Four former NFL coaches on Bucs radar
It became apparent Sunday that the Bucs plan to interview the hottest NFL head coaching candidates of the year.
That is, if the year was 2006.
Although vowing to keep an open mind, the Bucs seemed to be zeroing in on four of the league’s veteran ex-head coaches, each of them age 55 or older.
A week following the firing 35-year-old Raheem Morris after three seasons, it’s beginning to look like the Bucs are focusing on a gray-haired former NFL head coach to get their franchise back on track after 10-straight losses to finish the 2011 season.
Former Browns, Chiefs, Redskins and Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, 68, is also on the Bucs radar, but no interview has been scheduled, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
The Bucs already have interviewed for Green Bay Packers and Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman, 57. In fact, the only known candidate the Bucs have interviewed with no previous head coaching experience is Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, who would satisfy the Rooney Rule requirements.
The Texans have granted permission for the Bucs to interview Phillips, who returned to work after missing two weeks to undergo surgery on his kidney and gallbladder. Phillips is expected to interview on Friday and he hopes the meeting will take place in Houston. The Texans, who defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10 in an AFC wildcard playoff game Saturday, play at Baltimore in a divisional playoff game next Sunday.
"I'm gratified somebody noticed,'' Phillips told the Houston Chronicle. "I don't want to leave Houston, but I'd like a chance to be a head coach again.''
Phillips has done a remarkable job in his first season with the Texans, taking them from 30th in the NFL in total defense to second (281 yards per game). The Texans have already set a single-season record for sacks (41) and rank 10th in takeaways (26).
Childress, 55, coached the Vikings from 2006-10, winning two NFC North titles. His overall record was 39-35 before he was fired after a 3-7 start in 2010.
An offensive play-caller, Childress had trouble developing quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and was responsible for luring quarterback Brett Favre out of retirement twice.
In 2009, the Vikings went 12-4 and reached the NFC Championship game before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Saints. NFL.com has reported that Childress may be interviewing for the position of offensive coordinator and speculated that Sherman will be hired by the Bucs next week.
Phillips, 64, is 82-59 as an NFL head coach with the Broncos, Bills, Cowboys, and Saints (interim). He believes that success should give him another shot as a head coach.
"I don’t like to toot my own horn,” Phillips told reporters Thursday. “I’ve got a good record. I think I should be considered. I guess people may have taken it the wrong way that I ought to be a head coach. I don’t believe that. I think I should be considered. If you look at my record and you look at all the people they’re talking about now, and my record is better than most everyone they’re talking about, as a head coach.
“If you want a winner, if you want experience, you know, I’d like to talk about it. But this is the best job I’ve had. I’m not looking to go anywhere.’’
Zimmer, 55, was ranked as the No. 2 defensive coordinator in the league by Pro Football Weekly. Since coming to the Bengals four years ago, the Bengals defense has ranked 12th (2008), 4th (2009), 15th (2010), and 7th (2011).
Schottenheimer led the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League to a 3-1 record in a shortened season as head coach and general manager. He last coached in the NFL in 2006. He was fired by the Chargers after going 14-2 during the regular season before suffering a second-round loss in the playoffs. Schottenheimer's career record is 200-126-1.