Earlier this season, rumors came out that Mike Sullivan was interested in the head coaching job at Boston College. He was quickly out of the running, however, and later denied any interest. This time, things are different. The Chicago Bears have oddly enough fired head coach Lovie Smith, and have lined up a slow of interviews. Mike Sullivan will interview with the Bears this week.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can ill afford to lose Mike Sullivan, who led one of the best offenses in Tampa Bay history this season. To go through another offensive system change could be disastrous for Josh Freeman and the Bucs offense. The current offense is complicated and takes time to fully understand, as we've been able to see plenty of times this season. The Bucs don't appear to have a good candidate as offensive coordinator in-house, although assistant Jimmy Raye has held that job before and Earnest Byner has been an outstanding running backs coach throughout his tenure.
At some point, the Bucs will have to move on without Mike Sullivan. He faces plenty of competition for the Chicago job and isn't particularly likely to get it. But the fact that he has found interest as a head coach after just one year of being a coordinator means the Bucs are likely to lose him sooner rather than later. When that happens, they would do best to find a replacement who will run the same offense. Whether that's through in-house promotion or hiring some other New York Giants assistant, consistency is key.
It's interesting to contrast this situation with the Raheem Morris era. The Bucs have already lost wide receivers coach P.J. Fleck, who left to lead Western Michigan University. Butch Davis, who has a completely obscure job at One Buc Place, has repeatedly been linked with Florida International. And now Mike Sullivan has gotten two head coaching interviews. Yet during three years of Raheem Morris, no other team was ever interested in any of the team's assistant coaches. This speaks to the quality of the coaching staff assembled by Greg Schiano at the start of his tenure.
And, before I forget: happy New Year, everyone!