New Faces Means New Gameplan In Tampa

Josh ThurmanContributor IMay 29, 2009

TAMPA - MAY 01:  Head coach Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up during the Buccaneers Rookie Minicamp at One Buccaneer Place on May 1, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

The Bucs fired head coach Jon Gruden, who was also the teams offensive coordinator, and lost defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to the University of Tennessee.

Jon Gruden was replaced by Raheem Morris, who hired Jeff Jagodzinski and Jim Bates as his offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively.

Making these changes is not just about new faces in the locker room. No, these changes will affect how the Buccaneers play football, as well.

Let's start with the defensive side of the ball. Since Monte Kiffin came to Tampa, the Bucs have consistently been in the top 10 in most defensive categories.

Kiffin and then-head coach Tony Dungy came up with a defensive scheme that got its own name around the league. The "Tampa Two" it was called, and it was built around speed.

The Buccaneers had a smaller defense all around. However, that defense could beat most offenses to any spot on the field.

The scheme produced four potential hall of famers in Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch, and Ronde Barber.

However, when Kiffin decided to leave, the "Tampa Two" went with him.

The Bucs have never really been an offensive team. In the glory years of Dungy, Gruden, and Kiffin, the Bucs won with their defense and would consistently find themselves in 13-10 type battles.

Gruden, who had been pegged as this "offensive genius" came to Tampa to install his West Coast Offense and give the Buccaneers that prolific offense it never had.

Unfortunately, the offense never came, and Bucs fans grew tired of Gruden's ways. This "guru," as he was also known, seemed to only have plays designed for check-down routes.

The Bucs were always in the bottom half of the league in yards per attempt on passes thrown. It felt like Gruden was afraid to open the offense up, and other then a few long bomb attempts to Joey Galloway each game, the offense had become boring and, most importantly, predictable.

In the final four weeks of the 2008 season, Gruden's team had become so predictable that they could not muster one win to get them in to the playoffs, and it cost him his job.

When Gruden left, the football Bucs fans had been accustomed to seeing was gone.

In stepped Morris, who has vowed to make changes. His biggest hires were Bates and Jagodzinski.

Bates runs a 4-3 defense, which is built around filling gaps and puts its biggest emphasis on the linebackers. It will focus more on size and strength than speed. What this means is the Bucs will change their defensive scheme for the first time since 1996.

On the offensive side, the Bucs hired Jagodzinski, the former Boston College head coach. Jagodzinski, who coached Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan at BC, will play a role in developing rookie quarterback Josh Freeman.

Jagodzinski also brings an offensive blocking scheme to the Buccaneers that he learned from Alex Gibbs. Gibbs is known best for the offensive line success he had with the Denver Broncos that won a Super Bowl.

What this means for the Bucs is that they are going to run the ball more than in past years and that they will use the running game to open up their passing game.

The 2009 Buccaneers may wear the same colors and logos of Bucs teams in the past.

But do not be mistaken. These are not your daddyโ€™s Bucs.


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