TAMPA, Fla. -- Jeff Jagodzinski was fired Thursday as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have been unhappy with the progress of their passing game.
Quarterbacks coach Greg Olson was promoted to Jagodzinski's former role on the eve of the Bucs' preseason finale against the Houston Texans and will take over play-calling duties.
"I have a lot of respect for coach Jags, and what he did, and the effort he put into his work," first-year Bucs coach Raheem Morris said, "but we're at the point now where we need to be more precise, we need to be more detailed and we need to have more direction on where we're going to go."
Wyche: Behind the firing
The dismissal of Jeff Jagodzinski stemmed from prolonged "attention to detail" issues that the Bucs had been monitoring for weeks, Steve Wyche writes.
Jagodzinski was hired by the Bucs in January, three weeks after being dismissed as Boston College's coach for pursuing the New York Jets' head-coaching job. At the time, adding an experienced assistant who was the Green Bay Packers' offensive coordinator in 2006 was viewed as smart move by Morris, who turned 33 Thursday and is the youngest head coach in the NFL.
Jagodzinski installed an offense featuring a zone-blocking running scheme and a passing attack that encourages the quarterback to be aggressive throwing the ball downfield. Morris stressed that philosophy won't change under Olson.
Offensive line coach Pete Mangurian, who presides over the running game, and assistant head coach/receivers Richard Mann will assume greater responsibility, too.
"It's not a knock on coach Jagodzinski," Morris said. "It's just what we needed to do, the plan we needed to have."
"A lot of the things remain the same. This offense was going in the right direction. You've got to give Jagodzinski credit. He did get it started in the right direction. Now we've got to finish off the deal with some of our other guys."
Jagodzinski led Boston College to the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game in each of his two seasons at the school, but he was fired after being told he would be let go if he interviewed for the Jets' head-coaching vacancy. He did so despite the ultimatum and was fired the next day. The Jets eventually hired Rex Ryan as their coach.
The Bucs offered Jagodzinski a demotion to quarterbacks coach, but he declined.
"I am certainly disappointed, but I wish nothing but the best for Raheem Morris and the entire Buccaneer organization," Jagodzinski said in a statement released by the team.
Morris sidestepped questions about Jagodzinski's play-calling. And Morris insisted the move had nothing to do with last weekend's decision to begin the season with Byron Leftwich as the starting quarterback.
"I think Jags may be a better head coach, may be a better position coach, to be honest with you," Morris said, explaining why Jagodzinski was offered Olson's old job. "We just didn't have the direction from the coordinator's spot, so we offered him a position on the staff. But realistically, it didn't make the most sense for both of the parties involved."
Jagodzinski led Boston College to two bowl appearances and lost twice to Virginia Tech in the ACC title game during his brief stay at the school. He was an NFL assistant for eight years with the Packers and Atlanta Falcons before moving to BC, where he tutored Matt Ryan, last season's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo issued a statement when he learned of Jagodzinski's firing: "It's unfortunate. All of us at Boston College wish Jags and his family the very best."
Morris said he didn't believe the change will disrupt the Bucs' preparation for the Sept. 13 season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
"When you talk about being in chaos, you're talking about not having a plan," Morris said. "The plan has not changed."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press