It is Monday and that means another Bucs Monday Mailbag where we answer your questions that readers submitted via Twitter using #PRMailbag.

Question: Starting to think Koetter might be great as an OC, so-so as a head coach type, like  Norv Turner.

Answer: You aren’t alone in that opinion. However, it is way too early to make that determination definitively. Most coaches have an adjustment period to find their footing. There most certainly have been things to make you wonder (clock management, going for two points among others). There a thousand things happening in a coach’s head, and that play clock runs twice as fast when you are trying to call a play. Also calling from the field is more difficult than the booth, as you can’t see the down and distance as fast you can from a perch in the box. I am not making excuses for Koetter, but trust me, even from my high school play calling duties, it is a lot more difficult than you could ever imagine.

With that said, it is his job he has given himself, and ultimately the results are on him, regardless of the obstacles. And from the other duties required of a coach, practice schedules, meetings, and the basic day-t0-day operations of the team, Koetter does just fine it appears.

Question: Do we need an OC that can utilize easier routes early on like slants/crossing instead of the same deep pass we keep doing?

Answer: I think at this point every aspect of the play calling needs to be evaluated. From who calls the plays, to the design themselves. Many have suggested that Koetter give Winston a few easier throws to start the game, but Winston ultimately pulls the trigger. Without reviewing the game from Sunday, I can’t say that those routes weren’t part of the game plan going in. Although it is a bit puzzling that Evans isn’t used more in the slant game with his size and ability to box out defenders.

You have to take a few deep shots a game. Even if they aren’t completed, it does affect how the defense plays in coverage. And it can help open up the run game as safeties have to think twice about creeping up. And if you can get Mike Evans or DeSean Jackson singled on a go-route, you have to think they can either go get the ball (Evans) or beat them down the field (Jackson).

Question: How come we don’t get the running game started early to have a balanced attack?

Answer: The Cardinals showed how effective it can be to be able to run the ball early and keep a defense off balance. The problem with Tampa Bay is when you fall behind in the way they did at Minnesota and on Sunday against Arizona, time becomes an opponent as well. In a game where the opposing team drops 38 on you, you need to score and do it rather quickly. Trust me, Koetter would love to have a balanced attack. It would make everyone’s job easier, but circumstance dictate the rest of game when you fall behind early.

Question: I saw SR’s article on Gruden lurking in the background, any chance Bucs just bring him on staff instead? Like Tom Coughlin in Jax?

Answer: No chance. Mainly because I don’t think Gruden would come back just as a consultant. He makes $6 million a year, or around there from ESPN, and no way the Bucs would consider coming close to matching that for a non-head coach position. Plus Gruden wants redemption. Gruden wants to develop a young quarterback, something he wasn’t able to do in Tampa Bay.

Secondly, the egos of Gruden and Koetter wouldn’t mix. Koetter would always be looking over his shoulder, and with both being offensive minds, there is no way Koetter would want a guy like Gruden calling any shots. And I don’t blame him. Having Gruden in the building as anything other than the head coach would create angst and an uneasiness with the offensive staff. Any time there was a questionable decision, fans would be calling for Gruden to take over. I just don’t see how that even remotely could work.

Question: What’s more likely Mike Smith getting fired or Dirk Koetter giving up play calling?

Answer: Based on the financial commitment the Glazers made to Smith this offseason, I think he is safe through next year, barring any major collapse. Of course some would say a collapse has already taken place with the performance in Arizona on Sunday. The Bucs defense has underperformed for the most part, but have shown some flashes. But they need to quickly figure out how to regain the magic from last season when they turned things around after the bye week. If not, both Koetter and Smith might be looking for new employment after this season. Koetter has at least flirted with the idea of allowing someone else to be the play caller, but decided this offseason to retain the responsibility. If the team continues to struggle finding an identity all year, then it may be something he is forced to do in order to keep his job.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
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Horse
Horse
4 years ago

This is not going to go away? Koetter and Smith need now to make some scheme adjustments. It can be simple things like throw some short passes early in the game and quit defending the deep passes when the pass and run catches are hurting us more.

vtrantb
vtrantb
4 years ago

I’m more concerned about Koetter’s game management decisions. I’m not trying to be a Monday morning QB but I was calling this as this was happening real time whether it was at the stadium or watching it on TV. There are too many cases but I will give several examples that I have observed: Exhibit 1 : Lack of understanding of half time and end of game management. 1) In the RAMS game last year, they were up by 10 points with just under two minutes to go. The last thing you need is to give the RAMS any momentum… Read more »

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  vtrantb
4 years ago

This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen on PR. Excellent breakdown and I agree with what you said.

Glen Davies
Glen Davies
Reply to  RootsCrew
4 years ago

vtrantb,
Excellent points, all. Now,if those idiots could just learn…doubtful…

I remember reading of the miserable stats of onside kicks

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  vtrantb
4 years ago

Some of the situations you blame on poor understanding of game scenarios are not due to bad playcalling as much as bad execution. Rule no. 1 – don’t throw the ball to the other team. Rule no. 2 – don’t throw the ball to the other team Rule no. 3 – don’t throw the ball to the other team Rule no. 999 – don’t throw the ball to the other team. Rule no. 1000 – don’t fumble the ball at the goal line Rule no. 1001 – don’t fumble the ball at any other yard line Pretty simple rules to… Read more »

vtrantb
vtrantb
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

I don’t think you really countered any of my points: 1) You didn’t address my issues with halftime and end of game management, especially on the use of timeouts 2) I was talking about spreading out 4 wide on your own goal line. Fitz tried to throw an out that got intercepted and put the ball on our own 1 yard line which Peterson ran in on the next play. Why would you spread out on your own 1 yard line with a noisy crowd and no back in the backfield? You are telling the opposing defense to go ahead… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  vtrantb
4 years ago

I didn’t argue all of your points, but I destroyed a couple of them, so all are suspect, as I concluded by stating that every critic thinks he’s a playcalling genius after criticizing every loss, and then he shuts up after every win. Which you do. As for the playcall on our own 1-yard line, it actually still makes a great deal of sense to run that play. If you bunchup and don’t spread em, the defense only has to play the run, not the pass, and brings everybody down tight on the LOS. The chances of being forced into… Read more »

vtrantb
vtrantb
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

I guess not many people agree with you.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  vtrantb
4 years ago

Don’t try to debate with Naples, we all know he’s a football genius and can’t be wrong. He;ll I heard all about QBR on football networks all week and not one used his “gold standard” ESPN rating. Damn you’re condescending as hell Naples. You realize you don’t work in the NFL right?

Horse
Horse
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

The bigger problem is the Defense and we seem to always focus on the Offense? Cardinals Offense scored 4 straight times; hard to make your planned offensive sceme work if you keep it the same because at that time the Cardinal Defense hadn’t throttled down until after they were ahead 31-0. Also Offense scored 26 points not 33 points when the game was all said and done.

vtrantb
vtrantb
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

Agreed about the issues with the defense. This post was addressing the topic of the article which is “Koetter’s Concern”. If the article comes out the defense then I would respond accordingly.

Horse
Horse
Reply to  vtrantb
4 years ago

Got it. Good point.

vtrantb
vtrantb
4 years ago

Thanks, I have a full time software engineering job but I’m willing to contribute a few articles to PR for free. LOL.

surferdudes
4 years ago

The question was asked during Koetter’s P.C., but I’d like others thoughts on the lose atmosphere around the locker room. Ping, pong games, vets saying younger players looked at the extra day in AZ as a vacation weekend. The team looked more hung over then ready for a game Sunday. I’m old school. I don’t think players should be listening to any music, during practice. Dance moves should be for the dance floor, not the practice field. Ping bong table, and games should be for the rec room only. You prep for battle in the locker room. This team lacks… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  surferdudes
4 years ago

Maybe they should have a lecture on how to prepare for battle. It use to be you would practice so hard you couldn’t wait to get out there and play the game because it was easier and a challenge to go against another team than yourselves. Ah, the good ole days for us old guys are calling; problem is I can hardly walk to the toilet because of all those hard pratices years past.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  surferdudes
4 years ago

Nobody should care the least bit about ping pong in the locker room. A pro football locker room isn’t a prison or a reform school. As long as the players get in their physical conditioning, practice hard, and play hard, it is of no concern to you or any other fan what they do in their down time. After all, if the players slack off, they will suffer far more in terms of loss of income than you will ever suffer as a fan. So you’d feel much better about it if the players, instead of hanging with their fellow… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

Well I guess I’m confused; I thought a locker room was for changing in and out of your footbal/work out/private citizen attire. I thought they had another area to do all that stuff.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

In earlier times, that was correct. Lockers, and showers, that was it.

Apparently you haven’t seen the new Bucs lockerroom which was shown on HBO’s Hard Knocks. Or any of the other new or newly remodeled lockerrooms around the NFL.

Buc76
Buc76
4 years ago

These players have not forgotten the way Lovie Smith was run out. He deserved it but Koetter and Licht are part of that. It is still lingering. The Glazers want a Super Bowl Championship. Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht are never going to get to that point. You have Super Bowl coaches throughout the NFC South. Payton won the other 2 have made it there. Gruden is the only one who can come in and deliver the Super Bowl championship message with credibility. Gruden could take Evans, Desean, Godwin, Howard, Brate and Doug Martin and do what he did with… Read more »

a-bomb
a-bomb
4 years ago

I cannot help but remember Romo’s observation before the start of the Pats game that Koetter’s offense is basically Joe Gibbs’ offense from the 80s. Romo said Pats will run cover 2 zone and he was right. This kind of predictability on both sides of the ball is very troubling.

AZ_BUC_FAN4LIFE
AZ_BUC_FAN4LIFE
4 years ago

Well lets get this out the way, AZ did not play the same scheme in the 2nd half as they did in the first. So the Fitz blitz of points is really a joke. I do not see a lot of variety in this offense. My big question and maybe someone from PR can ask this question at one of the pressers. Is JW allowed to change plays? We know he can change protections, can he do anything outside of changing the direction of the run plays? I am not sure if anyone has ever asked this question. I do… Read more »

surferdudes
4 years ago

They were accused of just that Naplesfan by T.J.Ward who said some young players treated the extra day at the hotel in AZ like a vacation day. Hanging by the pool with their friends, while a coach was spotted at the bar. I think their cavalier approach to this season showed on Sunday. There is a time, and place for everything, they can play all the pong they want in their rec area, but the locker room is not that place. I don’t see how you can dismiss the fun, and games that seem to be going on as not… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  surferdudes
4 years ago

Agree 100% Surfer, I can guarantee you they don’t have ping pong tables in the NEW England locker room. This team has gotten a little too lax.

martinii
martinii
4 years ago

When you go to work it is time to get serious, you play when the job is done and you have won. I realize these kids play a game for a living but many fans invest their hard earned money into this team and expect nothing short of perfection (A bang for our buck.) I read somewhere that the Patriots are all business on the road before a game. In the military total focus and discipline prevail before an engagement. “To be forlorn is to be forewarned,” play ping pong on your day off. Play the game in your head,… Read more »

1040Buc
1040Buc
4 years ago

Any chance of moving Hargreaves to Nickel and putting McClain in at CB opposite Grimes?

Buc 1976
Buc 1976
Reply to  1040Buc
4 years ago

McClain is slower than VH3. I do agree VH3 should be playing nickel.

Drac
Drac
4 years ago

I definitely believe Koetter is in over his head. His game and clock management skills leave a lot to be desired and his ability to make adjustments to the gameplan has been non-existent to this point.

Horse
Horse
Reply to  Drac
4 years ago

Not sure about Koetter because he is still learning as a head coach. I’m sure if him as an offensive coordinator and Smith as a defensive coordinator need to make some adjustments; if not, then time to replace them at the end of the season.

Drac
Drac
4 years ago

I definitely believe Koetter is in over his head. His game and clock management skills leave a lot to be desired and his ability to make adjustments to the game plan has been non-existent to this point.

BucWill13
BucWill13
4 years ago

What a Joke. What about the Mentally Inferior Mental Midgets on this team?

I said it last week I will say it again. These Players will ONLY Fight when the other team stops Fighting. That way they can lose like losers, yet have not too smart people say, well if they just did this or that then……..

These players are Weak, Soft and will never equal the fight of other teams (outside the Dregs of the NFL).

Is that on the Coach or the CBA? Now the players want More Money, Less Practice, and Easier Practice. Imagine That………

76Buc
76Buc
4 years ago

I think there is no “D” in this defense. When you constantly give up 20 or 30 points in the first half it puts a lot of pressure on a young offense and limits your options.