- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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TAMPA, Fla. -- There’s one small flaw with all this speculation about Rod Marinelli joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the defensive coordinator.
The Bucs already have a defensive coordinator.
That’s Leslie Frazier's job, and I don’t see the Bucs parting ways with him. Much of the speculation about Marinelli comes because of his close friendship with coach Lovie Smith. That’s all true and they have plenty of history together.
But Frazier and Smith also have a strong relationship. In addition to the one year they already have coaching together, they developed a healthy respect for each other back when they were head coaches in the NFC North.
Smith isn’t the kind of guy to dump someone he respects to bring in his buddy, and Frazier didn’t do a bad job in 2014. The defense ended up ranked No. 25 overall, but it showed dramatic improvement over the second half of the season.
If Marinelli leaves Dallas, I still could see him ending up with the Bucs. But I don’t think it would come at Frazier’s expense.
I can see the Bucs bringing in Marinelli as something like a senior defensive assistant. Or maybe Marinelli returns to his roots and coaches the defensive line.
But it’s tough to see him coming in as the defensive coordinator.