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: What about this – Tony Dungy as head of football operations, Derrick Brooks as general manager and Jim Harbaugh as head football coach to start. We need some history back, those who love the Bucs and hurt when we lose as much as we do. Not just a job to those guys.
Answer: I would be all in favor of anything that gets Tony Dungy back in the building. However, I don’t believe he would consider leaving his broadcasting gig to come out of retirement and deal with the grind of the NFL. And how would Dungy even relate to this generation of players? And would they respect him? I am not saying they wouldn’t or that this younger generation is worse, it is just they are different.
Derrick Brooks coming back is something you see on Twitter and sports radio talk quite a bit, but that is a big stretch to jump from the Arena Football League to running an NFL franchise. That isn’t to say he couldn’t do it, but I suspect if the Glazers make a change, they will want someone with NFL experience. If a change is made, the Glazers know the pressure will be on to not mess it up. I applaud them for continuing to swing for the fences with some out-of-the-box hires, but they understand the importance of the next potential hire.
As for Jim Harbaugh as a head coach? I am not a fan. John Harbaugh, on the other hand, I think would be good. I think Jim has underwhelmed at Michigan and rubbed some people the wrong was his last season at San Francisco.
Now you bring up the point of hiring those who love the Bucs, and sure, Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht had no history in Tampa Bay prior to coming to the team. But to say, if you are, that losing doesn’t devastate them, well, that is just incorrect. I have seen the anguish in both of their faces and had some post-game conversations with both. They hurt. It is almost relief to win and close to unbearable when they lose. Both of those guys want to see this team succeed more than even the fans do. The amount of hours they spend working, the time away from their family, the parts of their life they can never get back, comes at a huge cost.
Both Koetter and Licht’s wives knew what they were signing up for when they married their spouses, but it isn’t easy. Then, to pick up the paper, turn on the radio or surf the internet and see the criticism and nasty attacks from some, has to be beyond rough. And I am as guilty as you guys with my over emotional outbursts when I’m watching my Seminoles play, so I get it. Read my personal Twitter when Florida State plays. Actually, don’t – I am a jerk.
But wanting to win isn’t always enough. Raheem Morris wanted to win. Greg Schiano wanted to win. Lovie Smith wanted to win. It is a results-based business, and patience runs thin when the losses pile up. My point is, these guys and the entire organization want to win, and they work their tails off. It is their reputation, their legacy and their pride on the line. And if Koetter and Licht are fired, it certainly won’t be – or shouldn’t be anyways – from a lack of caring or trying.
Question: What must Dirk Koetter do (if anything) to keep his job to begin 2019?
Answer: Win. And win a lot. I don’t believe it is a foregone conclusion that anyone is already fired. But it isn’t looking good at 4-7. The Glazers don’t like showing up in Boca Raton for an NFL Owners Meeting with another year of losing football under their belts. And they do listen and read feedback from the fans on PewterReport.com and elsewhere. Just like the coaching and front office staff, they are trying, contrary to some of the fan’s opinions. The difference is, they can’t – or at least won’t – fire themselves. It’s their team.
So as fans all you can do is cross your fingers and hope they make the right choices. And when it becomes apparent they haven’t, like with Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith, then it is time to cut ties. I do believe it will take a minimum of seven wins for Koetter to have a chance to be back next season, and probably it will take more. But I am not inside the Glazer’s heads and can’t accurately tell you what that magic number is.
Question: What do you do with DJax? Seems he is all kinds of PO’d since HE is not getting HIS catches. Keyshawn him and play the other guys?
Answer: It is funny you mentioned Keyshawn Johnson. I was thinking the same thing driving home after the game when the story broke that Jackson appeared to be unhappy after a win. Look, I respect DeSean Jackson’s competitiveness and his wanting the ball. But to pout after the Bucs got back on the winning track? That would rub me the wrong way if I am his coach or even one of his teammates. Football is THE ultimate team game.
If I am Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht I am calling Jackson in first thing Monday morning and having a “come to Jesus”meeting. Lay it all on the table. Let him complain, vent, whatever. Then I am telling him he can either be part of the solution or he can watch the rest of the games at home on television.
Just a week or so ago Jackson stood at his locker before practice and said he wanted to finish his career here in Tampa Bay, this after requesting a trade before the deadline last month. Then the Bucs win, and he is still unhappy?
Perhaps we have misinterpreted his tweet. If so, all that will come out in the meeting. But the very last thing this team needs are players showing their asses after a win.
Question: What do you make of the DC position for next year? Keep Mark Duffner or look for other options?
Answer: It is way too early to speculate on keeping Duffner, as who knows if Koetter even survives. But let’s assume for the sake of argument that he does get fired, will Duffner get an interview with the new head coach? How does he coach up this group since Smith’s firing? That is what you look for at the end of this year.
And I would say, especially with the hand he was dealt, he has done a very good job. Remember, this defense only gave up 16 points and less than 300 yards to the Redskins and then only nine points to the 49ers on Sunday. Yes I know the 49ers aren’t a very good offense right now, but did you see some of the players Duffner was working with by the time the final gun sounded? Ryan Smith, Jordan Whitehead, Isaiah Johnson, Josh Shaw, Andrew Adams, Javien Elliott, Riley Bullough, Devante Bond, etc.
if Koetter makes it to 2019, and the defensive improvements continue, then he would have a good shot. I still believe Mike Smith’s scheme is flawed, but you can’t flip things around in the middle of the season and start running something completely foreign to these guys, who only practice three times per week.
Duffner is having to modify Smith’s scheme, simplify some things and get the best out of a handful of backups who are now starters, on top of dealing with a ton of young players starting. All in all, I have been impressed with Duffner and the job he is doing.