Joe Burrow’s right-hand man is the first to land a second interview with Tampa.
The Bucs will kick off their second round of interviews for offensive coordinator by hosting Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher this week, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo,
From @gmfb on the #AZCardinals’ second round of head coaching interviews, the #Bucs’ search for a new OC (#Bengals QB coach Dan Pitcher will interview in person this week) and the countdown to the #Raiders’ deadline to make a decision on Derek Carr. pic.twitter.com/oVTZpmoj78
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 6, 2023
Pitcher first interviewed virtually for the Bucs on Jan. 27, before Cincinnati faced off against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. Despite the Bengals handing the 36-year-old Pitcher a contract extension in light of heightened interest, Tampa wanting him to be the first in the building for an extended conversation seems to speak volumes.
It’s understandable given other happenings in Cincinnati’s orbit. Their offensive coordinator Bill Callahan is a finalist for the Indianapolis Colts head coaching job, and their defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo is a finalist for the Arizona Cardinals position. Ether potential transaction presents a path to opportunity for Pitcher, as he could replace Callahan has Cincy’s OC or he could depart to be Anarumo’s OC in Arizona.
Given all that, it makes sense why Jason Licht and Todd Bowles might like to accelerate any possible timeline when it comes to deciding if Pitcher is their man or not. If they confirm he’s right for it, they need to get an offer into him before the other dominoes start to fall.
Make no mistake, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor places a great deal of trust in Pitcher. Pitcher was one of the few holdovers from the Marvin Lewis era — he’s been with the Bengals since 2016 — and Taylor soon after tasked him with the unique responsibilities of analyzing key game situations, both for his team and across the league, and preparing the roster for anything. He then became QB coach in 2020 and helped Joe Burrow become one of the elite players in the league.
It’s clear Pitcher has some degree of mutual interest, as he wouldn’t have accepted the interview offer if he was completely satisfied with his lucrative new contract or his current role. Advancement is a driving goal for most who coach in the NFL, and Pitcher getting his first offensive coordinator opportunity — one where he would presumably maintain largely unfettered control over the offense — will likely take precedence over any degree of comfort he has with Taylor and Burrow.
Will that promotion come with the Bucs? And with it, will he feel comfortable manning the helm of a far less steady situation than the one he currently finds himself in?
Time will soon tell.