TAMPA – The rapid rise this year of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense has not gone unnoticed by the Chicago Bears.
The Bears, who fired head coach Lovie Smith today, have received permission to speak to Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan about their head coaching vacancy, according to Mark Dominik, Buccaneers general manager.
Sullivan is clearly a man on the rise in NFL coaching ranks. Since 2004 he has gone from receivers coach to quarterbacks coach with the New York Giants to offensive coordinator of the Bucs and now a head coach candidate.
Led by quarterback Josh Freeman, who became the first quarterback in franchise history to throw for 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns in a season, the Bucs had the NFL's ninth-ranked offense this year.
Despite playing most of the year without Pro Bowl guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks, the Bucs produced a franchise-best 5,820 yards and 389 points and got 1,926 yards from scrimmage out of rookie running back Doug Martin.
The Bears have also expressed interest in talking to Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong about their head coaching vacancy, according to the Chicago Sun Times.