Bucs’ coach Morris strips Bates of defensive coordinator duties

Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris has relieved Jim Bates of his defensive coordinator duties and will take over the play-calling responsibilities for the remainder of the season.

From the St. Petersburg Times:

Under Bates, Tampa Bay’s defense is ranked 26th overall in the NFL and last against the run, allowing 168.9 yards per game. Only the Detroit Lions have given up more points than the 29.4 per game allowed by the Bucs this season.

Bates becomes the second coordinator hired by Morris and Dominik to leave since the start of the season.

The Bucs fired offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski 10 days before the start of the regular season, saying he had trouble calling plays and that his passing scheme wasn’t NFL quality. They replaced him with quarterbacks coach Greg Olson.

I’m not criticizing the decision because at least now the Bucs will revert back to the Tampa 2, which is a scheme that better fits their personnel. But how could Morris and Dominik be so far off when they hired Jagodzinski and Bates this offseason? These were the guys that they hired, yet both coordinators couldn’t even make it through one season.

That said – if someone isn’t getting the job done (and Bates clearly wasn’t), then why continue to let him fail? If Morris doesn’t think Bates is the right fit, then there isn’t any point in waiting until the end of the season to fire him. If Morris proves that he can be the defensive playcaller, then he might as well find that out now instead of waiting until next year.

We’ll see if the move pays off. Morris certainly has his work cut out for him this Sunday, because the Bucs travel to Atlanta to take on an offensive that can put some points on the board.


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Bucs fire offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski

In a surprising move, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski, who was hired in January.

From NFL Fanhouse.com:

Jagodzinski spent the last two seasons as Boston College’s head coach, but he was fired early this year after he interviewed for the New York Jets’ head coaching job against the wishes of the BC athletic department. He didn’t get the Jets job, but new Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris hired Jagodzinski as the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator shortly after.

But now Morris has fired Jagodzinski and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Greg Olson. It is not clear why Morris fired Jagodzinski, but the big story in Tampa Bay’s training camp this year has been the quarterback competition between Byron Leftwich and Luke McCown, and there’s already speculation that Morris and Jagodzinski butted heads over the decision to start Leftwich.

It’s important to keep in mind that the offensive terminology will stay the same as Olson takes over, so it’s not like the Bucs are going to have to learn a completely new offense. That said, this is not an ideal situation just 11 days before the start of the regular season. If his coaches aren’t on the same page, Morris has the right to jettison one of them so that the rest of his staff can be cohesive. But this is a stunner and it’ll be interesting to see if any more details are released.

I guess Jags shouldn’t have flirted with the Jets last year (which led to his ousting at Boston College).

BC fires Jagodzinski – ridiculous or breath of fresh air?

Jeff JagodzinskiBoston College A.D. Gene DiFilippo warned head coach Jeff Jagodzinski that if he interviewed for the New York Jets’ head coaching vacancy, he would be fired. Jagodzinski did interview with the Jets and DiFilippo went through with his word, firing his head coach after only two seasons.

There seems to be two schools of thought on this situation. On one hand, it’s pretty ridiculous to fire someone trying to advance his career. Every man has the right to move up the corporate latter and in the cases of college head coaches, they have to interview for NFL positions when they become open.

On the flip side, this is exactly the wake up message that college coaches need to adhere to. Athletic directors have a hard enough time trying to build a consistent winner without worrying about whether or not their coach is going to fly the coup on them after just one or two years.

Jagodzinski did a hell of a job in his two years at BC. In his first season, the Eagles went 11-3, won the ACC Atlantic Division Championship and finished No. 10 in the polls after beating Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl. Not much was expected of the program this year after they lost Matt Ryan to the NFL, but Jags led a young Eagle team to a 9-5 record, another first place finish in their division and an appearance in the Music City Bowl (a 16-14 loss to Vanderbilt).

Considering he went 20-8 with a 1-1 bowl record and won two ACC Atlantic Division Championships, maybe Jags didn’t deserve to be fired for trying to further his career in the NFL. Maybe he deserved more respect and DiFilippo should have been more courteous to the man who got BC’s program back off the ground again.

But the problem is that when he was hired two years ago, he gave DiFilippo his word that he would stick around at least three seasons. He went back on his word like so many college football coaches normally do, and DiFilippo went through with his. Whether the situation was fair or not, DiFilippo sent a message to head coaches that maybe more A.D.’s should try and follow: try to leave this program after not fulfilling your commitment to it and you’ll be let go.

Jagodzinski will wind up somewhere. If he doesn’t land another position in the NFL (he used to work as an assistant coach for the Packers and Falcons), he’ll certainly take another college football head coaching position somewhere. And it’s sad that such a fine young coach had to be made an example of, but for those who think DiFilippo was in the wrong, try and look at the situation from his perspective. Maybe this was just the first step in ending the way Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino and all the other egotistical college coaches think they can go about things.

Related side note: Defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani is the leading candidate to replace Jagodzinski, but keep an eye on Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly. Kelly is from the Massachusetts area and rumor has it that BC is his dream job. Of course, Kelly was the one that left Central Michigan before his contract was up for the Cincinnati job, so maybe he’s the last guy DiFilippo wants to work considering the situation he just went through with Jagodzinski.

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