In a franchise no shortage on chaos, the question continues to loom, “Who will coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019?”
While Dirk Koetter is “surviving” his third year as head coach, most signs point to him be on the hot seat and becoming a lame duck. Crushing losses like the one against the Carolina Panthers added gasoline to the pyre. Should Koetter not last into 2019 as the head coach, here are a few names worth looking at (that are official).
Jack Del Rio
Assuming there’s minimal turnover and just the head coach and possibly the general manager go, Jack Del Rio would make the most logical sense with a “franchise” quarterback he could use to ride out one more season or as trade bait. The defense already understands the system Del Rio uses since Mike Smith came from his coaching tree.
As a defensive coordinator, Del Rio’s had a reputation for quick turnarounds with his time in Carolina and Denver. He’s also achieved moderate success as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders. With bookended lackluster seasons, he was fired in favor of the return of Jon Gruden.
Del Rio can also be a way the Glazers can “have their cake and eat it too” solution if Koetter is willing to accept a demotion or somehow convinces the Glazers to give him one more year as HC and his mentor be the defensive coordinator.
As a disciple of Andy Reid, Bieniemy has had the benefit of coaching Patrick Mahomes in one of the NFL’s top offenses in the 8-1 Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes has a current QB rating of 116.7, 86.4 QBR, 2,901 passing yards, 29 passing touchdowns and 7 interceptions through nine games. While credit does also goes to QB coach Mike Kafka, who’s also a former Bucs QB, who could be tapped to be his offensive coordinator.
Despite being a similar situation with an underperforming defense, Bienemy could possible shift the offense to becoming more focused and not add to the Bucs’ woes.
Bieniemy can be a gamble given Kansas City is his first NFL offense he’s ran, but given the current results, he could be worth the risk as an up-and-coming mind.
Pete Carmichael might just be the stable offensive mind the Bucs needs given his long history with Saints head coach Sean Payton. Helping to make Drew Brees the quarterback he is today for as long as he’s been could be what Jameis Winston or whomever takes starting snaps in 2019 needs. While defense could still be a question, if the starting Bucs QB has half the smarts and stoic presence in the pocket as Brees has, then you can at least help fix the turnover issues.
With Carmichael, you should also consider bringing Jeff Ireland, who has been able to help keep Brees loaded up with his arsenal of playmakers.
Might be time for Carmichael to step out of Payton’s shadow.
Assuming John Harbaugh retains his job as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, Don Martindale deserves his share of credit to help make the Ravens the current no. 1 defense in the league. He could help shape up and bring a type of intensity not long seen in the Bucs since the Dungy/Kiffin days.
Harbaugh’s defenses have regularly finished in the top 10 the past few years and Martindale’s been instrumental as linebackers coach to help him through that. As a result, he promoted Martindale to DC.
Honorable mention candidate goes to Joe Cullen, who was defensive line coach from 2014-2015 seasons for the Bucs.
Wash also has a history with the Bucs being introduced in the league during Jon Gruden’s final years with the team in 2007 as a defensive quality control coach. While he left the team in 2010, he would join the Seattle Seahawks in 2011 where he would help build the line that would eventually win the Super Bowl in 2013.
Unfortunately for Wash, he left that year to join the Jaguars in a lateral move and was given duties to be their running game coordinator. Wash’s move to Jacksonville proved fruitful as the team surged from day one. The 2016 team finished 6th in yards surrendered, 2nd in 2017 in the same category as well as points given up and currently sit as the second best overall defense in the league.
This should be a homecoming the Bucs should seriously push for if they want to be taken seriously again.