After starting his coaching tenure in the NFL with a strong but frustrating 7-9 record in 2012, many thought Greg Schiano would have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the fast track to the playoffs. Instead the team has gone into a tailspin at 0-6, depending on a rookie quarterback to save them. In the minds of many, it’s no longer if Schiano gets replaced, it’s when and who will replace him. Which names top the list of best options for the Bucs?
Greg Roman and Vic Fangio of the San Francisco 49ers
It’s hard to argue that the San Francisco 49ers have the best coaching staff in the NFL. Despite a myriad of injuries and losses on offense and defense they continue to not only win but beat teams down. That is a testament to the ability of their coordinators. Greg Roman on the offensive side is considered a mad scientist by his players. Indeed his unorthodox formations have created serious headaches for defenses and he was a head coaching favorite last year until the 49ers went on their Super Bowl run. The same goes for Vic Fangio. His defenses aren’t nearly as unpredictable but they are tough, disciplined and very effective. Having learned from the success Jim Harbaugh has had, they are both ready for head jobs of their own.
Darrell Bevell of the Seattle Seahawks
The next hot, young offensive coordinator. Darrell Bevell has become a wizard at maximizing the potential of his quarterbacks. He got a playoff win out of an aging Matt Hasselbeck, a winning record from Tarvaris Jackson and has turned Russell Wilson into a Pro Bowler. With the Seattle Seahawks on the fast track to home field advantage for the 2013 playoffs, it’s very possible Bevell could have a championship on his record when the head coaching search resumes next February. Many felt he was ready this season. Another round of success can only help his cause.
Mike Zimmer of the Cincinnati Bengals
There is probably no better defensive coordinator in pro football than Mike Zimmer. His defenses are regulars in the top ten and always play well in big games. Already this season he owns big wins over Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. The Cincinnati Bengals defense ranks 9th in the NFL and 7th in point allowed. His experience is wide, having learned under greats like Bill Parcells. If ever it felt like time for him to get a shot at a head coaching position, 2014 feels like it.
Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M
Barring a coordinator or position coach selection, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might consider a second go-around in the college ranks. The Schiano debacle obviously might scare them away from that course but it shouldn’t. There are plenty of successful coaches in the NCAA who can make the successful jump. By far the hottest name on the board is Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M. His success there, and prior at the University of Houston, has grabbed the attention of pro executives. A big part of that accomplishment comes from his ability to mold offenses around the quarterback. His greatest story of success is Johnny Manziel. In their first year together in 2012, the freshman coach and freshman quarterback won the Cotton Bowl and Manziel took home the Heisman trophy. Right now they are on pace to duplicate their record from that season. If Sumlin wraps up another big bowl victory, he could have the ammunition to interest pro teams. TampaBay might like having him to mold Mike Glennon at quarterback.