I believe the Glazers owe it to their fans and their organization to show that they are truly committed to winning. Their last two hires as head coach of the Buccaneers, Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano, had very little track record of success at the NFL level. Morris and Schiano are both defensive-minded coaches who never progressed the offense to the level of consistency that is necessary to success in this NFL.
If the Bucs indeed do the right thing and look for a new head coach, the quarterback position MUST be thought of with the new hire. Quarterback is the most important position in all of sports. With any interview conducted to find a new coach, the question must be asked as to whether or not that coach will be able to find, develop, and maintain consistent success from a quarterback. Without a quarterback in this NFL, you have little chance of winning consistently.
I know that Lovie Smith is very popular around these parts, but I think the Bucs need to strongly consider bringing in an offensive mind to run their team and find a franchise quarterback. I do like Lovie Smith and feel he would bring stability to a very unstable franchise, but offensive minds should be strongly considered as well.
For a team like the Bucs who do not have a true franchise quarterback, drafting a talented signal caller and developing him is the likely way to fixing this problem. Phillip Rivers and Jay Cutler are slated to be free agents, but both could return to their respective franchises. If they did not return to the Chargers or Bears, both would likely receive massive contracts due to the amount of teams in need of a quarterback.
Hiring an offensive-minded head coach would ensure that the young quarterback who is being developed will continue to be developed in the same type of offense as long as that head coach is with the team. That offensive-minded head coach could also look to current defensive-minded head coaches who could be fired (Jim Schwartz, Leslie Frazier, Dennis Allen) to be their defensive coordinator.
Hiring a defensive-minded head coach means that as soon as the offense with this young quarterback starts to have success, the offensive coordinator could find himself receiving offers to be a head coach elsewhere. A move like this would mean that a new offensive coordinator would have to be hired and the young quarterback would have to learn a whole new offense and terminology, which typically stunts his growth.
If the Glazers decide to turn their franchise over to a new head coach, here are a few names I would interview as soon as possible and some questions I’d ask them:
Lovie Smith – Former Bears head coach – Lovie Smith is a defensive-minded head coach, but his Tony Dungy-like approach would be welcomed by this franchise. Smith would bring stability and a sense of relief. If Lovie Smith did want to be my head coach, he would have to provide a top-notch offensive coordinator who would accompany him. Former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, current Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, current Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and current Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan would all be nice options as offensive coordinators if available for Lovie Smith.
Ken Whisenhunt – Former Cardinals head coach/current Chargers offensive coordinator – Whisenhunt has proven with three different NFL teams that when he has a quarterback, his offense can be one of the league’s best. Before this season, many in San Diego were ready to give up on Phillip Rivers. The concern is that Whisenhunt was never able to find a quarterback to replace Kurt Warner in Arizona. Can Whisenhunt find quarterbacks or does he need to inherit them? Can Whisenhunt be trusted to find a quarterback when he failed on multiple draft picks and signed Kevin Kolb to a massive contract while with the Cardinals? This interview would be interesting.
Darrell Bevell – Current Seahawks Offensive Coordinator – Bevell has a tremendous track record in the NFL from being the Packers QB coach (2003-2005), Vikings offensive coordinator (2006-2010), and Seahawks offensive coordinator (2011-current). Bevell has developed an offense in Seattle that revolves around an undersized quarterback and average wide receivers. Bevell has leaned on the running game with both the Vikings (Adrian Peterson) and Seahawks (Marshawn Lynch). The idea would be that Bevell would bring an aggressive mentality on offense as a head coach, much like the Seahawks have on defense. Would Bevell believe that he could run his offense with Johnny Manziel as his new undersized quarterback? If he said yes to that, would this excite a Bucs fan base that has been without true excitement for close to 10 years? Hmmm.
Greg Roman – Current 49ers Offensive Coordinator – Roman does not have the track record of Darrell Bevell, but he has learned under Jim Harbaugh since 2009, both at Stanford and with the 49ers. Roman’s offense in San Francisco has a true identity as a physical/grind it out offense that might pair very well with a Buccaneer defense that might just be a good scheme away from being dominant. Roman has only been in the NFL for a few years and all of that has been under Jim Harbaugh’s shadow. Is Roman ready to run his own franchise? Can he find a quarterback? Will Roman run Harbaugh’s offense or does he have his own wrinkle?
Jay Gruden – Current Bengals Offensive Coordinator – Just because the last name is the same, Jon and Jay are two very different guys. Yes, Jon Gruden’s time with the Bucs came to an abrupt end, but if the Glazers are now willing to spend some money, both on personnel and the staff itself, it might be tough for Jay Gruden to just say no. Gruden has developed Andy Daulton into a quarterback that has won the AFC North. In Tampa, Gruden might have a very similar team to what the Bengals have. The Bucs defense is close to being great and the offense will be loaded with younger players at skill positions. Jay Gruden, as opposed to Jon, has show the ability to work with and develop young offensive players. Would Johnny Manziel be the target of Jay Gruden’s offense if he came to Tampa?
Pete Carmichael – Current Saints Offensive Coordinator – Carmichael has learned under Sean Payton during his 6 years with the Saints. Carmichael has been QBs coach, passing game coordinator, and is currently the offensive coordinator for the Saints. Carmichael would likely try to mimic the type of opened up down the field offense that the Saints run. With coaches like Carmichael, I do have concerns that Sean Payton called all of the plays and that Carmichael might not be very skilled in that area. It would still be a good idea to interview a coach from your own division to at least get an idea of how your organization is viewed.
Jim Caldwell – Current Ravens Offensive Coordinator – Caldwell has coached under Tony Dungy and has a lot of similar characteristics. Caldwell was an in-season addition that helped the Ravens propel themselves to Super Bowl Champions last year. The Ravens offense has been far from elite this season and their offensive line has been much of the blame. Caldwell might not have enough pizazz to get the Glazers or the Bucs fan base excited. If the Glazers are looking for a mild-mannered coach, it makes much more sense to go with Lovie Smith and get a good offensive coordinator.