Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, recently part of the fire sale that was Greg Schiano‘s coaching staff, is now the linebackers coach for the Detroit Lions under new head coach Jim Caldwell and new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
I think this is a great move even though the end results in Tampa Bay do not say so.
The defense wasn’t the main problem in Tampa Bay. All the controversy in Tampa surrounded the relationship between quarterback Josh Freeman and Schiano. Tampa’s defense played well enough to win games but did not get much help from a depleted offense that used a rookie quarterback with an injury depleted unit. While I can’t defend Sheridan for not using star cornerback Darrelle Revis correctly, I think this had more to do with Schiano’s stubbornness more than Sheridan.
Sheridan is, first and foremost, a linebackers coach, holding two stints with that title on NFL teams. With the New York Giants under Tom Coughlin during the Super Bowl 42 run, he coached players like Antonio Pierce and Kawika Mitchell. Sheridan was also the defensive coordinator for one season, which was bad to say the least. Sheridan also had a stint with the Miami Dolphins under Tony Sparano as inside linebackers coach.
Under Sheridan’s reign as defensive coordinator in Tampa, he had players like Adrian Clayborn, Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Revis. Although he didn’t use them to their fullest, Tampa’s defense improved from bad to decent during his tenure. In Detroit, he will coach two good linebackers in DeAndre Levy, who is an underrated linebacker in the NFL, and Stephen Tulloch, one of the more consistent players in the league.
Sheridan will have to develop a third linebacker to be as effective as Levy and Tulloch and avoid the musical chairs game at this position like in previous years. If Sheridan can do that, Detroit’s defense will be that much better than it was under Jim Schwartz.