- Gary Horton, Scouts Inc.
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Here is a look at the factors that will come into play in theTampa Bay Buccaneers draft room:
This front office is in unchartered waters with the departure of head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen -- two guys who were joined at the hip in their personnel philosophies. Enter a new head coach Raheem Morris, who has no experience in making personnel decisions, and new general manager Mark Dominik, who has never run a front office or extensively been involved with contract negotiations. Director of college scouting Dennis Hickey can set the draft board and gather information, but don't be surprised if coordinator of pro scouting Doug Williams has an upgraded role. The success of this new regime will depend on the working relationship decisions of Morris and Dominik.
The new offense without Gruden will be run by former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski. He has a lot of experience incorporating a zone-blocking scheme that sets up a power run-oriented offense. He will incorporate a passing game that has some West Coast principles and despite his reputation as an aggressive play caller, this offense will likely be fairly conservative because it doesn't have a franchise quarterback and questionable playmakers at the skill positions. He will use the run game to set up play-action and he will probe to find favorable matchups, but for the most part the Bucs will look fairly vanilla in 2009.
Morris was groomed in Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2 defense and his new coordinator, veteran Jim Bates, will run the same scheme. Right now they look old and tired on defense and to really be effective they need an infusion of youth and speed. This defense relies on a front four that creates havoc and pressure without the benefit of the blitz, which allows the back seven to sit in mostly zone schemes. They need speed, range, and physicality from their linebackers and safeties, while the guys up front remain one gap penetrators, which hopefully leads to some coverage sacks. Although their staple is the Cover 2, don't be surprised to see an occasional Cover 3 or even man-to-man to confuse defenses.
Gary Horton is a pro scout for Scouts Inc. and has been a football talent evaluator for more than 30 years. He spent 10 years in the NFL and 10 years at the college level before launching a private scouting firm called The War Room.