Bucs' coaching puzzle coming together

Although there’s been speculation from the day Greg Schiano became the head coach in Tampa Bay that Butch Davis would be joining his staff, that still hasn’t happened.

But it now appears imminent. Alex Marvez reports that Davis has been hired as a senior defensive assistant. Local reports say the deal hasn’t been completed, but appears likely.

If a deal with Davis is finalized, it likely would silence some of the criticism Schiano has taken because most of his reported hires so far have been his former Rutgers assistants — of whom few have any NFL experience.

But Davis has been a head coach in the NFL and on the college level. He also was defensive coordinator for Dallas during the Jimmy Johnson days. Davis was also the University of Miami head coach when Schiano was Hurricanes defensive coordinator and the two have remained close.

Although initial speculation was that Davis would be the defensive coordinator, it appears that won’t be the case. His role might be more as a liason between Schiano and a new defensive coordinator. The Bucs made a similar move when they hired Jimmy Raye II as a senior offensive assistant.

Neither coordinator is in place and one or both could come from the college ranks. But the presence of Davis and Raye, who has a long history as an NFL assistant, would bring a lot of NFL experience and respect to the staff of Schiano, who never has been an NFL head coach.

So what if Schiano’s bringing in a lot of Rutgers assistants? They’re guys he knows and with whom he has enjoyed success. Throw in the NFL experience of Davis and Raye and this could turn out to be a pretty good staff.

It almost certainly would be better than the staff of former coach Raheem Morris. After firing offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski and defensive coordinator Jim Bates early in his tenure, Morris’ staff was viewed as largely inexperienced and ineffective in league circles.

When Bates was fired, Morris, who had not officially been a defensive coordinator on the NFL level (he was selected to replace Monte Kiffin, but was elevated to head coach before he ever called a play as coordinator), took over as the defensive coordinator. When Jagodzinski was fired, quarterbacks coach Greg Olson was quickly promoted and the trickle-down effect took a toll on the rest of the offensive staff.

If Schiano, who has history as a college defensive coordinator, surrounds himself with Davis and Raye and coordinators, the Bucs suddenly will be a lot stronger at the top of their coaching staff.