Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers demote defensive coordinator Jim Bates, will return to Tampa 2 defense

TAMPA — Saddled with the worst run defense in the NFL and a 1-9 record, coach Raheem Morris decided Monday night to relieve Jim Bates as defensive coordinator and take over the defensive play-calling duties.

Bates, 63, will remain with the team at least through the end of the season in a consulting role, breaking down film and helping Morris on game day from the coaching box.

Morris is expected to immediately return the Bucs to their Tampa 2 scheme, which will allow their undersized defensive linemen to take advantage of their quickness rather than penalize them for a lack of size.

Morris and general manager Mark Dominik met until late Monday to discuss the organizational shift, one day after the Bucs were routed by unbeaten New Orleans 38-7, one of the worst home defeats in club history.

Under Bates, Tampa Bay's defense is ranked 26th overall in the NFL and last against the run, allowing 168.9 yards per game. Only the Detroit Lions have given up more points than the 29.4 per game allowed by the Bucs this season.

Bates becomes the second coordinator hired by Morris and Dominik to leave since the start of the season.

Tampa Bay fired offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski 10 days before the regular season, saying he had trouble calling plays and that his passing scheme wasn't NFL quality. They replaced him with quarterbacks coach Greg Olson.

Bates, who ran successful defenses in Green Bay and Miami, faced a tall order trying to replace Monte Kiffin, the long-time defensive coordinator who branded the Tampa 2 defense.

Under Kiffin, the Bucs finished among the top 10 defenses 10 times in 12 seasons.

But Kiffin announced he was leaving the Bucs last December to join his son, Lane, at the University of Tennessee.

After that announcement, the Bucs went from 9-3 and a possible No. 1 seed in the NFC to losing four straight games and missing the playoffs.

Bates attempted to change the Bucs' old 4-3 scheme, which utilized undersized, penetrating defensive linemen and fast linebackers, to one that requires larger defensive linemen and linebackers.

But in Bates' defense, the Bucs never really changed personnel to fit his scheme.

Consequently, the Bucs have been unable to stop the run and have given up big plays in the passing game. Opposing quarterbacks have a 94.0 rating.

Under Bates, the Bucs defense has yielded 378.3 yards per game and a whopping 5.9 yards per play.

Almost every area of the defense has fallen well short of the Bucs' standard under Bates.

Tackling has been poor and the pass rush has been mostly nonexistent, with only 17 sacks this season, six of them coming against Green Bay. The coverage has been suspect, particularly early in the season. The Bucs have given up nine pass plays of 40 yards or more.

Simply returning to their Tampa 2 roots won't cure the Bucs of all their problems on defense.

Though the move is likely to be well-received by veteran players like Chris Hovan, Barrett Ruud and Ronde Barber, the Bucs don't have many playmakers on that side of the ball.

The Bucs have six games remaining, including four against the NFC South, and own the worst record in the NFL. Tampa Bay plays at Atlanta on Sunday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers demote defensive coordinator Jim Bates, will return to Tampa 2 defense 11/23/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 7:38am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pitching on no rest backfires for Erasmo Ramirez, Rays

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — After battling through a 61/2-hour affair Sunday in Minnesota that was the second-longest game in franchise history, Rays officials were quick to decide that even though Erasmo Ramirez had just worked the 15th and final inning, they would stick with him to start Monday's game in Texas.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers, comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    The Rays had good reason to have faith in RHP Erasmo Ramirez starting Monday after closing Sunday based on his resiliency, versatility and efficiency. But, for whatever reason, he just didn't pitch well and got knocked out in the third.

  3. Rays journal: Dugout bench becomes bed for Logan Morrison at end of long night

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rays found creative ways to get through the physical and mental fatigue of the 6½ hours they spent playing — and ultimately winning — Sunday's game in Minnesota.

    Corey Dickerson drapes towels over an exhausted Logan Morrison in the dugout during the 15th inning of Sunday’s marathon victory.
  4. Rays at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. Tuesday, Arlington, Texas

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Rangers

    8:05, Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas

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

    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 2: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium on March 2, 2015 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
  5. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]