[037] Know Your Enemy: Carolina Panthers Free Agency Edition

We’ve got Bucs news from around the league. Plus, we talk about the changes the Carolina Panthers have undergone this offseason, including some major developments within the coaching staff.

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[036] NFL Combine pressers and other Bucs news

GM Jason Licht and Coach Bruce Arians both gave pressers at the combine. What did we learn new about the team? Molly and Ralph go over their thoughts. Plus we talk about other Bucs news and dabble a bit in Rub-and-tug-gate starring Robert Kraft.

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[035] Ralph and Molly analyze recent reports made by Bucs media

Who initially coined the term “Jameis Winston football”? We’ll tell you. Plus, we’ll analyze Rick Stroud’s report on Gerald McCoy’s future. Then, we’re talking about DeSean Jackson almost as often as Joebucsfan!

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Rick Stroud “reports” Gerald McCoy will return to the Bucs next season

Twitter is in a frenzy today with news that Gerald McCoy will be returning to the Buccaneers next season, courtesy of an article written by Rick Stroud entitled: “Why Gerald Mccoy will return for a 10th season with the Bucs.”

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“Stop the speculation,” the headline reads. “The sixth-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle and his $13 million are a good fit for coach Bruce Arians.”

Who, exactly, deemed McCoy “a good fit”? The headline seems to imply it was Bruce Arians, but there’s no attribution given. Was it Bruce himself? Was it someone close to him? Someone in the front office? Unclear.

A typical headline that satisfies journalism’s cardinal rule of always citing your sources might typically go something like this:

Stop the speculation: Sources say six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle and his $13 million are a good fit for coach Bruce Arians

or

Stop the speculation: The sixth-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle and his $13 million are a good fit according to coach Bruce Arians

The headline, and subsequently Rick’s article, give us absolutely no indication who it is making this claim. The only quotes in the article are tweets not from Bruce Arians, but Gerald McCoy.

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and

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The general public’s takeaway from the article is that Bruce Arians has publicly stated McCoy will remain with the team, based on one paragraph of the article:

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But how do you know this, Rick? Bruce Arians? An insider into the organization? Your own brain? I’m confident Rick is not making up information, but to not tell us where he’s obtained his is just sloppy journalism.

To make matters worse, the only quotes used in the article were those two tweets from Gerald McCoy. It’s not completely clear Rick even talked to an actual human person to write this article.

But he was spending a lot time on the internet. The rest of the article argues why McCoy should stay with the team, including his stats, how easy the transition to a 3-4 will be for him, the lack of trade value due to the “glut of defensive tackles available in free agency,” how reasonable his salary actually is, and who we can cut instead of him.

This. Is. Not. News. The cardinal rule of journalism is you always cite your sources. The author of this article lays out a lot of arguments–why McCoy is worth keeping–and not one of them is attributed to anyone. We then have to assume they are the author’s.

Sources are vital in good journalism. It allows the reader to judge for himself whether the information is credible. We are never given the opportunity here.

I am not saying McCoy will no longer be with the team. It is entirely possible Rick has a source inside the organization and this is breaking news, albeit bad journalism. The two are not mutually exclusive. Equally plausible: perhaps it’s an opinion piece that was not properly labeled “Opinion,” which, in that case, would not necessarily be the fault of Rick, but of his editor at the Tampa Bay Times.

Nonetheless, as fans we have a responsibility to our team to examine information we’re presented and analyze it critically. We must demand better from the sources of that information, just as we do our team.

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[034] Ralph and Molly discuss Vinny Curry’s release, Donovan Smith’s uncertain future and the Colin Kaepernick settlement

Does Donovan stay or go? Who knows! But we’ll talk about it for 20 minutes, because what is the offseason for if not baseless speculation? Plus, we discuss why we want Colin Kaepernick to get a job in the NFL. Also, Bruce Arians may have hinted (again) at the fate of the Bucs defensive scheme. 4-3 or 3-4? We’ll tell you!

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[033] Know Your Enemy free agency edition: Atlanta Falcons

Let’s get down and dirty with the dirty bird’s free agency and coach changes. We also go over Bucs news with Matt Bryant, Kareem Hunt, and other rumors.

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A look at Bruce Arians’ coaching staff: Defense & Special Teams (Part 2 of 2)

In our last piece, we went through the resumes of all Bruce Arians’ offensive coaching staff. This piece will focus on the defense and special teams. While the defense is Todd Bowles’ defense, Bruce ensured the defensive and special teams staff were filled with coaches he knows and trusts. Like with the offense, you will find the hires almost all have history with Bruce (and each other).

Defense

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Defensive Coordinator: Todd Bowles

As soon as Arians’ name was announced as the Buccaneers new head coach, we knew it was only a matter of time before Todd Bowles was brought in. Most NFL fans are familiar with Bowles the coach: first as Arians’ defensive coordinator at Arizona, then as the Jets Head Coach. But Bowles’ career (and his history with Arians) goes back further than that: he played for Arians at Temple when Bruce was head coach. After college, Bowles then went on to have an eight-year career in the NFL as a safety, winning a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins.


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Defensive Line Coach: Kacy Rodgers

Kacy Rodgers served on Todd Bowles’ staff at the Jets as defensive coordinator from 2015-2018. Prior to that, he was with Miami for six years and the Cowboys before that. Rodgers is one of the few hires that doesn’t have a connection to Arians.


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Outside Linebackers Coach: Larry Foote

Larry Foote is another alum from the Bruce Arians School for Coaches. Arians gave Foote his first crack at coaching in 2015 when he hired Foote as inside linebackers coach. Foote stayed with the organization through 2018.

Before that, Foote played under Head Coach Arians at the Cardinals in 2014, and was on the Steelers’ squad 2004-2008 and 2010-2011 while Bruce was integral in the offense.


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Inside Linebackers Coach: Mike Caldwell

While Mike Caldwell worked under Arians, we should probably consider him more of Todd Bowles’ guy. Caldwell coached linebackers at Arizona from 2013-2014, but left with Bowles in 2015 to serve as assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach at the Jets, where he remained until Bowles was let go in 2018.

Prior to his run with Arians and Co., he began his time in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles where he started as an intern and advanced to quality control coach.

Caldwell is another former NFL player, who played from 1993-2003. His rookie season began at the Cleveland Browns under none other than Bill Belichik and Nick Saban.


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Cornerbacks Coach: Kevin Ross

Another Cardinals alum, Kevin Ross spent his five years at the organization coaching Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals’ pass defense held opponents to a 61.0 completion percentage, the ninth lowest in the league, and an 83.2 percent passer rating, the sixth lowest in the league. Of particular interest to Bucs’ fans will be the Cardinals interceptions during that time: 86 total interceptions (ranking third in the league during that five year span) and 14 interceptions returned for touchdowns (tied for first in the league).

Prior to his time in Arizona, Ross coached safeties at Oakland, San Diego and Minnesota.

Ross entered into the league as a player in Kansas City in 1984 and ultimately had a career that secured him a spot in the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame. During his career with the team, which lasted from 1984-1993, Ross had 30 interceptions and scored 5 touchdowns. He is one of only three players in franchise history to score at least four different ways (two interceptions, two blocked field goal returns, one fumble recovery and one blocked punt).


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Safeties Coach: Nick Rapone

Nick Rapone has known Bruce Arians since they were both wee lads–they played together in college at Virginia Tech. Arians was a senior when Rapone was a freshman. After Arians graduated, he was a graduate assistant and running back coach when Rapone played.

Arians brought Rapone onto his staff at Temple, where Rapone remained to coach the secondary for Bruce’s entire tenure as head coach. Rapone stayed at the college level for over 30 years until Arians took the head coaching job at Arizona. Rapone rejoined him to coach the defensive backs (including Tyrann Mathieu).


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Quality Control Coach: Tim Atkins

Another Bowles’ guy, Tim Atkins served as the Jets’ defensive quality control coach during Todd Bowles regime. Before that, he worked for the Browns for two seasons, and the Bills prior to that.


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Defense/special teams assistant: Cody Grimm

Cody Grimm is probably one of my favorite hires this season. Grimm was drafted by the Buccaneers in 2010 when I first became a fan and played for three seasons. He showed flashes during his playing time as a safety, but his career was littered with injuries. After he retired from the NFL, he returned to his alma mater Virginia Tech where he coached on defense.

Even more interesting about this hire, Cody’s father, Russ Grimm is a Hall of Famer, having earned his spot as an offensive lineman with the Washington Redskins. He played on the Super Bowl-winning Redskins team with Todd Bowles. After retiring as a player, Russ was on the coaching staff at Pittsburgh at the same time as Arians.


Special Teams

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Special Teams Coordinator: Keith Armstrong

Keith Armstrong has spent the last ten years serving as the Atlanta Falcons Special Teams Coordinator (with our beloved Matt Bryant). The organization let him go this season in favor of some new blood. But he quickly landed a job with an old chum: He played under Arians at Temple, and after graduating joined Arians’ coaching staff.

Armstrong’s NFL coaching career began in 1994, where he started as the Falcons’ safeties coach. He also coached at Chicago and Miami.


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Specialists Coach: Chris Boniol

Chris Boniol is a former NFL kicker, having been signed by the Dallas Cowboys in 1994. He helped the franchise win a Super Bowl during his time there, becoming the first Cowboy to have three consecutive 100-point seasons. He also held the team record for the longest streak of consecutive field goals with 26 in 1995. He retired a Chicago Bear in 1999.

The Dallas Cowboys re-hired him as a coach in 2010, where he coached Mr. Reliable Dan Bailey. Bailey went on to break his coach’s streak of franchise most consecutive field goals. Boniol left the Cowboys to join the Raiders for one season in 2014 before joining the Louisiana College football program as the special teams coach.


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Assistant Special Teams Coach: Amos Jones

To say former University of Alabama Head Coach Bear Bryant is Bruce Arians’ idol is a yuge understatement. Arians has modeled his entire coaching philosophy after Bryant’s “coach ‘em hard, hug ‘em later” mentality. So it comes as no surprise that Arians would hire a coach that comes from the same background. Amos Jones played under Bear Bryant at Alabama, and then joined the coaching staff during the last year of Bryant’s regime.

Jones has followed the Buccaneers’ head coach to each major stop along Arians’ journey. First to Temple, where he served as the defensive line coach. He stayed at the collegiate level until he was hired on at Pittsburgh in 2007 as an assistant, eventually moving up to special teams coordinator in 2012. When Arians landed the head coaching job at Arizona, Jones followed him to serve as special teams coordinator.

In 2018, Jones was the special teams coordinator at Cleveland.


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Assistant to the Head Coach: Mike Chiurco

Mike Chiurco served in the same role at Arizona during Bruce’s tenure, but his career has mostly been spent coaching at the high school level, with one exception: he was a college scout at Indianapolis from 1999-2003. Bruce was the quarterbacks coach for the franchise 1998-2000.


The hiring of Bruce Arians has given the franchise a new lease on life. Arians has stated we are in win-now mode. Hopefully this is the staff to do it.

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[032] Ralph and Molly talk about our roster, free agency, and the Big Game Sunday

In this episode, Molly goes over all of the free agents on our roster and we decide who we should keep. We also discuss some of the available free agents that are going to be on the market that would fit well with the team. The Big Game between the Patriots and the Rams is also covered.

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A look at Bruce Arians’ coaching staff: Offense (Part 1 of 2)

January is here, and without a playoff berth, Buccaneers fans are left wanting for any information related to the team. I think most of us might settle for a piece detailing each players’ breakfast at this point. With a new coach hiring, the state of the franchise is a huge question mark. What we do know is Bruce Arians has completely filled out his coaching staff. Here’s part one of two of a detailed look at the 2019 Buccaneers coaches.

Offense

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Offensive Coordinator: Byron Leftwich

This hire is a little nostalgic for me because Byron started at quarterback for the Buccaneers the first year I was a fan in 2009. His starting career didn’t last long, but nevertheless I’m happy to see him a Buccaneer. His coaching career started in 2016 when he interned under Bruce Arians at Arizona. He was promoted in 2017 to quarterbacks coach, then took over as interim offensive coordinator after Mike McCoy was fired in 2018.

Despite Leftwich’s short coaching career, Arians has nothing but confidence in his young coordinator. “I’ve been training guys for this job,” Arians said in his first press conference as Buccaneers head coach. “I always said I would never give it up and look over anybody’s shoulder until I found one I knew could do it. Harold Goodwin did it for me for a little while, but Byron [Leftwich] I think is rising star in this business. What he did with the interim title out there [in Arizona in 2018] – it wasn’t even his offense, it was Mike McCoy’s offense – and he did a heck of a job with some rookies. He’s more than ready. I think this coaching staff is going to be outstanding.”


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Run-Game Coordinator: Harold Goodwin

Goodwin has history with Arians, serving as his offensive line coach and quality control coordinator at Pittsburgh while Arians was offensive coordinator from 2007-2011, as the Colts’ offensive line coach in 2012 under offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and as Head Coach Bruce Arians’ offensive coordinator at Arizona from 2013-2017.

Under Goodwin’s leadership, second-year running back David Johnson set franchise records and led the NFL in scrimmage yards and touchdowns, earning a Pro Bowl appearance.

Goodwin also has a history with the Buccaneers, having interviewed for the head coaching job in 2016 when ultimately Dirk Koetter was hired.


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Quarterbacks Coach: Clyde Christensen

Buccaneer fans who have been around a while will remember this name: Clyde Christensen served on Dungy’s staff from 1996-2001, first as tight ends coach, then as quarterbacks coach, then had a one-year stint as offensive coordinator.

For the past 14 seasons, he’s been at the Colts, winning a Super Bowl with the team in 2006. He served as the Colts’ offensive coordinator from 2010-2011, and was then demoted to quarterbacks coach when Bruce Arians was brought in as offensive coordinator.

In 2018, Christensen was the Director of Football/Player Development at Miami.

Christensen and Arians go back further than Arians’ brief stint with the Colts: Christensen was on Arians’ staff at Temple from 1983-1985.


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Offensive Line Coach: Joe Gilbert

Joe Gilbert spent last season at the University of Arizona, but before that was a member of the Colts from 2012-2017, including when Arians was offensive coordinator. Prior to joining the Colts, Gilbert spent his career coaching at the collegiate level.


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Tight Ends Coach: Rick Christophel

Rick Christophel and Bruce Arians’ history goes all the way back to 1991, when Christophel was the wide receiver coach and Arians was offensive coordinator at Mississippi State. The two met again in Arizona when Arians brought Christophel on as the team’s tight ends coach.


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Running Backs Coach: Todd McNair

This name will ring a few bells, but it’s not because of an accomplished coaching career. Todd McNair was the collateral damage in the USC scandal involving Reggie Bush. This Sports Illustrated article sums it up pretty well, but in a nutshell, Todd McNair coached Reggie Bush at USC. Bush received gifts from Lloyd Lake, a marketing professional attempting to land a high-profile client. Lake alleged he and McNair discussed the matter in a telephone call in 2006. NCAA officials questioned McNair, but asked him about a date in 2005, causing McNair to deny the fact pattern. The NCAA sanctioned McNair, and he hasn’t coached since 2011. McNair attempted to sue the NCAA for defamation but was unsuccessful.

Prior to USC, McNair coached at the Cleveland Browns and at the high school level. He was a running back in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Oilers. He was one of Arians’ running backs at Temple from 1985-1988.

Bruce Arians is known for giving second chances, and this hiring may be one of those cases. McNair was known for his recruiting capabilities, so may offer an eye for talent. Additionally, a man that has something to fight for is an asset in our eyes. We’re excited to see what Arians can do with this hire.


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Wide Receivers Coach: Kevin Garver

Another Cardinals alum, Kevin Garver acted as an offensive assistant from 2013-2016 and was promoted to wide receivers coach in 2017. He stayed with the Cardinals through 2018. During his time with the team, he worked with receivers like Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Christian Kirk. Prior to Arizona, Garver worked under Nick Saban at Alabama.


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Offensive Assistant: Antwaan Randle El

Bruce Arians likes to play mentor, and Antwaan Randle El is one member of the 2019 Bruce Arians Coaches University class. Many football fans with recognize the name, as he came into the league as a wide receiver in 2002. Arians was Randle El’s wide receivers coach from 2004-2005 at Pittsburgh, then was his offensive coordinator in 2010 when the receiver returned to the team for a brief stint. Randle El won a Super Bowl in Pittsburgh with Arians.


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Offensive Quality Control Coach: John Van Dam

John Van Dam is coming straight from college ball, where he’s been a coach since 2008. There is so little information about him on the interwebs, Google assumes you misspelled “Jean-Claude Van Damme”.


Stay tuned for part two of our in-depth look at the 2019 Buccaneers defensive and special teams staff.

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[031] An in-depth look at Bruce Arians’ coaching staff, the call heard round the world, and more in this post-season podcast with Ralph and Molly

We have the team resumes of all Bucco Bruce’s coaching staff and were surprised at the findings. Also, bad officiating in the NFC Championship game?? You don’t say! We’ve only been saying that all season. Plus, our Super Bowl picks, DeSean Jackson, Greg Schiano and more.

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