The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our @PewterReport Twitter account. You can submit your question each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag.
Below are the questions we chose for this week’s edition of the PR Bucs Monday Mailbag. Read them over and offer up your thoughts in the comment section.
Question: Honestly where do we go from here? How can you be that unprepared on defense for a divisional rival? So sick and tired of excuses, this WILL be the worst defense in NFL history … let that sink in for a minute, in NFL history … worse than the Yucks, worse than 0-16!
Answer: The play of the defense this year is perplexing for sure. How can a bad 2017 defense, get worse with additions like defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry, defensive tackle Beau Allen and players drafted with premium draft picks? Sounds impossible, but somehow this team has accomplished it. As you mentioned, the Bucs are on pace to give up some some historically bad numbers. And not franchise records, but NFL records. I didn’t expect the Bucs to necessarily win on Sunday, but I also wouldn’t have bet they would give up 35 first half points.
I have seen some really bad Bucs defenses in my 40 years of watching this franchise, but I haven’t seen anything like this. I am at a loss, as you are, and as the franchise itself is. I really have no idea how it possibly changes this year, and fear the only way it gets better is a complete purge of this defensive staff is the offseason. I am not ready to say that a complete housecleaning is needed across the board just yet, but how does anyone on the defensive side of the ball survive this, especially if it doesn’t get better between now and January?
Question: If Dirk Koetter gets the axe does Jason Licht stay and hire his guy? Or was Koetter his guy?
Answer: That is a difficult to say as there are still eight games left to see where this team is. Perception-wise with the Glazers there could be a big difference between a Bucs team that finishes 5-11 and one that finishes 8-8. But going with your scenario, I would say it would be very difficult for the owners not to let everyone go. I suppose the Glazers would need to take a look at the roster and determine where the fault lies. Was it on the drafting and free agent acquisitions or lack of acquisitions? Or was it on the coaching staff for not developing the young talent and putting the players in the best situation possible?
The big factor could be how the quarterback situation pans out as well. If the team gives up on Jameis Winston, that is another tough blow to absorb if you are the general manager who drafted him first overall in 2015. Everyone inside the building at One Buccaneer Place is keeping their fingers crossed that this team can somehow get five more wins to be in the realm of being safe. And even then it may not be enough. This will be as important a last half of the season as we have seen in Tampa Bay in a long time. I think the Bucs need to go at least 5-3 down the stretch to avoid regime change.
Question: I swear every week it’s another excuse: Execution, wrong routes, communication – inconsistencies all over the place. When does it come to the same guys that have coached this team the last three years (five years for offensive line coach George Warhop) are the problem and accountability falling on them?
Answer: Great question. And a fair one. But as Jason Pierre-Paul said on Sunday following the game, it is on the players. That sounds good, and there is no question that offensive line coach George Warhop or secondary coach Jon Hoke haven’t missed a block or blown a coverage, but like any business, the performance of the company falls on management (coaches, in this case) at the end of the day.
You can’t fire 53 employees at once, even if many deserve it. For whatever reason, the message is being lost or it isn’t being communicated properly. Or there is little or no accountability or consequence. Either way, the coaching staff has to bear a big part of responsibility for the last two seasons, which have been a debacle.
Question: Would the Bucs be interested in Ravens head coach John Harbaugh or Raiders special teams / assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia in the offseason as possible head coaching candidates?
Answer: I suppose everyone, even Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner, as Scott Reynolds mentioned on Sunday, is a candidate if the Bucs move on from the current staff. John Harbaugh is intriguing to me, but not John as much as Jim, who currently has the Michigan Wolverines in contention for the college football playoffs this year. Plus Jim Harbaugh also has NFL experience with the 49ers where he was pretty successful.
I think if the Glazers do decide to make a change they will look to the college ranks as well as the NFL. It will be a pretty exhaustive search as their patience in finding a successful coach must be wearing thin. Trust me. They want to win, and hate going to places like the NFL Owners Meetings to rub shoulders with the Bob Krafts of the world, coming off of another 5-11 or 6-10 season.