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

Question: If not Jon Gruden who would you hire to replace Dirk Koetter? No college or Tony Dungy leftover scraps please.

Answer: Well, Greg Schiano is available.

I just literally heard the heads of thousands of readers explode. Obviously I kid. I think if a change is made then it would be an all-out pursuit of Gruden. After that you look for some young up-and-coming coordinators. That worked out very well for the Rams this year, and may still yet for the 49ers when they get Jimmy Garappolo settled in as the starter. Names that will get looks this offseason are Josh McDaniels, Jim Schwartz, Jim Harbaugh and a name being bantered about a somewhat is Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard.

But as noted, there is only one name that will get most Bucs fans  and he brought the team their only Super Bowl.

Question: We all know the Bucs need a pass rushing DE in the worst way. For the draft do they get a DE by any means necessary?

Answer: You would most certainly think that whoever is in charge of drafting next season would make defensive end a high priority. As far as at all costs? There are still other needs, and you can’t reach on what could be a Top 10 pick strictly based on need. The problem is, this isn’t the deepest class of edge pass rushers, and an impact player like Bradley Chubb most likely is going inside the Top 5. So then the question is, what would you have to give up, to move up if you plan on going defensive end at all cost?

And as always, part of the draft strategy of teams changes depending on how they do in free agency the month before. The problem is, a quick scan of potential defensive end free agents doesn’t knock my socks off. Ziggy Ansah from the Lions sticks out to me, but you can bet the Lions are hoping to bring him back. And if he does hit free agency, it won’t be cheap to sign him, with a number of suitors.

The Bucs need to bring in multiple pass rushers and hope to hit on a couple. You can continue to build the offense but until the Bucs can get pressure on the quarterback, it is going to be difficult to win many games.


Question: I’m watching linebackers and linemen running into offensive lineman sideways or just directly at them, only to get blanketed in a block or all squished in the same area. Is that a block shedding or lack of gap discipline?

Answer: I would actually tend to say it is coaching. I have noticed the same thing at times this year where you have defensive linemen nearly should to shoulder over the center, only to run looping stunts, or even McCoy going outside the defensive end. What is the quickest way from Point A to Point B? A straight line. Also you see a lot of slants by the defensive line where if they don’t penetrate and make a play in the back field, it is an easy cut back for the running back and a ton of yards. The front seven almost running themselves out of the play essentially.

I am smart enough to know I am not smart enough to be an NFL coach. And Mike Smith has forgotten more about football than most of us will ever know. With that said, if I see if it, you can bet opposing offensive coordinators see it, and are scheming to take advantage of it. It is maddening at times. But obviously this staff thinks it is the most effective way.

Question: Are the Bucs now the joke/laughingstock of the NFL with Flacco’s mocking of Winston’s ‘Eat A W’ speech?

Answer: Well apparently to Raven quarterback Joe Flacco they are. I thought it was pretty tasteless personally, but to each their own. I can’t imagine a division rival quarterback mocking one of their own however. It is a fraternity and brotherhood among most NFL players – particularly quarterbacks, and it isn’t like the Ravens and Bucs are rivals. But again, when you put things out there, and you underperform, you open yourself up to these type of things. The Bucs have to own it until they are a better football team. But it was a little odd to see.

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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for 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]


  1. Why do you keep pimping Gruden? This is a ludicrous idea! Do you have some information that the Glazers want to do it?

    Why can’t we be like smart teams and find the best available smart young coordinator who can turn a team around like the Rams did with Sean McVay? That is how smart teams operate, not this jumping from one fence-swinging misfire to another…

    Also, among assistants, what about Matt Patricia from the Patriots?

    • A smart young coordinator could be an excellent choice, but for everyone that succeeds, two or three utterly fail. They’re unproven.

      Jon Gruden doesn’t need or get “pimping”. He is a proven winner as a head coach in the NFL, at both the Raiders and the Bucs – our winningnest coach in franchise history. If we can get him, great. If not, then yes, the Glazers should consider some of the current crop of proven coordinators.

      • Here’s the facts on Gruden:

        Overall Bucs record: 57-55
        That’s barely .500

        Take away the SB season and the record: 45-51
        That’s .469

        He picked the GM who delivered the worst drafts in team history.

        By the time he left, our personnel was loaded with over-the-hill players.

        The players had lost trust in him.

        He hasn’t coached in 9 years.

        We can do better.

        • You don’t get to “take away” the finest season in all Bucs franchise history. That’s completely dishonest.

          Gruden didn’t get to pick the GM. The Glazers hired the GM, after inviting Rich McKay to go down the road. The GM was not bad guy you make him out to be, given that he produced two more division championships and three more winning seasons – better than any other GM in Bucs history.

          You Gruden haters just spin, spin, spin, selectively cherrypicking from your (bad) memories of the totality of what actually happened.

        • As for Allen as GM, you Gruden haters conveniently have amnesia about the following facts:

          1) Allen was denied both first and second round draft picks for two seasons, as the price of Malcolm Glazer prying Jon Gruden away from the Raiders.

          2) Rich McKay was absolutely horrible at cap management, with his incompetence resulting in the loss of several of our best veterans, including one Hall of Famer and another who has been nominated to the HOF for the last four years running. The guy who “benefited” from McKay’s negligence was Allen.

          • All I said was Allen’s drafts were the worst in team history… And yes, Gruden DID handpick the GM, as they had worked together with the Raiders. I didn’t say he was a bad guy or that he didn’t do anything well. I just said his drafts stunk. That’s even after considering the absence of the 1st/2nd round picks in his first year as GM. He did do a good job on cleaning up the cap.

            Your facts above are incorrect – Allen was only denied the 1st and 2nd in his first year as GM, as the previous year with McKay still as GM was the first year of the trade impact.

            And by the way, it’s totally fair to take a look at Gruden’s record outside of the SB season. It’s not to say the SB season doesn’t count, but it also demonstrates the SB was an outlier. Even with the SB included he’s barely above .500.

            I don’t know where you get the idea of calling my comments “spin” as everything I’ve stated is factual. Am I focusing on things that don’t matter as a distraction? NO. Am I distorting? NO. I am merely stating what’s obvious to anybody who looked at the total picture of Gruden’s tenure as coach, instead of nostalgically seeing it through rose-colored glasses.

          • So, I’m getting that one Super Bowl season is enough for you to ignore the utter mediocrity and incompetence that followed for 6 more seasons. They never had another good season with Gruden as coach. Even the 11-5 season was a mirage, total smoke and mirrors. They were extremely lucky that year, and not very good, as evidence by their quick removal in the first playoff round.

            They never won a playoff game after the SB season. The winning percentage was .469. How many times do we have to say this? The SB year was Gruden’s only good season as coach.

            Being a better coach than the clowns that followed him is not a good enough reason to rehire him. We can do better.

          • No – it was not just one SB. It was four winning seasons, three divisional championships, and one SB. And it was not dysfunctional as you describe. What we’ve had since the end of 2008 is utter dysfunctionality.

  2. I keep wondering, if this team is merely underperforming due to poor coaching, why is the complete absence of a pass rusher so obvious that people are considering the implications of taking one at all costs? I mean there are clearly holes at RB, CB, LT too.

    But then I think about what Scott has said, that Jason Licht is really just a swell, great, a-ma-zing GM who has built this team from the ground up to 35% winning glory. And I am relieved, as all it will take is one Jon Gruden and some Hooters chicken wings to turn all of these minor roster issues into a full fledged dynasty.

    Can’t wait for Gruden-Corona-Licht!

  3. I didn’t see any Packers laughing on the field or the sideline when Winston hit Brate on a 3rd and goal from the 12 yard line, Morgan.
    Your a complete idiot and Flacco has no class. He hasn’t exactly been setting the league on fire the last couple of years.

  4. Hiring Gruden would just be reaching for past glory… which, by the way, only lasted 1 season. His overall record after the SB season was below .500. He never developed a QB. He relied on aging vets. The roster just kept getting depleted because he and his hand-picked GM were the worst drafting combo in team history – a fact many seem willing to forget. Beyond that, by the time he left, he had lost the trust of many of his players who saw him as 2 faced. So all these people clamoring for Gruden to come back really seem to believe a fictitious version of him, relying on nothing more than nostalgia for an era long passed. Does anybody think this guy is going to take another team to a Super Bowl after 9 years away? I don’t.

  5. I’ll never understand the fascination with Gruden. Nostalgia at its purest, and he wasn’t even all that good at the end of the day either. I mean what, did you forget all the seasons AFTER the Super Bowl? Stunning accomplishments, what else can be said.

    I really hope we retain Koetter and Smith, and make some swaps at a lower level. The team is struggling, but they haven’t lost them. Morris and Schiano lost them. That’s the difference.

    • Yeah, it just sucked having three more winning seasons, and two more NFC South championships. I mean, we’ve had so much more success post Gruden, and pre-Gruden, than that. Not to mention that division championship and Super Bowl ring.

      • You seem to think that the fact that Gruden is better than the guys who have come after him is a good enough reason to rehire him. It’s not. We should be looking for better than the 45-51 record he dropped on us in the 6 years after the SB year. In case you’re not so good with math, that’s below .500… actually .469 to be exact… I don’t think we ever had a better than mediocre team in any of those 6 seasons that followed the SB. So, I don’t see this Gruden fascination as anything more than nostalgia for 1 good season… and what he left behind was garbage… We can do better, and we should. Hiring Gruden would be another typical Glazer bonehead move because they fundamentally lack the intelligence to run a sound organization.

        • Couldn’t have put it better myself ty. Guys like Naplesfan are shitfaced-drunk on that nostalgia juice and seem to think that Gruden has aged like fine wine in the broadcast booth.

          Goes to show how impatient and self-sabotaging the fanbase really is. Winning franchises don’t lean on past glory when things get tough. We just can’t blow everything up on a biannual basis and expect instant results.

          • Thanks for your ad hominem. That’s typical of the Gruden haters. Can’t stick to the subject without demonizing anyone who does not share their Gruden hate.

          • Gruden’s overall win %age during his tenure? .469.
            Koetter’s overall win %age during his tenure as of today? .481

            I don’t hate Gruden. I’m just not blinded by nostalgia.

        • You can’t cherry pick the records, and deny the 15-4 record in 2002-2003. Sorry, no can do.

          The point is that Gruden should never have been fired by the stupid baby Glazers. Malcolm would never have done that. We’ve been living with their idiocy ever since. They are incompetent owners. Certainly not the only incompetent owners – see Haslams – but they are clearly incompetent at owning and managing an NFL franchise.

          But the Gruden haters never ever shut up. They were the guys who were pissed off that Malcolm fired Tony Dungy, and were on Gruden’s case ever after. The dumb baby Glazers listened to the Gruden haters, and that began the long sorry story we’ve had ever since.

          If indeed the baby Glazers have finally recognized their own idiocy, and wish to go back to the one guy that delivered more success than any other coach in franchise history, then fine. If they choose to hire a different coach, then my confidence in their ability to pick a winner, for the first time in their careers as Bucs owners/managers, I will have little confidence in their pick.

          • Barely a .500 coach with us. We can do better. Gruden deserved to be fired when he was, after a carousel of nobody QBs and broken down aging journeymen littering the roster. Never developed a QB. Mediocrity reigned.

            In statistics, it’s reasonable to remove an outlier from the dataset so as not to skew the remainder of the data. As I’ve said, if we consider the years after the SB, his record was a poor .469.

            Overall, barely a .500 coach with use. You’re relying on nostalgia.

            And by the way, I’m not a Gruden hater. I just don’t think he’s the right guy to be our next coach, and think the Gruden fanboys are viewing things only through nostalgia and not thinking.

  6. We should have no interest in Gruden at this point. Joe Gibbs was a GREAT, multi-Super Bowl winning coach and his encore didn’t go so well. My take is leave Chucky in the booth and with a SB ring on his finger. As for a new coach, I hate to see Koetter go. I like him and just don’t get why this isn’t working. If the Glazers decide to part ways after two years – again – what smart, up and coming young coach would want to work for them. Let’s see where the dust settles end of the season.

    • Joe Gibbs is not a model for Gruden. Joe was focused on his NASCAR racing business from the moment he left the Redskins, and his second unsuccessful stint as Redskins coach was working for the most infamously meddlesome owner in the NFL. Gruden has never done or wanted to do anything but coach football, or be involved in football in any way that he could.

  7. I still think we need follow Jacksonville and Giants lead and hire a football buy to evaluate everything. I like Bill Polian for this role. The football guy could make decisions about Licht, the rest of the front office, coaches etc..

  8. Flacco is like the kid in school who constantly fails tests. One day he finally lines up the stars and nails a 100%, then proceeds to pick on his peers like he’s special. I’m sorry Flucco, you’ve never been any good, just like that other Buc wasted pick who won a Ravens SB on the shoulders of one of the best defensive units of all time.

    Facts are facts, we are currently the Yucks and ultimately that only changes when that locker room, coaching staff, and ownership get on the same page.

    On another note, I know we need a stud DE. But damn we’ve been chasing that elusive unicorn since Rice and we’ve yet to hit on it. Multiple picks and free agents… I know it’s not easy, but holy hell our process has been horrid. (I don’t particularly care for him, but when I watch M. Bennett play I die a little on the inside.)

  9. I don’t know if Gruden is the answer, but I’d take him over Koetter any day. I’ve seen enough of Koetter to know he’s not a good H.C.. When Licht took over he had high draft picks, and a boat load of money to spend. The thing we’ve needed forever is a better pass rush, and a sound O line. Four years later, we need those things even more. He’s moved up to draft players we could’ve gotten by standing pat. Moved up for Spence, moved up for a friggin kicker, tell me Berto would’ve been gone if we hadn’t? Might have been on the board in the 4th, or 5th round. That’s horrible drafting. McAdoo was just fired, at least he got to the playoffs last year. His G.M. who put together a S.B. team joined him. This is a what ahve you done for me lately league. Lately Koetter, and Licht have done nothing. This is also a business. Say what you will about Gruden, but bringing him back will spark interest in a team no one is interested in.

  10. Someone stated who would replace Koetter and that is a good question!
    I say give coach Koetter 1 more year and some better Offensive linemen and Defensive linemen.
    IMO the only reason Gruden would come back is because MANY have said he won the Superbowl with Dungy ‘s players.

  11. As to what position do we draft first? This is an easy one; without trading up in Rounds1 & 2, draft a LOT or RDE, one each; next rounds go for best players to fit needs regardless of positions. Just my opinion less Free Agency signings; we need 2 DL, 2 OL,1 DB,1 RB. If we acquire some more draft picks, we could use 1 DT, 1 QB for future.

  12. The people here love Gruden and I wouldn’t be upset if he was fired but the name I hopes gets strong consideration is Jim Harbaugh. We have some pieces on defense that I think he could use more effectively. Offensively hes run systems for both mobile and traditional QBs so I know he has the potential to accommodate the talent we have on offense. He was ran out of SF because the GM was an idiot, I’d love to see him get this job and tweak this team into a winner.

  13. Our largest problem of many is the defense. When are we going to realize that Mike Smith lost his job in Atlanta because of a lack of defense. His offense was fine, then we bring him in as defensive Co-Ordinator. Second our draft classes have not been outstanding. Winston a solid C+. Evans B+ to A. Second round kicker, gone. Sims if we cut him no one would pick him up. The running back we drafted in the 4th round this year, gone. I think Jameis can learn but he need a more stern coach, he is not being held accountable for simple mistakes. Although we would have been better off with a Oregon Duck!

  14. Many people seem to think that the fact that Gruden is better than the guys who have come after him is a good enough reason to rehire him. It’s not. We should be looking for better than the 45-51 record he dropped on us in the 6 years after the SB year. In case you’re not so good with math, that’s below .500… actually .469 to be exact… I don’t think we ever had a better than mediocre team in any of those 6 seasons that followed the SB. So, I don’t see this Gruden fascination as anything more than nostalgia for 1 good season… and what he left behind was garbage… We can do better, and we should. Hiring Gruden would be another typical Glazer bonehead move because they fundamentally lack the intelligence to run a sound organization.