The Bucs entered the off-season with a number of questions facing their coaching staff, questions about extensions and the long-term future of GM Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris preceded concerns about the general (and tenuous) contract status of the rest of the Bucs coaching staff. After losing D-Line coach Todd Wash to Seattle and Special Teams coordinator Rich Bissacia to San Diego, the Bucs have started to move to fill out the rest of the its staff.
The ownership exercised options on Morris and Dominik, delaying extension talks for the intermediate future in favor of handling the other, more immediate coaching staff issues at hand. The team made the surprising decision to part ways with Pete Mangurian a few days ago. Opting to replace him with former Vikings offensive line coach Pat Morris.
“Pete did a good job here,” Morris said. “He wasn’t let go because of the job he did. It was just that Greg needs to have the guy he wants in there. That’s something you have to do as a head coach.”
This move was surprising indeed, Mangurian was arguably the Bucs most valuable assistant coach this season. The Bucs line started out rough, but Mangurian was able to round it into shape and help mold rookie Ted Larsen into a quality starting guard. The run game finished 8th in the NFL, the line wasn’t a problem by the end of the season.
But, I do respect Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik for being pragmatic. Magurian was Raheem Morris’ guy, he was one of the first calls made by Morris upon being named head coach and he was a trusted part of the staff. But Greg Olson has a high level of comfort and familiarity with Morris, whom helped him get his start. This is a smart move by the Bucs. If this helps to improve the offense, if this helps to bring a promising young offense to the next level, then this is the right move to make.
I think it’s too bad Mangurian had to be the odd man out, but in all reality, Morris is a pretty talented line-coach. Minnesota regularly ranks atop the NFL in rushing and Morris has helped to mentor some of the best linemen in football including Steve Hutchinson and Bryant McKinnie. This Bucs offensive line stands to learn a lot and improve even more under Morris.