Opinion: Do Buc Coaching Hires Make the Grade?


Finally the seemingly endless process of hiring an entirely new coaching staff has come to an end. And the timing couldn’t have been better. Free agency is about to begin and the draft is right around the corner.

Stephen Holder at the Tampa Bay Times did a great job of drilling down on the coaching history of all the recent coaching hires. See his column here:

We’ll spend time instead grading the hires, on a curve, using ‘potential’ and some common sense rather than measurable metrics since predicting coaching success is inherently unpredictable (see Browns coach Belichick, Bill for a prime example of this).

We’ll break this up into two parts given the size of the coaching staff. Here we go:

Part I.


Greg Schiano, Head Coach – I’ll spend the least time here since this is the one that is most malleable due to wins and losses. If he wins it’s an A. if not, well, we’ll see. It took a bit of time to get used to it but ever since his first press conference I’ve been drinking the kool aid. Grade: B

Bill Sheridan, Defensive Coordinator – I will come right out and admit that this was the hire I’ve been least excited about. We all know by now his reputation with the Giants and how the defense declined during his watch. However it needs to be stressed that before his defense was decimated by injuries (not just affected as all NFL teams are, but decimated), the Giants were playing very good defense. And yes, we’ve heard the rumors about him dropping linemen into coverage, etc, but let’s not forget about Butch Davis and Schiano here. They are both defensive coaches too and will certainly have some influence. But for now I’ll take a wait and see attitude. Grade: C

Mike Sullivan, Offensive Coordinator – I love this hire. Yes, he has no coordinator experience, but you can say that of every coordinator at some point. He does have coaching experience and he’s had significant success in the NFL developing elite receivers and an elite QB. I like his attitude and drive. We’ll see how he calls plays but I think we’ll see a far more polished offense. Grade: B+

Bob Ligashesky, Special Teams Coordinator – Ligashesky has a lot of NFL special teams experience and has done well at nearly every stop. Grade: B

Jimmy Raye, Senior Offensive Assistant – at first this was a curious hire to me. As one of the first hires, given his role as an assistant I wasn’t sure what his role was going to be. We still don’t exactly but he’s got a ton of NFL experience and that can only be helpful as both Schiano and Sullivan get their feet wet as HC and OC respectively. Grade: B

Brian Angelichio, Tight Ends Coach – I think college position coaches, given the youth of the team is not a bad idea. Remember, Tony Dungy’s staff was largely made up of college position coaches. As we’ve heard preached over and over again, teachers are what are most important. Grade: B

Bob Bostad, Offensive Line Coach – exciting hire with a lot of upside potential. Bostad has experience coaching the O line, tight ends and also recently served as a running game coordinator. In addition to that he had been hired by Pittsburgh to be OC before accepting the Bucs job. As OL coach at Wisconsin, Bostad churned out NFL quality linemen with regularity. One of his players (Pete Konz) is expected to be drafted on Day 1 of this year’s draft. If the Bucs don’t slide Jeremy Zuttah over to C they’ll give Konz a good look on draft day. Grade: B+

Jay Butler, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach – as strength and conditioning coach I have no problem at all with Butler’s lack of NFL experience. In fact, this might be a positive. He’s used to working with kids that have either primarily bad habits or no habits regarding conditioning. And he’s helped produce 13 NFL draft picks in the last 5 years at a modestly sized program. Grade: B+

Ron Turner, Quarterbacks Coach – this was an important hire. We all know that Turner (brother of Norv) was being considered for OC as well. I was not a fan of that possibility but QB coach is far different and I think it’s a good role for him. Concentrating on his pro stints he did very well with less than optimal talent at the QB position in Chicago during the mid 1990’s including working with a rookie QB, Kyle Orton, and helping him and the Bears have success. He’s also worked as a WR coach so there should be a lot of common ground between Turner and Sullivan as they try to get the Bucs offense, and particularly Josh Freeman back on track.

Earnest Byner, Running Backs Coach – Byner has had plenty of success in the NFL coaching the RB’s for the Titans and the Jaguars. Not only with starters, but with backups, which is significant. He’s also done a good job with fullbacks, helping develop Greg Jones into a road grader. Grade: B

Part II Coming Soon…

-Steven Levy