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It’s another December to remember around One Buccaneer Place – now known as AdventHealth Training Center. The Bucs will be looking for a new head coach soon – officially. The bet here is that the Glazers likely have already begun the process, as CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported last Sunday.

Remember when they were interested in re-hiring Jon Gruden last December, only to be massively outbid (thank goodness) by crazy Mark Davis out in Oakland?

Remember when the Glazers were considering promoting Dirk Koetter to replace Lovie Smith (wonder where they got that idea?) in December of 2015?

Remember when the Bucs were pursuing Lovie Smith, who was hunkered down in his basement watching film on Josh McCown and Michael Johnson while Greg Schiano was desperately trying to save his job after an 0-8 start in December of 2013?

Coaching hires may come in January, but inquiries, research and planning by NFL owners and general managers often start in December. That’s a fact of life in the shadowy NFL.

Unless a 7-9 finish somehow changes the Glazers’ mind about Dirk Koetter, which would require the Bucs to pull an upset at Dallas and then win at home against Atlanta, Koetter will likely be fired on Monday, December 31 – and perhaps general manager Jason Licht, too.

By now the Glazers already have a short list of candidates to replace Koetter, and at the top of their list would be Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh, whom the Ravens said on Friday would be back in 2019 as the coach and the team try to work out a contract extension. Of course the Oakland Raiders were attempting to do the same thing with Jon Gruden in January of 2002 before Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer pulled the trigger on a trade that sent two first-round picks, two second-round picks and $8 million in cash to Al Davis for Gruden’s services – and a Lombardi Trophy less than a year later.

Here is a list of some possible names the Bucs could – and perhaps should – consider to replace Koetter in 2019. Of course, more intriguing candidates could present themselves on Black Monday when NFL teams typically fire their coaches. Indianapolis scooped up Tony Dungy in 2002 quickly after was fired in Tampa Bay, and Kansas City jumped all over Andy Reid the moment he was out in Philadelphia a few years ago.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh – Photo by: Getty Images

Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh
Hey, if he’s your guy – go get your guy. That’s what the late Malcolm Glazer did when he sidelined former general manager Rich McKay, who served up Marvin Lewis as a replacement for Tony Dungy, and pulled the trigger on the trade for Gruden. Harbaugh may not be worth four premium draft picks and $8 million, but it might be worth a call to Baltimore to see what they would take for him. Harbaugh has a 102-70 mark as the Ravens head coach, including a 10-5 record in the postseason and a Super Bowl win in 2012. It’s interesting to note that Licht and Harbaugh spent time together in Philadelphia with the Eagles organization from 2006-07.

Baltimore defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale
If Harbaugh is unavailable, why not go straight to the heart of the Ravens and pluck Martindale, the defensive coordinator, out of Baltimore? The 55-year old Martindale has coached in the NFL since 2004 (Raiders LBs 2004-08, Broncos LBs 2009, Broncos DC 2010, Ravens LBs 2012-17, Ravens DC 2018), and has taken a very good Ravens defense and made it great this year. He’s an energetic, no-nonsense players coach that would bolster the Bucs defense, which is key in the NFL’s shootout division, the NFC South. The Ravens rank first in total defense (290.2 ypg), first in scoring defense (18.1 ppg), third in pass defense (202.6 ypg), third in rushing defense (87.6 ypg), third in third down percentage (34 percent) and 10th in sacks. Hire Martindale and keep Todd Monken to run the Bucs offense and Tampa Bay could be in for a quick turnaround.

Dallas secondary coach Kris Richard
Richard is one of the hottest names in the coaching candidate buzz world right now. The fiery Richard is a disciple of Seattle’s Pete Carroll, whom he played safety for at USC and coached for with the Seahawks. Richard was Seattle’s cornerbacks coach in 2010, the team’s defensive backs coach from 2012-14 and the defensive coordinator from 2015-17 when he replaced Dan Quinn. The 39-year old Richard oversaw the Seahawks’ dreaded “Legion of Boom” secondary, and is the defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator in Dallas this season working under Rod Marinelli, although the Cowboys’ secondary hasn’t been nearly successful.

Washington HC Chris Petersen

Washington HC Chris Petersen – Photo by: Getty Images

Washington head coach Chris Petersen
If the Bucs want to turn back to the college ranks to find a head-coaching candidate, as the team did in 2012 with Rutgers’ Greg Schiano, the offensive-minded Petersen has had tremendous success everywhere he’s coached. He helped make Boise State a national power from 2006-13 with a 92-12 record including undefeated seasons in 2006 (13-0) and 2009 (14-0), along with one-loss seasons in 2008, 2010 and 2011 in which the Broncos went 12-1. The 54-year old Petersen went to a major conference in 2014 to lead Washington and has compiled a 47-20 record over the last five years, including winning the PAC-12 conference the last three years with 12-2, 10-3 and 10-3 records. Washington has produced tremendous defenses under Petersen, and his defensive coordinator, Jimmy Lake, coached the Bucs defensive backs twice (2006-07, 2010-11).

Washington State head coach Mike Leach
He’s certainly a wild card, but Leach is worth a look as an outside-the-box candidate. Leach, who rose to fame as Hal Mumme’s offensive coordinator at Kentucky (1997-98) where he developed Tim Couch into a first-round pick with his “Air Raid” offense. Leach is an offensive innovator that could work wonders with Tampa Bay’s weaponry. As the head coach at Texas Tech for 10 years he never had a losing season despite battling bigger schools like Texas and Texas A&M for in-state talent, in addition to the rise of Baylor and TCU. Leach went 84-43 with the Red Raiders, including an 11-2 finish in 2008. He moved on to Washington State where he is turning around the Cougars program. After three losing seasons, Leach has posted four straight winning campaigns at Washington State, including a 9-4 finish in 2017 and a school-best 10-2 mark this year, in which the Cougars are tied for the PAC-12 North championship. Leach is fascinated with pirates, and actually considers him to be a modern pirate, so he would be a perfect fit personality-wise with the Buccaneers. Known for his lively, outspoken ways – and press conferences – the 57-year old Leach would be a breath of fresh air in Tampa Bay from an accountability standpoint.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh
Harbaugh has won everywhere he’s coached, but he doesn’t stay long in one place. Harbaugh, who was a former NFL quarterback, was the head coach at San Diego (2004-06) where he was 29-6 before he went to Stanford (2007-10), compiling 29-21 record, including a 12-1 record in his final season before moving on to the NFL. Harbaugh coached in San Francisco for four years where he took the 49ers to three straight NFC Championship Games from 2011-13, including a Super Bowl appearance in 2012 where he lost to his brother, John, and the Ravens. After going 8-8 in 2014 Harbaugh left for Michigan, his alma mater, where he is 38-13 but is 0-4 against Ohio State and 2-2 against rival Michigan State. Harbaugh, who is one of the highest-paid college coaches at $7.5 million per year, has pledged to stay at Michigan, so it would be a long-shot for the Bucs to land him.

Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Todd Monken

Monken has head coaching experience before at Southern Miss (2013-15) where he turned the Golden Eagles program around before coming to Tampa Bay to coach wide receivers. Monken took over the play-calling this year and has guided the Bucs to a No. 1 ranking in passing (318.9 ypg), a No. 3 ranking in total offense (416.6 ypg), the league’s second-best mark in third down conversions (48 percent) and a No. 12 ranking in scoring (24.6 ppg). Monken levels with the players and brings a great deal of energy to One Buccaneer Place. He’s a perfectionist, a great leader and will keep the Bucs offense moving in the right direction. But could the 52-year old Monken change the Bucs’ losing culture since he’s been a part of it for the last few years?

Bucs DC Mark Duffner - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs DC Mark Duffner – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Mark Duffner
If we are looking at in-house candidates, Duffner deserves some consideration – even at age 65. Why? Because the players love his energy and have responded to him since he took over as defensive coordinator for Mike Smith in Week 7. The Bucs defense has made strides this year despite being ravaged with injuries, especially on third down (40 percent) and in sacks, where the team has 36 this year after recording just 22 a year ago. Like Monken, there would be a question about whether or not the Bucs should look for continuity to keep building on what they have or if going in a different direction would work best to help change the culture. Regardless of who is the head coach, Duffner should at least get some consideration to stay on as the linebackers coach.

Former college head coach Bob Stoops
Stoops retired from Oklahoma after the 2016 season following an 18-year run that saw him post a 190-48 record during the regular season and a 9-9 record in bowl games with one national championship in 2000 when he was named the National Coach of the Year, an honor he also received in 2003. The defensive-minded Stoops coached under Hayden Fry at Iowa where he was a defensive back in college, in addition to Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, and Florida’s Steve Spurrier where he won a national title with the Gators. Like Dungy did in Tampa Bay, Stoops has a penchant for surrounding himself with great assistant coaches that have become head coaches. His coaching tree includes brother Mike Stoops, Leach, Mark Mangino, Bo Pelini, Kevin Sumlin, Chuck Long, Kevin Wilson and Lincoln Riley. The 58-year old Stoops has exceled at the college level and after two years off, he may be ready to take on the challenge of leading an NFL program.

Former NFL head coach Jack Del Rio
If the Bucs are looking for a retread, Del Rio, an NFL linebacker for 12 years, has plenty of experience as a head coach in Jacksonville (2003-11) where he employed Koetter, Monken and Smith, as well as the head coach in Oakland (2015-17). The 55-year old Del Rio was out of coaching this year after being fired from the Raiders after going 6-10 in 2016, which prompted owner Mark Davis to pursue Gruden. Del Rio was 25-23 in Oakland, including a 12-4 record and a playoff berth in 2016. In his nine years coaching with the Jaguars, Del Rio was 68-71 with three winning seasons, including a 12-4 mark in 2005 and an 11-5 record in 2007. Del Rio is a defensive-minded head coach that had success calling plays in Carolina (2002) and in Denver (2012-14) before becoming a head coach.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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TheBaron70
2 years ago

Confused as to why you left Fangio off the list. He’s been one of the premier defensive coordinators in the league for almost a decade. I think you at least have to talk to him.

bueller
2 years ago

None of those names excite me. In fact they do not bring any confidence things will change here.

Horse
2 years ago

No for all the ones you listed except for the first one which is not going to happen.
Not really much out there to rave about.
I’m at a point now that I don’t want any retreads. I’m willing to look at a College Coach that’s been successful in a tough Conference who’s one of the under 55 crowd.

EastEndBoy
2 years ago

Wow – lots of “please no’s”; one “would be great but no chance he leaves Michigan”; and one “I’d love it purely for the entertainment value” (welcome coach Leach). So, no silver bullet on the horizon it seems.

BucWonder
2 years ago

If these guys are the alternatives Koetter looks better and better.

BUC-ASS-BOB
2 years ago

If Lovie was a coordinator for a team without winning record , and Dirk was coordinator for team with losing record what makes you think they will hire any coach with a winning record, they seem to like losers.
Recent history shows they avoid coaches thats team win.

seat26
2 years ago

No Mike McCarthy?

Buc stops here
Reply to  seat26
2 years ago

I was wondering about Mike McCarthy as well. He is the second winning coach behind Bellichek in New England with the New England Patriots. He has the most playoff wins (and appearances) in his years of coaching behind the Patriots with the Packers. Only worry is the last couple of years the team deteriorated badly due to aging and not sure he has lost touch with the game or not. List was not very exciting to me. I don’t think there are any clear answers on where the Bucs would look next although this is an attempt. One note –… Read more »

Captain Sly
2 years ago

Neither of these coaches excite me but if I had to choose one it would be Harbaugh since he’s won a super bowl and he seams to have his team ready to play every week. Plus if you can win with Lamar Jackson you can win with anybody.

Captain Sly
2 years ago

I kinda wish they would have fired Koetter earlier and promoted one of the coordinators to interim to see how the team responded. Might have even saved the season too.

Naplesfan
Reply to  Captain Sly
2 years ago

The coordinators were calling the plays on both sides of the ball all season, and were directly coaching the players all season … so what makes you think Koetter was doing specifically wrong to overcome all of that excellent coordinator coaching? Or could overcome having poor talent in the underperforming units like offensive line and defensive backs?

Devasher
2 years ago

When the Bucs traded for Gruden they had 6 Pro Bowlers the year before (Sapp, Brooks, Lynch, Barber, Alstott, Keyshawn) and had been to the Playoffs 4 of the past 5 years (97, 99, 00, 01). The current team team has missed the playoffs for 11 straight seasons and has 0 Pro Bowlers (so far). When you’re trying to get over the top you consider mortgaging your future to get a final piece like Malcolm did with Gruden. When you’re in a perpetual rebuild due to bad ownership from his hapless children and two GM’s who may end up with… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  Devasher
2 years ago

It was insanely dumb for Reynolds to promote trading the team’s future in draft picks just to get a retread head coach. The Bucs are the poster child for what happens in the outyears after mortgaging the team’s future to get a coach.

macabee
2 years ago

It is no secret that I’m all in for former Cardinals coach Bruce Charles Arians. The Bucs need an experienced coach that has been there and done that. Everywhere he’s gone he’s been able to turn that team around. NFL record as head coach is 50-32-1 (.608). How quickly we forget that the now-lowly Cardinals somehow finished 8-8 last year under his guidance — with RB David Johnson missing nearly all of the season and QB Carson Palmer out most of it. Or that Palmer made the only significant playoff run of his 15-year career under Arians in 2015. The… Read more »

Captain Sly
Reply to  macabee
2 years ago

Interesting because I forgot about Arians and you make some good points about the working relationship with our GM. Here’s what I don’t want to do is blow the team up new GM&Coach. If we bring in someone with experience he should be able to win with this roster. In my opinion the biggest mistake licht and lovie made was gutting the offensive line when they got here, we are still paying for it now.

Naplesfan
Reply to  macabee
2 years ago

The problem with Arians is he already retired once. Meaning his head isn’t into coaching anymore.

Much, much, much prefer a young and energized talented NFL assistant ready to move up and who is focused on the future and not on playing golf or going fishing and visiting with the grandkids. The next Sean McVey is who we need, not the last Bruce Arians retiree-in-waiting.

Horse
Reply to  macabee
2 years ago

Totally forgot about Arians. You made good points Macabee. This could work.

mjmoody
Reply to  macabee
2 years ago

As a fan, this is exactly where my head is. Although I would also give Fangio a very hard look.

EastEndBoy
Reply to  macabee
2 years ago

I don’t think his doctor (or his family) would let him coach again … no, we’re looking at one of: A) some coordinator that everyone decides is “hot” all of the sudden (he probably isn’t), B) some retread head coach like Mike McCarthy, who the Glazers will think was soooo awesome that they can’t believe he got fired (he got fired for a reason), or C) a college HC – now this could go one of two ways: 1) some guy that seems like he’s an up and comer and that Bill Belichik vouches for (a.k.a. Greg Schiano all over… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  EastEndBoy
2 years ago

The choice of a coach will not be made by sports media types or fans. It will be the choice of whoever is in charge of the regime. We have to hope that will not be the Glazers or Licht, who are proven incompetents at that task. A quality team president who really knows the league at a very high level is someone who will have both personal contacts with quality candidates, and has personal contacts with those who know all the good candidates. He will interview a bunch of qualified candidates, and select the one who most impresses. Sounds… Read more »

GoldsonAges
2 years ago

Unless you can get a Harbaugh, just retain Koetter. None of the others excite me one bit.

I like Koetters offense and Duffners defense. We need to add an OL and ST coach and we need ONE great draft and free agent year to be a contender. We desperately need new a new shot caller who will bring in talent that we’re severely lacking

TheBaron70
Reply to  GoldsonAges
2 years ago

After today in Dallas, no thank you.

TBAtlas
2 years ago

Couldn’t wait until the firing is official to put this out? I mean it’s a nice article and such but just wait a bit on it PR!

bEubanks11
2 years ago

Word is that Petersen is going to be a fantastic NFL head coach. I like the idea of retaining Monken as coordinator. I also think a strong look into his ideas about what he would do differently than his old boss if he were given the head coach position. Monken seems to possess a winning demeanor and would retain offensive continuity.

plopes808
2 years ago

One thing’s for sure, we need to bring in a hammer that will get these players in line and hold them all accountable. With all the talent we have on this roster, the bone headed errors and penalties have been killing us for years. We need someone to come in and take control of all this right away and we will see an immediate impact.

plopes808
2 years ago

and for the love of everything sacred, please get us a new OL and ST coach

Graham
2 years ago

Arians has also had many pleasant things to say about Jameis Winston in the past. I agree with 100%. Arians should be the guy. It makes too much sense not to happen.

scubog
2 years ago

For me the question is whether or not the roster compiled by Jason Licht is good enough to compete…….. especially in our own division. The Defense was ravaged by injuries, so it’s probably a little unfair to judge them too harshly. One thing is certain; even with the injuries and playing guys off the street, Mark Duffner got more out of the group than Mike Smith. The Offense, coordinated by Todd Monken, perhaps is the best we’ve ever fielded, albeit very inconsistent and often one dimensional. The Special Teams are mediocre at best. Poor if you consider the return teams… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  scubog
2 years ago

Scubog, good points. Let me add this to your thoughts. If we just look at the Titans and the Bucs the last five years; I would say our issue is GM. My thought is to bring in a new Young GM, bring in a new Head Coach that was either a DC or OC. I’m ready for the youth movement again.

76Buc
Reply to  scubog
2 years ago

Scubog, as usual you and macabee make the most sense.Either Harbaugh would be okay as well.

matador
2 years ago

I’d prefer Arians (thanks Mac), either Harbaugh, Petersen or Leach to another year of mediocrity under Koetter. He’d be last on that list but even McCarthy might work. What makes these guys different/qualified? They’re winners. Koetter is not. Respect the hell out of Mac but my biggest concern about Arians is the Licht connection. His handling of the lines falls into category of gross negligence, as does his reliance on FA (and terrible return on $ invested) to fill holes left by his poor drafting (way too much credit for obvious picks like Evans vs many many whiffs). He. Must.… Read more »

Pit of misery
2 years ago

How about Jim Schwartz

macabee
2 years ago

Hey Guys, I wish I knew what was really going to happen. I read Jason La Canfora and he says the Bucs are deep into coach, I get up this AM and Ian Rapport says not so fast Bucs may be rethinking the need to replace Koetter. I’m going to leave this alone until I see a move or no move from the Glazers. I have said and stand by my choice for Arians if a change is made. I’m a Buc fan first, I’m prepared to go with the flow whatever. Go Bucs!

macabee
Reply to  macabee
2 years ago

deep into coach search. I should still be sleep. lol.

Naplesfan
Reply to  macabee
2 years ago

Mac – if the Glazers are actually doing this search and making decisions on who the head coach will be, that in itself is a big red flag.

I’d much rather read that the Glazers are deep into interviewing candidates for team president.

BigSombrero
Reply to  Naplesfan
2 years ago

Lol on the team president thing. Next you’ll wonder if Dungy would be open to the job or maybe even Derrick Brooks? Lol

surferdudes
2 years ago

I don’t think we have the roster some of you think we have where some coach can come in and take us straight to the playoffs. I think what’s needed is a total house cleaning from the G.M. to long standing players like McCoy, and even David. I say David not because he isn’t good, but by the time the turn around can begin, he’ll be to old. Dungy was a young secondary coach, and short term D.C. before he got his first shot, and made the most of it becoming one of our most successful coaches. Mike Tomlin followed… Read more »

macabee
Reply to  surferdudes
2 years ago

Surfer, what PR didn’t mention was that Kris Richard was recently fired as DC by the Seahawks and recently hired to oversee the Cowboys’ defensive passing game. The firing may be controversial, but still released by Pete Carroll. He is credited with creating the Legion of Doom at Seattle. I would love to have him work with the secondary in Tampa. But the Bucs are not going to turn over the reins to this team to a recently fired coordinator to start over – they just did that. I wouldn’t at all be disappointed if they hired Richard as Asst.… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  surferdudes
2 years ago

Those are good points too. Saints and chargers we’re not going much of anywhere until they focused on defense. We still need work on our defense.

Naplesfan
2 years ago

Very weak list of candidates. Most are just recycles or successful college coaches who rarely succeed in the NFL, even the very best of them, far better than the ones noted here. And the notion headlining this analysis of sending first round draft picks to Baltimore to get Harbaugh, that’s just plain stupid. It only buys suckitude in the out years to not have your first or second round draft picks. And Monken and Duffner? SMH!!! I’d much prefer to see other up and coming youngish assistants from successful NFL teams headline any head coaching search. And even more so,… Read more »

surferdudes
2 years ago

Mac,if there’s one certainty in a coaches life it’s sooner, or later he’ll be either fired, or move on from where he’s been. Look at Arains as an example, and even Harbaugh who as recently as last week was rumored to be on his way out. What do they learn from their last stop, and how do they improve as they move on. Richard has seemed to taken his next stop with Dallas to a higher level. Maybe it’s not him, but I’m looking for the next best young up, and comer. Not someone who’s on his last coaching legs,… Read more »

JohnGaltsGhost
2 years ago

Another name I haven’t seen thrown out there is Dallas DC Rod Marinelli. I know he failed at Detroit but that was mostly due to Matt Millen completely trashing the roster. Belichick failed his first time around in Cleveland. So who knows. The biggest concern with him would probably be his age.

SelmonRules1000
SelmonRules1000
2 years ago

According to a latest report by Rapaport via ESPN, both Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht could be back next year. The Glazers are not immediately sold on blowing it up. A lot being laid at Mike Smith’s feet. Boosting all the yardage success of Dirk Koetter’s offense. I question it. No running game. No offensive balance. Defenses can tee off on you. Neither Winston or Fitz needs to be throwing the ball 70% of the time. Offensive line has holes at RG, LT, and RT going into next year. You think Benenoch, Cappa, Smith and Dotson are solutions next year.… Read more »

BigSombrero
Reply to  SelmonRules1000
2 years ago

I hope they’re all back next year. Winston too. If it doesn’t work next year, then they need to blow it up. In the meantime, they can resign Hump, franchise Smith, resign Kwon, then draft offensive linemen. They are transferable to regimes if that does end up needing to be done.

bensez
2 years ago

Lincoln Riley!
Lincoln Riley!
Lincoln Riley!
Lincoln Riley!
Lincoln Riley!
Lincoln Riley!

bensez
2 years ago

Lincoln Riley Lincoln Riley Lincoln Riley Lincoln Riley

BTownBucFan
2 years ago

I may have vomited in my mouth after reading this list. Its a well put together list, but it also shows just how dreadful the HC talent is out there.

Mb Nfl Lock Of The Szn Pewter 728x90 Jpg