Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik, who is taking in the East West Shrine practices this week alluded to the fact that the team would like to solidify its coaching staff before Senior Bowl practices begin next week. With the departure of Richard Mann official, there has been quite a lot of speculation surrounding that, of two former players in Keenan McCardell and Ike Hilliard possibly being pegged as Mann’s replacement.
But word on the street is that Tim Berbenich, who spent last season as Mann’s understudy, has emerged as the front runner to assume the duties as the team’s primary wide receivers coach.
Berbenich played wide receiver collegiately for Hamilton College in Clinton, New York from 1998-2001. He has spent the last 10-years in the NFL working with the New York Jets (2000-2005) as first an operations intern during training camp then was prompted to an offensive assistant. He arrived in Tampa as an offensive quality control coach in 2006 under ex-head coach Jon Gruden were he held the position for two seasons before being promoted to assistant running backs coach under current special teams coordinator Richard Bisaccia. In 2009 he spent the season learning under Mann as a assistant receivers coach.
Since joining the Buccaneers Berbenich’s responsibilities have been wide ranging, from breaking down film of opponents, scouting opponents, drawing opponent plays and alignments, to bringing free agents up to speed and serving as an assistant on the practice field to coaches.
Berbenich, who mastered the complexity of Gruden’s playbook, in short order, which isn’t an easy feat to accomplish based on what former players have said in the past about it. Had one main responsibility in his first two seasons with the Bucs. He was tasked with getting the coaches prepared to start studying the game plans for upcoming opponents. From drawling the plays, to breaking down and understanding what opposing defenses were going to do.
With offensive coordinator Greg Olson running a similar version of Gruden’s playbook, it stands to reason, that having a receivers coach who is in tune with the playbook and what defenses are trying to do to stop it. Would be a very valuable asset to have on the sidelines.
McCardell Wants To Coach Bucs Receivers
Even though the Bucs have not officially met with Keenan McCardell about their vacant coaching position. That hasn’t stopped the veteran receiver from lobbying for the job. Officials in attendance at East West Shrine practices this week have gotten a closeup of McCardell in action.
“They haven’t approached me yet, but I would love to [be the receivers coach],” said McCardell, who visited a Bucs practice this year during the season at team headquarters. “I would love to come over there and help Raheem. He’s energetic and I’m the same way. You can see that by watching me in practice. I would love to help the team and get that staff and help those receivers. You all need to put in a word for me!”
So who gets the job? Its anyone’s guess, but based on the team having been able to evaluate Berbenich for the past four years and his knowledge of the west coast scheme – having worked with Olson for the past two seasons. Its easy to see why he has a leg up on other candidates.