2008 Bucs' Schedule: PNG

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bucs Finish Up Coaching Staff...For Now

With the Senior Bowl just around the corner, the Bucs have finished hiring coaches to go into the game with a full staff. They did this during the past few days by hiring Larry Coyer to be the Defensive Line coach and Assistant Head Coach, pretty much filling the same role as Marinelli two years ago. Then they followed that up with hiring Bob Casullo as their Tight Ends coach.

Both coaches bring strong coaching skills and experience to these positions. Both coaches are well regarded and proven in the NFL. We should see some solid development form the Defensive Line, and we'll see if Alex Smith develops more under Casullo than he did under Middleton.

I don't expect this to be the last changes in the coaching staff. I expect more changes will occur after the Senior Bowl. If there's not some change at the OL coaching spot, I'd be shocked. There needs to be a change there. So stay tuned.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

More On Middleton

Pewter Report has the full scoop on why Middleton was let out of his contract to go to Alabama. It appears to be related to treatment for his wife. Go read it. So it appears that letting Middleton go was a family issue and not a performance issue, which I wasn't convinced of, but mentioned as a possibility considering the fact that the Bucs don't let coaches generally get out of their contracts.

So now the Bucs must get a new coach for TE's as well.

Middleton Leaves For Alabama

The Bucs lose another offensive coach, Ron Middleton, who is bolting to be with Saban and the Tide. He was a solid TE's coach, but I have a feeling that the Bucs encouraged him to seek other opportunities as, if I remember correctly, he was still under contract with the Bucs.

In any case, the changes continue. To be honest, I think that the only coach that is safe on the offense is the running backs coach, Art Valero, as he can also coach the Tight Ends. Middleton was a solid coach, but I think Gruden may have wanted to see better development of Smith.

In any case, the changes aren't over yet, especially with Hackett being a likely candidate for the Green Bay OC job. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Bradley Promoted To LB Coach

Pewter Report and Buccaneers.com are both reporting the promotion of Casey "Gus" Bradley to the position of Linebackers Coach from his Defensive Quality Control Coach position. Pewter Report has a lengthier story on Bradley's former positions. He's been a coach at every level of the defense in college, and was an LB coach before, so this should be a good move.

Gruden stated that Bradley had excellent attention to details, which is probably one of the key aspects he's looking for as they fill coaching positions and make changes. I think the defense suffered from a lack of doing the little things and being aggressive and that was more a sign of the coaching this past season. I wonder just how well Barry was working after being denied a chance to bolt to Detroit. The DL and DB coaches clearly weren't aggressive enough and they seemed unable to focus the players on learning the intricacies of the defense.

I'm still expecting some whacking of the offensive coaching staff. Hackett may bolt when his contract ends this month, so he may need to be replaced. I expect Muir to either be whacked, or slid into a different position. Muir's not a bad coach, per se, but he's been unable to get this offensive line to play up to it's ability on a consistent basis. I'm not sure what other changes may, or may not, happen, though I've mentioned that something might happen with Mann. The dropped passes has been ongoing for a couple of years now and it's proliferated amongst all of the receivers. Clearly something needs to change there. In the meantime I'll keep an eye out on what's going on.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Changes Are Afoot

Well, with the last game gone, and my attention on the Gators a__ whuppin' on the Buckeyes now fading, I thought I'd start the off-season blogging now that the changes are starting to happen. Now, I'm not going to blog about every FA pick-up right now, as they are mostly names of little notoriety, and unlikely to make any impact. What I am going to talk about is the coaching situation.

I can tell you straight up that if you were one of those that wanted Gruden gone, well...ain't happening. What is happening, however, is a little house cleaning. Greg Burns and Jethro Franklin (the DB and DL coaches, respectively) have been whacked. These were the two coaches picked up from USC. Unfortunately, they both turned out to be way to passive and the defense took on that passive persona. Their inability to really teach the Tampa 2's intricacies led to some issues that showed up on the field. This is not to say that their weren't any issues with the players, but the coaching was clearly not what the Bucs were looking for.

To replace Burns, the Bucs have brought back Raheem Morris, who was the assistant DB coach under Tomlin. He brings some fire to the position, and is well versed in our defensive scheme and techniques. He's also a good understudy to Monte Kiffin. A replacement for Franklin is yet to be announced, but I'm sure the Bucs plan on bringing someone in who is a lot more aggressive and can really motivate the DL and teach our defense. We'll see who they bring in.

Who's next? Hard to say, but I wouldn't be shocked if Muir is gone, and possibly Mann. It's hard to not look at how those two positions have constantly had new talent thrown at them and yet failed to really get much better overall. The offensive line has better talent than they've shown, and I just don't see Muir's schemes working out for Gruden over the long haul. Mann, who appeared to be a good coach, as overseen a group of receivers that can't seem to get rid of the nasty habit of dropping balls. Mann is certainly good at spotting receiver talent and teaching routes, but none of that is any good if the receivers can't be drilled correctly to catch the ball. We've seen way too many dropped passes by more than just one receiver.

If there are any changes on the offensive side, these two would be the one's that I would suspect would have a shot at being done. I don't see any other coaches being whacked. It will also be interesting to see if Hackett returns, as his contract was up at the end of the season. With the Bucs coaching the North team of the Senior Bowl, the Bucs will want to get their staff changes done, and get ready to evaluate and coach the seniors out of college. It's certainly starting to get interesting, and I think it's only just begun.