PewterReport.com 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 PewterReport.com 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.
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.