TAMPA — All signs point to offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter as the next Bucs coach, but who else might replace Lovie Smith?
The Glazers have shown themselves to be unpredictable — a college coach, an unproven assistant, an established veteran or maybe a guy you deal two first-round and two second-round picks for. But here are five potential candidates with plausible ties to the Bucs and general manager Jason Licht.
ADAM GASE, 37: A hot commodity last year from Denver, he wound up as John Fox's offensive coordinator in Chicago. He won't go another lap through interviews without getting a head coaching job — will the Bucs join the list of teams chasing the up-and-coming assistant?
HUE JACKSON, 50: The Bengals offensive coordinator has been a head coach before, going 8-8 in one season with the Raiders. There's a strong trend for Bengals assistants as head coaches — Jay Gruden has Washington in the playoffs, as does Mike Zimmer with the Vikings.
CHIP KELLY, 52: Hey, the Bucs had him hired once before, only to see him change his mind four years ago before they moved on to Greg Schiano. If the interest is still there, Kelly is newly available after being fired by the Eagles. Going 26-21 won't hurt him, but the way things soured in Philadelphia could set off red flags with the Glazers.
JOSH McDANIELS, 39: The Patriots' offensive coordinator didn't make it through his second season as Broncos' coach, going 11-17 in 2009-10. But he and Licht overlapped with the Patriots in 2001-02.
SEAN McDERMOTT, 41: The Panthers' defensive coordinator also has ties to Licht — they worked together with the Eagles in 2003-07. The Bucs have lost six straight to Carolina and the defense that McDermott has built — but hiring him means waiting until Carolina's done in the playoffs. Might end up in Philly.