Coaches on board, Bucs start interviews for GM hire
With two coordinators and another six assistants reportedly on board for Lovie Smith's new Bucs coaching staff, the team has started the process of hiring a general manager, with requests out for permission to interview at least three up-and-coming candidates.
Mark Dominik's successor could very well be a first-time general manager, and Smith's control over the team's 53-man roster could allow other teams to decline to allow the Bucs to interview their front-office personnel. Here are the (UPDATED: four!) names links to the Bucs' GM search in various reports Wednesday:
-- Chris Ballard, Chiefs director of player personnel: Ballard has the benefit of close experience with Smith, having spent 12 years with the Bears (including all nine of Smith's seasons there) before going to Kansas City in May. He was Chicago's Southwest area scout until 2012, when he was named the Bears' director of pro scouting.
-- Lionel Vital, 50, Falcons director of player personnel: Vital has a background in scouting and only moved into his current job a year ago, but ProFootballTalk.com says he'll interview for the Bucs' opening. He started out as a scout with Bill Belichick's Browns and has also worked for the Ravens, Jets and Patriots. His NFL career was limited to three games in 1987 as a replacement player, but he rushed for 346 yards in those games as a Redskins running back.
-- Marc Ross, Giants vice president of player evaluation: Ross, too, is in his first year in a new job after spending six years as New York's director of college scouting. He was Philadelphia's college scouting director at age 27 in 2000, and Fox's Mike Garofalo reported Wednesday that the Bucs had requested permission to interview him.
-- Morocco Brown, Redskins director of pro personnel: Like Ballard, he has the benefit of having worked directly with Smith -- he was the Bears' assistant director of pro personnel from 2001-07, overlapped for Smith's first four seasons before going to Washington. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport says the former N.C. State linebacker is among the Bucs' requests for interviews.
With the Dolphins and general manager Jeff Ireland mutually agreeing to part ways, the Bucs are now competing with another team in the state with a GM opening. The Bucs have confirmed Smith's coordinators in former Cal coach Jeff Tedford on offense and former Vikings coach Leslie Frazier on defense. Another six position coaches are reportedly in place, with only tight ends and defensive backs as the unfilled positions.
Another name joining the Bucs in an unknown capacity: former NFL defensive coordinator Larry Marmie, a key mentor in Smith's coaching upbringing. Marmie was Tulsa's defensive coordinator when Smith played there, and Smith coached under him when he was Arizona State's head coach (1988-91) and Tennessee's defensive coordinator (1993-94). Marmie, 71, resigned as a scout with the Raiders to accept a job with the Bucs, according to Contra Costa Times..