The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have talked with Brad Childress about their coaching opening, though he did not want to talk with the local paper. They have interviewed Mike Sherman, because someone showed them first half tape of Texas A&M this year. Marty Schottenheimer has gone from the relative stability of the UFL’s champion Virginia Destroyers to talking with Tampa Bay. Wade Phillips was going to talk to Tampa, and then decided that things were better in Houston as defensive coordinator.
Huh? With three weeks left in the season, Tampa wanted to fire Raheem Morris, but the word was they could not because they did not have someone available to replace him and were short-staffed. Perhaps the word around the league among the coaches is that the ownership in Tampa is not committed to winning and it is a negative situation.
Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times has a funny, entertaining piece on the Bucs’ coaching search:
Isn’t there anyone who wants this job? And if so, do you want them? Remember when Groucho Marx said he would never join a club that would have him as a member? Evidently, that club is the Bucs. And Groucho is just old enough to interview.
Rob Chudzinski, offensive coordinator at Carolina, and Mike Zimmer, defensive coordinator at Cincinnati, have also recently interviewed for the gig. Those two do not surprise me – along with Jay Gruden, they are two of the three coordinators I expected to get the most interest. However, Zimmer is rumored to be in the mix in Miami, now that Fisher has moved on. If I were Chudzinski, I would be careful about moving to the wrong job now. Sometimes, coordinators need to move to a head coaching job when the opportunity presents itself; other times, they need to be patient.
For the Bucs, it would make some sense to hire Chudzinski away from the rival Panthers, but Chudzinski’s stock is probably not going to go down next year coaching Cam Newton in that offense again, and a second straight year would make him an even more attractive candidate. I think he can do better than Tampa with all of the question marks about their spending to the cap and willingness to do things to win.
So, that leaves Schottenheimer. If the choice for me is between Marty Ball and Mike Sherman or Brad Childress, I’m going Marty. I know he is 68, but Schottenheimer seems like the best fit to gain some stability after the Raheem Morris era. Plus, he just won a championship in the UFL and might have been a 2-point favorite against Morris’ Bucs by week 17 (I kid, I kid, but that team was overloading the laundry chute with so many towels being thrown in).
The Bucs organization started with John McKay, delivering one-liners to bring humor to an expansion roster as they moved from dreadful to respectable. Marty Schottenheimer may be older, but if they are not going to attract a current coordinator because of the situation, they can do worse than bringing a 68-year old coach who is still hungry to prove something, and desperate for a chance. In a year in which Jim Harbaugh has taken a Marty-ball type team to the conference championship game, why not give the original one last chance.
[photo via Getty]