As the Buccaneers continue to revise their staff, it was reported on Friday that two more defensive coaches would not be retained.
Bucs DL coach Joe Cullen & LB coach Hardy Nickerson – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Defensive line coach Joe Cullen, once viewed as a candidate for defensive coordinator, and linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson will be replaced with Jay Hayes and Mark Duffner, respectively. Alex Marvez of Fox Sports first reported the news and Cullen’s departure was confirmed by PewterReport.com.
Hayes, 53, spent 13 seasons in Cincinnati serving in the same capacity. During that span, the Bengals had relatively consistent production from their front four – a unit that’s consisted of the likes of Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Domata Peko, among others – and ranked 10th in the league with 42 sacks in 2015. Under Hayes’ guidance the Bengals have finished with 40 or more sacks in all but one of the past five seasons.
As for Duffner, the 62-year old coach has spent the past two seasons in Miami as the Dolphins linebackers’ coach, after being in Jacksonville for eight seasons. It was there he met Bucs new defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who served as defensive coordinator from 2003-07. Duffner has also been with the Packers and Bengals.
Departed coaches Nickerson and Cullen have received a great deal of credit over the last two years and rightfully so. The Bucs have had a myriad of linebackers, from rookies to former practice squad players, and all have performed well under Nickerson’s guidance. He shouldn’t have a long wait when it comes to finding a new team.
As for Cullen, the energetic coach will join the Baltimore Ravens staff as its defensive line coach. Dirk Koetter was asked specifically about Cullen on Friday.
“I think Joe Cullen is a terrific football coach,” Koetter said. “I’ve coached with him at a couple different spots and have known him for a long time. Terrific football coach.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
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So I think what I just read is almost all of the Defensive side as to coaching is gone and so is our past defensive scheme. Unfortunately gone is Hardy Nickerson which I sincerely wish him the very best.
I don’t get. This has to be Mike Smith’s hand at work. Hardy is a class coach and was replaced with a lesser coach. I this does not become a first rate defense immediately, I will be on Smith like bees on honey; like white on rice. I will post this site to death!!!!
You forgot one 76. “Stink on $hit”. How about “Ugly on Rosanne”?
Looks to me like Cullen was already leaving on his own accord. Perhaps it was the same for Hardy. It may be that one or both wanted to go elsewhere.
I know nothing about either of these new hires but I am willing to give them benefit of the doubt. After all, it shouldn’t be too much of a task to improve the ability to stop an opponent on 3rd down or defend a pass better than 70% of the time.
Many wanted to trash the “antiquated” Tampa-2. Perhaps we needed folks to teach the “New and Improved” scheme.
Licht was prudent retaining both coaches until a D.C. was chosen. Smith wanted his own guys, and they are highly regarded. Our defensive players need all new voices I’m afraid. Smith comes a board with a good resume too. He had other D.C. offers. Hopefully he’s like Wade Philips, who went back to being a successful D.C.
Nothing wrong with the coaches he is bringing in. Good track record. Cullen wasn’t staying anyway. 4…3 defense with lots of tight coverage and PRESSURE. Smith’s defense.
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