Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs coaching search begins with assistants from Panthers, Cardinals

TAMPA — The Bucs' search to replace fired coach Lovie Smith is off and running, with the team confirming Friday that it will interview two up-and-coming candidates over the weekend who have a history with general manager Jason Licht.

Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, both enjoying bye weeks before their teams open the playoffs next week as the NFC's top seeds, are the first candidates to interview with Tampa Bay.

The Bucs will also look hard at their offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter, who Licht said was a "very strong candidate" during Thursday's news conference to address Smith's firing after going 8-24 in his two seasons.

Koetter, 56, helped the Bucs set a franchise record for total offense in his first season with the team. Rookie Jameis Winston passed for more than 4,000 yards, and running back Doug Martin finishing second in the league in rushing.

Licht acknowledged that other teams — reportedly the Dolphins, Eagles and 49ers — requested and were granted permission to speak with Koetter about their head coaching vacancies, though there have been no reports of interviews yet.

McDermott, 41, worked with Licht from 2003-07 with the Eagles, where he ascended to defensive coordinator after working under the late Jim Johnson. He has thrived with Carolina, whose defense is a big part of its 15-1 record. The Panthers have won six straight against the Bucs, allowing an average of 14.5 points.

Goodwin, 42, overlapped with Licht at Arizona in 2013, and the Cardinals offense has been arguably the NFL's best this season — No. 1 in total offense and No. 2 in scoring offense, behind Carolina.

The former Michigan offensive lineman came up through the ranks as an offensive line coach — his first NFL job came under Smith with the Bears from 2004-06, and he was a young assistant on the Steelers staff when Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl in Tampa in 2009. Goodwin would satisfy the Rooney Rule to have the Bucs' search comply with the NFL hiring policy of interviewing at least one minority candidate.

And while the coaching search continues, the Bucs are at-risk to lose Licht's right-hand man in the front office, as director of player personnel Jon Robinson interviewed Friday in Tennessee for the Titans' general manager opening. Robinson, a Tennessee native, is one of five candidates the team has confirmed as interviewing from a pool of 14 finalists.

Robinson also interviewed for the Jets' general manager job last year, and he helped Licht with a draft class that included four starters this season in Winston, tackle Donovan Smith, guard Ali Marpet and linebacker Kwon Alexander.

Bucs coaching search begins with assistants from Panthers, Cardinals 01/08/16 [Last modified: Saturday, January 9, 2016 12:18am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494