Bucs head coach Raheem Morris, whom ironically is celebrating his 33rd birthday today, fielded several questions from the media regarding Jagodzinski's dismissal and the promotion of quarterbacks coach Greg Olson, who will now serve as offensive coordinator.
Morris' opening statement "Today, at One Buccaneer Place, we had to make some changes. We let Jeff Jagodzinski move on and we promoted Greg Olson to offensive coordinator. With that, I'll open it up for questions.
Raheem, you say you had to make a move. Why did you have to make a move? "We're in constant evaluation of our staff. It was time. We wanted to make the move now heading into our last preseason game that way we have everything ready to go for the regular season."
Be specific as you can in terms of what was missing from Jagodzinski. Was he not well versed as an offensive coordinator or playcaller, or both? "I have a lot of respect for Coach Jagodzinski. But we're at the point now where we need to be more precise and more detailed. We need to have more direction in terms of where we're going to go. I just didn't have it right now, for whatever reason. That's about as detailed as I can get."
At what point did you start considering this move? "Since we've been together, all of our staff members are accountable and we have high expectations. We're on constant evaluation of everybody and our organization."
This could be seen in the community as an unraveling of the team before the season opener. How would you respond to fans or people outside of this place that say you're in chaos right now? "When you talk about being in chaos you're talking about not having a plan. The plan hasn't changed. We're still a zone blocking scheme run by [offensive line coach] Pete Mangurian. We're still a downhill running team. We're talking about going in a different direction a little bit as far as our passing game goes with some more deep throws and more vertical plays downfield. We'll lean on Greg Olson and [wide receivers coach] Richard Mann. We're positive with that direction and where we're going. It's not a knock on Coach Jagodzinski. It's just what we need to do, the plan we need to have. A lot of things will remain the same. This offense was going in the right direction. You have to give Jeff Jagodzinski credit because he got it started in the right direction. Now we have to finish off the deal with the guys we have."
Did Jagodzinski feel he should have more say as the offensive coordinator? "This didn't have anything to do with Coach Jags. This decision came from myself, meeting with [general manager] Mark Dominik. We got together and figured out what we needed to do. This is where we're at now."
When did you first get the feeling that Jagodzinski wasn't the right guy for the job? "Like I said, it's a constant evaluation throughout the process. As you go you want to create the most dynamic staff you can. You have the opportunity to bring in a guy like Jeff Jagodzinski while you already have Greg Olson on your staff, and you have a Pete Mangurian, Rich Mann and all of those guys. You want to put them all together and get them going. We needed more direction and more precision. We weren't getting it at the time, so we made the change. That's where we are."
Can you define more direction and precision? "Where do you want to go now? We got the zone scheme in. We got the vertical passing game in. We got everything we got going on. Now what is next? Where do we want to go? What are the variables off the situations? What are we going to do off of that? How are we going to do off of that? What is the plan? Who's in charge of this who's in charge of that? Just those things — that is what we are talking about with direction, it is me being a leader of our football team and where we need to go."
Did the players' opinion contribute to the decision? "No ,our players, we are all head accountable. We got very high expectations. All of us, the players don't make those decisions. The players have nothing to do with that. They understand that is the nature. That is where we are."
Was Jagodzinski not on the same page with naming Leftwich the starting quarterback? "Again, that had nothing to do with it. We all came to a common accord last week when we named Bryon Leftwich our quarterback, so that was all the same page stuff."
Was Jagodzinski given the opportunity to change or tweak something? "No, there never was a, ‘You're not going in the right direction' moment. I don't want to take away from Jeff Jagodzinski's credit. He did come in here and put in the offense. He did have some success. We did get some things rolling. That was where we needed to go. Now it is where are we going now? What's next? Who is going to do it? We are in constant communication as a staff, so we all know what is going on and are accountable to each other."
How disruptive is this to the players? "There really is no disruption to the players. The same guys are in place. The guy that is in charge of the run game is [offensive line coach] Pete Mangurian. He is still the lead dog, and changing everything that needs to be changed, doing whatever needs to get done. Now he will have a higher role. He does have a higher role. Greg Olson is now giving us direction. He is more precise in where we want to go and what we need to get done, so the players are all familiar with what we have going on, and how we are going to do it, and again like everything we do around here, it was presented to the team in a team meeting setting first."
It sounds like the other coaches were looking at Jagodzinski and weren't seeing direction, so there was a problem that developed amongst the coaching staff. "Our coaches go about doing their job every day. It's my job to find direction and find out where we have to go and what we need to do. This is on Raheem Morris, myself and Mark Dominik, and where we're going, our plan, what direction we want for our team, what we're getting and how we go about getting it. This doesn't have to do with the coaches. It's on us."
Do you feel Jeff Jagodzinski did not know where to go from here? "We're trying to grow constantly, and if we're not growing constantly then it's time to make a change. That's what we did."
Is this the most difficult decision you've had to make since becoming head coach? "They get more and more difficult every day. It started from Day 1."
How much did the game day performance play into this decision? "Again, I'm not here to bash Jeff Jagodzinski. What he did, coming in here and implementing a plan, trying to get it going, getting our zone scheme blocking – it was good. We're just at a different state right now. We just need to be more direct, have more precision and we need to know where we're going."
Can you talk about Jeff Jagodzinski claiming he was offered the chance to stay in the capacity of quarterbacks coach? "When you go back and look at the staff when you hired them, you try to hire the best staff you can hire. You want to put the ‘Dream Team' together. It didn't work out. It didn't work out. So now you have to make a decision. I think Jags might be a better head coach or a better position coach, to be honest with you. We just didn't have the direction from the coordinator spot, so we offered a position on the staff. Realistically, it wouldn't make the most sense for both parties involved."
Not every hire is going to work out exactly how you want it to, and I understand the need to be flexible, but was there a mistake made in letting it get this far? "I don't know if you can say we let it get this far or a mistake was made. We're six months into it. You have to give time to let things play out. You have to make a decision before you get there. We're still in the preseason. We have to prepare for Dallas. That's what we're doing right now."
We're pretty close to the start of the regular season. We were talking about the need to have a starting quarterback named last week. Now we're talking about having a new offensive coordinator." "It would be that way if we brought in somebody new. We're talking about the same fundamental, core beliefs. They're the same. It's just the direction and where we grow from here."
Is there any change in the dynamics with Greg Olson now being the offensive coordinator? "These guys have had it going for a long time. [Offensive line coach] Pete [Mangurian] has had a heavy influence since he's been here. Greg Olson has had a heavy influence since he's been here. The direction is what is going to change, and how we're going to get to where we need to be is going to change. The precision and the details that we're missing a little bit, we're going to get there with Greg Olson taking over."
How does Greg Olson make your offense or team better by him being the offensive coordinator? "When you talk about Greg you're talking about a highly intelligent human being. He's coached quarterbacks for a long time, he's called plays in this league. He's been through the grind and done everything that needed to be done. He knows where we want to go. He's a very detailed and precise coach. That's where we need to go on offense if we're going to have any success."