This is what we can safely assume about the yet to be named Tampa Bay Buccaneerss head coach: He will carry an AARP card and was fired from at least one NFL job.
That’s not necessarily bad, particularly at One Buc Place. And it’s a trend.
“In the NFL when teams fire a young coach they hire an older one. When they fire a players’ coach they hire a disciplinarian,” says NFL Hall of Fame coach and former super TV analyst John Madden.
The needs are relatively simple for this troubled franchise. Older is better and discipline is as important as the air we breathe.
In China, age is revered and for the Tampa Bay Bucs it’s a necessity.
The new coach is also going to have to stand up to management, particularly general manager Mark Dominik who helped create this morass.
A lot of house cleaning needs to be done and it’s going to embarrass Dominik and perhaps cause him to resist what needs to be done.
This is the guy who gave linebacker Quincy Black $29 million to miss all those tackles for a defense that ranked last in the NFL in stopping the run and never provided the leadership his contract warranted.
The Bucs’ secondary needs an overhaul unless the new coach can invoke some spark. Two big disappointments, cornerback Aquib Talib and safety Tarnard Jackson, were favorites of Raheem Morris, which in many ways justified his firing.
Jackson led the league in missed tackles and is a key reason the Bucs set a franchise record for points allowed. He might have been rusty after missing a season for drug problems and could resurrect himself under a demanding coach.
The way he performed last season, Talib can no longer make the argument his play makes up for his off the field antics. It might be a moot point if he is convicted on his second degree felony charge in March.
The Bucs need to find better talent than cornerback E.J. Biggers and strong safety Sean Jones, a Dominik favorite who was consistently burned in pass coverage.
Ronde Barber is a sure Hall of Famer and a person of high integrity. But he is losing his fight against Father Time and can no longer consistently perform at high level.
The new coach will inherit the collateral damage caused by poor personnel decisions at running back and a receiving corps that lacks breakaway speed.
The consensus front runner for the Bucs head job is Mike Sherman. He has his critics and might not be the perfect coach, but he could be as close as you can get to perfect for the Bucs.
He had a successful run at Green Bay where he also served as a GM and could become the Bucs defacto GM. Forget what happened at Texas A&M; college football is all about recruiting. He had five consecutive winning seasons at Green Bay in six years and won three division titles.
With so few NFL head coaching jobs available and many attractive candidates, you wonder how the Glazer family that owns the Bucs could misfire. But it depends where their hearts and minds rest.
The last time, they went the Kiddy Corps way, hired an unqualified Morris in a money-saving scam that cheated the public and came back to bite them.
The other intriguing people the Bucs have under consideration:
Marty Schottenheimer: Some will look at his age (68) and say no, but that could be a plus and he could be the perfect stop gap for a franchise in disarray. He is a no nonsense guy who went to the playoffs in 11 of his 21 years as an NFL head coach. Old is not necessarily bad as Marv Levy proved with Buffalo and the Bucs are certainly in need of the wisdom that comes with maturity.
Mike Zimmer: At 55 Zimmer is younger, as tough as Schottenheimer and a Rock Star defensive coordinator spending seven years in that role with Dallas, one in Atlanta and the last four in Cincinnati. He has won several Assistant Coach of The Year Awards and is known as guy who would cut his mother if she got out of line. At Cincinnati, he is used to working for tight fisted owner Mike Brown and probably won’t demand much front office control, which might make him a Dominik favorite.
Rob Chudzinski: No, no and no. This guy is getting way too much credit for developing Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. Be honest Newton is a special talent who can make any coordinator look good if they just stay out of the way. Chudzinski represents too much of a risk and after the Morris debacle the Bucs don’t need that.
Brad Childress: He left a lot of untidiness in Minneapolis and reportedly deceived management, which is certain to frighten the Glazers. He could be a good offensive coordinator and help Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, but is too controversial to get the Bucs head job at least in the immediate future.