BY: John Mamola / 620wdae.com
With two weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, the rumor mill about NFL coaches on the hot seat is heating up with multiple teams possibly on the cusp of looking for a new head coach. As for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an 0-8 start to the 2013 regular season had many around the country believing that the Bucs could be one of those teams looking for a new leader at the top. However with the Bucs winning four of their last six games with two games to play, many are unsure of exactly if the Buccaneers will pull the trigger on second year head coach Greg Schiano.
One of the hot names as far as a possible coaching candidate is former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith. Smith was fired after the conclusion of the 2012 regular season after the Bears missed the playoffs with a record of 10-6. A member of Smith’s staff in Chicago was Greg Gabriel, who served as the Bears director of college scouting for nine seasons. Gabriel joined WDAE’s “Ron and Ian Show” on Thursday and said he expects Smith to be back in the NFL as soon as next year.
“He (Lovie Smith) will get interviewed (by an NFL team) and I will say I’d say it’s a 99.9% chance that Lovie will be a head coach next year in the NFL” said Gabriel. “Now where it’s at, that remains to be seen but I’m sure you’re going to see him in the league as a head coach.”
As for Gabriel’s thoughts on the future of the Buccaneers head coach, Gabriel went on to say he believes this will be Schiano’s final year in Tampa Bay.
“Based on what I’m reading and what I’m hearing no” said Gabriel. “I’m going to say probably not (returning). You had a lot of turmoil early in the year with Freeman, seems like players weren’t buying into the system. He (Schiano) didn’t show improvement from year one to year two, so there’s going to be a big decision to be made there. I think you got to listen to the fans and I don’t think the fans want him around.”
Greg Gabriel is a veteran of 29 NFL seasons. He started as a part time scout with the Buffalo Bills in 1981 and then went on to work for the New York Giants for 16 seasons where the Giants won three NFC Championships and two Super Bowls (XXI and XXI). In June of 2001, Gabriel left New York to become Director of College Scouting for the Chicago Bears. During his nine seasons with Chicago, the Bears went on to win three Division Championships, one NFC Championship and were an NFC wildcard team twice.