Head Coach Tony Dungy will conduct a busy press conference on Thursday concerning the team's coaching staff
Turns out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren't dragging their feet at all.
Since the team's coaching staff took a succession of hits in January, with the dismissal of Offensive Coordinator Les Steckel and the departures of Linebackers Coach Lovie Smith and Defensive Backs Coach Herman Edwards, the Bucs have spent several quiet weeks with a crew at half strength. However, the search for replacements never really lost steam and the Bucs are set to reveal three new assistants on Thursday.
On January 26, Tampa Bay filled its open offensive coordinator position with the promotion of Quarterbacks Coach Clyde Christensen, thereby creating a new vacancy in Christensen's old spot. On Thursday, the Bucs will introduce his replacement as well as the team's new linebackers and defensive backs coaches. That will leave only one open spot on the staff: offensive assistant, which has been vacant since Wendell Avery was relieved of his duties in November. The resolution of the coaching issues will allow the Bucs to attack their offseason preparations full bore.
"We are looking forward to getting on with our meetings and free agency and the draft and all of those things that are going to help us get better," said Head Coach Tony Dungy. "But we think this is an important part of the process and we took our time and went through it. We think we're going to have very, very quality guys and that was important."
The new hires will be announced at a press conference at team headquarters at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday. The press conference will be carried live on Buccaneers.com, after which a recorded version will also be available on the site.
The Bucs held a series of workouts on the team practice fields on Wednesday morning. That's a common occurrence during the offseason, but this workout had a decidedly Canadian flavor.
Four of the five players granted workouts at One Buc Place on Wednesday most recently played in the Canadian Football League, including a pair of starting quarterbacks. Henry Burris of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Dave Dickenson of the Calgary Stampeders traded throws while fellow CFLers Antonious Bonner, a Toronto Argonauts defensive back, and Winston October, a Montreal Alouettes defensive back, ran through their own drills.
The Bucs also worked out LB Jamal Brooks, most recently of the New Orleans Saints.
Burris, a 1997 product of Temple University, has spent four seasons with the Roughriders while University of Montana grad Dickenson has four years of experience with the Stampeders. Each would like to follow in the footsteps of some very notable former CFL quarterbacks who went on to NFL success, a list that includes Warren Moon, Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia.
The fourth annual Circle of Friends Winter Week (formerly known as Jerry's Journey) will begin next Wednesday as Buccaneers tackle Jerry Wunsch leads his group of young cancer patients off to his home state of Wisconsin for a week of fun in the snow. This year, Rams defensive tackle Grant Wistrom joins forces with Wunsch, bringing his own group of pediatric cancer patients from St. Louis. Look for coverage of the Tampa group's departure next Wednesday on Buccaneers.com.