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. Steven Souza's two passions collide in charity fantasy football event

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Steven Souza knows a thing or two about football.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston gets a hug from right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) after throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 23, 2017.
  2. Vibe is good around Clearwater volleyball this season

    Volleyball Preps

    CLEARWATER — Katy Rice knows what a good volleyball team looks like, and the Clearwater coach believes she has a pretty good one this year. Rice was a left-side hitter on the only two teams to win a volleyball state championship at Clearwater, in 1997 and 2000.

    Clearwater High School girl's volleyball player Hailey Bosetti (OPP) plays the ball during team practice on Monday (8/14/17) at the school in Clearwater.
  3. Jameis Winston's subtle but strong moment of leadership displayed on 'Hard Knocks'

    Bucs

    Quarterback Jameis Winston went to each teammate in the locker room prior to the Bucs' preseason opener Friday at Cincinnati with one message: 'I got your back.'

    Then he proved it.

    Jameis Winston sarcastically tells offensive linemen James Stone and James Harrison he's glad glad they're having fun while quarterback Ryan Griffin is being attended to in the locker room by the Bucs medical staff. [HBO/NFL FILMS]
  4. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Highlights — and fights — from Jacksonville

    Bucs

    Greg Auman is back home after two days of joint practices between the Bucs and Jaguars in Jacksonville. He recaps those practices — and fights — and talks about highlights from Tuesday's episode …

    Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Kenneth Walker, right, cannot snag a pass against Bucs cornerback Ryan Smith during a joint NFL football practice Monday in Jacksonville. [Will Dickey/Florida Times-Union]
  5. Who's No. 2: Florida State Seminoles or Ohio State Buckeyes?

    Blogs

    The toughest decision in my first stint as a voter for the AP Top 25 came at the top.