The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may need a new coach this offseason. The likelihood of that happening seems to be increasing every week, as the Bucs keep on losing. But there will be many firings this offseason, as there are every year, and the Bucs don’t necessarily have the best opening—so if they need to find a replacement, who will they be able to get?
If you like Jameis Winston, the Bucs have a great job opportunity. Quarterbacks are everything in the NFL, after all, and Winston was a first-round pick just three years ago. He’s improved every season and while he certainly has flaws in his game (turnovers, deep ball, consistency), he has the potential to be an outstanding player who just turns the ball over a little too often.
The problem, though, is the defense. Still a mess, after all these years, and ESPN’s Bill Barnwell thinks that’s the death knell and ranks the Bucs ninth in his head coach openings list.
Even if you get a long-term deal and believe in Winston, though, this defense is a mess. The Buccaneers rank 31st in defensive DVOA and that's with Gerald McCoy, who is likely out for the rest of the year with a torn biceps. McCoy and Lavonte David are genuine stars, but the Bucs still have major problems on the edge and in their secondary, where 2016 first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves III regressed badly during his second campaign before injuring his hamstring. Their best young talent on defense outside of McCoy is at linebacker, but Tampa needs to flip as many as a half-dozen positions on its defense with new starters this offseason. And what if you were wrong to believe in Winston?
McCoy isn’t a young talent anymore, either. Neither is David, if we’re being honest. But yes, the Bucs have some talented pieces, just not enough to win consistently on defense. There’s a lot of work to be done, and that’ll scare some coaches off.
One other thing that may scare them off: the fact that the Bucs keep firing coaches after two years. Granted, none of those firings were unjustifiable. But they don’t exactly give an incoming coach a sense of job stability.