Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chris Ballard

TAMPA, Fla. -- Add another name to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' search for a general manager.

The latest candidate is Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Titans have given permission for Dawson to interview for the general manager jobs in Tampa Bay and Miami.

The Bucs already have interviewed Atlanta personnel executive Lionel Vital. New York Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross also has been given permission to interview with the Bucs and Dolphins.

There also have been multiple reports that the Kansas City Chiefs refused to give personnel executive Chris Ballard permission to interview with the Bucs. That is technically true, but Chiefs officials have said Ballard told the team he didn't want to leave because he didn't want to move his family.
TAMPA, Fla. -- As the Buccaneers continue the overhaul of their coaching staff and front office, there are several developments worth noting.

Kansas City director of pro personnel Chris Ballard was rumored to be the favorite to land the spot as general manager. It made sense because Ballard worked for Chicago when new Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith was with the Bears.

But Jason Cole reports that it now appears unlikely Ballard will be joining the Bucs. The problem is that Smith has been given final say on the 53-man roster. That means the general manager won't have full control. Without the prospect of full control, the Chiefs have the right to hold Ballard to his contract because the Tampa Bay job would qualify as a lateral move.

Also on the general manager front, there's a report that Atlanta personnel director Lionel Vital will interview with the Bucs. Other candidates also could emerge.

Oakland Raiders scout Larry Marmie reportedly resigned his position for an unspecified job with the Bucs. Marmie, who has deep ties to Smith, has experience in both coaching and scouting.

In other news, the Bucs reportedly have added Marcus Arroyo as quarterbacks coach. Arroyo has experience as a college quarterback, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.
TAMPA, Fla. -- I like just about everything the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have done in the last week. But there's one notable exception.

I think they're making a mistake in giving coach Lovie Smith final say over the 53-man roster. That's kind of like walking a tightrope without a net. I'm not saying a coach shouldn't have a lot of say in personnel matters. But I think a general manager should have a voice that's at least equal.

The Bucs don't have a general manager yet. Kansas City Chiefs executive Chris Ballard reportedly is the favorite. Ballard and Smith worked together in Chicago, and Smith said all the right things when asked about the coach-general manager dynamic Monday.

"First off, I look at it as a marriage and as a big group making the decision," Smith said. "Of course, as a head football coach, most things stop at your doorstep. As you know, we don't have a general manager in place yet. Once our owners decide who, exactly, will be in that role, I look forward to getting with them and making decisions together that are going to lead us to a championship."

That sounds good, but Smith's contract reportedly has a clause that gives him final say. I think you need a system that includes checks and balances.

I've covered a variety of setups through the years. But the two most successful were coach Tony Dungy and general manager Rich McKay in Tampa Bay, and coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney in Carolina. In both situations, there was an equal partnership.

Dungy and McKay used to like to say their choices never came down to a final say because they always reached a consensus that included input from other members of the coaching staff and front office. Hurney and Fox used to say that they disagreed on a fair amount of things. When they didn't see eye to eye on an option, they didn't take it. Instead, they would go with another option that both were content with.

We'll see what happens when the Bucs name a general manager. But the best thing Smith can do with that general manager is to look at him as a teammate, not an underling.

Buccaneers filling staff quickly

January, 4, 2014
Jan 4
TAMPA, Fla. – Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith is off to a fast start in filling his coaching staff.

It was known from the beginning of Smith’s candidacy that he planned to bring Jeff Tedford aboard as the offensive coordinator. The Bucs officially announced that move Saturday morning.

“We are very fortunate to have Jeff as our offensive coordinator,” Smith said. “I have a great deal of respect for the job Jeff did at Cal for more than a decade and I believe he will be a great fit for what we are attempting to do in Tampa. Jeff has a successful and proven track record as a teacher and developer of young talent and I know our players, and the organization as a whole, will benefit from his experience.”

The Bucs also are bringing in former Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier as the defensive coordinator. Smith is off to a much better start at filling his coaching staff than predecessor Greg Schiano.

In fairness to Schiano, he was hired late. Many of the coaches he wanted were already taken and there were times when Schiano had to go with his third or fourth choice.

Tedford clearly was Smith’s first choice. Frazier was no worse than the second choice. Smith wanted Rod Marinelli, but the Dallas Cowboys wouldn’t let him out of his contract as defensive line coach. Some other names of assistant coaches with ties to Smith that could be candidates to join his staff are Gill Byrd (cornerbacks), Andrew Stoker (running backs) and Mikal Smith (Smith's son) as a potential coach of the safeties.

The Buccaneers also are likely to get their top pick as general manager because there aren’t any other jobs open at the moment. Kansas City personnel executive Chris Ballard, who has history with Smith, reportedly is the favorite.

But the Bucs also could consider former Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo, who has ties to Smith and the Bucs, former Carolina general manager Marty Hurney and former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

One other name the Bucs could look at is Atlanta Falcons director of football operations Nick Polk. He’s viewed as a rising star around the league.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Although the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went with an experienced head coach in Lovie Smith, they might go with a first-time general manager.

Chris Ballard appears to be the leading candidate to replace Mark Dominik, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Ballard is director of player personnel for the Kansas City Chiefs.

But Ballard has deep ties to Smith. They worked together in Chicago. Prior to joining the Chiefs in 2013, Ballard spent 12 years with the Bears. He spent 11 seasons as a regional scout before ascending to director of pro scouting in 2012.

Ballard might not be the biggest name out there, and he’s never been a general manager before. But he could have one big advantage. That’s his relationship with Smith.