Tennessee Titans Defensive Coordinator Jerry Gray Linked to Coach Opening for Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Local Fan’s Take

Leave our ball coaches in Nashville alone! Go after Derek Dooley or even Rick Stockstill instead. That would make some Middle Tennesseans very happy. Might I lift your spirits with a Chris Palmer? Isn't there someone named Jeff Fisher that might interest you?

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak continues to be linked to the head-coaching gig for the Penn State Nittany Lions. Munchak has repeatedly confirmed that he has no interest in the position. There are so many reasons that Munchak wouldn't leave the Titans after 30 years for the mess at Penn State. This rumor probably won't die until Penn State eventually hires someone like Tom Clements.

Munchak isn't the only coach that's reportedly drawing interest for head-coaching positions. Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray has been linked as a potential candidate for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' opening. The Buccaneers fired Raheem Morris after they lost 10 consecutive games to finish the season at 4-12. The Buccaneers and Gray are scheduled to meet on January 4, 2012.

Gray ended his playing career with the Buccaneers in 1993. He has held many different positions with numerous teams. Gray was the Buffalo Bills' defensive coordinator from 2001 through 2005. He was a defensive backs coach from 2006 through 2010 with the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks. He joined the Titans in 2011.

The Titans finished the season with the NFL's No. 18 defense in yards allowed. The Titans' run defense was a consistent problem that was evident during the preseason. The Titans finished with the NFL's No. 24 run defense as they surrendered 128.3 yards per game. The Buccaneers surrendered 156.1 rushing yards per game, dead last in the NFL.

With that said, I don't think it's fair to judge Gray with statistics. The Titans' defense was crucial in many of their victories. They were a bend-but-don't-break defense that kept points to a minimum. I felt like Gray did a fine job when one considers the lack of veteran talent that he had to work with.

Gray deserves the recognition. However, I can't see this being anymore than an interview that satisfies the Rooney Rule policies that force franchises to interview at least one minority candidate during the process of hiring a new head coach.

The Buccaneers are also reportedly interested in former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman. Sherman spent the past four seasons as a head coach for the Texas A&M Aggies.

Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 while completing a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs and Nashville Predators. He also follows the Tennessee Titans, his favorite AFC team.

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Joshua Huffman is a member of the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
Updated Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012