4:36pm: The Bucs are also set to meet with Broncos quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The team attempted to secure a meeting with Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, but Hamilton declined the meeting.
The former Vikings OC, Kubiak became a key figure during Nathaniel Hackett‘s disastrous season. Hackett gave the second-generation coach the play-calling reins late in the season; this marked the second straight year Kubiak held that responsibility. Kubiak, 35, has less experience running an offense compared to Cooter and Hamilton, and more candidates will emerge soon. Hamilton returned to an OC role this season — after being the Chargers’ QBs coach in 2020 and Texans’ QBs instructor in 2021 — but Houston axing Lovie Smith will likely lead him elsewhere.
4:06pm: Jim Bob Cooter is back on the offensive coordinator radar. Being out of the play-calling mix for the past four seasons, the former Lions OC received an interview request Tuesday.
The Buccaneers want to meet with the Jaguars’ passing-game coordinator about their OC role, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Jags made tremendous strides this season, with Trevor Lawrence showing signs of becoming the star talent he was pegged to be when he went No. 1 overall last year.
The Lions had promoted Cooter to OC when he was just 31, bumping him to their play-calling post during the 2015 season. Matt Patricia kept Cooter on following Jim Caldwell‘s firing but moved on after his first Detroit season. Cooter, 38, has bounced from Jets to the Eagles to the Jags in the years since. Todd Bowles was out of New York by the time Cooter arrived in 2019, but the ex-Jets coach has made him the first known candidate for the Bucs’ OC position.
Bowles fired Byron Leftwich last week, moving on after inheriting the Bruce Arians hire in 2022. The Bucs’ offense, which was a top-seven unit under Leftwich from 2019-21, nosedived this season. Tampa Bay fell from second to 25th in points and second to 15th in yardage. Leftwich’s successor may well not have Tom Brady to coach in 2023, either. Although the 45-year-old legend regressed in 2022, he still provided considerable value to the Bucs over the past three seasons. If Brady plays in 2023, various reports have pointed to that 24th season coming elsewhere.
Cooter coaxed some quality Matthew Stafford seasons in Detroit; the longtime Lions QB finished eighth in QBR in each of Cooter’s first two years as OC. This past season marked Cooter’s first chance to work with a quarterback since his Detroit days, and Lawrence — after a rocky start — rebounded to lead the Jaguars to the playoffs. Jacksonville’s Lawrence-led wild-card comeback — the third-largest deficit overcome in the postseason — points their long-term arrow up after a disastrous Urban Meyer experiment in 2021. Doug Pederson calls the Jags’ plays, and Press Taylor is the team’s OC. That opens the door for Cooter, with other OC openings likely coming soon as teams make their HC choices.