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Tony Sparano reportedly confirmed as new offensive line coach

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After refusing to take a one-year deal with the Raiders, the San Francisco Chronicle are reporting that Sparano will be joining the Bucs as their OL coach.

Jamie Squire

After rumours earlier in the week, it does indeed appear that Tony Sparano will be Lovie Smith's offensive line coach, as reported by Vic Tarfur of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Sparano first rose to prominence as a member of Bill Parcells' staff in Dallas, initially as tight ends coach before being switched to offensive line coach. When Parcells was hired as team president for the Miami Dolphins, he brought Sparano with him, appointing him head coach. During his time leading the team, the Dolphins finished 11th or better in rushing three out of the four seasons he was at the helm. His most recent results have been more mixed, overseeing a poor season by the Jets offense as a coordinator in 2012, and then coaching a strong run-blocking unit who suffered in the passing game in Oakland. Still, Sparano has a good reputation as a line coach.

Sparano instilled a power-blocking scheme when he came to the Jets in 2012, despite the success they had running zone-blocking in previous years (and the personnel they had built for). He similarly coached a man blocking scheme at the Raiders last season; this matches Lovie Smith's vision for the offense he laid out in his introductory press conference. Assuming a similar scheme for the Bucs in 2014, there might be less turnover on the offensive line than there might have been, as the current linemen on the roster are arguably built for power-blocking, being both larger linemen and also not quite possessing the footwork to fully execute a zone-heavy scheme. Still, Jeff Tedford's offense, as least as can be gleamed from this 2004 Cal playbook, still uses a lot of zonal and half-zone concepts, so an offensive line coach who can install a multiplicity of blocking schemes in his unit is a must. Hopefully Sparano can be that coach.

Following on from Bryan Glazer's introduction of Smith on Monday, where he said that the Glazers were looking for a coach with a "proven track record", it's interesting to note that, after Smith and Leslie Frazier, Sparano is now the third member of the Buccaneer coaching staff to have previously been a head coach in the NFL.