Buccaneers fire offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski
The news is a shock, coming just more than a week before the start of the regular season.
Jagodzinski never coached a regular season game with the Bucs, having been hired in February.
There was no reason offered by the team in its announcement, but coach Raheem Morris will hold a news conference at noon to take questions on the move.
“I am certainly disappointed but I wish nothing but the best for Raheem Morris and the entire Buccaneer organization," Jagodzinski said in a statement. "I was given the chance to remain on staff as the quarterbacks coach, but felt that the timing for such a move was not in the best interest for either side. I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me. Again, I wish nothing but the best for this organization.”
Jagodzinski was fired from his post as head coach at Boston College in January when he ignored an order from the school and interviewed with the New York Jets for their vacant head coaching position.
Jagodzinski was present for the team's practice on Wednesday and there did not appear to be an indication anything was amiss, making this news all the more unexpected. He spent his six months on the job installing the team's new offense, and a chief question now becomes how his dismissal will affect how it's run.
Former Bucs coach Jon Gruden seemed as stunned as everyone else by the news that the Bucs had fired Jagodzinski on Thursday morning, just 10 days before the start of the 2009 season.
"I was obviously surprised,'' Gruden said. "I was fired by the (Bucs) so I'm sensitive to that. It's a strange situation. Tampa Bay has a lot of really good players on offense. ... This is strange. This is uncommon. All I read is how excited they were about the acquisition of coach Jags. Obviously they feel they have somebody in-house to take the reins. I do know they don’t have a lot of time, and I certainly wish them the best.''
While surprised by the news, Gruden did have good things to say about Olson, who was promoted from quarterbacks coach to replace Jagodzinski. Gruden hired Olson to coach the Bucs quarterbacks in January of 2008.
"I think Greg is an excellent coach and I was very fortunate to hire him,'' Gruden said. "He has a vast amount of experience. He was in St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and Purdue. He has coached some young quarterbacks -- Drew Brees, Rex Grossman, Joey Harrington. He's a hard-working guy, very smart.''
Perhaps a positive note is that running backs coach and close Jagodzinski friend Steve Logan remains. Logan has been with Jagodzinski at multiple coaching stops and was his offensive coordinator at Boston College. He was intimately involved installing the offense and even has influence on playcalling.
[Times photo | Daniel Wallace]