has learned that former Arizona Cardinals defensive line coach Brentson Buckner is among those who has interviewed for the vacant Tampa Bay defensive line coaching position. The position became available after reported that Jay Hayes was abruptly fired last weekend after Tampa Bay recorded a league-worst 22 sacks in 2017.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht knows Buckner, who is 46, from his days in Arizona in 2013 before coming to Tampa Bay. Buckner was the Cardinals’ defensive line coach for the past five years under Bruce Arians.

Former Bucs DE Will Clarke and DL coach Jay Hayes - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Former Bucs DE Will Clarke and DL coach Jay Hayes – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

In his first season as an NFL defensive line coach in 2013, Buckner helped the Cardinals record 47 sacks, led by John Abraham’s 11.5 sacks, while Calaias Campbell had nine and Darnell Dockett contributed 4.5. The next season, rookie Alex Okafor notched eight sacks, while Campbell posted seven sacks and Frostee Rucker had five. In 2015, newly arrived Dwight Freeny finished with a team-high eight sacks with Campbell pitching in five, along with four from rookie Markus Golden and three from Rucker.

In 2016, the Cardinals had 48 sacks and were led by Golden’s 12.5, while Chandler Jones, who was acquired in a trade with New England, recorded 17, while Campbell added eight. Last year, in Arians’ final season in Arizona, Chandler led the league with 17 sacks, which was nearly half of the Cardinals’ 37 sacks. Campbell was lost to Jacksonville in free agency and Golden suffered a season-ending injury early in the year. But Buckner did help develop Olsen Pierre, who posted a career-high 5.5 sacks.

Buckner, who was a defensive tackle selected in the second round by Pittsburgh in 1994, played three years with the Steelers, one year with the Cincinnati Bengals (1997), three years with the San Francisco 49ers (1998-2000) and five years with the Carolina Panthers (2001-05). He recorded 425 tackles, 31 sacks and two interceptions in his 12-year NFL career.

The Bucs have also interviewed assistant defensive line coach Paul Spicer for the position and Tampa Bay also interviewed former Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Ted Monachino, who has previous ties with head coach Dirk Koetter, serving as his defensive line coach in Boise State and Arizona State, and working together in Jacksonville along with former Jaguars defensive coordinator and current Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Monachino and Buckner have coached in 3-4 defenses, which could be an indication that Tampa Bay wants to switch to a 3-4 base defense in 2018 or at least be more multiple with their defensive fronts in the upcoming season.

Share On Socials

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:
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

Pay him and be done with it.

3 years ago

Yes. He is the best one to interview, by far. Let’s get him before its too late. Dont buc it up

3 years ago

Any thoughts on Brian Cox, he was a pretty good LB/DE in his day and he helped Atlanta out quite a bit, until that 3rd Quarter of the Super Bowl. He’s nasty, Bucs could use some nasty in their demeanor.

3 years ago

Buckner has done a nice job in Arizona. Hope they hire him.

big serious
big serious(@big-serious)
3 years ago

they will hire Monachino even tho Buckner would fit better because both Koetter and Smith have worked with him. Koetter hires good friends not good coaches.

3 years ago

Tough to say who’s the better coach. Buckner had much greater talent base to work with in Arizona than Monachino inherited in Indy. Leaning toward Buckner personally but that be due more to familiarity than anything tangible.