Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Getty Images
SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL.
FAB 1. A YEAR LATER, KOETTER MAKING A BIG DIFFERENCE FOR BUCS
We’re back to where we started from a year ago. The New Orleans Saints are coming to town with four games left in the season. Tampa Bay is in position for a playoff run.
The Saints game – at home – is where it all unraveled for Lovie Smith’s Buccaneers. Winners of three of its last four games, Tampa Bay was 6-6 and poised to make a dash to the postseason. That’s when it all fell apart.
Before a near sellout crowd at Raymond James Stadium, Bucs head coach Lovie Smith took exception to a profane pre-game tirade by wide receiver Russell Shepard and kneecapped a team captain in front of the squad at Shepard’s fever pitch, killing any buzz he just generated. The result?
Saints head coach Sean Payton and Bucs head coach Lovie Smith – Photo by: Getty Images
Instead of frothing at the mouth like a pack of wild dogs, the Bucs were spanked by Smith before they took the field and they came out flat against the Saints, trailing 14-0 early in the first quarter. Tampa Bay would lose, 24-17, and that defeat would start a four-game losing skid that ultimately cost Smith his job.
A year later, the Bucs are set to take the field against the Saints before a nearly sold out Raymond James Stadium with four games left. Tampa Bay is better positioned for a postseason run because it enters the game with a 7-5 record thanks to a four-game winning streak, and because it has a much better coach leading the team.
I called for Smith to be fired twice last year and replaced by Koetter – once following the 31-30 loss at Washington in Week 7, which saw Tampa Bay squander a 24-0 lead, and again after an embarrassing 26-21 loss to Chicago in Week 16.
Now you’re seeing why I wanted Koetter to take over this team. Thankfully general manager Jason Licht and the Glazers were of the same opinion.
Not all the Bucs believed in Smith. They all believe in Koetter.
This Tampa Bay team is playing with an edge this season. Koetter coaches with an edge, too.
Koetter doesn’t discourage Shepard’s profanity-ridden pre-game rants. He encourages them.
And Koetter added his own amount of swagger after last week’s comeback win at San Diego when he told his players to be humble in post-game interviews and to “speak softly, but carry a big mother#$%*ing stick!”
The team roared in approval. The Bucs love this guy.
“He’s doing a great job as our head coach,” Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans said. “He’s bringing a certain swagger that everyone around here likes. He understands the players.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“Last year he was the OC, so we saw him more than anybody. It’s good to have him and a second year in this offense. Now we’re a lot more familiar with this offense. It’s just been going good for us all around and hopefully we continue to do well.”
Doing well would mean beating the Saints on Sunday and maintaining at least a partial lead in the NFC South as the Bucs inches closer to a winning season and a possible playoff berth. The loss to New Orleans this time last year was a bitter pill for Tampa Bay to swallow.
“I remember I had an opportunity to get a big first down, and I didn’t get it,” Evans said. “That’s what I remember most. It was the fourth quarter and we were driving to score, you know I dropped it, I guess. Yeah it was a drop, it was a catchable pass, I dropped it, and that’s what I remember most about that game.”
The loss to the Saints was more painful for Bucs nose tackle Akeem Spence – literally.
“The first thing I remember was getting hurt that game because that was my last game of the year,” said Spence, who succumbed to an ankle injury that kept him out of the final three games of the season. “We just came out flat. The Saints jumped on us early and we weren’t able to recover on defense or offense.”
The loss to the Saints was painful in a different way for middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, who began his four-game suspension for PED use by missing the New Orleans game.
“My impression of that game was ‘Damn, I messed up and I can’t play,’” Alexander said. “I watched the game on TV – I watched every game on TV, praying for the team and the guys they did pretty good. But you know, we’ve got to finish all our games. We’ve got to win them all. We’re on a whole new year now, and that’s the goal – to win them all.”
This year, Alexander, who leads the Bucs with 97 tackles, will be on the field to take on Drew Brees and the Saints’ potent offense, and that will make a big difference.
“When Kwon went down last year it hurt us because he’s one of the best players on our team,” Evans said. “He’s here now, though, so we’ll see what happens Sunday.”
The Bucs aren’t taking Brees and the Saints lightly, especially considering that New Orleans is 8-2 vs. Tampa Bay over the last 10 games, and has won the last five games at Raymond James Stadium, but they are expecting a different outcome this year.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston and Saints QB Drew Brees – Photo by: Getty Images
“We have some better wins under our belt [this year as opposed to last year],” Shepard said. “I mean we played and beat some guys who I wouldn’t be surprised if they played in the Super Bowl in a year. Special teams is playing amazing this year, the offense is doing a great job, and the defense has definitely turned around. I feel a different vibe this year than last year when we were going on that four-game skid.”
There is a different vibe thanks to a different head coach.
Koetter’s preseason message to the team was to play loose, have fun and show the league just how good these Buccaneers are. It took awhile – a humbling 3-5 start that tested the fans’ patience – but they are doing just that when it matters the most.
Koetter’s biggest offseason move – hiring defensive coordinator Mike Smith – took awhile to pay off, but this Smith’s defense has proven to be much better than the other Smith’s. With four games left, the 2016 Tampa Bay defense has already matched last year’s interception (11) and defensive touchdown (three) production, and is just nine sacks away from tying last year’s mark of 38.
More importantly, since Week 10, the Bucs defense ranks first in points per game, takeaways and opposing QB passer rating. The defense is playing much better now than it was a year ago when it allowed an average of 29.75 points per game over the last four weeks of the season en route to a 6-10 season.
A year ago, the loss to the Saints started the wheels in motion that ultimately led to Koetter taking over in Tampa Bay. But despite the set of familiar circumstances with the New Orleans coming to town to begin a four-game stretch that will determine if the Bucs finish 7-9, 11-5 or somewhere in between, Koetter isn’t looking back on what’s transpired. He’s only looking forward.
“Kind of similar for who? Not for me, not similar for me at all, so I don’t live in the past like that,” Koetter said. “We’ve got no reason to visit anything except what’s happening right now. We don’t have any reason to go – I’m not saying [the players] might not, or they might. Some players might, but in my opinion, there’s no similarities [to last season].”
A win on Sunday against the Saints would definitely chart a new course for the Buccaneers in the month of December through the end of the regular season where Tampa Bay has been 7-31 from 2008-15 during that timeframe. It would also be a milestone for Koetter, who with eight wins would be the second-most successful rookie head coach in Tampa Bay history, passing Greg Schiano.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Getty Images
Regular Season Records of Rookie Head Coaches In Tampa Bay
12-4 – Jon Gruden – 2002
7-5 – Dirk Koetter – 2016*
7-9 – Greg Schiano – 2012
6-10 – Tony Dungy – 1996
5-11 – Sam Wyche – 1992
4-12 – Ray Perkins – 1987
3-13 – Raheem Morris – 2009
3-13 – Richard Williamson – 1991
2-14 – Lovie Smith – 2014
2-14 – Leeman Bennett – 1985
0-14 – John McKay – 1976
Eight wins would also guarantee the Bucs of their first non-losing season since the team finished 10-6 in 2010. An 8-5 record would also put Tampa Bay three games above .500. The highest the Bucs have previously been above .500 over the past six years was by two games when the team went 6-4 under Schiano in 2012.
A victory over the Saints would also give Tampa Bay its first five-game winning streak since 2002 – and a feat accomplished only four other times in franchise history (1979, 1997, 1999 and 2002). A win on Sunday and Koetter he ties Lovie Smith’s win total in Tampa Bay over a two-year period – and with three games left to increase his win total.
In just his first season in Tampa Bay, Koetter has already surpassed Richard Williamson’s four wins as head coach from 1990-91 and Leeman Bennett’s four wins as head coach from 1985-86. By next year Koetter should eclipse Schiano’s 11 wins in Tampa Bay, Ray Perkins’ 13 wins and possibly Raheem Morris’ 17 victories.
There’s a lot riding on Sunday against the Saints both for Koetter and his Buccaneers. All that’s assured thus far is a seven-win season that will only feel slightly better than last year’s 6-10 mark if another four-game collapse takes place.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and Seahawks head coach Peter Carroll – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
But I don’t think that’s going to happen this year.
I don’t think Koetter will let that happen.
This is what I envisioned when I wanted Koetter to take over in Tampa Bay.
This is what I envisioned when I was the lone media member and Bucs beat writer to predict a 10-6 record and a playoff berth this season. I’ll admit that the season didn’t unfold quite the way I thought it would with a 3-5 record at one point. Yet I did predict the Bucs would be 7-5 at this juncture with a critical home game against the Saints lurking.
But don’t praise me. I haven’t done a damn thing other than chronicle the remarkable job this rookie head coach has done.
Praise Koetter and what he, his staff and his players have done this year in changing the Bucs’ fortunes and possibly making this a December to remember in Tampa Bay.
Scott Reynolds is in his 22nd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coach Koetter is exactly what this team needed. I think Coach Smith, “Smitty”, is excellent also. I don’t see the slant being easily completed anymore. I saw his post game speech on the Bucs website, before the bleeped all of it. I was excited when he said “speak softly, but carry a big mother#$%*ing stick!”. Will ther be T-shirts made?
I enjoyed your segment on Hargreaves. After going thru his “welcome to the NFL” moment, I feel like he is playing alike a veteran. Tipped passes and calling out routes. Congratulations to the young man.
I believe in the “best available player” when it comes to the draft. I believe the Bucs will be in that position starting with the draft in 2017. Of course there are exceptions to that concept. They won’t draft a qb with their first pick. But, the situation may change drastically calling for that to happen. Mr. Licht and his staff have done well. The Bucs are winning because of it.
I remember “family” being used by Willie Stargell and the Pittsburgh Pirates during their 1979 World Series run. They had a theme song “We are Family” by Sister Sledge. Maybe the Bucs can adopt it.
Thanks for mentioning Anger. He has done an amazing job for the Bucs.
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Another great write up, Scott. I will admit I was skeptical of Dirk being named the head coach. Not because I wanted to keep Lovie, but because I wasn’t sure he was the answer the Bucs needed. I’m happy to be wrong. While I still have issues with how conservative he gets at time, and his 1st down runs up the gut, Dirk has energized this team with passion and a no bullshit attitude. He and Winston’s connection is what is driving this team. Dirk won’t win Coach of The Year, but he’s clearly elevated the play of the team in 12 short games. He’s done a good job adjusting to his personnel and calling games since the Denver game. Especially with the level of talent he’s had to work with on the field.
Full disclosure I was high on drafting Rankins at our original #9 slot. When we dropped and Tunsil fell, I was all in for drafting either of them. Anchor the lines type of players. While I thought Vern was very talented, I was worried about how he would physically match up with big/fast guys like Julio, KB, Sanu, & Thomas in the NFC South. He’s had some growing pains, OAK & ATL, but he’s really come on the last 4 games. I love his passion and excitement for the game. His mic’d up video is amazing. He might still struggle occasionally against bigger WR, but he’ll win more battles than he loses. Kid has the skill to be a Barber type player for us.
Nice work, Scott… I imagine that you don’t get much sleep on Thursday nights. It’s fun watching the conversations on PR now evolve from “who’s to blame” to “speak softly and carry a big mother#$%*in’ stick!” You called the Koetter pick, but you were not on the Gravedigger train for most of last year. You desperately wanted that big guy on the Saints. Hargreaves is another great piece in the puzzle. USA TODAY is fluff… 28th best coaching/GM combo? All fuel for the fire. It’s great to not have to be talking about the draft again four weeks until the end of the regular season. One final thing. Sunday’s game is a division game with a franchise QB on the other side. I hope that Bucs don’t get caught looking ahead at Dallas. They’re gonna have to earn it this weekend.
Koetter has been great, and the reasons seem to come down to 1) he is very experienced in coaching at multiple levels, 2) he is very intelligent, recognizing when something isn’t working and when it is working and what to do about it in both cases, and, perhaps most importantly, 3) he is no bullshitter, whether with himself, his players, or the media (pardon the vulgarity, but it is the only term that makes sense in the real world).
With Dirk, he tells you exactly how he sees it, no sugar coating, but he is also not afraid to offer praise when its due, or to admit errror when he sees he’s made one, or that someone else on the team has made one … but he’s also not afraid to call “bullshit” when namby pamby critics criticize him for something that he knows is right, no matter what the critics say. He stands his ground when needed, and he changes what needs to be changed.
I can’t imagine a better coach right now for the Bucs than Dirk Koetter. He reminds me in so very many ways of the guy who has been the all time most successful coach in the NFL – Bill Belichick. They are cut from the same cloth, though they are each individuals in their own right. Combined with Jason Licht’s common sense and skill at drafting, so evident now with the results on the field, I can see Koetter and Licht become legendary.
Good Article Scott. I was one of the 5-7 wins people and I’m so glad i will be wrong! leadership is what this team is about. We will find a way to beat new Orleans because these guys believe they can win. sorry Scott, but whenever you praise KSU all I can think of is Josh Freeman. I believe we need a passrusher, safety, corner, linebacker in the draft. I think we have found our Center for the future in Gottschalk and Benenoch as our flex guy from OG to OT. Oh I have worn the same Buc shirt the past four games on Game Day and haven’t washed it and won’t until we lose. Go Bucs! Find a way.
DO NOT WASH THAT SHIRT!!!
I used to play for the Manatee Hurricanes. Me and the entire O line would not wash our uniforms for the entire season.
Our right guard was a big old redneck and he would bring deer musk for us to spray on them also.
We were playing Southeast High one night and their defensive tackle just puked all over the field from the stench we were emitting.
We stank very bad. As a team too.
Loved every minute of it.
chet- I was a Southeast Seminole late 80’s -early 90’s. Absolutely LOVED beating you guys 3 of 4!! Sadly, those rivalry’s have gone away…Played strong safety.
DB Sorry man missed you by 15 years. Be glad you played late 80 though. Manatee was awesome early 80’s.
Can’t remember the year, but went to the state final to watch the old team in Pensacola.
Emmit Smith was their running back. He got maybe 10 yards rushing.
You’re not wrong yet my friend (7 wins).
Horse, you’re not wrong yet my friend (7 wins).
I think Jacksonville’s pick and release of Anger, and subsequent success with us, is a reason why the Buc fans need to give Aquayo some time. While I didn’t like the choice of Aquayo in the 2nd round last season and still consider it a mistake for a team that had other holes elsewhere. I don’t think we should panic and cast away Aquayo while he is adjusting to the NFL. There is a very fine line about giving a player enough time to succeed and knowing when to let go of a player because he’s proven to be a ‘bust’. From what I understand, the talent is there and the guy reportedly is working hard to overcome his kicking issues. There would be nothing worse IMO to cut him and see him have success somewhere else. JMO.
Good point, nitey.
Great NFL kickers quite often start out slow as rookies, then improve dramatically in the years to follow.
The all time greatest kickers in terms of field goal percentage made include:
1) Dan Bailey (Cowboys) – 90.7% career; as a rookie he hit on 86.5%, which is one point less than Aguayo has averaged since Week 5
3) Steve Haushka (Seahawks) – 87.2% career; as a rookie he hit on only 50% of his FGA
4) Steven Gostkowski (Pats) – 87.1% (still slightly less than Aguayo since Week 5); as a rookie he hit on only 76.9% of his FGA
6) Nate Kaeding (retired from Chargers) – 86.2% (a point and a half less than Aguayo since Week 5); as a rookie he hit on 80.0% of his FGA
8) Matt Bryant (Falcons, formerly of Bucs) – 85.6% career (two points less than Aguayo since Week 5); as a rookie he hit on 81.3% of his FGA
12) Adam Vinitieri (Colts, formerly Pats) – 84.4% career (three points less than Aguayo since Week 5); as a rookie he hit on 77.1% of his FGA
Aguayo stands in very good company here. Unless he regresses in the final four games, he is by no means an NFL bust.
Thanks for breaking that down.
I did not see Morton Anderson on that list.
His career average 79.7%.
I thought he was the best ever, I think Roberto will be fine.
I believe Morton Anderson holds the record on points scored. The partial list I quoted was from pro-football-reference.com ranking of kickers by percent of FGA. I think percent made is the relevant stat here, since some Bucs fans seem intent on roasting Aguayo for not hitting all of his FGA. Anderson’s points total is a reflection of making a modestly high percentage of his attempts along with the extraordinary length of his career @ 25 seasons. It’s also a function of the number of attempts too .. it helps a kicker’s point total to be on a team with a productive offense that doesn’t get a lot of three and outs and give-aways.
I know he played on some shitty Saints teams.
I think Bryan Anger is the perfect example of a guy drafted high, kicked to the curb and then realizing his potential. I’ll be the first person lined up with a torch and pitchfork if we don’t see severe improvement by the end of next season.
All seems great in Bucland but this team has had trouble handling success in the past.
The media spotlight has begun to cast its bright shiny glare on the Bucs so we will see how they handle theit new found fame.
I was encouraged by Jotter when he reminded his team to “stay humble.”
Of course Love’s reaction to profanity was the first thing I thought about when he finished his sentence.
The Bucs, as their record indicates, have always had trouble against Brees who is incredibly accurate.
But if the Bucs can put pressures on him consistently, it improves their chances of winning dramatically.
I think the part where they criticize Jason Licht is Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Roberto Aguayo. Two second round whiffs. Are all GMs going to be perfect? No. But second round picks should be good. Steve Keim who is often considered one of the best GMs in the NFL missed badly this year with first round pick Robert Nkemdiche. I am not big on change. I like holding on to guys and helping them improve as opposed to blowing things up (with the noted exception of Aguayo). This year has already been successful enough to keep everybody one for another few years. And even if the 2017 Bucs take a step back, keep going with the plan…
Aguayo isn’t a whiff. He’s a keeper, at least so far. He had a slow start in his first four games and he’s been well above average for the league ever since the game in Week 5, including winning NFC Special Teams Player of the Week as the first Buc to do so in years (2012, I believe).
Licht is three out of three on his first rounders, including at least two pro bowlers this year and quite likely HOFers if they keep their health, and the third is doing great so far as a rookie. Across the league, half of all first round picks bust completly.
And as for the second round, he’s gotten multiple second rounders in two of his three drafts, and of the five second rounders, he’s done well or great on four of those five. Licht got a fantastic value on Noah Spence, and as Scott pointed out, he did great with his two offensive line picks last year.
Per the Meatloaf standard, “two out of three ain’t bad”.
I mean really, what the hell do some of you guys expect of the draft anyway? It’s always a crapshoot, where half of all players drafted including half of all first rounders are busts.
Preach it brother!
Absolutely my friend
Whiffing on draft pics doesn’t hurt when your ALWAYS trying to improve every position at any time as Jason light does. Asj is a distant memory thanks to light find Cameron brate. And as for aguayo, its all about patience. Letting him go would be an awful mistake. This should be his senior year at Florida state. He came out a year early and is easily the youngest place kicker in football. Let him grow like everyone else on the team. Kicking is harder than most realize. If it was so easy, every kicker would be like Justin tucker of Baltimore. Im far from giving up on Roberto. He needs our support. And besides, since week 5, he hasn’t been that bad at all. He’s shown us that he can be huge as without him, we don’t beat kc and he hit a game winning field goal against Carolina on Monday night football. So there have been plenty of signs that show he can be lights out an and clutch. Im all for what’s taking place. It all makes sense and the pieces are starting to come together. Winston, evans, brate, marpet, Smith, Hargreaves, spence, McCoy, Alexander, David, ayers, McDonald, akeem spence, humphries, angerer, and gholston. Our roster is very talented. We can be very lethal. As an entire team for a long time. We’ve got the gm and head coach to do it. We add more pieces in the off season and draft, Im definitely picking Tampa to win it all not only this year, but next year as well. And yes, this team can win it all THIS YEAR. Its time to start believing.
Well written as usual Scott.
Go ahead and brag. After all you did predict this. It aint’ bragging if it’s true. After I saw the clip of Koetter throwing out a big ass MF bomb I liked him even more. Can you imagine a locker room in any sport where it is a no-no to speak freely. And yes I mean kussing your ass off if need be.
Lovie Smith was just a tool period. Trying to turn mean ass players into choir boys. And make no mistake, all these players to have made it this far are mean dudes.
To me the jury is still out on how things will turn out in the ol’ USA but a pleasant by product is that people seem to be some what more inclined to say what is their mind. I see it here and elsewhere.
Hargraves is becoming pretty good right in front of our eyes. I’m not ready to call him great just yet but I see where he can be. I love his attitude and demeanor for sure. Call me one of the people that can not believe he hasn’t got an interception. Hopefully this week.
All right my favorite subject. O LINE. D. Smith has progressed nicely. He still is quite raw and needs to be developed. But it is happening. Left Tackle is some tough duty to pull on any football team. The NFL left tackle spot is horrendously hard. I could be wrong but isn’t DE drafted 1st overall in the draft? that’s some tough sledding trying to block those guys
Now Ali Marpet is different story. He is good right now. After Mike Evans the best draft pick Licht has pulled off is Marpet. I’m glad we traded up for him. Hope he sticks around for a long time.
WE can’t let our good players just walk. I’m talking about Donald Penn and Zuttah. Speaking of our own guys, good move by Licht to sign Dotson. He is pretty good, I can’t see where people here want him gone.
Man Scott you are a real KSU homer. That’s cool. Maybe you could write something about Josh Freeman. For a young man to have so much potential and spiral down drain like he did is curious to us fans. Did he get on some kind of substance? Was he just an immature punk? I for one would like to get the real story. I really thought he was our franchise QB.
I would not expect any thing different from the USA Today. If the term mullet wrapper ever applied to any newspaper that’s it. The reader digest of newspapers. I imagine their sport writers need to consult a map to even know Tampa is.
Yes, LIcht has made some bonehead moves. Mostly in free agency, but that’s a crap shoot anyway. It seems like half the free agents in the entire NFL are terrible. Maybe they just don’t care after they get paid. Maybe Licht evaluated them incorrectly.
There is no telling. But he is quick to ditch them and cut bait.
Brian Anger Management has been to fantastic for us. He should get way more credit than he does.
Maybe Jack Del Rio won’t get coach of the year after that turkey last night. I’m more encouraged than ever about the BUCS after watching teams we soundly whipped beat other teams as they have.
HOPEFUL IN SARASOTA
Scott! What happened to the Fab 5 reaction piece you used to publish on Wednesday? Now that the BUCS have won 4 in a row you have discontinued the piece because of the lack of griping / content?! Ha Ha
Another great Fab 5, and again always look forward to reading it. I used to read it after the game to have some reflection, but as the BUCS continue to amaze and I become more excited I can’t wait until Sunday night.
My thoughts on Koetter are right on with yours. He is the right man at the right time, and keeping the same offensive mind in place for Jameis was critical. Smith had ZERO juice and it is obvious to the eye how the team rallies with the HC & the QB.
I also would like to say I am just taken back by Winston’s play. Wow, he looks great and something we BUC fans should cherish. I was born in St. Petersburg in 1968, and was at the first home game at the old sombrero and have never looked back. Winning has been sweeter because of our history, but we have never had a QB like Winston, never. Williams was a marvel, but the combination of elite talent and leadership is just awesome. We finally have our franchise QB, and I know it is a little premature but to “will” this team, to lead this team, and to play to level he has with Jackson & Shorts gone and limited RB depth this year is a unreal. Din Dong TB finally have a franchise QB!!!!
Finally, in Licht we trust. The man is for real, his moves have been tactical & thoughtful. As an executive I can say you are always going to have some misses with people, strategies, and plans. Ultimately you get judged by results, and how your company is positioned now and for the future. He is making the right moves for now and the future. I know his selection for Aguayo has everyone beating him up, but I thought it was wise. The BUCS kickers cost the team games in 2015, and Aguayo was one of the best kickers ever to come out of college in a very long time. Hopefully like all of the BUCS young players he will get better, but I think Licht’s judgment was sound at drafting him. Aguayo may not live up to his NCAAF history and be deemed a bust, but just maybe he turns the corner and becomes a game changer. As you pointed out, look what his company / product is doing now, and how does it look for the future? TB has a great GM
I for one loved the hiring of coach Koetter. I couldn’t stand Lovie and was ecstatic to see the door hit him in the backside. Not sure if anyone saw, but Illinois point differential went form -6 the year before to -147, how pathetic a coach he really is. Coach has a way of remaining true to himself and telling it like it is and its so refreshing after listening to Lovie put reporters to sleep with his press conferences.
It was also prudent and most important to keep coach with Jameis and let this offense grow together. What I think coahc really nailed is his help. This is the best staff as a whole I can remember on the Bucs for some time. From Smitty all the way down to Jay Hayes, this staff was well put together by Dirk.
As for Licht, I’ve always been a fan of meathead. Has he missed some, yeah, it’s impossible to maintain a perfect draft record. Most players just don’t make it. He’s drafted for need but hasn’t limited himself to not drafting the best player available either. You can see a strong Nucleus building on this team and Licht has been at the center of it.
Hargreaves has been playing fantastic as of late and I am shocked as well at his zero interceptions so far, but to be honest, I see a lot of QB’s kind of avoiding him now. He had some rough weeks, but I honestly think when he goes against receivers of that size, he will struggle. Not for lack of skill, but just general physical traits take over. You can’t teach 6’5″. I think he does get one this week.
As for coach not getting his respect, as a Bucs fan I’m used to it. We’ve been shafted on Rookie of the year awards and everything else, so why not. Let’s keep it rolling this week Bucs!
I love any coach that quotes Teddy Roosevelt to fire up his players.
Maybe we should issue big sticks to the fans at RayJay.
Be fun to watch security go ape shit.
USA Today can’t even suggest that Licht has made some head scratching decisions…
Aguayo (the worst draft day decision in Bucs history…and we have a lot of them), ASJ (if you have an issue with DUIs why take him), Zuttah (a top-tier Centre…still), Penn (LT on perhaps the best Oline in the AFC), Clayborn (starter), Miller (starter), Michael Johnson (nice one), Anthony Collins (makes M Johnson look like a good signing), Josh McCown (what was the point?), Oneil Cousins (known by Cleveland fans as the worst lineman in their history), George Johnson (what the heck was that forced trade all about anyway, sounds like one GM schooling another), Revis!!!!!!!!!! (possibly the most insane decision by a GM for some time…cap friendly contract for one of the best CBs in the league, with ample room to afford him…no thanks), passing on Gabe Jackson or on Jarvis Landry as clear and obvious needs (some fans were even yelling at the Tv to pick these guys).
At a minimum, Licht has a full book of head scratchers. Drafting the guys that Mel Kiper (and Todd McShay, and Peter King, etc) have on their “next pick list” in the top-15 does not excuse all of those head scratchers…IMO.
Yes, he has made some good decisions too – far too few in my estimation to justify lavish praise – but the point of having a go at USA Today for suggesting he has some doozies, is nuts!
Thats not even counting Swearinger who wasnt good enough for us but ended up starting on the playoff bound Cardinals lol. Licht swings and misses just as often as he hits home runs. He stumbled up on Jameis and Im afraid that might be the one thing that overcomes all of his shortcomings bc that kid is special. He might be winning in spite of Lichts terrible moves early on but hopefully he gets it together bc it’s starting to look like we are stuck with the meathead.
The problem with your list is a couple things. No one is saying Licht hasn’t made some mistakes, and that includes free agency, you’re pumping up a coupleof those guys a bit much. Just because Clayborne and Miller start, that doesn’t make them good. They just play on teams that don’t have the rotation to have those two on the bench. And you can’t honestly believe that a good chunk of those players weren’t to appease Lovie. They were chosen to fit Lovies system, what ever that was. Sure Licht signs off of everything but I”m not convinced Lovie didn’t have final say on the roster. They always said it was 50-50 , but when Lovie was hired first, the players just looked like it was to fit his ideas and system. Most of the people you stated were free agent signings and he has admitted his mistakes, I still don’t get how Sweezy was signed knowing his back was screwed up. But while he’s whiffed on some bigger names, I doubt there are many more GM’s successful at bringing in undrafted guys that can contribute.
But after Dumanick and that regime, I think Licht has built a solid core on offense and defense, and that’s all you can ask.
League wide, only about one quarter of all free agent signings are successes for the teams that sign them. Licht is not doing any worse than that, probably a little better after this year’s signing. Ayers has been a great addition to the D-line, and Brent Grimes has been very key to the vast improvement in our D-backs this season.
In case some of you nitpickers haven’t yet noticed, over the last four games the Bucs defense has led the entire league in lowest points allowed – a massive turnaround from the first four weeks when we were bottom of the league in PA. That improvement was due mainly to Light’s hiring of Coach Smith and to the key additions he brought to our defense with both the draft (Hargreaves and Spence) and FAs as mentioned above.
And Licht is doing tremendously well with UDFAs and walk-ons, a number of whom have started games this season and done an admirable job. On si.com today I noted that Cam Brate made the “all NFL UDFA squad” at tight end.
Not referring to you, CG, as one of the “nitpickers” but to a couple others in this thread.
What the hell is a nit?
@cgmaster27, “nobody is saying Licht hasn’t made some mistakes”…except Scott Reynolds. That was entire point…USA Today suggested Licht had made some mistakes, and Scott Reynolds tore into them, with quote after quote about how he hasn’t made any.
That was the whole post. I guess I wasn’t clear.
You have it exactly, precisely, and totally backwards about Licht’s drafting success … see my comment above in this thread.
EastEndBoy; remember how fat and out of shape he would show up at camp? His body sure looks different now; part of it is because he changed his attitude when the Bucs said we don’t need you.
Glad Vernon is turning it around after a rough start. The duo of Licht/Koetter will improve in ranking if they continue to win. After a more in depth look at Licht Im willing to concede his FA classes have improved. The first was awful, the second class was bad and this most recent group is looking good. His drafts have not been bad aside from when he starts reaching for specialist like FB, KR, and K. He has not taken some players that could have made this team even better but Jameis is good enough that he will buy him the time needed to fix those miscues. Keep plugging away is the message for our team, head coach and GM then the league will have no choice but to take notice.
Aloha from rural Hawaii. Love all the stuff on PewteReport. Keeps me closer to our beloved Bucs. Coupla things…does anyone else notice how NFL keeps scheduling cold clime teams for our Nov/Dec home games?? Rarely have those games been played @ RJS in Sept when our warm clime might be an aid. Instead, I remember Sapp chasing Favre in freezing temps, and Favre never being in our heat. This yr’s no different, with NFL changing to the late/last game. Sunday, the dome-trained Saints start @ 4pm. Sure, it’s for better ratings/$$, etc, But…
Also, where do we stand in NFL on running on 1st down?? Sure, establish the run, etc. But, why be so damn predictable on 1st down??
Lastly, I remember watching Kwan close last 10 yds to sack quarterback in his last season @ LSU. Been a huge fan of his ever since. Watching his snatch football from Julio Jones last yr was bliss.
I’ve been to a game with zero temps. Aint no fun.
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