New Buccaneer Senior Assistant Aaron Kromer will help out with all aspects of the team's offense
On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the hiring of Aaron Kromer to the team's coaching staff. Kromer, who will take on the title of Senior Assistant and a wide variety of duties, is joining a Jon Gruden staff for the second time in five years.
In 2001, Gruden hired Kromer as an offensive assistant with the Raiders. Gruden moved on to the Buccaneers in 2002, and Kromer was promoted to offensive line coach in Oakland. In 2002, he helped coach the NFL's top-ranked offense, as the Raiders advanced to Super Bowl XXXVII before losing to Gruden's Buccaneers, 48-21.
"We're very excited to add Aaron to our staff," said Gruden. "He is a great teacher with a unique background and I am looking forward to our players working with him. I think [everyone] will soon find that he is a very good coach and a great guy and I think our team will be very excited as well."
While announcing the addition of Kromer, Gruden also revealed that Paul Hackett, the New York Jets' offensive coordinator for the past four seasons, was scheduled to arrive in Tampa on Thursday evening for an interview with the team. Hackett, who has 35 years of coaching experience, including 16 on the NFL level and seven as an offensive coordinator, resigned from the Jets' staff on Wednesday.
"His experience is unparalleled, in my opinion, dealing with quarterbacks," said Gruden. "From young guys like Carson Palmer and a great cast of guys – Joe Montana in his early years in San Francisco – certainly he had a tremendous amount to do with Chad Pennington's uprising in this league."
Bill Muir, a veteran of 28 NFL seasons including the last three with the Buccaneers, will retain his titles as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Kromer will assist the coaching staff in all offensive areas and Hackett could come on as the new quarterbacks coach. John Shoop, the Bucs' quarterbacks coach in 2004, is currently not under contract and Gruden believes he is seeking a coordinator position elsewhere.
Muir, however, is scheduled to undergo surgery and will not travel with the rest of the staff to Mobile, Alabama next week for the Senior Bowl. Kromer will handle the coaching duties with the South squad offensive linemen during the Senior Bowl week. Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach Rod Marinelli will also miss the Senior Bowl week due to planned surgery. Gruden made it clear that both Muir and Marinelli would remain in their current positions after their respective recoveries and are considered extremely important figures in what the team is trying to accomplish.
Gruden also confirmed that Mike Tomlin, the Buccaneers' defensive backs coach from 2001-04, is visiting the Dolphins, possibly to interview for the position of defensive coordinator under new Head Coach Nick Saban. Tomlin's contract with the Buccaneers ran out after the 2004 season but the Bucs are interested in retaining him if he does not accept another offer.
"I hate the thought of losing Mike," said Gruden. "He's a good friend and a very good coach. He's prepared himself well. He's been trained by the best. We wish him well in this interview. If we are unfortunate to lose him, we certainly wish him the best and we'll address that at the appropriate time. To speculate now, I don't think is wise."
During Kromer's tenure with the Raiders, tackle Lincoln Kennedy (2001-02) and center Barret Robbins (2002) were named to the Pro Bowl and the AP All-Pro team. In 2004, Kromer oversaw the first-year development of first-round pick tackle Robert Gallery, who was named to ESPN.com's All-Rookie team in 2004.
Before jumping to the NFL, Kromer spent two seasons as an assistant at Northwestern, coaching the offensive line. He spent the 1990-98 seasons at his alma mater, Miami of Ohio, coaching the offensive line, along with the tight ends, H-backs, defensive line and special teams at varying points during his stay. That wide range of experience will serve Kromer well with the Buccaneers.
"He will have some very broad areas of responsibility," said Gruden. "He'll work with the offense. He'll work with me, specifically. His role will be defined as we move forward. He'll help Bill Muir. He'll help [tight ends coach] Ron Middleton. He'll help us as an offensive football team. We're looking forward to collaborating with him. A great teacher, he's done a great job developing great players, not only at Northwestern, but also with the Raiders."