When new Bucs head coach Bruce Arians talked on Thursday about what helped him decide to return to the NFL sidelines, he mentioned how his former staff becoming available as an attraction to coming back.
Arians hasn’t wasted much time in getting the band back together, with reports that Nick Rapone(defensive backs) and Kevin Garver(wide receivers) were joining Arians in Tampa. Both worked previously with Arians, as has new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Todd McNair(running backs) and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 10, 2019
Arians reportedly wants to bring aboard Kacy Rodgers to work with the defensive line, but .a report early on Friday said the hire isn’t a done deal as Rodgers was set to interview with the New York Giants as well. If Rodgers chooses the Giants over Tampa Bay it could open the door for a possible return of Brentson Buckner who also coached with Arians in Arizona. Buckner was an instrumental part of leading a rejuvenated Bucs defensive line and also the development of first round pick Vita Vea.
As reported by Scott Reynolds earlier on Friday, the Bucs are also close to adding another assistant in defensive backs coach Kevin Ross, who played cornerback for the Chiefs with McNair and Arians for part of his Kansas City career (1984-93, 1997). Ross also played for Arians at Temple, and coached cornerbacks with him in Arizona from 2013-17 and then stayed on with the Cardinals last year in the same capacity under head coach Steve Wilks.
It is believed that Ross, whose nickname in Kansas City was “The Rock,” will coach cornerbacks and that Rapone, who coached safeties under Arians in Arizona from 2013-17, will coach the Bucs safeties. Rapone spent the 2018 season coaching at Delaware and was set to take an assistant’s position under Steve Spurrier with the Orlando Apollos, a new franchise in the American Alliance of Football, which starts this spring, before Arians called him to join him in Tampa Bay.