The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our 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: Why SHOULD the Bucs keep Dirk Koetter?
Answer: I don’t know that Tampa Bay should, or at this point think it should. But for the sake of argument I will try and state a case for keeping Dirk Koetter.
1. The offense. Koetter has built the Bucs into a Top 5 NFL offense and has done it with no running game to speak of and with two different quarterbacks.
2. Player/coach relationship. The players genuinely like Koetter and respect him for being straightforward and honest. He is a no-nonsense guy and won’t say one thing to the media and another to the players.
3. Stability. The Glazers could have made the move last year after a 5-11 season, but chose not to, after having some interest in Jon Gruden. For the sake of continuity they chose to bring Koetter back and give him another season. Maybe one more year turns things around.
4. History. The NFL history books are filled with stories of teams who gave up on players too soon, and in some cases, coaches. Surefire Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick was 36–44 as coach of the Browns, including going 5-11 after a 3-1 start in his final year with the Browns. How did that work out?
You asked me why the Bucs should keep Koetter and that is the best I can come up with. But obviously it isn’t up to me, you, Scott Reynolds or anyone who doesn’t have the last name Glazer. I believe it is a foregone conclusion at this point that Koetter gets fired. It doesn’t mean I think Koetter is a bad coach, but as I mentioned on the most recent Pewter Nation Podcast, as the general of this regiment, his game day battle plans have been defeated more than they have succeeded. At the end of the day, that is all that matters in the NFL.
Question: Do Bucs fans take solace in the fact that this year the Bucs give games away more than the other teams wins them? Is JW3 the most maligned Bucs QB since Doug Williams? I don’t recall this much vitriol pointed at Josh Freeman.
Answer: I don’t know if you can take solace in anything from this season honestly, especially if the Glazers fire Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht. While many think this team will only need a few tweaks and a new voice to turn the corner, the facts are there most likely will be huge turnover on this roster with a new coach in place and a possible change in the front office. A new regime will want to have its own players and won’t have any loyalty to anyone currently on the roster, so a complete shakeup will take place more than likely if both Koetter and Licht are gone.
And maybe that is a good thing. Or maybe a new coach goes the “Jon Gruden in Oakland route” and decides to ship off some of the best players for draft picks. So many close losses this year mean absolutely nothing for next year if there is a big turnover with the players on the field.
Question: After missing training camp/first part of the season and now in game shape and some games under his belt have you changed your opinion on Vita Vea?
Answer: I would still have drafted Derwin James over Vita Vea in a heartbeat. I still believe he would have had a much bigger impact, especially earlier in the year. However, I love what Vita Vea has done the last few weeks and think he is worthy of his draft position. And I believe if he stays healthy, he too, like James will be a Pro Bowler.
While I was always on the James train, I never once called Vea a bust, reminding even those who agreed with me that James would have been a better pick, it is way too early to make any assumptions. I hope they both go on to have long productive NFL careers. But yes, Vea has shown me some things as of late I was worried that might take three years to see on a regular basis.
Question: Can Jameis Winston be trusted in high pressure situations and 2-minute drills with the game on the line? If not then surely he can’t be viewed as a franchise QB.
Answer: Well the proof is on tape. In college he absolutely was the man you wanted under center. But it has been a mixed bag in the NFL. He has had his share of fourth quarter comebacks – on the road against Carolina on Monday Night Football three years ago and the final game of 2017 against the Saints – are just two games that come to mind as I write this, Yet this year, for whatever reason those fourth quarter comebacks haven’t come as often. Especially the last two weeks. And right now that is what you have to look at.
Do I think he is still capable of being a franchise quarterback? I do. Will he? The jury is still out. But I think as an organization you owe it to yourself to give him that fifth year, especially if there is a new voice in his head. Remember in the NFL he has only had Dirk Koetter as his offensive coach. Maybe it work out and maybe it doesn’t but Winston wasn’t a fifth round unheralded small school guy. He was the overall No. 1 draft pick in 2015. You have a huge investment in him and need to explore and exhaust every sliver of hope before you move on. At least that is my opinion.