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Tampa Bay Buccaneers hire Jim Bates as defensive coordinator

TAMPA — With every X and O he made on the grease board Wednesday night, Jim Bates proved he had a lot of experience and energy to draw upon.

"He got on the board and you really felt the energy flow," Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said of his interview with the 62-year-old Bates. "Once we got to Jim Bates and saw what he did, it became crystal clear."

On Thursday, they announced that Bates, the former Dolphins and Packers defensive coordinator, was hired to replace Monte Kiffin.

In many ways, Bates balances the ticket for coach Raheem Morris, who at 32 is the NFL's youngest coach.

Bates' resume also reflects the consistency the Bucs have enjoyed the past 13 seasons under Kiffin. Six times in eight years as a defensive coordinator, Bates' teams finished in the top 10 in yards allowed.

"Coach Bates is very familiar with our defense," Dominik said. "I think he's always been a fan of the Kiffin Tampa 2 theory. He had a great relationship with Raheem Morris that I was unaware of. The chemistry between those two was very important. I think he wants to see an aggressive, get-to-the-quarterback system that has always created a lot of turnovers."

Bates was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Morris has some familiarity with Bates. He is the father of former Broncos quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who entered the NFL with Morris and the Bucs as quality control assistant in 2002.

"I think his energy had a lot to do with it," Dominik said. "Last night I got an eyeful and earful of what he is all about. He's very sharp. He's very smart and knows all the positions. He's very knowledgeable in defensive line play and very versed in everything he's trying to coach. You know he's going to do it correctly."

Bates primarily runs a 4-3 scheme, using fast, undersized linebackers. He plays a good deal more bump-and-run on receivers, so that will be an obvious difference next season while taking advantage of the man coverage skills of cornerback Aqib Talib, the team's 2008 No. 1 draft pick.

Bates was the assistant head coach/defense for Denver in 2007, when the Broncos finished 19th overall. But his record of success more closely resembles Kiffin's. Under Bates, the Dolphins defense finished no lower than 10th in the NFL in yards allowed from 2000-04. During that stretch, they were fifth in yards allowed. The Dolphins didn't allow a 100-yard rusher the last four games of 2002 and all of 2003.

Bates went 3-4 as an interim head coach of the Dolphins after Dave Wannstedt resigned.

He was Packers defensive coordinator in 2005, but he opted to leave when the team passed him over to hire Mike McCarthy. He took the Packers from 25th in defense in 2004 to seventh in 2005.

But perhaps the most important thing is Bates is a passionate coach and a great communicator. That seems to be the buzzword used at One Buc Place after the firing of coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen.

"Monte ran a fantastic defense over the years," Dominik said. "The subtleties and differences? (Bates is) an aggressive, attack-the-quarterback fundamentalist. There's a lot of disguising in this defense.

"The other thing that was impressive is that he has a good track record of creating turnovers. I think you'll see a lot of things that are different."

Dominik said he and Morris sat down shortly after they were hired and made a list of coaches they would like to interview for coordinator jobs. The Bucs still have to hire an offensive coordinator, which in some ways may be more critical since Morris' expertise is defense.

Former Rams coach Scott Linehan was scheduled to interview Wednesday. Other candidates include Chiefs offensive coordinator Chan Gailey and former Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.

"We're very comfortable with this one," Dominik said. "And I think it's a great hire."

fast facts

Meet Jim Bates

Born: May 31, 1946, in Pontiac, Mich.

College: Linebacker at Tennessee (1964-67)

NFL: Began his coaching career with the Browns as defensive line coach in 1991. … Defensive coordinator with the Falcons (1994), Dolphins (2000-04), Packers (2005) and Broncos (2007). … Dolphins interim head coach for the final seven games of 2004.

Family business: Son Jeremy, 32, became Southern Cal's assistant head coach of the offense and quarterbacks coach on Monday after spending two seasons with the Broncos. James Jr., 35, played linebacker and was captain of 1996 national champion Florida Gators.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers hire Jim Bates as defensive coordinator 01/22/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 23, 2009 7:09am]
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