PewterReport.com is reporting that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired defensive line coach Jay Hayes. The move comes 41 days after the end of the 2017 season that saw the team record a very disappointing 22 sacks on the season, which was dead last in the league, during the team’s 5-11 finish. The Bucs had recorded 38 sacks the previous season, which matched their total from the 2015 campaign.
Hayes was hired by head coach Dirk Koetter after spending 13 seasons in Cincinnati where he worked with Pro Bowl defensive linemen Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap.
Six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy led the Bucs in sacks this year with just six. Five of the defensive linemen that Hayes worked with in 2016 had fewer sacks in 2017, including McCoy (seven to six), defensive ends Robert Ayers (6.5 to two) and Will Gholston (three to zero) and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga (one to zero).
Hayes’ penchant for calling a lot of stunts didn’t sit well with some of the defensive linemen, who wanted to do more straight ahead rushing. Those players may have gone to Koetter to request or demand a change.
Hayes made the defensive line calls from the sidelines, and in PewterReport.com’s season-long correspondence with the legendary Warren Sapp, the Hall of Fame defensive tackle wasn’t fond of Hayes’ stunts and how the defensive line rushed under his leadership.
It is believed that defensive line assistant coach Paul Spicer is still on staff and he may be considered to replace Hayes. Former Bucs defensive line coach Joe Cullen has spent the past two seasons in Baltimore, but had a good rapport with the players and could be an option to return to Tampa Bay if the Bucs wanted him back and if he could get out of his contract with the Ravens. Or the team may look outside the organization for Hayes’ replacement.
PewterReport.com will have more on this developing story as news becomes available.