With Linebackers Coach Duffner installed as interim Defensive Coordinator, the Buccaneers are searching for a permanent holder of the job. The appointment isn’t likely to be made until after the end of the season. Here’s my take on who could fill that vacancy.
Mark Duffner – If Duffner turns this defense around, then this one makes sense. It would take quite the uplift in performance for him to secure the full-time job, but if the defense looks like they want to play for Duffner during this season and positive signs are shown, this hire would create continuity for the players and staff. Having a new coach without having to once again rebuild the defense would certainly appeal to many. Can Duff inspire his players enough to turn them into a defense to be feared? That is the question, and he has 11 games to show why he’s the right man to take over.
Raheem Morris – Morris is the controversial choice on this list. A viewer of Brit Buc’s Bites previously mentioned Morris as a possible candidate. At the time I was firmly against that; however, I’ll admit when I’m wrong, and I’m starting to warm to the idea. When Morris was the Bucs Head Coach he was young and not ready for such a promotion. But he did inspire a roster without real talent to 10-6, and solely being the Defensive Coordinator would be a much more manageable experience. Morris has moved around the league and has gained experience and maturity as a person and as a coach. Currently assistant Head Coach with the Atlanta Falcons and Wide Receivers coach, this is an appropriate step up for Morris and could make sense for both parties. Morris enjoyed his most successful periods coaching as Defensive Coordinator at the college level when he had only that to focus on. Don’t be surprised if Raheem is a name on most people’s lips come end of season.
Brent Venables – Another possibility for the Buccaneers is to take someone from the NCAA who is ready for a promotion to the big league. Venables certainly fits that description and is widely regarded as the best DC at the college level. It would certainly take an interesting offer after the Clemson Tigers made Venables one of the highest paid Coordinators in college football. But the Bucs could certainly do with his brand of aggressive and swarming defense here in Tampa.
The fact remains that many of the best Defensive Coaches are already tied to teams and might not be interested in leaving for new pastures, especially if it isn’t for a promotion. This is my list of possible targets. Who do you have?