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. New Bucs player murals go up at Raymond James Stadium

    Blogs

    Each summer, it's a sign that training camp is soon to arrive at One Buc Place: the changing of the huge player murals on each corner of Raymond James Stadium.

    Bucs receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans share a mural on the southeast corner of Raymond James Stadium.
  2. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Jordan Spieth, right, comes from one back of Matt Kuchar, left, after 13, going birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-par to win by 3.
  3. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  4. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  5. Rays journal: Rays gamble on Sergio Romo's track record, heart

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Some of RHP Sergio Romo's numbers this season with the Dodgers were the worst of his career, yet the Rays feel he can be a good fit for their bullpen.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)