Former Buccaneers linebacker Shelton Quarles is climbing the ladder in the Bucs front office. Quarles has taken on a lot of the responsibilties after director of pro personnel Doug Williams left the team. Quarles is in line to be elevated to coordinator of pro personnel and potentially the director later this year.
After sustaining a number of departures in the Bucs scouting departments Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik has not hired many replacements to the Bucs front office this year. Part of the reason is because Tampa Bay has some talent from within the organization.
Earlier in the week in a PI Quick Hits
story, Pewter Report documented how former Bucs linebacker Shelton Quarles is taking on more responsibility in the Buccaneers front office after the departure of Doug Williams, the former director of pro personnel. Quarles is being talked about as Williams long-term replacement. Sources have told Pewter Report that Quarles has gone above and beyond in picking up the work load left by Williams. They said there was a strong likelihood that Tampa Bay won't hire a director of pro personnel and Quarles would be elevated to a position of coordinator of pro personnel. Dominik has been so pleased with Quarles that he is not conducting a search to replace Williams.
"It has been good for me from the standpoint of being able to grow and mature in the role that I have," said Quarles of his new responsibilities. "I've been able to take on more responsibility and that helps me as an individual. I can grow more and have a better understanding of what we do, and how decisions are made. We don't have that buffer in between me as a pro scout to the GM. Where as when Doug was here you had one step in between, even when Mark was the general manager or the director of pro. At that time he was always the buffer to the GM. Now I have more of an interaction and a relationship with our general manager because you don't have that in-between guy.
"It is going pretty good. I had three years to learn under both Doug and Mark. I had more time with Mark than Doug, but it has been a good transition."
A little more than a year ago, Williams was moved to that position after Dominik was promoted to general manager. After a few months Williams was elevated to the director of pro personnel. The Vanderbilt graduate Quarles said the organization has not told him about plans to elevate him yet, and he is just focusing on helping Dominik from the pro side.
"It hasn't been discussed and my focus is on helping the team," said Quarles. "When they decided to bring me on staff they had the knowledge and forethought to say I think that he'll be able to take on the role in which he has and can grow from there. Even when I was a player as an outside linebacker they thought I would make a nice inside linebacker, so I go by the people that have been in the business a long time, like Mark with the amount of years he's been in it, and growing into his role with Chiefs and Buccaneers organizations. They knew that he had the potential to get there. I'm hoping they feel the same thing about me, and I'll be able to grow into that role."
Pewter Report has learned that the Bucs have been very pleased with what Quarles has done in his expanded role since Williams left the team. The team is optimistic that Quarles will continue to thrive in his new role, and he will be given the next few months to show that he is ready to take on the role of coordinator of pro personnel and eventually director of pro personnel. Quarles said he learned a lot from Dominik when he transitioned from being a player to a scout in Dominik's department under then general manager Bruce Allen.
"Sometimes you have to give the players the benefit of the doubt," said Quarles of what he learned. "I've been really hard on myself as a player and then transitioning over, sometimes you tend to bring that mentality into the pro side. You got to understand that there are going to be some issues with coaches from other teams not seeing it from our standpoint. How they were being coached might be different than what you see in the product that is on the field. It has been a good learning experience."
In his 10-year playing career Quarles made the Pro Bowl after the 2002 season when he took over at Mike (middle) linebacker and helped lead the Bucs to the number one defense in the NFL and a Super Bowl championship. Quarles was also a standout at Sam (strongside) linebacker and on special teams in his playing career. The savvy veteran could play all three linebacker positions and recorded 985 career tackles. Quarles' 195 tackles in 2005 is the third highest total in team history behind former teammates Barrett Ruud and Hardy Nickerson. From time to time Quarles shares some his playing knowledge with the Bucs current linebackers.
"We talk and have a relationship, but then again I have to keep them at arm's length to a certain extent because I don't want to step on any of their coaches' toes," said Quarles. "That is their job. Their job is to coach. There are certain nuances within that linebacking corps that you can give them a tidbit here and a tip there. When I played and Barrett was behind me I shared a bunch of knowledge with him, and he's taken it and run with it. That's a credit to him for being the student of the game that he is. From my perspective and it is similar to what I do now, I take the different things that I've seen from both Doug and Mark and try to grow into that position."
Quarles has another dimension to his relationship with the players after being given the responsibilities of the ‘Turk'. That is the staffer that has to tell players that they are being cut and meet with them to conduct the exiting process. At least the players can respect that the person telling them they can't play for the Buccaneers, has been told that before as a player with the Bucs and Dolphins.
"That part is good. I've been there and done that and have been on both sides of the player and front office. Its different because I know how it felt when I was a player and they say ‘hey your time is up'," Quarles said. "[It happended] when I was with Miami, and when I came to Tampa. It is a hard position to be in, but if you're a professional athlete you have to understand that it'll happen at some point in your career. You'd like for it to be never, and you'd like for it to be later rather than sooner, so it is just a part of football and as a player you can't take it personally.
"You got to know it is a part of the game. Nobody likes being that guy, but it is a part of the job, and if I want to grow in my job I have to learn how to communicate effectively with the guys that we do ultimately get rid of. And let them know that just because you're gone right now doesn't mean they won't be back because injuries are a part of football."
Right now Quarles is helping Dominik sort through the sullied pro free agency ranks in the NFL. Due to the end of the last collective bargaining agreement, many players that were expected to be free agents did not hit the open market. Quarles and the Bucs have the challenge to prepare to scout players for next season with uncertainty about who will be a free agent.
"It makes it difficult to a certain extent, but you have to understand that is a part of football," said Quarles. "You can't say I'm not going to look at these guys because they're not available. You got to go with the understanding that we might get a CBA in place before everything happens and things work out for the NFL and the individual teams. You can't go into it saying it is not going to happen and we are going to have a lockout and then not anticipate something taking place, and an agreement getting put in place. I'm looking at it from the standpoint that something is going to happen and we are going to be looking at those guys."
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