The Buccaneers assistant coaches are uncertain about their future in Tampa Bay and a potential work stoppage, which may have some considering leaving the NFL for college coaching jobs.
As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare to play for a game that could vault them into the postseason, the uncertainty regarding the 2011 NFL season has created anxiety in the Bucs coaching staff and front office. Sources within the Buccaneers have told Pewter Report that a lot of the Bucs assistant coaches and front office staff are anxious about whether they will return to the organization in 2011.
Tampa Bay’s owners, the Glazer family, have an option for the 2011 season in the contracts for general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Raheem Morris. The majority of the assistant coaches do not have contracts for next season and are scheduled to become coaching free agents at the conclusion of the Bucs' 2010 season. That group includes: offensive coordinator Greg Olson, offensive line coach Pete Mangurian, running backs coach Steve Logan, tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts, defensive line coach Todd Wash, linebackers coach Joe Baker, and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia.
Some in the front office and on the coaching staff are worried about the focus of some of the assistants who do not have jobs for next season. Many of the assistants are openly questioning if they should be looking for a job coaching at the college level. Bucs assistants Mangurian, Olson, Logan, Wash, Roberts, and Baker all have experience coaching at the college level.
A big reason for the coaches not being retained with contracts for next year is the potential for a work stoppage next spring. The threat of the work stoppage, which would likely be a lockout by the NFL owners, has dramatically decreased the number of contract extensions for players and coaches across the league this year. With that uncertain labor situation gripping the NFL and the threat of a lockout next spring, many NFL coaches are jumping to the college ranks. Last year, the Buccaneers lost linebackers coach Joe Barry to USC. A year before, the team lost defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to the University of Tennessee. With the way colleges are paying their coaches, going to the college ranks from the NFL is not viewed as a step back in a coach's career anymore.
The unsettled labor situation has caused many organizations in the NFL to have coaching contracts expire after this season. That way those teams won’t have to pay coaches that are idle during the work stoppage. The only assistant coaches on Tampa Bay’s staff that are believed to have contracts for the 2011 season are the coaches that were signed prior to this season. That group is comprised of quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, wide receivers coach Eric Yarber, and defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake.
Sources within the team say that obviously not knowing their status for the future is causing anxiety in the staff and they are nervous for good reason. If vacancies are filled while they finish the year with the Bucs they could potentially be unemployed next season. Some are wondering whether they should be putting their homes up for sale and working networks for other coaching jobs.
For weeks now since college coaching positions have opened up the team knows they could lose somebody to a college job. As one source said, ”An assistant could come in tomorrow and say I’m taking a coordinator job at the University of Minnesota. See ya. So we all feel a certain amount of anxiety right now as we try and finish the season strongly. Hopefully it’ll be a little easier to go into [the meetings with ownership] and say we won 10 games.”
According to several team staffers, none of the assistants have been approached by the organization about a contract extension, and a big part of that is due to the uncertainty surrounding the top football decision-makers in Dominik and Morris. Once Dominik and Morris have their futures ensured with contract extensions and get their options picked up by the Glazers they can start the process of re-signing the assistant coaches to contracts. Assistants are the not only ones that face being free agents soon. There are scouts and other front office personnel that also don’t have contracts for 2011.
Sources strongly indicate to Pewter Report that the vast majority of the assistants want to return to the team next year. The only assistant who is believed to be prepared to leave the team for other opportunities and coaching advancement is Bisaccia. The message regarding the rest of the assistants was that they like working for the Glazers, Dominik and Morris. They also like the young Bucs squad and believe the team will be even better in the years to come if they can continue to build on the breakout success of 2010. The reversal from three wins to at least nine in 2010 could cause some of those assistants to be hot commodities on the open coaching market in the NFL. Mangurian, Logan and Olson are believed to be the assistants that could be hotly pursued by other teams.
In speaking with players in the locker room they strongly express that they would like to have the same exact coaching staff return in 2011. The coaches are well liked and the players believe that it would be a setback to get new coaches and potentially changed systems on offense and defense.
Regardless whether the Bucs make the playoffs, the organization and locker room would enjoy getting some clarity about the future and settle the uncertainty that is gripping the front office and coaching staff right now.
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