The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are getting "a lot of interest" in just the last few hours with regards to their head coaching job, general manager Jason Licht said at his press conference today. The Bucs fired Lovie Smith last night and Licht will be overseeing the head coaching search -- a first for the Bucs, with the Glazers heading the head coaching search at every previous occasion.
While there have been a lot of reports that Dirk Koetter is the clear front-runner, Licht would not commit to him. He did call him a "strong candidate" with a "strong resume," referencing the offensive quality this year, his communication and his work with Jameis Winston. Koetter is definitely in play, but he's also going to have competition for the job.
Licht said that they'd "like to be fairly quick with this" but that they "wouldn't sacrifice thoroughness" and he refused to set a deadline for a head coaching hire. He emphasized that they'd look at "several different candidates" from "several different backgrounds."
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have the best head coaching job on the market right now, and that's for one simple reason: Jameis Winston. Only one other NFL team that is looking for a new head coach has a potential young, franchise quarterback and that team is the Tennessee Titans. The key difference between the Bucs and Titans job? The Bucs have more young talent on both sides of the ball, a better overall roster, and have repeatedly shown that they're willing to spend in free agency and make big moves and the Bucs definitely have the cap space to do so this offseason.
The one thing standing in the way of this being genuinely the best job in the NFL is the fact that Jason Licht is heading the search, and he said he will have final say over the 53-man roster. Licht also downplayed that, noting that a general manager always has a collaborative relationship with his head coach and they'd be willing to adjust for certain head coaching candidates. But some veteran coaches may not want to walk into that situation.
Of course, that doesn't mean the coach the Bucs land will actually do a good job. Lovie Smith was the biggest name available in 2014, and he's now fired. Jeff Fisher was the biggest name available in 2012 when the Bucs settled for Greg Schiano, and Fisher has been mediocre at best. Meanwhile, Chip Kelly was the biggest name on the market in 2013 and he's been fired as well.
The big name isn't always the best name, but it's still good to know that the Bucs likely won't have to settle this time.