The Buccaneers appear to be headed towards firing another head coach and that’s nothing new for the Glazer family or their fan base, as they have fired three coaches in the previous seven seasons before now. If they are going onto dispose of Dirk Koetter after his second straight double-digit loss season, the biggest question becomes: who replaces him?
First, the probably most intriguing question is: what type of coach would they go after? And, as we have already mentioned, the Glazers have tried numerous types of head coaches ever since firing Super bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden after the 2008 season. And, they’ve had virtually no success.
The Bucs have gone through the gamut of different types of head coaching hires over the course of the 2010s. That includes, their former defensive assistant Raheem Morris, who had had no prior head coaching experience. Morris was fired after 4-12 season in 2011.
It continued with the catastrophic decision to hire former Rutgers college coach Greg Schiano for two awful seasons 2012 – 2013, where he lost 17 of his last 22 games. Next, the Bucs tried former Bears head coach Lovie Smith, but the team flat-lined at 2 and 14 his first year, and he was fired after his second season of 6 – 10.
That 2015 season the Bucs of drafted Jameis Winston, hired Koetter as offensive coordinator, and the offense showed great promise. So, the Bucs went with Koetter as their next head coach.
However, after initially having break through success with a 10-win season and narrowly missing the playoffs in 2016, the team has clearly regressed over the last two years with 10-loss seasons.
So, the prevailing thought is: if the Bucs are making a change, they will have to go after a proven NFL coach. Particularly, someone that has had success either recently or in multiple places.
There are three obvious names that jump right out:
One is Jack Del Rio (above), who is the former Jaguars head coach where he led them to the playoffs twice in the mid-2000s before eventually being fired. Del Rio was later the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos and was actually the interim head coach for a few successful games, when John Fox had heart surgery during their Super Bowl run with Peyton Manning. Del Rio later took the head coaching job of the Raiders and returned them to the playoffs for the first time in over a decade in 2016.
He had a losing season in 2017 and was unceremoniously dumped for Jon Gruden coming out of the broadcast booth in Oakland. Del Rio has taken 2018 off from coaching, but a source familiar with the Del Rio family told F.F.I. recently, that it is fairly certain he would get back into NFL coaching for the right situation to be a head coach.
Next, is recently fired former Packers coach Mike McCarthy. McCarthy took the Packers to the playoffs nine times during his 13-year tenure, including a Super Bowl win. While one could argue that Aaron Rodgers would make any coach look decent if not good, McCarthy’s record is his record and it’s an impressive one. He may be in more demand though with some of the other openings, including Cleveland to work with Baker Mayfield.
The third intriguing name is: former Cardinals head coach and now CBS broadcaster Bruce Arians. Arians not only led the Cardinals to the NFC Championship game in 2014, but he previously was the interim head coach of the Indianapolis Colts with success. That’s when then head coach Chuck Pagano was undergoing Leukemia treatment. Arians was named the Coach of the Year in 2012, as he guided the Colts into the playoffs.
Arians did have health problems at the end of his tenure in Arizona, and it’s unclear whether he would want to resume coaching. However, it would be worthwhile for the Glazers to explore it and try to make a run.
The final factor maybe a proven head coach that gets let go on this coaching cycle.
Someone like a Ron Rivera of Carolina, who, even though he was in the Superbowl in 2014 may be fired, since they have new ownership and have just undergone a losing season in 2017?
Another name to watch is the Steelers ultra-successful coach Mike Tomlin, who has a Superbowl on the resume and has been a proven winner for years in Pittsburgh. However, there are growing calls for Tomlin to be ousted by the Steelers. He is a former Buccaneers assistant under Gruden, when Tampa Bay won the Superbowl in 2002.
The Glazers would obviously very, very interested in bringing him aboard should he become available.
Then, again, so would any team with an opening.
There will be no shortage of names that are out there, however if teams like Pittsburgh and the Jets and a couple of others join in with firing coaches, then the courtship of the names above will come fast and furious for the Buccaneers, and everyone else.
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