is reporting that Jimmy Lake, the assistant to Tampa Bay defensive backs coach Raheem Morris, is interviewing with the Detroit Lions today, presumably for the defensive backs position. Lake’s contract expires at the end of this month and he spent the 2006 season working alongside former Bucs linebackers coach Joe Barry, who was hired to be Rod Marinelli’s defensive coordinator in 2007. Barry’s defense is looking for help after ranking 32nd in the NFL in yards and points allowed last year.

“Raheem and I are the same age, but I’m always willing to take that next step in life,” said the 31-year old Lake. “If some opportunities come, they come. If not, I’m more than happy staying here with these guys and win another championship.”

Lake, who was granted permission by Tampa Bay to interview with Detroit, was offered a contract by the Buccaneers at the end of the 2007 season, but currently there is no position for advancement with all of the position coaches currently under contract. Morris is entrenched as the defensive backs coach. Gus Bradley is under contract as the linebackers coach and defensive line coach Larry Coyer is entering the second-year of his contract with Tampa Bay.

Sources have told that defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is holding up the Buccaneers’ offseason plans as the team waits for Kiffin to make a decision as to whether he wants to return to Tampa Bay for a 13th season. The Bucs want Kiffin to return, and it is believed that Tampa Bay has offered him a multi-year contract, although has not been able to confirm that.

Should Kiffin choose to retire or go elsewhere, Morris would be a natural fit to take over as defensive coordinator with Lake filling Morris’ shoes and taking over the defensive backs room as a full-fledged assistant. While Kiffin waits to make his decision, the Bucs could wind up losing Lake and then feeling the full effects of Kiffin’s hesitation if he decides not to remain as Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator.

Lake was hired to be the assistant to defensive backs coach Greg Burns in 2006 and while Burns was fired this past January after Tampa Bay’s pass coverage fell to 19th in the NFL, Lake was retained to work in the same role with Morris, who was lured back from Kansas State last January where he was the Wildcats’ defensive coordinator in 2006. Together, Morris and Lake turned around the Buccaneers secondary in 2007 with the team finishing first in the NFL in pass defense.

“That’s what I’m used to,” Lake said. “All of the colleges I’ve coached at, I’m used to being number one. Last year was the first year where I wasn’t number one. It’s nice to be back. That’s the way it should be. For us to go back to first place this year was awesome. When I got here [in 2006], there was a language that the DBs spoke that was taught from Tony Dungy to Mike Tomlin to Raheem Morris, and then in 2006 there was a little gap,” Lake said. “Now it’s really nice that all of those terms have come to life. It’s a special language and little key terms that trigger these guys into wanting them to learn what we need them to learn. It’s an in-depth vocabulary, for sure.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned from Ra is how he runs the room. It’s a different style than what I’m used to. He’s got an easy way of going about it and I think I can take a lot from him when I get my shot.”

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at:
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