Buccaneers miss out on top three offensive coordinator candidates

This is turning into another nightmare like last season.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Nic Antaya/GettyImages
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It’s not shaping up to be a particularly great offseason so far for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The team had its To Do List all sorted, but Dave Canales leaving to take the job as Carolina Panthers head coach thrust everything into chaos. Replacing him and finding a new offensive coordinator became the top priority for the Bucs since almost everything else hinges on how that search goes.

So far it hasn’t gone very welll.

Tampa Bay has already missed out on three of the top candidates it requested to interview after Canales left. After Canales left, the Bucs requested interviews with Zac Robinson, Kellen Moore, and Ken Dorsey — all of whom were viewed as top candidates on the market.

Unsurprisingly, they all found jobs. Unfortunately it was before the Bucs could get a word in.

Robinson was hired by the Falcons, Moore went to the Eagles, and Dorsey landed with the Browns. All three candidates are off the board before the Bucs got a chance to talk with them, which is a pretty tough blow to take.

Buccaneers offensive coordinator search feels stuck in the mud

What makes this even more distressing is that it feels so much like last year when it shouldn’t. The Bucs are in a much better and healthier place than they were a year ago, but it seems just as hard to lure in a top coordinator to run the offense in Tampa Bay.

Moore is particularly frustrating, as this is now back-to-back years he’s been viewed as a potential perfect fit for the Bucs only to not even give them the time of day before taking another job. He landed with the Chargers last season in hopes of fixing Justin Herbert and now hopes to do the same with Jalen Hurts.

Tampa Bay losing out on Robinson isn’t surprising but it’s probably the hardest of the three to stomach. He has a history with Baker Mayfield, having worked with him with the Rams last season, but now heads to a division rival to revamp an offense that looks to be deadly next season. Raheem Morris poached him from the staff in Los Angeles after having worked with Robinson there, so it’s not as big of a snub as it is with Moore, but the perfect fit part of this makes it tough to accept.

Dorsey was the outlier, but also felt like a perfect match. He was cast out in Buffalo and essentially scapegoated after Joe Brady turned the Bills offense around. Landing in Tampa with a chip on his shoulder would have fit the entire vibe of the team, but he’ll try to rebuild himself in Cleveland instead.

This leaves the Bucs in a frustrating position, as the market is starting to dry up and Tampa Bay is no closer to finding someone to run the offense. Even in-house candidate Thad Lewis is getting interest from the Raiders, which could take another coach off the board. It seems the Bucs will once again have to dig deep into the barrel and possible promote another first-time play caller to run the offense next year.

Missing on those top three candidates isn’t the end of the world, but it’s pretty disheartening. The Bucs seemingly set themselves up to be in a better spot than they were a year ago, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from how their search for an offensive coordinator is going.

The silver lining could be that the Bucs found Canales thanks to the situation they were in last year, so there’s hope that Jason Licht and Todd Bowles can do it again and find another diamond in the rough. Unfortunately, despite the progress made, it seems like that’s the route the team is going to have to take.

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