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Head Coach Raheem Morris to target Broncos Jeremy Bates

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...UPDATE...

Scratch Broncos Quarterback Coach in Jeremy Bates off your Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator to be wish list. He has accepted a position with the USC Trojans as an Assistant Coach... Ugh

The St. Pete Times lists the Denver Broncos Quarterbacks Coach in Jeremy Bates as a potential candidate for Raheem Morris' Offensive Coordinator vacancy. Bates was here in 2002 with Morris as a Quality Control Coach. It's been said that Morris has kept in touch with Bates throughout the years.

In 2005 Bates left the Bucs to become the Quarterback Coach of the New York Jets, after one season there he joined the Denver Broncos and a year later became their Quarterbacks Coach. With the Patriots O.C. in Josh McDaniels taking over the Head Coaching vacancy in Denver, Bates could be out of a job, though the fan base would like to see Bates remain saying 'He is a young, bright, up and coming offensive mind' the same thing has been said about Raheem Morris and his defensive acumen.

For those that think Bates is merely Mike Shanahan's puppet, Peter King of Sports Illustrated dispels that theory:

Mike Shanahan hasn't called the offensive plays in Denver for nine years.

Admit it: That surprises you. It stunned me when I learned about it Saturday in Denver. He gave it up after the Broncos started 0-4 in 1999. Gary Kubiak held the responsibility the longest, before becoming Houston's coach in 2006. Now it's up to 32-year-old quarterback coach Jeremy Bates, who calls the plays into quarterback Jay Cutler's headset, with Shanahan having the option to overrule him. He rarely does. Shanahan might make a play call or trump Bates' call two or three times a game.

The game plan is a collaborative effort between offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, who is responsible for run plays and protections, and Bates, who draws up the passes. Shanahan makes some suggestions during the week while the game plan is being formulated, but it's mostly a Dennison/Bates production. Dennison and Bates also come up with the "First 18," Denver's version of the old Bill Walsh "First 15," when the first 18 offensive snaps of the game are set in stone (except if a third-and-inches call, for instance, has to be made)

Dennison and Bates figure out which run plays and pass plays will work best each week against the defense they're playing, then list them by down-and-distance, print them on a laminated play sheet, and call the plays from that sheet on game day. Bates makes the calls, a heavy responsibility for such a young coach. But it's a natural fit. Bates is the one meeting with Cutler all week and finding out what plays he thinks are the best fit for that week's opponent. It makes sense that the coach communicating with Cutler most one-on-one during the week is the one calling the plays into his helmet during games.

Bates isn't the experienced Offensive Juggernaut you would hope the Buccaneers would target considering how inexperienced Raheem Morris is, but the experience he does have has proven fruitful. Let me allow the folks from Mile High Report to break it down:

Tampa Bay’s offense in 2003 was arguably the most productive in franchise history as Bates assisted a unit that set single-season records in total offense (340.8 ypg.) and passing offense (237.8 ypg.). In addition, the club ranked among the league’s top 10 in both categories in the same year for just the second time in Buccaneers annals.

In his first season in the NFL’s coaching ranks, Bates worked with a Buccaneers offense in 2002 that was pivotal in the franchise winning its first-ever World Championship with a victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. Tampa Bay’s offense was particularly dominant in the postseason, averaging 35.3 points and 334.0 yards per game in three playoff contests that year.

Bates worked with Gruden and John Shoop (TB QB coach) preparing Griese to play each game during 2004, and Griese ended up leading the league in completion percentage (69.3) as well as setting franchise records in that category as well as passer rating (97.5) and yards per pass (7.83).

Bates went on to the Jets as Quarterback coach in 2005 and, in a positional injury spree that seems to follow Bates, oversaw a QB position that went through 5 different passers due to injury. When Bates joined the Broncos in 06, it was to work with Rick Dennison in preparing the oline for each game, but was quickly promoted to coaching the WRs and QBs (he played QB in college, starting at U. of Tenn., before attending Rice to play two sports, baseball and football.) Marshall and Cutler flourished under his tutelage, and 2008 saw his latest promotion, to QBs coach and offensive playcaller, working closely with franchise QB Jay Cutler, during a year where the young QB set or came close to setting nearly every significant passer record for the franchise.

If anything, Bates is battle tested. This season he had to deal with running back injury after running back injury. In years past he's had to work with the injury-prone Chad Pennington and Gruden's scrap heap of injuries. Despite the obstacles this season, the Broncos ranked 2nd in the league in total offense (#1 Saints) with 395 yards per game and they were 3rd in the league in Passing Yards per game (#1 Saints and #2 Cardinals) with 279 yards. Compare that to the Buccaneers at #14 in Total Offense and #11 in Passing Yards per game. Granted having Jay Cutler makes a world of difference, but keep in mind that Bates groomed Cutler. With the Broncos struggles to keep a running back healthy they still finished with more yards per game (#12) than the Buccaneerss (#15).

Would Jeremy Bates calm your fears about the Offense and its struggles? He's also being courted by the Detroit Lions to become their Offensive Coordinator. If you had anymore doubt in your mind about Bates, check out the poll results in this link from Broncos fans and their wishes regarding their Offensive Staff staying in tact. If you can trust anyone in the NFL, I would think it would be a collective fan bases voice...