It’s nice when things actually turn out well, after weeks of speculation and much trepidation the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have actually constructed a solid coaching staff. There are still a few more hires to make, sure, but the general shape of the staff has been determined and now the coaches can begin to get to work.
The Bucs have hired Mike Sullivan, the QB’s coach from the New York Giants to be their offensive coordinator and Butch Davis will be the “senior defensive assistant.” Both moves provide some stability and should be solid hires. A surprising turnaround after a long, at times bizarre coaching hunt that has gone on for more than a month.
The Sullivan hire I like in particular because he’s been around a quarterback who has experienced some ups and downs. Sullivan has only been the Giants’ QB coach for two seasons, before that he coached receivers. But he’s been around Eli Manning since the early years. In 2010, Manning threw 25 interceptions, Sullivan had him playing the most clutch football of his career by the end of this year.
Hopefully some of that rubs off on Josh Freeman, who also has a knack for the clutch but could use help becoming a better quarterback in the first three quarters. And hopefully Sullivan’s able to get the best out of the receivers like the Giants team he came from did. That’s becoming a recurring theme on Super Bowl winners. You don’t need a superstar receiver, you just need three or four good ones.
We’ve talked the Davis hire to death on this site. He’s not going to be the ‘actual’ coordinator, much in the same way a mafia don isn’t ‘actual’ boss. But we all know who’s calling the shots. Davis is going to be an asset to Greg Schiano. He’ll be able to mentor him and act as a sounding board. Not to mention he’s an asset in terms of talent evaluation.
Which is good, because now the Bucs need to make their final few hires and turn their attention to building around their personnel. Coaches need to determine what kind of offense they want to run, the blocking schemes, the kinds of things you want to do as an offense versus what you can do well as an offense now. The same goes for the defense. As I’ve mentioned, switching to a 3-4 alignment would be an interesting way to shake things up but would require a considerable commitment in the draft and free agency.
Regardless, there’s a lot to do. There’s not going to be a lot of news in the coming weeks, but don’t mistake that for lack of activity. This may be some of the hardest Greg Schiano’s coaching staff will work during their entire tenure.