Buccaneers hire Mike Bajakian as quarterbacks coach
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to revamp their offensive staff, adding Mike Bajakian as quarterbacks coach on Thursday.
Bajakian spent the past two seasons as offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee, where he also mentored quarterbacks under coach Butch Jones.
Tampa Bay ranked 25th in passing, 29th in points scored and 30th in total offense while stumbling to a 2-14 record last season.
Former Atlanta Falcons assistant Dirk Koetter joined the Bucs as new offensive coordinator this month, and Bajakian figures to play a key role in the development of the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft if Tampa Bay decides to select Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariotta.
The move also reunites Bajakian with Bucs coach Lovie Smith. He was an offensive quality control assistant on Smith’s staff with the Chicago Bears from 2004 to 2006.
Bajakian replaces Marcus Arroyo, who had no previous NFL experience before joining the Bucs last season and unexpectedly being forced to assume responsibility for calling plays when former Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford underwent a heart procedure in August. Tedford never returned to work full time and left the team altogether in December.
”We’d like to thank Coach Bajakian for his two years at Tennessee and his efforts in helping us rebuild this storied program,” Jones said in a statement released by the university. ”We wish him much success with his goal of coaching in the NFL.”
Bajakian spent two seasons as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach after previously holding the same positions on Jones’ staffs at Central Michigan and Cincinnati.
The Volunteers averaged 28.9 points and 370.5 yards per game this past season to rank 10th in the Southeastern Conference in scoring offense and 11th in total offense. The offense improved down the stretch after Joshua Dobbs took over as starting quarterback, helping the Vols go 7-6 and win the TaxSlayer Bowl to end a string of four straight losing seasons.
The Vols had averaged 23.8 points and 353.3 yards per game in 2013.
The Buccaneers sputtered offensively, despite having a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in the same season for the first time in franchise history. Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson both topped the plateau, even though quarterback Josh McCown ranked next to last in the league in passer rating.
AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tenn., also contributed to this report.
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