ORLANDO — Mike Tomlin won a Super Bowl in his second year as coach of the Steelers.
The expectations might not be as lofty for Bucs coach Raheem Morris, Tomlin's protege, who struggled to a 3-13 record in his first season at the helm. But Tomlin says he expects Morris to benefit from the experience he gained as a first-time head coach and be better for it in 2010.
"He's capable," Tomlin said during the AFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meetings. "I've been around him enough to know that. I think that's why the Glazers hired him, and I trust he handled it appropriately.
"It's like when we were talking about (a) second-year player. It's a lap around the track. There are no elements of the journey that you're not familiar with. I think the first year, you've got a vision of the journey. You've got a vision of the plan. After your first year, you've got tangible evidence as to why it works and why it doesn't. That information can be quality information for you if you're sharp. He is sharp, so I imagine he'll be better in 2010."
Broncos coach Josh McDaniels had more success in his first season at Denver. But a 6-0 start evaporated into an 8-8 record. McDaniels says he can commiserate with Morris on learning from first-year head coaching mistakes.
"I spoke with Raheem (Monday), actually," McDaniels said. "You know, it's the first year and that's what we were both talking about. I think you know a lot more now than you did at this time last year about the team that you have — about your players, about your staff, about the process you want to go through, about some of the things that you wouldn't do again and about some of the things you did and definitely want to do again.
"Raheem went through some changes with his staff. We obviously had some changes with our staff as well. I can tell in his words that he feels more comfortable with what he's doing, with who's there around him, with what he knows about the team and everything else. … I know my team better. I know my players better. I know the way they're going to react. I know my staff better. And those are the things that will allow my staff and my players to make those adjustments a lot quicker."
BRADFORD NO. 1: Bucs general manager Mark Dominik would be surprised if Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford isn't the No. 1 overall pick in the April 22-24 draft. "We knew Bradford was talented," Dominik said. "In our minds, even in December we thought he was the No. 1 prospect in this draft. … It's because it's such a hard position to find."
STILL TALKING: Of a handful of Bucs unrestricted free agents, those still under consideration include LB Angelo Crowell and DE Jimmy Wilkerson, Dominik said. Dialogue continues with both players' agents.