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MOBILE, Ala. – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers spent Tuesday scouting the North and South team Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala., but head coach Jon Gruden, general manager Bruce Allen and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin were busy conducting interviews in an effort to find a new defensive line and defensive backs coach.
PewterReport.com first reported Monday that John Hoke (Houston Texans), Willy Robinson (New Orleans Saints) and Lorenzo Ward (Virginia Tech) were coaches the Bucs were talking to at Senior Bowl.
While it was reported on Tuesday that Hoke will be retained by new Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, a new name can be added to Tampa Bay’s list of coaching candidates.
PewterReport.com has learned that former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Jerry Gray recently interviewed with Tampa Bay in hopes of filling the defensive backs coaching position left vacant by Mike Tomlin, who became the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive coordinator earlier this month.
Gray served as Buffalo’s defensive coordinator from 2001-05. He was credited with turning one of the league’s worst defenses into one of the best. In fact, the Bills defense ranked No. 2 overall in 2003-04. However, Buffalo’s defense dropped to 29th last season. Despite that drop-off in production, Gray was in the running for the Texans head-coaching job before it was eventually filled by Kubiak.
If they decide they want to hire him, the Bucs could be competing with the Washington Redskins for Gray’s services. Redskins cornerbacks/secondary coach DeWayne Walker could be leaving to work with UCLA. That scenario could open the door for Gray to be reunited with former Buffalo Bills head coach and current Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Williams in Washington.
In other coaching-related news, Bucs offensive quality control coach Kyle Shanahan has been hired as the Texans’ new wide receivers coach, which means the Bucs are looking to fill that coaching position as well.
In addition to looking for a new defensive line and defensive backs coach, and an offensive quality control coach, the Bucs are also in need of a new defensive quality control coach.
That position recently became vacant when Joe Woods left the Bucs to become the Vikings’ new defensive backs coach under Tomlin, as PewterReport.com had forecasted a week ago.
Tampa Bay actually offered Woods a multi-year deal to remain with the Bucs and serve as the team’s assistant defensive backs coach. However, Woods wanted the title of defensive backs coach, and the Bucs are in search of a more experienced secondary coach, which is a departure from the team’s philosophy of hiring young position coaches whom Kiffin could mold. That is what ultimately led to Woods’ decision to leave Tampa Bay for Minnesota.
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