The Glazer family notoriously keeps their plans regarding the football team they own to themselves. In early 2009, for example, no one expected Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden and G.M. Bruce Allen to be fired. But they were, promptly replaced by Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik, respectively.
Now, with the Bucs in a nine-game free fall and storm clouds gathering over Morris and fan apathy deepening in Tampa, the Glazers have given no hints as to what they plan to do with their head coach, whose contract expires after the 2012 season. Many expect Morris to be fired. Recently, former Bucs quarterback Shaun King made a fairly persuasive case for keeping Morris in an appearance on PFT Live.
With Black Monday looming, with multiple coaches likely to be fired (primarily to allow the official search to begin immediately), a log has been thrown onto the smoldering embers in Tampa. Or, more accurately, Atlanta.
With the Bucs in Georgia to play the Falcons, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that former Titans coach Jeff Fisher was spotted at the Buccaneers’ hotel on Saturday. Stroud points out that Fisher’s son, Trent, plays college football at Auburn, which faced Virginia Saturday night at the Georgia Dome in what used to be known as the Peach Bowl.
It’s unknown why Fisher, one of the hottest commodities entering the 2012 coaching carousel, was at the team hotel, or whether he met with anyone while he was there. Perhaps he was catching up with Albert Haynesworth, who played for Fisher in Tennessee from 2002 through 2008. Perhaps he addressed the team at Raheem’s request. Perhaps Fisher was walking by the hotel and received a phone call from the area code in which Mother Nature resides. Or perhaps Fisher decided to build a little buzz — and mess a little bit with the media — by swinging through the lobby of the Bucs’ hotel while he was in town, knowing at some level that it would create a stir.
Regardless of the explanation, it would be odd and out of character for the Glazers to bring Fisher into the team hotel for an interview for a job that is still filled. But odd things happen when the time comes to hire and fire coaches; three years ago, the timing of the Gruden/Allen ouster and the Morris/Dominik arrival created a clear impression that the replacements were lined up behind the backs of the men who held those jobs, before those men were relieved of their duties.
Either way, we’ll find out more once the regular season ends, and Morris is, or isn’t, fired.