Coaching Moves

Published: January 31st, 2013

The bad news is you're fired. The good news is you don't have to live in Jacksonville anymore.
The Bucs made a couple coaching moves yesterday, firing special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky and hiring Tony Oden as their secondary coach.

The firing of Ligashesky is a surprise, if only because of the timing. I guess it wasn’t a big enough challenge to just fire him at the first of the month so Greg Schiano would have had the last few weeks to interview (including Senior Bowl practices where a lot of that stuff goes down). The Bucs have been miserable in the return game, ranking #30 in kick returns and tied for #19 in punt returns. Field goal accuracy was decent at 85%, which puts them exactly in the middle of the league, and net punt average was in the lower-half of the league (and I also checked punts downed inside the 20 which was ranked about the same). But I think those things have more to do with the individual player than the coach. It’s blocking schemes and return execution that make or break a special teams coach, and the Bucs weren’t good so Ligashesky is gone. And now that teams with new head coaches have assembled much of their staffs, it’s time for the Bucs to scrape the bottom for whoever is left.

Oden is going to be an improvement over the “allowed to seek other employment” Ron Cooper, but that’s saying absolutely nothing. I’m pretty sure a photograph of Mike Tomlin would have been a better coach than Cooper. So the bar is pretty low. Oden spent five years with the Saints, four as a defensive backs assistant and one as the defensive back coach. This year he went to the Jaguars in the same capacity, but was released along with everyone else from the general manager on down. I won’t hold the Jags’ performance against him, but in the one year Oden was the Saints’ secondary coach, they went from having the fourth-best passing defense in the league to the fourth-worst. There could be a lot of reasons for that: poor pass rush, playing to protect a lead, injuries, etc. But the Saints’ secondary in general never exactly has the reputation for being that great. What I’m hoping for with this hire is a coach in the mold of Raheem Morris, who was an excellent secondary coach and motivator and a coach on the rise. Except, you know, better.