Bucs Coaching Search: Just Spinning the Tires

The Bucs aren't much closer to their next head coach.
The Bucs aren't much closer to their next head coach. /

Things are beginning to enter the realm of chaos in the Buccaneers’ coaching search. That’s not me being dramatic either, the Bucs seem to just be throwing wild shots out into the dark at this point and nobody in Tampa is going to like how things turn out.

Think about it, 72 hours ago nobody had even considered Chip Kelly to be a head coaching option. I mean, come on, the guy is a great college coach but he comes with no NFL experience and is famous for running a form of offense that is in no way translatable to the NFL game. This would have been the Redskins hiring Steve Spurrier. It would have been a mistake.

As both Josh and I have said, the Bucs were fortunate that Kelly wanted to remain a Duck and continue coaching in college. But now the fanbase is left with a very real concern about the direction this search is headed and whether or not it’s being conducted the correct way.

Unfortunately right now if you’re a Bucs fan you’re faced with a lot more questions than answers.

The first thing that bothers me is something Rick Stroud wrote the other day. Stroud said the Glazers have never been involved in a hands-on way in a coaching search before and were learning as they went throughout the search.

I shouldn’t even need to explain why that bothers me, but here goes…

For starters you have a group of men helping to lead interviews that are not even entirely sure what they are looking for, that’s really bad. Even if Mark Dominik is completely competent having a group of suddenly-interested owners poking around does little to improve the interviews and doesn’t exactly give the impression that this is an organization that has things together up top.

Here’s the next problem, the Bucs have a model where the GM is in charge of personnel and will be an integral part of the team. As we’ve already talked about you need to find a coach that’s amenable to that, but this model only really works when the GM hires the coach. If the GM hires the coach, it’s an employee-boss kind of relationship and the roles are clearly defined. Raheem Morris may not have liked every decision that Mark Dominik made, and he certainly had input, but at the end of the day Dominik was Morris’ boss.

Now with the owners meddling a potential scenario arises where a coach feels loyalty to an owner over a GM. Say the Glazers outrule Dominik on a coaching choice and they hire someone that wasn’t the GM’s first choice. Now anytime a dispute arises, what’s to keep the coach from going over the GM’s head directly to the ownership that hired and supports him? What’s to prevent that from tearing the front office apart?

Moving on from that though, there doesn’t seem to be any clear cut sense of direction in terms of finding a candidate. The Bucs are all over the place, they seemed to have been high on Joe Philbin but missed out on him and then, at least from an outward standpoint, tossed up a Hail Mary on Chip Kelly.

While all of this is happening other teams are concluding their searches. The Dolphins and Jaguars both did, the Rams have and still the Bucs wait. Now you’re seeing teams address their needs at coordinator.

All of that is bad news, the coaching pool is drying up. The Bucs don’t just need a head coach, they have to hire an entire staff. Not only are the head coaching candidates coming off the board, so are the coordinators and assistants. Mike Nolan would have made a great fit in Tampa, but now he’ll be running the Falcons D instead. Josh McDaniels is already back in New England.

Every day the Bucs mill around more talented coaching candidates, head coaches, coordinators and positional coaches are hired by teams with needs. That means fewer options, that means the Bucs don’t get the right guy. And once they do finally hire a coach, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to get solid coordinators. Every week they wait more and more moves are made and fewer and fewer options remain.

You’ll know things have blown up in the Bucs’ faces when they’re introducing Brad Childress as the next head coach.

I don’t mean to pick on Childress but he’s become my worst case scenario. He’s the guy who will be around because he’s not in demand, he’s the hire that says “we blew it.”

He’s also quickly becoming a front-runner.