Bucs Can Offensive Coordinator Jagodzinski

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski was fired Thursday as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have been unhappy with the progress of their passing game.

First-year coach Raheem Morris offered a vague explanation for the abrupt move on the eve of the team's preseason finale against the Houston Texans. Quarterbacks coach Greg Olson was promoted to Jagodzinski's role and will take over playcalling.

"I have a lot of respect for coach Jags, and what he did, and the effort he put into his work, but we're at the point now where we need to be more precise, we need to be more detailed and we need to have more direction on where we're going to go," Morris said.

Jagodzinski was hired in January, three weeks after being dismissed by Boston College for pursuing an NFL head coaching job.

At the time, adding an experienced assistant who was Green Bay's offensive coordinator in 2006 was viewed as smart move by Morris, who turned 33 Thursday and is the youngest head coach in the NFL.

He installed an offense featuring a zone-blocking running scheme and a passing attack that encourages the quarterback to be aggressive throwing the ball downfield. Morris stressed that philosophy won't change under Olson.

Offensive line coach Pete Mangurian, who presides over the running game, and assistant head coach/receivers Richard Mann will assume greater responsibility, too.

"It's not a knock on coach Jagodzinski. It's just what we needed to do, the plan we needed to have," Morris said.

"A lot of the things remain the same. This offense was going in the right direction. You've got to give Jagodzinski credit. He did get it started in the right direction. Now we've got to finish off the deal with some of our other guys."

Jagodzinski led Boston College to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game in each of his two seasons there, but was fired after being told he would be let go if he interviewed for the New York Jets' coaching vacancy.

He interviewed despite the ultimatum and was fired the next day. The Jets job eventually went to Rex Ryan.

Jagodzinski, 45, was offered a demotion to quarterbacks coach, but declined.

"I am certainly disappointed but I wish nothing but the best for Raheem Morris and the entire Buccaneer organization," Jagodzinski said in a statement released by the team.

Morris sidestepped questions about Jagodzinski's playcalling. And, he insisted the move had nothing to do with last weekend's decision to begin the season with Byron Leftwich as the starting quarterback.

"I think Jags may be a better head coach, may be a better position coach, to be honest with you," Morris said, explaining why Jagodzinski was offered Olson's old job.

"We just didn't have the direction from the coordinator's spot, so we offered him a position on the staff. But realistically, it didn't make the most sense for both of the parties involved."

Jagodzinski led Boston College to a pair of bowl appearances and lost twice to Virginia Tech in the ACC title game during his brief stay with the Eagles.

He was an NFL assistant for eight years with Green Bay and Atlanta before moving to BC, where he tutored last season's NFL rookie of the year Matt Ryan.

Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo issued a statement when he learned of Jagodzinski's firing. "It's unfortunate. All of us at Boston College wish Jags and his family the very best."

Morris said he did not feel the change will disrupt Tampa Bay's preparation for the Sept. 13 season opener against Dallas.

"When you talk about being in chaos, you're talking about not having a plan," Morris said. "The plan has not changed."


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