Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris confirmed to PewterReport.com during Wednesday's East-West Shrine Game practice in Orlando, Fla. that wide receivers coach Richard Mann, who had been with the team since 2002, is no longer working with Tampa Bay. Mann was given permission to interview with Washington last week, but it is unknown if he has been hired with the Redskins.
There have been some rumors that former Bucs receivers Keenan McCardell or Ike Hilliard, both of whom are retired and have expressed an interest in coaching in the NFL, may be candidates along with Tim Berbenich, who was Mann's assistant last year after serving as an offensive quality control coach in 2008. McCardell is coaching the receivers for the West team in this year's East-West Shrine Game.
“We haven’t replaced anybody,” Morris said. “Richard Mann is the only one that has officially left, and [defensive quality control coach] Ejiro Evero. He’s trying to get a full-time job elsewhere. He’s at that point.
“We have to go back and talk about all that stuff. Coach Berbs is a young coach, a young aspiring coach, but right now we remain status quo.”
In addition to looking for his replacement to coach wide receivers, Morris also revealed that the Bucs will be looking for a quarterbacks coach to work exclusively with signal caller Josh Freeman, who was last year's first-round pick. The Bucs want offensive coordinator Greg Olson to solely focus on game-planning for opponents, installing the offensive plays and calling the plays on Sunday.
“You got the young guy in town (Freeman). You want a guy with him there the whole year,” Morris said. “It’d be nice to get him in there with him in the offseason. You know how it is when you are a [defensive backs] coach you have the ability to sit down and break down just that particular guy, and be able to sit down with that guy and go over techniques. Even though they might be coming from the same things that Greg [Olson] might be saying to him, it is just more focused attention on Josh. Rather than Greg having to focus on scheme things, Greg has to focus on the direction, and he has to focus his attention on looking like what we want t look. It’ll be nice to have that guy to sit down with just Josh.”
Olson, who has served as the team's quarterbacks coach for the past two seasons before carrying the dual role of QBs coach and offensive coordinator in 2009 after Jeff Jagodzinski was fired right before the start of the season, will still work with Freeman and the new quarterbacks coach.
Morris also indicated that former defensive coordinator Jim Bates is no longer with the team. Bates, who was hired last offseason, was stripped of his play-calling duties after the Bucs started the season 1-9 and lost at home to New Orleans 38-7.
“Not right now,” Morris said when asked if Bates was still with the team. “After the season he talked with Mark [Dominik] and they had their dealings. We’ll remain status quo on that until we give you an official answer on that.”
There has been speculation that two coaches Bates brought to Tampa Bay – defensive backs coach Joe Baker and defensive line coach Robert Nunn – were going to be fired, but that has not taken place yet. Morris said that both coaches are currently working at One Buc Place this week, but indicated that the Bucs are not done tweaking their coaching staff.
“They are all breaking down tape,” Morris said of Baker and Nunn. “Nobody is tied to anybody in this business. You aren’t tied to one particular coach. When Mike Tomlin left nobody expected me to go to Minnesota. Just because we are tied to each other as far as knowledge and base and all that stuff, you’re individual skills matter just as much.”
Morris also said that former quality control coach Ejero Evero is no longer with the team and is actively looking for a coaching job. Morris feels that Evero is ready to become a full-fledged assistant in the league.
Special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, who is currently under contract in Tampa Bay, is actively looking for a head coaching position in the college ranks or an offensive assistant position in the college or pro ranks. The Bucs expressed interest in retaining Bisaccia and are not likely to let him out of his deal.