Thursday, April 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Expect more changes on Bucs coaching staff

TAMPA

Bucs coach Greg Schiano sat by his pool one day last week evaluating candidates for the openings on his staff.

It certainly was a more relaxed pace than a year ago. Schiano was hired Jan. 26 and had to scramble for candidates because many of the vacancies on other teams had been filled.

If anything surprised Schiano in his first season as an NFL coach, it was how difficult it is to fill out a staff when other teams routinely deny permission for interviews of their assistants.

As a result, Schiano hired eight assistants who had worked for him at Rutgers during some point in their careers. When it came to others, he had to use his instincts to hire the best available talent.

It's no surprise, then, the Bucs will have significant turnover on their staff in 2013.

Already the Bucs have three coaching positions to fill: defensive backs, quarterbacks and receivers.

"I'm still in the process of evaluating all our coaches," Schiano said. "And that started with evaluating myself."

Defensive backs coach Ron Cooper was the latest to leave, agreeing last week to coach the secondary for Willie Taggart at USF.

Quarterbacks coach Ron Tur­ner became the coach at Florida International, and receivers coach P.J. Fleck accepted the coaching job at Western Michigan.

Indications are there will be a few more departures. Schiano said he is anxiously waiting to see if offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is hired as coach by the Bears. It seems as though Sullivan is a long shot, and the Bucs hope a decision will be reached by the middle of this week.

Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan will return despite the Bucs blowing four fourth-quarter leads this season.

The Bucs essentially told Cooper to seek other opportunities but did not announce it. He's a good coach and a better person. But let's be honest: The lack of production in the secondary led to losses. Tampa Bay was last in the NFL in passing defense and nearly set a league record for passing yards allowed in a season.

Certainly not all of it was Cooper's fault. The Bucs decided to go with Aqib Talib and Eric Wright at cornerback, and both were suspended for four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Talib later was traded to the Patriots. The Bucs will have to address cornerback through the draft and free agency, especially because Wright will almost certainly be released before offseason workouts begin.

Safety Mark Barron, the seventh overall draft pick in 2012, hit a plateau in November until picking up the pace in the final two games.

The loss of Turner means Josh Freeman will enter the final season of his contract with his third quarterbacks coach in as many seasons. And the Bucs don't plan to discuss a contract extension with him until after 2013.

Fleck was arguably the Bucs' best position coach. He had some talent to work with. Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams combined for 2,380 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. But the Bucs have no depth at receiver. Arrelious Benn, a second-round pick in 2010, has not played a complete season due to injuries and lost his job in the slot to Tiquan Underwood. Sammie Stroughter, who spent most of the season on injured reserve, is a free agent.

Schiano has his work cut out for him.

ROOKIE ACHIEVEMENTs: Barron, RB Doug Martin and LB Lavonte David were named to the NFL all-rookie team by Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers Association. Martin had 1,926 yards from scrimmage, third most ever for a rookie. Barron had 89 tackles, four tackles for loss, one interception, 10 passes defensed and one forced fumble. David led the Bucs with 139 tackles, including two sacks, and had one interception and five passes defensed while pacing all rookies with 20 tackles for loss.

Comments
Bucs trade down with Bills, take strongman DT Vita Vea No. 12

Bucs trade down with Bills, take strongman DT Vita Vea No. 12

Vita Vea recently took a trip to French Polynesia with some University of Washington students and came upon some enormous rocks."So over there, their strongman competition is they have a tradition where they lift rocks. There's a lot more to it than ...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Bucs trade down with Bills, get No. 12, two 2nd-rounders

Bucs trade down with Bills, get No. 12, two 2nd-rounders

The Bucs have traded down from their top pick, moving down five spots from No. 7 to No. 12 and gaining two second-round picks from the Buffalo Bills.Tampa Bay still has the No. 12 pick in the draft, but picked up No. 53 and No. 56, trading back their...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Live blog: News, analysis, photos, more from the NFL draft

Live blog: News, analysis, photos, more from the NFL draft

Whether you're a fan of the Bucs, Gators, Seminoles, 'Canes or Bulls, you'll want to follow our live coverage of the 2018 NFL draft today through Saturday in Arlington, Tex. We'll have live news, commentary, photos, videos, stories and more, so come...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs fill a need at running back on the first day of the draft…but it’s Charles Sims, who agrees to a 1-year deal

Bucs fill a need at running back on the first day of the draft…but it’s Charles Sims, who agrees to a 1-year deal

The Bucs landed a running back on the first day of the NFL draft.It wasn't Saquon Barkley or Sony Michel or Derrius Guice. Not just yet, anyway.Tampa Bay reached an agreement on a one-year contract with Charles Sims.The 27-year-old Sims was a third-r...
Published: 04/26/18
After Twitter backlash, Jeff Garcia won’t announce any Bucs draft picks

After Twitter backlash, Jeff Garcia won’t announce any Bucs draft picks

The Bucs still don't have a third-round draft pick this weekend, but if they do trade for one, former Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia won't be the one to announce it.It's been a rough few days for Garcia, who played for the Bucs in 2007-08, ma...
Published: 04/26/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: John Clayton breaks down the NFL draft

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: John Clayton breaks down the NFL draft

It's NFL draft day. John Clayton joins Rick Stroud to talk about how many quarterbacks will go early and who the Bucs will take with the seventh overall pick, considering their obvious needs on defense.Plus, the Lightning will face the Boston Br...
Published: 04/26/18
Bucs draft scenarios: Would this guy be their lucky pick at No. 7?

Bucs draft scenarios: Would this guy be their lucky pick at No. 7?

TAMPA – This is the Rubiks Cube of NFL drafts. It can be twisted and turned it in any direction. Not many know how everything will line up.For the Bucs, the puzzle is simple.  Since they have the No. 7 overall pick, they need four quarterb...
Published: 04/25/18
Updated: 04/26/18
Mock draft consensus: Who the experts have Bucs taking at No. 7

Mock draft consensus: Who the experts have Bucs taking at No. 7

We've linked to a lot of mock drafts over the last four months.We went back and assembled mocks from 40 different NFL writers we've linked to — this isn't the most recent for some of these who are in Mock 9.0 mode, but it's meant as an unscient...
Published: 04/25/18
Updated: 04/26/18
NFL draft: How the Bucs can grab hold of the NFC South

NFL draft: How the Bucs can grab hold of the NFC South

TAMPA — From the department of the weird, also known as Bucs marketing genius — also known as if it bombs, we can blame Ed Glazer — the Bucs will use a … parrot to announce their fourth-round pick in the NFL Draft, which kicks...
Published: 04/25/18
Q&A with Bucs tackle Donovan Smith: On bowling, charity work, team expectations

Q&A with Bucs tackle Donovan Smith: On bowling, charity work, team expectations

Bucs tackle Donovan Smith has a big season ahead, going into a contract year as part of a reshuffled offensive line. Still only 24, he has started all 48 games in his three NFL seasons, and has made it a priority in the offseason to be more active in...
Published: 04/25/18