It's been one week since the Buccaneers and Lovie Smith parted ways. Since then, General Manager Jason Licht, along with ownership, has been searching for a new coach to lead the Bucs into 2016. Licht believes that the pieces are in place in Tampa Bay to make the position very attractive for whoever takes over the reins.
One major piece of that, Licht said, was rookie quarterback, Jameis Winston.
"A 22-year old quarterback, who I happen to believe is a franchise quarterback, that's a very strong asset to have," Licht said when asked why he believed that Tampa Bay is an attractive destination for a potential head coach. "That's one that not many teams can say that they have."
Winston, by all accounts, had one of the best rookie seasons of any quarterback in NFL history. He threw for 4,042 yards, the third-most of any rookie. He is also No. 3 among rookies in combined touchdowns scored with 28.
Six potential candidates for the Buccaneers' head coaching position, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
Winston's numbers stack up favorably against other passers to wear a Buccaneer uniform, too. His passing total this season was the most for a rookie in team history and the second-most of any quarterback in a single season.
With Mike Evans, who has been one of the most productive wide receivers in NFL history through his first two seasons, and Doug Martin, who finished No. 2 in the NFL in rushing yards this season, the Buccaneers finished No. 5 in the league in total offense. The team also had a rookie start all 16 games at left tackle and another rookie play most of the season at right guard.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Buccaneers have two standouts, Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy, already locked into long-term deals. The team also added Kwon Alexander, a two-time NFL Rookie of the Week, slated in to fill the team's middle linebacker role.
Several pieces are in place for the Buccaneers to move into 2016. The team has confirmed two interviews – Arizona Offensive Coordinator Harold Goodwin and Carolina Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott – thus far.
"We would like to be fairly quick with this, but we're not going to sacrifice thoroughness for it," Licht said. "We're going to move as swiftly as we can, but also be relentless with our research and make a smart decision."