After a season of turmoil for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Glazer family faces an important off-season in, once again, trying to reconnect with their fan base. This decision goes well beyond their decision to keep or fire head coach Greg Schiano.
The Bucs have been a public relations nightmare this season. A few of the issues the Buccaneers have faced this season include:
-Handling of Josh Freeman’s benching and release.
-Comments about fans in press conferences.
-Former players berating Greg Schiano on national TV.
-Embarrassing signs and chants seen and heard on national TV.
-The potential for another 4-12 record.
I have gone on record as saying the Glazer family needs to show their fans they truly care about winning. To simply spend money on players and have coaches learning on the job is a disservice to a NFL franchise.
The Glazers have tried to distance themselves from the Gruden/Allen era by turning the franchise over to men who have a true belief in building a franchise through the draft. However, the Glazers might now feel that the only way to reconnect with their own fan base will be to reconnect with their past and bring some familiar names back to the franchise.
Here are a few names the Glazers could consider bringing back to the Buccaneers this off-season:
Lovie Smith – Head Coach – After sitting out the 2013 season, it appears that Lovie Smith is poised to return to the sidelines in the NFL. He has already been interviewed by the Houston Texans for seven hours, and will likely be one of the first coaches hired this off-season. Smith, the former linebackers coach for the Buccaneers, spent 9 seasons as the Chicago Bears head coach and ended with an 81-63 record. Offensive coordinator will be an important position if Smith is hired, and he might have to go after a big name like Scott Linehan, Kyle Shanahan, or possibly Gary Kubiak to truly help the league’s worst ranked offense moving forward.
Derrick Brooks – President/GM – Brooks as been the President of the Tampa Bay Storm of the AFL since 2011, and while the NFL is much different, the presence of Brooks back at One Buc Place would bring a sense of relief to the franchise. Brooks has stayed close to the organization and would also bring respect. Brooks would be an extremely easy sell to the fans.
Jerry Angelo – President/GM – Before his 11 years as Chicago Bears general manager, Angelo spent 14 years (1987-2000) as the Director of Player Personnel for the Buccaneers. Angelo had hits and misses with his draft picks and free agent signings in Chicago. Ultimately, Angelo was fired by the Bears after the 2011 season due to recent poor drafting and questionable free agent signings. Angelo did, however, trade for Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, drafted Lance Briggs, Matt Forte, and Devin Hester, and signed Julius Peppers in free agency.
Monte Kiffin – Defensive Coordinator – Eventually, Monte Kiffin has to retire, right? Kiffin’s defense in Dallas has been awful this year, however, Kiffin’s defense revolves around a dominant defensive tackle, which the Cowboys do not have. The Bucs do have that kind of defensive tackle. Monte Kiffin is still regarded as one of the most popular Buccaneers of all time and would be an easy sell to Bucs fans. Of course, this would be pending him or the entire coaching staff of the Cowboys being fired after the season.
Rod Marinelli – Defensive Coordinator – Personally, I’d rather have Marinelli as a defensive coordinator than Monte Kiffin. If Kiffin were hired as defensive coordinator, Marinelli could still be brought in as defensive line coach and assistant head coach. Marinelli is regarded as one of the top assistant coaches in the NFL. What Alex Gibbs did as an offensive line coach, Marinelli has done as a defensive line coach. Imagine what Marinelli could do with Gerald McCoy, DaQuan Bowers, Adrian Clayborn, William Gholston, and others.
As you’ve probably noticed, there is a lot of defensive-minded individuals on that list in what is an offensive driven league. If the Buccaneers decided to go this route, I would have serious questions about who would be in charge of improving the NFL’s worst ranked offense and how much control that person would have over his offense.
If the Bucs are ready to use this off-season as a public relations boost and to try and reconnect with their fans, then these will probably be some of the names we start to hear more of after the Bucs final regular season game on Sunday.
If the Glazers do not care about the PR boost or reconnecting with their fans or winning, then they’ll just stick with the people they have in place for next season.