Another day, another coaching change at One Buccaneer Place.
A week after linebackers coach Joe Barry left Tampa Bay to become Detroit's defensive coordinator, and a day after PewterReport.com reported that Kansas State defensive coordinator Raheem Morris – Tampa Bay’s former assistant defensive backs coach – was replacing Greg Burns as the Bucs secondary coach, Tampa Bay fired defensive line coach Jethro Franklin. Franklin's replacement is not known at this time, and it is believed that the Buccaneers have not made a hire yet.
Franklin was hired last January after former Bucs defensive line coach Rod Marinelli took the job as head coach of the Detroit Lions. Both Franklin and Burns came to Tampa Bay last season from the University of Southern California with the endorsement of USC head coach Pete Carroll, who is friends with Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. The input of Kiffin’s son, Lane, who is the Trojans offensive coordinator, was also sought.
While USC ran a version of Kiffin’s Tampa 2, both Burns and Franklin struggled to learn the intricacies of the defense at the pro level, and failed to win over their respective units, which were both veteran-laden. The production of the secondary and the defensive line directly contributed to the downfall of Tampa Bay’s defense, which finished 17th in the NFL after appearing in the top 10 statistically since 1997.
Franklin’s defensive line produced only 19 sacks after the group recorded 25 in 2005, which was considered disappointing by Buccaneers standards. Burns’ defensive backs grabbed just eight interceptions after hauling in 15 in 2005.
Several defensive players PewterReport.com has spoken with have said that they had a difficult time adjusting to the coaching styles of Franklin and Burns.
In other news, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed three new players to their 2007 roster: WR Efrem Hill, WR Kyle Smith and S Tra Boger. Hill, a 6-0, 179-pounder out of Samford, has spent some time on the Carolina Panthers practice squad over the past two years. Smith, a 6-0, 170-pound receiver out of Youngstown State, was signed as an undrafted free agent last year by Minnesota. Boger, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound safety out of Tulane, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Green Bay Packers last year.
These players join the addition of former Jacksonville PR-KR-WR Chad Owens, which PewterReport.com reported last week.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org