Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 candidates to be next Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach

If Dirk Koetter is indeed fired after the season, here are five candidates to be the next Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach.

Firing a head coach is something that should only happen if there’s someone better on the market. That’s the conundrum the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are facing heading into the last weeks of this season.

The  Buccaneers were a preseason darling in 2017, due in part to their appearance on HBO’s Hard Knocks, and they promptly fell flat with a 5-11 record. If not for the Oakland Raiders intervening with a big, long-term contract, Jon Gruden seemed to be well on his way to replacing Dirk Koetter as head coach.

Koetter entered this season on the hot seat, then a 2-0 start cooled things. But seven losses in their next eight games was an easy correction to see coming, and after Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens the Buccaneers can finish no better than 7-9 this season.

There are some big questions looming in Tampa Bay this offseason. Who the quarterback will be in 2019, with Ryan Fitzpatrick set to be a free agent and Jameis Winston’s fifth-year only guaranteed for injury, is one of the big ones. But the job statuses of Koetter and general manager Jason Licht run parallel to that quarterback question, as a full reset with a new general manager, head coach and quarterback seems possible.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Buccaneers have begun researching head coaching candidates and making plans for a coaching search, with Koetter unlikely to be back.

Assuming Koetter is let go, here are five candidates to be the next Buccaneers’ head coach.

5. Todd Monken

Monken has been Koetter’s offensive coordinator for the past three seasons, and he may be in demand for coordinator jobs elsewhere if/when the Bucccaneers’ coaching staff is cleaned out. But there’s a chance the Buccaneers move to keep him, just like they did with Koetter when he was on Lovie Smith’s staff. Smith was just 8-24 over two seasons as the head coach in Tampa Bay, but Koetter’s promotion was mostly based on his work with Winston and the idea he’d be highly sought after around the league.

If Buccaneers’ ownership wants to make a move-the-needle hire, as they were ready to do with Gruden a year ago, Monken is not that. Going with the same pattern that was used to make Koetter the head coach is not necessarily likely either, but Monken still has to be on this list.

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