Bucs Retain Entire Defensive Staff

February 21 – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will retain their entire defensive staff under new head coach Jon Gruden. Rod Marinelli, who has reportedly been sought after by Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy ever since Tampa Bay fired him on Jan. 14, was promoted to assistant head coach, but he will still coach the team's defensive line.

The dust left behind by the firing of Tony Dungy is coming close to settling in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers announced Wednesday that their entire defensive staff will be retained under new head coach Jon Gruden.

There was, however, a change in job title for one Tampa Bay defensive coach. Buccaneers defensive line coach Rod Marinelli's future with the Bucs didn't look encouraging. Former Bucs and now Indianapolis head coach Tony Dungy was reportedly interested in offering Marinelli the Colts vacant defensive coordinator position. It would have been difficult for the Bucs to keep Marinelli in Tampa Bay with that kind of opportunity on the table, but on Wednesday, the Buccaneers secured Marinelli's services by promoting him to assistant head coach. Marinelli will still, however, be coaching the team's defensive line.

Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, linebackers coach Joe Barry and defensive backs coach Mike Tomlin will all remain with the team.

"Monte and Rod's leadership and coaching expertise are key strengths of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers," said Gruden. "Joe and Mike are rising stars in this profession and I look forward to working with all of them."

Tampa Bay's defense is the only unit in the National Football League to rank among the Top 10 in total defense in each of the last five seasons and the Buccaneers 1,342 points allowed since 1997 are the fewest in the league.

Final Tampa Bay Defense Rankings

1997 3rd

1998 2nd

1999 3rd

2000 9th

2001 6th

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