It’s Monday which means it is time for another Mailbag where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your Twitter submitted questions.

Question: What are the odds that Koetter is asked to relinquish play calling, and/or Mike Smith is let go before season end?

Answer: Zero chance any of those things happen midseason in my opinion. Perhaps if Koetter makes it to 2018 it happens. He seriously flirted with the idea before this season began, and I think it could be part of what is required if he survives into next year. And then news came last night that Todd Monken could be in line to take over for Dan Mullen at Mississippi State as their head coach. If it isn’t Monken, who else could do it? Bajakian? Perhaps.

I also don’t believe Smith is going anywhere until the end of the season. Koetter is loyal and I find it highly unlikely he would make that change. It would reek of desperation in my opinion, and not be a great look to the Glazers. This staff is all in on 2017, and they are going all in to try and save their jobs. I don’t think Koetter will throw anyone under the bus.

Question: If we lose to Green Bay this coming Sunday, do you think we see Ryan Griffin at home starting against Detroit the following week?

Answer: I think that is a distinct possibility. Trevor Sikkema brought up the possibility in the 2-Point Conversion column on Sunday and I agree. Ryan Fitzpatrick more than likely isn’t coming back in 2018 and the Bucs need to see what they have in Griffin, who has never played in a regular season NFL game. And with the possibility that Jameis Winston possibly missing time next year depending on the outcome of the NFL investigation into the alleged Uber driver groping, it is even more critical to find out where Griffin is in his development.

Of course, this all may be someone else’s problem if the Bucs don’t win a few more games, as head coach Dirk Koetter and even general manager Jason Licht could be let go following the season.

Question: Will Jameis Winston play again this season? How do we change this losing culture?

Answer: Selfishly, if I am a Bucs fan, I am certainly hoping so. Winston is the future (maybe) and fans want to see him develop. Every snap of every game he can play, should make him a better quarterback in the future. Plus, despite Fitzpatrick playing turnover free football for the second straight week, Winston still gives the Bucs the best chance to win football games. 

As far as the culture goes, this team will have a losing culture until it doesn’t. Meaning the only way to change a losing culture is to win. I know that may should silly, but it really is a simple fact. Other than short of bringing Bill Belichick to Tampa Bay as head coach, there is no quick fix, snap-of-the-finger solution to the problem. Changing it from a losing to winning culture is a season-to-season thing. The Bucs were 9-7 in 2016, yet will have to win out to even match last season’s record. Last year this team it could be argued had a winning culture. This year? We will see how it ends. Every year is different and until the Bucs get all the pieces in place, the long-term culture of the team will most likely stay the same.

Question: Why on earth do they wait to get tight end O.J. Howard involved?! He’s a matchup nightmare. Isn’t the reason they drafted him was to get that TE nightmare going, hasn’t happened and that’s on coaching.

Answer: It was something I was screaming at the television on Sunday afternoon, and something Trevor Sikkema was mumbling under his breath in the press box in Atlanta. And if you listened closely, you could hear the frustration of thousands of Bucs fans throughout Tampa Bay on Sunday as well.

I get that there is a game plan, and I also understand that opposing defensive coordinators are also paid to stop the other team’s offense. But you have two tight ends capable of making an impact. And when you haven’t scored a first half offensive touchdown in seven games, it is almost criminal to not find a way to get the ball in the hands of Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. Zero targets until the third quarter? That is most certainly on the coaching staff. Again, if you only have one tight end, and a poor receiving corps, I could see how a defense could neutralize one tight end. But that isn’t the case with the Bucs. Having two serious receiving threats at tight end opens up all kind of possibilities within the playbook. Koetter must find a way to get both way more involved and a lot earlier in games.

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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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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]

12 COMMENTS

  1. The losing culture isn’t going away just by firing the coaching staff every two years. It starts in the locker room, with the so called leaders who have a C on their chest. McCoy, David, will be going on their fourth coach, Mike Evans his third. I’ll get hammered again by saying this, but I’d put them all on the trading block. Evans will want a contract bigger then A.Freemans. Did you see Freeman last night? Evans is no Freeman. We all hoped McCoy, and David would become the next Sapp, Brooks. Those two put their foot down, and turned the Bucs around. The only thing McCoy, and David have turned around since they’ve been here are coaching staffs. Surferdudes, how stupid trading away your best players for draft choices. I’d rather bring in a bunch of 3rd rounders who are willing to run through a wall then keep a bunch of losers who’d rather fall down in front of it. You can keep changing at the top, but I think this locker room needs to be shakin out of a bunch of over paid losers.

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    • Surferdudes, I agree. Beckwith has proven he is a player. We need lots of draft picks with hunger in their eyes. Best I can figure at this time we need the following picks as starters off the bat from the draft; 2 DE’s, 1 Safety, 1 CB, 2 OL, 1 RB. How do you get all these picks; got to give up some players and trade down out of the 1st round. For me I would trade Mike Evans and David; hopefully get 3 No. 2’s in the draft. Trading down to the 2nd round for our 1st Rd pick we should pick up 2 extra No 2’s and a No. 3. This would give us six No. 2’s and two No. 3’s for the draft. This could turn us around.

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    • 1. Who the heck is A. Freeman? (you may be thinking of Antonio Bryant)
      2. Just because Mike Evans isn’t the best WR in the league does not mean we should trade him.
      3. In the 90’s – early 2000’s when the team was at it’s peak, it wasn’t because Sapp and Brooks were enthusiastic players, but because we finally had good coaches in Dungy and Gruden.
      4. We have good players now. We just need coaches that know how to use those players and make adjustments, and not call long pass plays when we only need a few yards on 3rd and 4th down.

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    • It starts with the coaches, in terms of building a wining culture by winning.

      If the coaches coach, and certain players don’t respond, then good coaches sit them down and get the GM to replace the slackers. You can’t have 53 head coaches on the team. There’s a very good reason why certain coaches like Belichick and Carroll keep wining, despite having a constant turnstile of players year to year.

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  2. Mark,

    What would be the moves you would make in the offseason if you are in the Bucs’ GM? What do you do with the coaching staff? Draft? Free agency?

    Personally, I think that I’m moving on from the coaching staff and bringing in someone to take over. That may be Gruden, McDaniels, Patricia, Schwartz, or Harbaugh. It doesn’t really matter. All of them would be better than what we’re currently working with.

    Also, I’d honestly move on from Jameis unless the “third person in the car” showed up and gave a statement confirming the Jameis and Darby account. I think he blew his one and only chance in Tampa and it saves face for the franchise cutting him loose.

    Not only that, but it would give the new head coach a choice of who they want to take over. There are going to be a lot of options this year (praying that Teddy Bridgewater hits free agency) and I think that one of them could definitely be a franchise quarterback in Tampa.

    Finally, if we don’t need a QB in the first round then we’re going to have a lot of good options in the draft. I’m hoping for Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Connor Williams, Quenton Nelson, Arden Key in that order.

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  3. I love Sapp and Brooks as much as the next guy, but you can’t forget that defense also had pro bowlers at all three levels in addition to three other potential HOF’s. Two great players on a team with average to below average talent (especially on the D Line) do not make a defense great. Two great players on a team with above average talent across the board makes a defense very good. Three HOF’s (especially at the three levels) makes a defense special. I agree that GMC and LVD have leadership deficiencies. But I don’t think it is their fault that they have had multiple coaches. For all three of those coaches, the team stopped believing in their ability. You can rah-rah all you want for your coach but when your teammates don’t believe in them it won’t do any good. The problems here are fairly straightforward, these coaches (including the current coaches) have not put them in a position to be successful. Period. There is no evidence available that the schemes were effective but not properly executed by GMC and LVD. The only logical conclusion is that the coaching is the problem. Most coaches even at the NFL level do not adjust to their personnel. They run the system they are the most comfortable with. This is the mistake the Bucs continue to make and the reason Belicheck has been so successful. For the record, I do not see Gruden as a remedy to this problem.

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  4. Regarding the mysterious under-utilization of our pair of great receiving tight ends:

    I think that the minimal use of our tight ends in situations that practically cry out for tight end targets simply shows how unimaginative our offensive coaches are, and is a symptom of their overall failure to coach competently in game situations. Koetter constantly says that the plays he calls are based upon what the game situation calls for (which is false) or that that he calls the plays that the defense gives us.

    So, apparently because defense call their setups against the Bucs so as to automatically burden our best assets, then
    Koetter should,do just what, exactly? Give up? So sorry, they won’t let us play our best players, so too bad, so sad!

    That’s very weak thinking. Great offenses impose their will on defenses and make them lose the battle.

    Just like the Falcons, and Matt Ryan and Julio Jones imposed their will upon us yesterday.

    If we’re not doing the imposing, then the defenses are imposing their will upon us. And with the offensive talent that we have on the roster this season, that’s simply unacceptable.

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  5. I meant A. Brown of Pitt. I go way back, A. Freeman was a hell of a wideout for G.B.. but you get the point. We have a losing culture in the locker room. No coach is going to change that. McCoy carries rookies pads in training camp, Sapp ruled the locker room with an iron fist. See the difference. McCoy, and David were on the field yesterday allowing 500 yards of offense. Going on four coaches, they’re part of the problem, not the solution. Evans is going to want big money, look at his numbers this year. Don’t remember his last 100 yard game, and I think he hasn’t scored in four games. Are difference makers don’t make a difference, don’t keep throwing big contracts their way an expect better results. If you’re going to clean house, clean it all.

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  6. Ronde Barber thought he was going to get cut his first year. Lynch was a project at safety when he started out. Simon Rice was traded to the Bucs. I say when Sapp, and Brooks said the losing has to stop, and it starts with us, that raised the level of all around them. McCoy, and David have not, or can not do that. I’m tired of hearing they’re the best, everyone around them sucks. The best make others better, they don’t.

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  7. I agree with Horse on our draft priorities. I will say, again, we need a “Wisconsin/Iowa” type center along with two additional offensive tackles. I believe we can get a safety in free agency. God, this season sucks.

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  8. For all of his deficiencies JW3 did find brate in the red zone and on 3rd downs so I don’t get why coach isn’t drawing up plays for him and fitz to link up. Even if the defense is geared to stop brate that means single coverage on o.j. or Mike but Mike has to catch the ball.

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  9. I’ve been asking this question since we drafted OJ. But now that we haven’t scored in the first half of 7 games is it important to look at our TE’s. Yall are on crack!!!!! Starting out confusing defenses with these two guys early on would have opened up the playbook for EVERYONE!!! To include the running game. I’m a Koetter guy, but I put that squarely on him.

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