The Gruden era is gone and 2009 brings a new wealth of coaches to Tampa Bay. This coach profile will examine key members of the Buccaneers' play calling and decision making—the head coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator—and how they rose to their current position as Bucs staff.
Raheem Morris, Head Coach
Morris is currently on his second stint as a member of the Buccaneers staff. From 2002-2005 he served on the Buccaneers defensive coaching staff, left the team and became Kansas State's defensive coordinator, and then returned two years ago to become the Bucs' defensive backs coach.
Morris is credited to having helped shape the Buccaneer defense, one of the best defenses over the past decade. Since 1996, the Buccaneers defense has produced 36 Pro Bowlers and became the NFL's top ranked defense in 2002 and 2005.
In 2008, Morris's final year as the Buccaneers defensive back coach, his defense was ranked fourth in the NFL. While working for Kansas State, Morris improved the defense's statistics. Scoring defense and pass defense had better ratings than before Morris joined the university's squad.
So, why choose Raheem Morris as head coach?
For one, he's 32 years old. He's young, energetic, and judging by his press conference after being selected as Gruden's successor, excited to be Buccaneers head coach.
Running back Earnest Graham says that he's popular for his depth of football knowledge as well as the way he approaches the game.
We'll see exactly what Morris's approach is during camp, and especially come September.
Jeff Jagodzinski, Offensive Coordinator
Jagodzinski enters his ninth year employed by the NFL and the first year coming back to the NFL after two years as Boston College's head coach.
Jagodzinski left BC after leading his Eagles to a 20-8 record in his two seasons. In 2008, Boston College ended their season 9-3, and became the Atlantic Division Champion for the second time in two years.
Jagodzinski has also worked for the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. He has also served on the coaching staff of Louisiana State, Northern Illinois, East Carolina, and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, his alma mater.
Jagodzinkski's extensive offensive staff experience makes me feel comfortable in 2009. With that extensive resume revamping the playbook, we're in good hands.
Jim Bates, Defensive Coordinator
Bates has served 17 years in the NFL as a member of coaching staffs. With four decades of coaching experience, Bates is widely recognized as one of the best defensive minds in the NFL.
Bates has spent eight years leading NFL defenses with the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, and Atlanta Falcons. He was also interim coach for the Miami Dolphins for the final seven games of the 2004 season.
The Cleveland Browns first hired Bates in 1991, launching him into the NFL. He coached the club's linebackers that year under head coach Bill Belichik. He spent three years as a member of their staff.
In addition to the NFL, Bates has coached in the United States Football League. He worked for the San Antonio Gunslingers in 1985 and as a coach of he Arizona Outlaws. Bates added another year in the Arena Football League, coaching for the Detroit Drive in 1988.
Bates both played and coached for the Tennessee Volunteers. He has coached for other college teams, including University of Southern Mississippi, Villanova, Kansas State, and West Virginia.