"You guys are really knocking this search out of the park." (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE)

‘Unknown Candidate’ Potentially in Bucs Coaching Mix


Here’s another unwanted twist in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ coaching search. According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, though the list of finalists should be ‘obvious’ by Thursday morning, there may be a mystery candidate under consideration.

That could mean nothing. But reporters are also starting to toss out the term smokescreen which really terrifies me. Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune used it first. It’ll pick up on twitter today. On one hand I think of the Glazers literally just having learned about smokescreens, almost like they had just arrived at that chapter in the coaching search textbook and couldn’t wait to try them out. On the other hand I do think about the possibility that the Bucs are still biding their time, courting a college coach or a Superbowl coordinator.

I’m not sure at this point either of those is a good option. Before I get into why, it’s worth pointing out again Stroud may have been wrong, it may just be another coordinator. It may be someone solid. But given the ways this coaching search has unfolded I am in now way shape or form confident in that possibility. The Bucs have targeted a number of targets and seemed to zoom in on some of the poorer ones. They took a shot in the dark at a college coach that would have been in over his head. They’ve given the general appearance on ineptitude, regardless of whether or not that’s actually been the case.

I don’t think at this point it’s unfair to even think that either. Here’s why I’m concerned by the potential mystery candidate and the talk of smoke screens:

Quite frankly I’m not really in favor of any college coaches unless it would happen to be Kirk Ferentz. I’ve said that all along. But that’s even tough at this stage in the game, and as I’ve mentioned on the podcast and on the site, he’s been historically unwilling to even consider NFL jobs. Beyond him, taking college coaches with little or no NFL experience is incredibly risky. College football is a completely different game in every single aspect, college coaches spend as much time worrying about boosters and recruiting and non-tactical stuff as they do on actually coaching. Trust me, I cover college football for a living. I know what I’m talking about here. That’s a major jump and without ever having been in the NFL to know what to expect, it’s borderline irresponsible to entrust your team to someone like that.

Are there other college coaches with NFL experience? Yes. But none really worth hiring, so if it’s a college coach it’s likely not going to be good for the Bucs. And as I’ve mentioned. Waiting another 10 days to hire one of the Giants coordinators would be a terrible idea because you’d get the last jump on building a staff and be at a huge disadvantage when it came to getting the best possible coaches. None of this is likely good news for Bucs fans if its true.

If its true.

It could also just be another coordinator, another former head coach. It might not even be all that bad. But like I said, given the events of the last three and a half weeks: I’m not confident.

Mystery candidate could be anyone. Hue Jackson. Perry Fewell. Hell, it could be June Jones. It hurts to think about.