TAMPA — The Packers had, arguably, the best aerial circus in the NFL this season. So it's no surprise the Bucs might want to hire one of their ringmasters.
Tampa Bay interviewed offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and quarterbacks coach Tom Clements separately in Dallas on Thursday, according to multiple reports. ESPN.com first reported Philbin's meeting.
A top priority for the Bucs is getting quarterback Josh Freeman back on track after he threw 16 touchdowns and 22 interceptions one season after 25 and six, respectively.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is coming off one of the most prolific seasons in league history: 4,643 yards, 45 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Philbin, 50, also is one of three finalists for the Dolphins' vacancy.
Clements, 58, a former Notre Dame quarterback and Bills offensive coordinator, helped with the development of Rodgers and his backup, Matt Flynn.
It's almost certain the Bucs will head to Mobile, Ala., for Monday's start of Senior Bowl practices without a coach or staff.
Their list of known candidates stands at nine, and more could be added after this weekend's conference titles games.
ESPN.com also reported the Bucs likely will select one former coach and one coordinator as finalists and bring them back for second interviews next week.
Since firing coach Raheem Morris on Jan. 2, the Bucs have interviewed former coaches Mike Sherman, Brad Childress and Marty Schottenheimer. They also have interviewed Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.
The Bucs also are believed to be interested in Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.