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Thursday, January 26, 2012
Deal done, but who will run Bucs' offense?

By Pat Yasinskas

Stephen Holder raises a very good question that will come into play now that a deal reportedly has been finalized to make Rutgers coach Greg Schiano the new coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- who will be his offensive coordinator?

That, without doubt, will be the most important hire Schiano will make for his staff. He’s a coach with a long defensive background and he needs an offensive coordinator with strong skills to straighten out an offense that wasn’t very good last season, but does have some talent.

The talent starts with quarterback Josh Freeman, who was impressive in 2010, but took a step back in 2011. The new offensive coordinator’s first order of business will be to get Freeman back on track. Same for receiver Mike Williams and running back LeGarrette Blount, who each slumped after strong rookie seasons in 2010.

Tampa Bay has some talent on the offensive line with guard Davin Joseph, center Jeff Faine and left tackle Donald Penn, but could use some other upgrades on the line. The Bucs also have tight end Kellen Winslow, but there are no guarantees he’ll remain in the team’s plans. Winslow also slumped in 2011, has chronic knee problems and is carrying a relatively hefty $4.8 million salary-cap figure for 2012. But the Bucs do have some built in protection if Winslow’s knee problems worsen. Instead of structuring his deal with a hefty base salary, the Bucs included an incentive clause where Winslow is scheduled to receive a bonus of $34,375 for every game he’s active.