Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
It was only eight days ago when the Bucs (basically) controlled their own playoff destiny with a legitimate shot at an NFC South title and another home game, to boot. Now, barring a miracle, the team will see its season end after Week 17 for the ninth consecutive year following a 31-24 loss in New Orleans Saturday.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who’s set to miss the playoffs for the seventh time in as many years as a pro, spoke disappointedly Monday but sees light at the end of the 2016 tunnel.
“This has been special this year,” the Bucs All-Pro three-technique said. “And I think we’re turning that page. Just still growing pains, but we can build off this. I think everything is just going to keep going up, and it’s been fun. It’s positive and it’s exciting to see what’s to come. The final chapter is not written on this season.”
In fact, the current chapter is still being written and could finish with an impressive footnote. After starting 0-4 at home this season – bringing the team to 3-17 in Tampa since 2014 – the Bucs now have a chance to finish with four straight wins at Raymond James Stadium. That would also give Tampa Bay, which started 3-5 in the first half of the year, a 6-2 record to close out a winning season.
And while Dirk Koetter doesn’t subscribe to the notion that the final game can impact the next season – “Our defending Super Bowl champs aren’t going to be in the playoffs this year,” the Bucs coach pointed out Monday – the matchup Sunday will go a long way towards measuring progress for this season.
“We were 4-0 in the third quarter and right now we’re 1-2 in the fourth quarter,” Koetter said. “We need to get a win this week and finish this regular season strong.”
What’s more, last time the Bucs faced the Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was sidelined with a concussion. Carolina was also without running back Jonathan Stewart and showed different looks up front on both lines. Those, among other reasons, are why McCoy sees this game as a critical indication of his teams’ improvement.
If nothing else, a win would lift the mood of the team – and fans – heading into the offseason or improbable postseason.
“You never want to end the season with a bad taste in your mouth,” McCoy said. “Finishing the season with a big win at home … fans deserve that. They’ve been incredible this year.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Well they better play like there is no tomorrow on Defense. As to the Offense, Koetter needs to consider he has really no back up help on the OL so I hope he helps Winston by throwing shorter passes. Please put Cherilus on IR; same for Dotson if he isn’t going to be able to play. Go Bucs!
Just don’t let him give the pre-game speech, we would probably lose again after he tells our guys to go out there and have fun. What a joke. I am curious though as I saw Kwon calling out some people for getting out worked. Not saying it’s Mccoy but apparently there are those who still aren’t giving it their all. Kwon was apparently watching film Christmas night. That dude is legit and what we needed on defense.
Why shouldn’t it be fun to do their life’s work? You can be serious about the job, work hard at it, be productive and still have fun and enjoy doing it. Perhaps a “Lets all be miserable!” speech would be more effective. Having a scowl on one’s face in place of a grin doesn’t make him play or work any better.
I don’t give a shite about the speech. Just go out there, and dominate. No bullshit, shut up, and just dominate. Be an unstoppable force, make it happen, stars do. Don’t care if you’re having fun, or you’re miserable. Just get this win by balling all day, that’s what they pay you for. It’ll only be “fun” if we win.
So you view NFL players as little more than slaves who exist only to give you pleasure?
And apparently you believe that when they enjoy their jobs it is somehow getting in the way of your pleasure as a fan?
That’s a pretty sour and narcissistic view of NFL football.
The players want to win every game, they do their best in a very competitive league, and yes, they’re paid for it – some very well, the majority not so much – and they give up their bodies and their health to do it for but a few years of their lives. They also want their fans to enjoy the experience too, and they are disappointed whenever they can’t deliver a W.
If all you care about is getting a win on Sunday, and absolutely nothing else matters, then you’re not much of a football fan, just a narcissist who demands to be supplicated.
We can still win this game, and a win still matters even if a trip to the playoffs isn’t in the cards. I believe our players and coaches will do their level best to deliver a win. But with our best red zone receiver now on IR it’s going to be tougher. Our defense delivered a weak performance on Saturday with Gholston out of the rotation on the line … if he can play again, that will help a great deal, but if he’s out and we’re still relying on a rookie with a total of five quarters of NFL football under his belt, it’s going to be tougher still.
The Bucs continue to lead the league in number of players on IR, adding two more this week to that total. That’s playing with two hands tied behind our backs. We can get the win, but don’t go nuclear on the Bucs if it doesn’t happen considering the circumstances.
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