The NFC and AFC Championship games will be played later today, and they'll feature a lot of good players - as well as good coaches. As the Bucs are still looking for coaches, there have been rumors that they may be interested in coaches who are still in the playoffs. If they are, they would be allowed to interview those coaches next week, regardless of whether or not those coaches make it to the Super Bowl.
So which of those coaches could and should the Bucs have an interest in?
New York Giants Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell
I already wrote a piece on Perry Fewell, who has a history as a decent defensive coordinator and served as the interim head coach of the Buffalo Bills for half a season. He seems competent, but is rather unspectacular.
New York Giants Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride
I love Gilbride's offense. He manages to consistently produce big plays to players who no one knows. Gilbride is an old Run and Shoot coach but has adjusted his offense to fit the modern NFL. He keeps an offense balanced and places a premium on running the ball. He's also helped Eli Manning flourish after a very poor start to his career. Could he do the same for Josh Freeman?
Baltimore Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano
Being a Ravens defensive coordinator is good for business. Marvin Lewis, Mike Nolan and Rex Ryan have all become head coaches after serving as the Ravens' defensive coordinator. Could Chuck Pagano be next? He has certainly helped the Ravens maintain an excellent defense, and as he runs a lot of 3-4/4-3 hybrid fronts the transition to a new scheme in Tampa might not be huge.
New England Patriots Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach Dante Scarnecchia
Dante Scarnecchia may be one of the best kept secrets in the NFL. The extremely veteran (63 years old) offensive line coach has consistently produced one of the strongest units in the NFL, as the Patriots have had a top-notch offensive line for years on end. Of course, having Tom Brady under center helps. But he's also the assistant head coach for New England, and likely the most qualified assistant to be a head coach on the team. Not a lot of former Patriots coaches have had success outside of New England, though.
San Francisco 49ers Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio
Vic Fangio has presided over quite possibly the best defense in the NFL this season, and has been an NFL coach since 1986. He has the experience and the performance to be a head coach in the NFL. He has run a 3-4 defense in San Francisco, but he has also run 4-3 defenses in the past.
San Francisco 49ers Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman
Greg Roman is another up-and-coming young offensive coordinator. Unlike most coaches, though, his best work has come in the run game. He coached in the NFL from 1995 to 2008 but joined the Stanford Cardinal in 2009 to orchestrate the running game, but was also named assistant head coach of the offense (whatever that is). His focus on the running game really helped the 49ers this season, as they managed to use a lot of special wrinkles and schemes to create running room for their backs. He's a smart, young, offensive-minded coach who warrants a look.