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: With the Bucs earning a rep for not keeping coaches long, what would they need to “up the ante” to attract a top tier prospect? Or do they stay local, like maybe Todd Monken?
Answer: There is no question that dating back to Raheem Morris, longevity among coaches in Tampa Bay have been rare. Morris got three seasons. Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith got just two seasons each, and it looks like Dirk Koetter will only have three years.
But I am a firm believer that if you feel deep down it isn’t working out, whether it be in business or your personal life, the sooner you pull the plug – the better. Why not rip the bandage off quickly? While it may sting initially, the wound should heal faster. That means firing Dirk Koetter, who will finish his third in Tampa Bay with back-to-back losing seasons.
I give the Glazers credit for at least doing that. What if the Rams still had Jeff Fisher? Would they be in the playoffs the last two seasons? Or would he preside over two more 7-9 years? The point is, while constant turnover isn’t great, it is still better than sticking with what doesn’t work even though you know better. Like former defensive coordinator Mike Smith.
As far as upping the ante, I don’t know there is much more you can do than what the Glazers already do when hiring coaches. It isn’t like they go cheap. And if it were all about money, they most certainly wouldn’t fire coaches with two or three years left on their contracts. They have written millions of dollars in checks over the last decade to fired coaches that go elsewhere. So attracting or not attracting a coach isn’t about money.
There is plenty to offer potential candidates who will be interviewed. Much of the job sells itself. Warm weather. Great area to raise a family. Great facility. A new indoor facility. A pretty talented roster. No state income tax. There is a lot to like when candidates consider coaching in Tampa.
And now it about just finding the right person. The Bucs need a coach that will develop players, get his message across, find a way to maximize the talent on the roster currently and has an eye for talent in the draft. Hopefully the Glazers find the right guy – this decade – so the futility can end, and the long-suffering fans finally see their team become relevant again soon.
As far as Todd Monken goes, I don’t think the Glazers want to go the “promote the current offensive coordinator” route again. While I do think Monken will make a good head coach either in college or the NFL one day, if they decide to fire Koetter I think they need to make a clean break and find some new blood with a new message.
Question: Should the Bucs hire an offensive-minded coach, or a defensive-minded coach?
Answer: I think it doesn’t matter if the head coach is an offensive or defensive guy, as long as they bring in the right coordinator on the other side of the ball. A Jon Gruden/Monte Kiffin-type of combo would be perfect. I don’t like a coach who tries to dabble in too much. Gruden did it perfectly by staying away from Kiffin and focused solely on the offense. Greg Schiano, a defensive guy, tried to be part of it all and it didn’t work. I still remember those Mic’d Up segments with Schiano screaming in offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan’s headset, to either “run it here” or “take a shot now.”
Finding the right staff to surround yourself with is the most important thing a new coach can do in my opinion. As much as we admire Tony Dungy, how successful would he have been without Kiffin, Rod Marinelli, Mike Tomlin, Lovie Smith, Herm Edwards, Joe Barry and on and on? And how much more successful would Dungy have been had he found better offensive coordinators than Mike Shula, Les Steckel and Clyde Christiansen?
Heck, maybe Dirk Koetter would have the Bucs in playoff contention if he fired Mike Smith last offseason and had Mark Duffner running the defense all year from the start.
Question: What are your top three reasons for the Bucs’ last 15 years of dysfunction and the almost pathological inability to win?
Answer: It starts with the wrong hires. The Glazers have just made some bad choices for head coaches, who then made some bad staff hires. There have been some awful assistant coaches that have come through Tampa Bay over the last decade.
Secondly, questionable front office moves. Examples: drafting defensive end Gaines Adams, drafting quarterback Josh Freeman, selecting Mark Barron over Luke Kuechly, signing Eric Wright, signing Anthony Collins, signing Michael Johnson, trading up for Roberto Aguayo, and perhaps drafting Ronald Jones. This is a long list that spans over two general managers and four head coaches.
And lastly, just bad luck. Who would have predicted Carl Nicks coming down with MRSA and never playing another down of football? Or Freeman from having a sensation 2010 season to a career meltdown a few years later? Or Aguayo going from being the best kicker in college football history to someone who totally melted down in the NFL?
There are ton of moving parts to building a winning NFL team and getting them all to fall into place at the right time is quite an accomplishment. And there is a reason an average of six NFL coaches get canned on Black Monday each year. For every Bill Belichick there are 50 Rich Kotites or Hue Jacksons.
Question: Why do the Bucs refuse to run the ball? The running game was good on Sunday and seemed like they were determined to pass the ball.
Answer: Well this team is built on throwing the football. As much as I like Peyton Barber, he isn’t the second coming of Emmitt Smith or Walter Payton. And even the coaches were criticized at times for not running it more. Tampa Bay has been behind by 10 or more points multiple times this season with a defense than wasn’t stopping anyone. The only hope to win was to outscore the other team. Of course, as of late, that has changed significantly, but old habits die hard. The Bucs have a pass-first offense. It’s what they do.
On Sunday it was more of a case of lack of possessions in the second half. The Ravens controlled the ball and overall won the time of possession by almost 15 minutes. That is a full quarter more than the Bucs had the ball. Of course one could argue that had they run the football more, the Bucs themselves would have been able to control the clock and balanced that out. Overall, there were 21 runs and 25 passes and it might have been the most balanced the Bucs have been all season long. Yet even with good balance the end result was still the same – a 20-12 loss.