Giants QBs coach Sullivan hired as Bucs offensive coordinator
Josh Freeman will be working with Eli Manning's Super Bowl winning quarterback coach next season.
The Bucs have hired Giants quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan as offensive coordinator, the team confirmed Friday night.
Sullivan was the Giants receivers coach for six seasons before coaching quarterbacks the past two years. Under Sullivan, Manning has achieved two of the best seasons in the NFL, culminating with a Super Bowl MVP performance in the Giants 21-17 victory over the Patriots Sunday.
Manning completed 359-for-589 passes for 4,933 yards with 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions this season to finish with a passer rating of 92.9, the second best of his career.
"We are very fortunate to add someone like Mike Sullivan to lead our offensive coaching staff,'' Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. "He is a man of character and a complete football coach who fits the kind of football team we're building here. His work with the Giants over the past eight seasons speaks for itself. Mike was an integral part of that team winning two Super Bowls in the last five years and we look forward to him bringing that experience and expertise to our club.''
After Sullivan became the quarterbacks coach in 2010, Manning set a career high in interceptions with 25. But he also passed for 4,002 yards and a career-high 31 touchdowns while leading the Giants to a 10-6 record. That prompted Manning to insist he wasn't a 25-interception a year quarterback.
Schiano has been working to fill both coordinator positions. The Bucs already had interviewed Ron Turner and John Shoop for offensive coordinator earlier this week.
Schiano's first choice was to interview Cardinals receivers coach John McNulty, who served as his offensive coordinator at Rutgers. But the Cardinals refused the request and announced that McNulty will coach quarterbacks. The Bucs also attempted to interview Packers tight ends coach Ben McAdoo but were denied permission.
At this late stage of the hiring season, landing an assistant as accomplished as Sullivan to run the Bucs offense is a bit of a coup for Schiano.
Among the Bucs' top priorities was to find the right offensive coordinator to re-ignite Freeman, who struggled last season by throwing 22 interceptions and 16 touchdowns.
In addition to his work with Freeman, Sullivan will have an immediate impact on the Bucs' young receiving corps. With the Giants, he was responsible for helping develop receivers such as Steve Smith and Plaxico Burress. In 2009, Smith broke a franchise record with 107 receptions and became the first Giants wideout to play in the Pro Bowl in 41 years. In four seasons under Sullivan, Burress caught 344 passes for 3,681 yards and 33 touchdowns.