Now that the Glazer family has fired Buccaneers Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik the big question becomes, who will fill the team’s vacancies at head coach and general manager?
After hiring two coaches in Raheem Morris and Schiano without NFL head coaching experience, the general thought is the Glazers will look to bring in a coach who has previously been a head coach in the NFL.
PewterReport.com looks at potential head coaching candidates that the Glazers could interview.
HEAD COACHING CANDIDATESLOVIE SMITHCurrently: UnemployedPros: A former NFL head coach with ties to the Tampa Bay area, Smith coached under Tony Dungy from 1996-2000, serving as linebackers coach before taking the defensive coordinator job in St. Louis. Smith took over as head coach in Chicago where he led the Bears to an 84-66 record, including a 3-3 record in the postseason. Ironically, Smith’s Chicago team lost to the Indianapolis Colts, which was coached by Dungy in Super Bowl XLI, 29-17. Smith was also endorsed by Dungy for the Bucs’ head coaching job on Monday.
Cons: Smith’s demise in Chicago followed a similar path as Dungy’s tenure in Tampa, as both failed to develop an offense satisfactory to ownership. Smith finished his last season in Chicago with a 10-6 record but missed the playoffs. However, late Monday it was reported that former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford has already agreed to part of Smith’s staff as the offensive coordinator if Smith makes a return to the NFL.
KEN WHISENHUNTCurrently: Offensive coordinator in San DiegoPros: Like Smith, Whisenhunt has head coaching experience and also a Super Bowl appearance on his resume. Whisenhunt is also an offensive-minded coach, something most feel the Glazers would prefer after hiring two defensive-minded coaches in Morris and Schiano. Whisenhunt has done wonders in his first season at San Diego as the Chargers offense is ranked fifth in the NFL, averaging 393 yards per game.
Cons: Despite coming within a late Ben Roethlisberger touchdown pass of winning a Super Bowl, Whisenhunt’s head-coaching career record in Arizona was below .500 at 49-53.
JAY GRUDENCurrently: Offensive coordinator in CincinnatiPros: Gruden certainly comes with offensive-minded genetics and appears to have taken the best from his brother Jon’s philosophy and combining it with his own to lead the Bengals to the 10th-ranked offense in the NFL in 2013, and the playoffs as the AFC North champions. Gruden, a Tampa guy, was also part of his brother’s Buccaneers staff from 2002-2008. Gruden was a star quarterback and head coach for both the Tampa Bay Storm and Orlando Predators in the Arena Football League.
Cons: Gruden lacks NFL head coaching experience, something that most likely will be a big part of what the Glazers are looking for. Another possible hindrance could be the very fact that his brother, Jon, was fired by the Glazers following the 2008 season. Unfortunately, the parting wasn’t all warm and fuzzy, and there is a chance that one, or both parties, may not want to rekindle the past.
MIKE ZIMMERCurrently: Defensive coordinator in CincinnatiPros: Zimmer brings toughness and discipline to the units he coaches, yet most players, by all accounts, love playing for him. Zimmer has worked under Marvin Lewis for a number of years, so undoubtedly has learned a lot about what it takes to be a successful lead coach in the NFL. With a strong defensive mind and Tampa Bay’s talent, Zimmer could quickly turn the defense into a Top 10 unit.
Cons: He is rough around the edges and not the warm and friendly, rally-the-community type of coach. However, winning football games makes fans overlook the exterior. Zimmer has never been an NFL head coach, or a head coach on any level for that matter.
ART BRILESCurrently: Head coach at BaylorPros: Briles has been very successful during his tenure at Baylor, including winning three conference championships (two in Conference USA, and once in the Big 12). Briles’ offenses had often been some of the most explosive in all of college football and could bring an exciting brand of football to the NFL, similar to what Chip Kelly brought to the Eagles.
Cons: Briles has even less NFL experience than Schiano, who at least was an assistant in the NFL with the Bears. Briles is a Texas guy, who was born, played football in and has only coached in the state of Texas.
OTHERS WHO MAY GARNER CONSIDERATIONGREG ROMANRoman is currently the offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers and worked wonders in reviving the career of Alex Smith, and also helping coach up one of the league’s youngest up-and-coming stars in quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Roman has extensive NFL experience as an assistant, with stints in Carolina, Houston and Baltimore.
DAVID SHAWPerhaps the most underrated coach in college football, Shaw has stepped into Jim Harbaugh’s position at Stanford after Harbaugh bolted for the NFL and the program hasn’t missed a beat. Stanford’s academic standards present a big challenge when recruiting but Shaw has still managed to lead Stanford to a 34-6 record. Shaw also has extensive NFL experience as an assistant, but is content to stay at Stanford and has rebuffed the interest from NFL teams.
ROB CHUDZINSKIChudzinski was let go after just one season in Cleveland, surprising many. Known as a creative offensive mind, the Glazers interviewed Chudzinski, who ran the offense in Carolina during Cam Newton’s rookie season, prior to hiring Schiano in January of 2012. He could still be on their radar.
GARY KUBIAKKubiak was the first victim of the annual coaching purge earlier this month when he was fired by the Houston Texans after a 2-11 start. Kubiak led the team to a 61-64 record in eight years, including back-to-back playoff berths in 2011 and 2012.
Tomorrow: PewterReport.com will provide a list of possible general managers the Buccaneers could interview to replace Dominik.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
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