Raheem Morris is the new head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2009 season.
The departures of former head coach Jon Gruden and long-time defensive wizard Monte Kiffin leaves Bucs fans with plenty of questions. They can anticipate of new offensive and defensive schemes.
Morris' experience is limited—he served most recently as the Bucs' defensive back coach in 2007 and 2008.
Morris has done away with Tampa's Cover Two scheme, and in its place will be a run-contain system that will emphasize the middle linebacker, rather than the outside backers; the system will employ bigger defensive tackles as well.
Jeff Jagodzinski takes over the offense and will use a run-oriented version of a West Coast offense.
The defensive coordinator, Jim Bates, will have to get this defense firing right away, as Morris will be more of an observer than a hands-on coach.
Morris' lack of play-calling experience means the pressure will fall squarely on the shoulders of Jagodzinski, the former Green Bay Packer offensive coordinator and Boston College head coach, to make this offense efficient.
I expect an up-and-down season. The slow-of-foot Byron Leftwich and inexperienced Josh Freeman have to learn the system. An inconsistent Brian Griese will wait in the wings in case of an injury to Leftwich.
None of these quarterbacks impress me, and I fear this will be a problematic position all year.
Tampa Bay has the makings of a decent defense, but key slots will have to be addressed if the Bucs hope to have any chance of making the playoffs.
The NFC South was one of the more competitive divisions last season. Given that all four teams have improved their rosters, I expect a similarly tight race in 2009.
It could be a very long season for Tampa Bay if things do not go right—and quickly.
I wish the best for Tampa Bay, but remain skeptical of the team's chance at success this year in the NFC South.