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January 2, 2014 @ 3:11 pm
Current rating: 2.33 Stars/3 Votes

Who Will Join Smith In Tampa Bay?

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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The Buccaneers have officially signed Lovie Smith to be the team's head coach, but who will take over as Tampa Bay's general manager, and which assistants will join Smith's staff? PewterReport.com has compiled a list of possible candidates and current rumors.
Now that Tampa Bay has finalized a contract to make Lovie Smith the franchise’s 10th head coach and fill the vacancy created with the firing of Greg Schiano on Monday after a 4-12 season, the attention turns to finding a general manager that can run the personnel side of the football and manage the team’s salary cap and filling out Smith’s coaching staff.

With former University of California head coach Jeff Tedford reportedly set to take over as Tampa Bay’s new offensive coordinator, PewterReport.com has compiled a list of the various reports and rumors regarding the search for the Buccaneers general manager and assistant coaches that will serve under Smith.

As for Tampa Bay’s vacant general manager position, Washington director of pro personnel Morocco Brown and Kansas City director of player personnel Chris Ballard has been rumored on various Internet websites, as have former Tampa Bay and Atlanta general manager Rich McKay and former Tampa Bay director of player personnel and ex-Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo. Former Bucs director of college scouting and Seattle general manager Tim Ruskell’s name has also been rumored, but to a lesser degree.

Brown is an interesting name because he worked with Smith in Chicago's front office as the director of pro personnel from 2001-07. He was hired by Washington on May 20, 2008. Greg Gabriel, a former director of college scouting with Smith in Chicago, is also a name to keep an eye on.

Director of player personnel Dennis Hickey, director of pro personnel Shelton Quarles and director of college scouting Eric Stokes are still employed by the team, and Hickey, who has been on Tampa Bay’s staff since 1996, has worked under McKay, Angelo and Ruskell at One Buccaneer Place, while Quarles played linebacker for the organization when all three men were in power.

With Tedford in place to run the offense, two candidates for the team's defensive coordinator position have emerged. Rod Marinelli, who coached Tampa Bay's defensive line (1996-2005) with Smith while on Tony Dungy's staff and later with Smith as his defensive coordinator in Chicago (2009-12), is believed to be Smith's first choice to run the Bucs defense. Marinelli is currently the defensive line coach under defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin in Dallas.

Smith's second choice at defensive coordinator is believed to be former Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier. The 54-year old Frazier was hired as the Vikings defensive coordinator in 2007 and he would later replace Brad Childress at the team's interim head coach in 2010 before having the interim tag removed at the end of that season. Frazier, who was a defensive assistant to Dungy in Indianapolis from 2005-06, led the Vikings from 2011-13.

CoachingSearch.com listed several college coaches that have coached under Smith in Chicago, including Charles London (Penn State running backs), Torrian Gray (Virginia Tech defensive backs) and Vance Bedford (Louisville defensive coordinator). With Bill O’Brien leaving Penn State to coach the Houston Texans, London would likely be looking for a job.

CoachingSearch.com also noted that Florida State wide receivers coach and former Buccaneers wide receiver Lawrence Dawsey interned with Smith in St. Louis when he was the team’s defensive coordinator. Other possibilities for the wide receivers coaching position in Tampa Bay aside from Dawsey include former Bucs wide receiver and ex-Buffalo wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard, and former Oakland and USC head coach Lane Kiffin, who has a friendship with Tedford. Kiffin is the son of former Tampa Bay and current Dallas defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

On the defensive side, former Bucs legendary linebacker Hardy Nickerson worked for Smith as the Bears linebackers coach in 2007 before stepping down due to a family health issue. Nickerson was briefly a member of the Buccaneers radio broadcast team in 2006 before joining Smith in Chicago.

Nickerson has spent the past four years coaching the prestigious Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif. where he coached his son for the first two years before he was recruited to play linebacker at Cal like his father. Nickerson resigned weeks ago on November 18 and had a 29-17 overall record and an 18-6 mark in league play with two league titles in his first two seasons.

While he stated that he wanted to leave to pursue non-football related matters, Nickerson, who was seen at One Buccaneer Place in December, told the San Jose Mercury News that coaching was still his passion. Could he be a candidate to coach Tampa Bay’s linebackers under Smith once again?

Former Buccaneers linebacker Jeff Gooch could also be in the mix for a role in the new Tampa Bay regime. Gooch once interned with Smith and Angelo in Chicago during training camp and gained some very valuable insight into football operations, which now serves him well with the Arena Football League’s Tampa Bay Storm under general manager Derrick Brooks.

“I’m the VP of football operations,” Gooch told PewterReport.com. “Derrick and I started at the same time in 2011. It was in the spring and the season had been ongoing at that point and we took over a few games into the season. What I do is handle football operations. In the Arena Football League you do wear many hats. My responsibility is basically everything from assisting with personnel, assisting with player personnel to travel arrangements to everything having to do with our players.”

Like Brooks, Gooch’s goal is to one day be involved with a team at the NFL level.

“That’s always a goal and an aspiration for me,” Gooch said. “Having played in the NFL you definitely grow fond of it. Being in any sport you always want to go to its highest level. Moving on to an NFL team would interest me, but right now and Derrick and I are focused on the job at hand, which is bringing a championship to the Tampa Bay Storm.”

Last modified on Friday, 03 January 2014 19:57

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    GM with great drafting track records are Bill Polian,and Charley Casserly.
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    I agree with bucsfan11 that the GM needs to be a cap guy. Every organization needs a good cap guy. There are all kinds of people you can hire in the front office or in the scouting dept that can evaluate the talent. We even have a few good ones in place already, we need a good cap guy.
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    I too, wish we would keep E. Byner on the staff. He did a great job with our RB's this year. He also has shown great success where ever he has coached the RB position. Did not like what I read in this article that a RB coach has good history with Lovie, maybe they can find a different offensive position for him and keep Byner. Also cringed when I read that Lane Kiffin has ties to Tedford. I do not like Lane at all. I think that would be a big mistake and I hope that Lovie is smarter than that!!
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    Hoping Bill Polian is offered the GM job.
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    The Bucs should really be considering Mike Greenberg for GM. Kid is a young, smart cap guy. It's easy to surround yourself with great talent evaluators. That's what the scouts and player personnel are meant to be. The GM should be running the organization and making good decisions with the cap and other aspects to better the organization. That's a much more difficult job to do. You need someone smart, motivated and eager. Greenberg is an Ivy League Grad, Lawyer, Director of Football Administration and handled the cap for the Bucs and the Jets (under Tannenbaum). He should be the front runner for the position.
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    Monte Kiffin shafted the Bucs when he ran off to coach at Tenn. and he has been a bust ever since, which serves him right, and Lane Kiffin is an absolute snake in the grass--just ask any Tennessee fan, and he was the downward force that sunk the USC ship. Lovie needs to steer clear of both of them! I have faith that Lovie will make the right choices to get us back to the Super Bowl. I would love to see Lovie team up with DOM, and our present running back coach and the OL Coach should be retained but I am OK with Lovie picking the best GM for him to team with. Lovie was a good hire and the Glazers were smart to hire him so quick because he will be able to bring in good Asst Coaches before other teams can lock them up.
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    We should keep Byner,Cox,and Wanny
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    No Hickey...As I posted on another thread the Glazers should have made the HAT TRICK and fired him with Dominik and Schiano.
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    Some of us are concerned about the inability of Lovie to develop a good offense for the Bears. The offensive line was generally unable to stop pass rushers. Since Glennon hasn't shown the "it factor" yet, this year's year's draft must produce a very good QB to compete for 1st team. If a good rookie doesn't fall to the Bucs at #7 in the 1st round, I hope the Bucs will consider trading a 2nd or 3rd rounder (whichever they have) for Josh McCown, especially since the Bears have now extended Cutler's contract for a bunch of years. Lovie is certainly aware of him!
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    Please bring back Doug Williams in some sort of front office capacity, so he will lift the second curse he put on the Bucs after he was forced out by the Dominik/Morris regime.
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    I think the fact that Lovie was hired first, Lovie got control. Therefore the GM will be a partner and not a boss. So my money is on Chris Ballard, someone that Lovie trusts and can work well with from his Chicago days!
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    I thought it was interesting that when I went to Buccaneers.com yesterday that only Schiano's and Dominik names are now not listed. I took that to mean all the other coaches and staff are still employed and they have not been fired yet? PewterReportSR does that mean that the new Head Coach may keep some of the existing coaches after he interviews them?
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    By the way Adam Schefter said twice on his interview about the Coach Smith hire "Mark Dominik, who did a really nice job accumulating talent down there." I agree with Schefter. Sorry to see Dominik go.
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    I like the Lovie pick, but Jeff Tedford as Offensive Coordinator? He's already listed in Wikipedia as our coordinator before it is even announced. The source is listed as SBNation where they say "Tedford doesn't exactly have the best reputation for college offenses or college quarterbacks." How is a person with no NFL play calling experience going to be calling plays for us and we expect to be good on offense? It think a better choice would be Rob Chudzinski as offensive coordinator.
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    Bucs look to be going back into "comfort zone". Is Lovie the best candidate available? Maybe not. But I think the Glazers are so bitten by the unknown mistake known as Schiano, that they are curling up with people they are familiar with. I do not have any problem with it.
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    Please not Jerry Angelo
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    ledphones, I agree. He was a mediocre GM in Chicago with a mediocre draft record; and to me, having solid-great drafts is what makes a good GM. I'm crossing my fingers that we'll land Omar Khan from Pittsburgh. The Steelers have long had very good drafts, good record, almost yearly playoff appearances, and prolonged success. Khan had a hand in that. Even though he has never been a GM, he worked very closely alongside those guys in the front office. I think he'd be an excellent fit here.
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