Linebackers Coach Joe Barry (left) has been let out of his contract so that he may join Monte Kiffin's USC staff...Head Coach Raheem Morris will continue to serve as defensive coordinator in 2010
Head Coach Raheem Morris will continue to serve as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive coordinator in 2010, but his defensive staff will feature several changes.
The changes were prompted by the departure of respected Linebackers Coach Joe Barry, who will assume the same position at USC under Head Coach Lane Kiffin and Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin. Barry remained under contract with the Buccaneers for the 2010 season, but the team has chosen to let Barry out of the remainder of that contract.
"Together, Monte Kiffin and Joe Barry have coached 20 years for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and everybody in this organization has the utmost respect for both of them," said General Manager Mark Dominik. "Coach Barry's opportunity with the Trojans was a rare situation, in our opinion. He played at USC, was a captain for the team and his family has ties to the area. It was important to Joe to pursue this opportunity, and because of our respect for both him and Monte, we felt like this was the right thing to do.
"We will continue to judge situations like these on an individual basis, but in regards to Joe Barry and Monte Kiffin, the entire organization was appreciative of their years of service in Tampa."
Barry's spot with the Bucs' linebackers will be filled by Joe Baker, who just completed his first season as Tampa Bay's defensive backs coach. Jimmy Lake, who was the Buccaneers' assistant defensive backs coach in 2006 and 2007 - the latter year under Morris - has been hired to replace Baker as the defensive backs coach.
Baker's move from the secondary to linebackers is not as unusual as it might sound, as he has been in charge of that position on several occasions during his almost 20 years as a coach, including during his stops with the St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos. Lake's work with Morris in 2007 and his subsequent post as the defensive backs coach for the Detroit Lions in 2008 (under Barry as the defensive coordinator) also make him well-prepared for his new role.
With Baker and Lake in place, the Buccaneers believe Morris has the resources on hand that will allow him to continue to handle both his head coaching duties and the direction of the defense.
"Raheem will continue to call the plays on defense," said Dominik. "We have confidence that he can do that and that the staff we have in place will make it possible for him to remain in that role. You certainly see head coaches in this league on both sides of the ball take on those responsibilities. We had an opportunity to see six games of Raheem serving as both the head coach and the play-caller on defense, and the results were good. We're very comfortable going into the 2010 season with him in that role, and with the support he has around him."
Baker joined the Buccaneers in 2009 after two seasons with the Denver Broncos. In 2007, he served as the Broncos' linebackers coach and helped fourth-year player D.J. Williams make a successful transition from outside linebacker into the middle. Baker switched to offense in 2008 and worked with a unit that finished second in the NFL in yards per game.
Baker's previous posts included a stint with the St. Louis Rams in 2006, where he served as the linebackers coach and a quality control coach under Scott Linehan. Baker's work with the linebacker position extends back to his college coaching days, where he tutored that position at Wisconsin in 1991. Other stops in his coaching career include the Green Bay Packers (2005), New Orleans Saints (2000-04) and Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-98). In addition to Wisconsin, Baker also coached on the collegiate level at Samford and East Stroudsburg. He played wide receiver at Princeton from 1987-90 and helped the Tigers win the 1989 Ivy League championship.
Lake got his first NFL opportunity in Tampa in 2006 after six seasons as a college coach. He began his career as the secondary coach for Eastern Washington in 2000, a position he held for four seasons before taking over the cornerbacks at the University of Washington in 2004. Under his tutelage, the Huskies' defensive backfield ranked first in the Pac-10 and 17th in the nation in pass defense. Lake had one more stop at Montana State in 2005 as the secondary coach before joining the Buccaneers.
As an assistant to Morris in the defensive backs room in 2007, Lake helped Tampa Bay's secondary rank first in the NFL in pass defense, as the Bucs allowed just 170.5 aerial yards per game.