camp, have linked Cowher to the Buccaneers on two occasions – in mid-December and as recently as yesterday. That report, coupled with an underwhelming vote of confidence of Raheem Morris from Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer, who said on Monday night, “We are committed to the plan that we began 12 months ago with Coach Morris, and we look forward to building on the pieces that were put in place this season,” made it seem that Morris’ future in Tampa Bay might still be on shaky ground after a 3-13 season in his first year as head coach.
However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter came out on Wednesday saying that he received a call from a high-ranking Bucs official that vehemently denied the team’s interest in Cowher. Through PewterReport.com’s sources, we firmly believe Schefter’s version of the story, especially the part about the Glazers not having any recent contact with Cowher, and can proclaim with certainty that Morris will in fact be back in 2010 as Tampa Bay’s head coach.
PewterReport.com has also learned that defensive backs coach Joe Baker and defensive line coach Robert Nunn are not expected to be retained in 2010, in addition to wide receivers coach Richard Mann, who joined the staff under Jon Gruden in that capacity in 2002 – although nothing has been finalized or made official yet.
Logical candidates for the defensive backs coaching position in Tampa Bay would be assistant DBs coach Dwayne Stukes and Jimmy Lake, who was Raheem Morris’ assistant when he was the Buccaneers’ secondary coach in 2007 before leaving to go to Detroit to be the defensive backs coach in 2008 under then- Lions defensive coordinator Joe Barry.
Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, whose name has been linked to the University of Tennessee by ESPN, is under contract with the Buccaneers in 2010. After it looked as if he may join former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin in the college ranks, there has been some discussion of having him stay on with the Buccaneers due to the success he and the special teams had in ’09.
In the front office, the Glazers have not publicly stated that general manager Mark Dominik will return in 2010, but there has been nothing to suggest otherwise, either. Plus, Dominik is still operating in that capacity. Yet there will be some changes made in the personnel department and some people’s roles may change.
It was reported that pro personnel director Doug Williams has accepted a one-year contract extension from the Buccaneers, but there has been no official public announcement from Dominik or the team yet. As PewterReport.com reported during the start of free agency in 2009, Dominik was short-handed when it came to proven talent evaluators and contract negotiators, and it appears as if more help could be coming on that front later this month.
On the college scouting side, we’re hearing that director of college scouting Dennis Hickey is under pressure for the way the team has underperformed while building talent through the draft over the last couple of years. Hickey’s selections of defensive end Gaines Adams, who was the fourth overall pick in 2007, and wide receiver Dexter Jackson, who was a second-round pick in 2008, are no longer on the team, and Jackson was not on a 53-man active roster this past year.
With the Bucs currently having five of the top 99 picks this April, the 2010 NFL Draft could be the catalyst of the team’s rise back to prominence or the reason it might remain mired in mediocrity for years. The Glazers may be thinking of getting Hickey some more help on the college scouting side or replacing him altogether.
One person’s name to keep an eye on is Seattle’s Ruston Webster, who was promoted from his role as vice president of player personnel to the Seahawks’ interim general manager role when Tim Ruskell resigned during the 2009 season in early December. Webster, who was Tampa Bay’s former director of college scouting and director of player personnel, reportedly will not be retained as the team’s general manager.
The Seahawks are in the process of narrowing the following list of candidates to four finalists: Cardinals director of player personnel Steve Keim, Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye, Eagles general manager Tom Heckert, Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta, Packers director of football operations John Schneider, Patriots senior football advisor Floyd Reese, Patriots pro personnel director Jason Licht and 49ers director of player personnel Trent Baalke. Webster’s name is not among them.
Webster has a very good reputation around the league as a talent evaluator. He promoted Hickey to his current position in 2005 when he assumed the role of director of player personnel in Tampa Bay, and he has maintained a good relationship with both Hickey and Dominik. Although it may be a step down the career ladder to come back as the Bucs director of player personnel overseeing both the pro and college scouting departments, it may be a move that could benefit both Webster and the Buccaneers.
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