As you would expect, the majority of the questions for this week’s mailbag were concerning the future of head coach Dirk Koetter. Check out this week’s questions and submit yours for future Bucs Monday Mailbags on PewterReport.com by using the Twitter hashtag, #PRMailbag.

Question: Could one argue that keeping a coach who is clearly not getting it done, for the sake of continuity, is worse than firing him midseason? I mean, if they don’t it could show they don’t care about the season, so why should fans? Curious business decision…

Question: Should the Bucs move Koetter on now or wait to the end of the season? Since it’s already over, why keep him around?

Question: What type of coach is needed to turn this franchise around?

Question: Who are your top candidates for the next head coach position? I want a younger, offensive head coach from a strong organization. My short list (in order):

-John DeFilippo (40) – Vikings OC
-Mark Helfrich (45) – Bears OC/QB
-Pete Carmichael, Jr. (47) – Saints OC/QB
-Eric Bieniemy (49) – Chiefs OC
-Randy Fichtner (54) – Steelers OC/QB

Question: What is the deal with Alex Cappa? Is this another wasted early round pick by Licht? He hasn’t been active for 1 game.

Answers: First of all, I seriously doubt the Bucs move on from Dirk Koetter before the season ends. It just isn’t the way the Glazers operate. They didn’t fire Raheem Morris during the 10-game losing streak in 2011 or Greg Schiano when the team started 0-8 in 2013. Both ultimately ended up being fired at the end of the season, and if the Glazers do in fact move on from Koetter, more than likely it happens on Black Monday on January 1, 2019, once the season ends.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Next up, should the Bucs fire Koetter after the year? I don’t really see a scenario where that is avoidable at this point. Losing to the Redskins 31-30 on a last-second field goal and maybe you hold out a little hope, but to have your defense only surrender 16 points and hold a team to less that 300 yards of offense for the first time all season, and then to rack up 501 yards of offense, but only score three points? That is a devastating scenario to this franchise. There just isn’t any light at the end of the tunnel that anyone can see, or a way to put any positive spin on things.

Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Koetter could talk circles around all of us in terms of football X’s and O’s. And I can assure you there are way more issues with this team than coaching. Koetter is a good football coach. He may, or may not be a good head football coach however. That is debatable. But for this team, in 2018, for whatever reason, it isn’t working out.

I know for sure it isn’t from a lack of effort. Koetter works as hard as anyone in the building. But so did Greg Schiano. Heck, Ray Perkins was a notoriously football-obsessed football coach. I also know for sure these players appreciate and respect Koetter as a coach and a person. I talk to players off the record on a regular basis and they share their feelings about Koetter when asked. Not once have I had a player say anything negative about him. But as stated above, it isn’t working out and I really don’t think things will change over the last seven games.

Former Bucs head coach Greg Schiano - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Former Bucs head coach Greg Schiano – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

If this team moves on from Koetter and looks for a new coach, what type of coach is needed? That is way above my pay grade. Or at least above my football I.Q. You almost wonder if a Schiano-type, hard-ass would have worked with this roster, or maybe the energetic young Morris would have been a better fit for this roster. I can’t say. Can someone clone a Tony Dungy-type who keeps Todd Monken as the offensive coordinator and bring him to Tampa Bay? Maybe that is the type needed. I really don’t know what to say other than this Koetter staff doesn’t appear to be it.

Lastly, on the list of candidates you brought up – all of them look good on the surface and make some sense. All of them also have some draw backs. I am tending to think the Glazers go back to the NFL head coach experienced route this time. A John or Jim Harbaugh-type with NFL success. It didn’t work with Lovie Smith, but the inexperienced Morris, Schiano and Koetter hires haven’t panned out, either.

All I can say is hang on to your hats once the season ends. It looks like a house cleaning will take place – again. Hopefully, the Glazers get it right this time.

Question: Is there a chance we see Ryan Griffin at QB all? Can’t be any worse.

Answer: Scott Reynolds brought up a good point on our podcast following the game on Sunday. We all agreed Jameis Winston has to start the last seven games, but Reynolds added Griffin should be moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart and Fitzpatrick made inactive. His reasoning was, you know what you have in Fitzpatrick. However, if Winston does down, why not give Griffin the opportunity?

Of course if Griffin ever gets in a game it most certainly is the waving of the white flag and you aren’t really concerned about winning. I never believe the regular season should be treated like the preseason. I want my team to win, and win every time they are on the field. If I were a Bucs fan, I would be angry to see the team stop making winning a priority. I know that many fans disagree and would just as soon see the team tank to get a better draft pick, but that isn’t me. Just my personal preference.

Question: We should have gives DJax his trade request, but since we didn’t do you think they trade him in the off-season. Also will the compensation be lower than what it would have been this year?

Answer: Look, if the Bucs end up 3-13, which I believe is a distinct possibility, then not trading DeSean Jackson could be viewed as a mistake, but let’s not forget this offense, despite having Jackson on the field, scored just three points on Sunday and is still one of the best in the NFL. Getting rid of a big piece of that success a couple weeks ago didn’t make sense to me then. Not when this team was still in the thick of a wild card race. Now here we are at 3-6, with virtually no shot at the playoffs, and it is easy to say the Bucs should have gotten something for him.

Bucs WR DeSean Jackson - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The problem is, teams weren’t offering a lot. A fourth-round pick maybe? Perhaps you could have bargained for a third-rounder with a desperate team, but realistically it would have been a fourth- or even a fifth-rounder. Remember, Jason Pierre-Paul was obtained for a third-round pick in the offseason. Find me a rookie next season that will have the production of what I still think Jackson can have in 2019. Good luck with that.

As far as an offseason trade goes, I suppose a lot will depend on who is running this franchise from a personnel and coaching standpoint. Another offensive-minded staff may very well want to keep Jackson for another season. But of course that is all speculation. There is still seven weeks to go and a lot can happen by January 1.

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

28 COMMENTS

  1. You cannot keep Monken around as there are actually people who think Jay-Miss is only bad because of scheme. I know that’s ridiculous. Listen, we need to let Jameis pick the OC so he’s comfortable. That way when he still stinks, the excuses can end and we can move forward without him.

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    • Let Jameis pick the OC? I’m not even comfortable having Jameis as a qb let alone him picking an OC sounds ridiculous to me

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      • This was sarcasm.

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  2. Not a bad list, but I would add Jack Del Rio to this list. If we got a combination of Defilippo or Carmichael as HC and Del Rio as DC I think that would be a great combination

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  3. Firing coach is not enough GM is huge problem
    Just look at this draft 1st 2nd round picks wasted
    worse Bucs have pay Vea and RJ big money
    and will get cut next year.
    Game setting first drive Chicago lost when pass for TD
    bounced off of RJ jersey numbers
    They put Vea in and Bucs get slammed for huge ground yardage right through his hole .
    You can do 97% right in this league and get beat by team that does 98% right
    But this team makes huge mistakes maybe 68% .

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    • Dude, they don’t have to pay any kind of big money to Vea or RoJo? Where do you get your info? Off the back of a cereal box?

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  4. The question truly becomes, do you try to win the games that remain or do you use the rest of the season to test out players – that is the question that is being asked here.

    The problem is Koetter (and potentially Licht) are going to do whatever they can to win the games, so I don’t see starting Ryan Griffin at all. I don’t even see him as second string – unless they are willing to give up on winning this year. The pressure to win now probably won’t abate, so I don’t see this happening – just an interesting discussion point for fans that won’t go anywhere.

    In regards to Winston – now it comes down to who gives you a better chance to win staying with the general theme here. Some say Winston, others say Fitzpatrick. The problem is, while the QB can make matters worse neither QB can do enough to overcome the problems this team has. Be it turnovers on offense, and the lack of turnovers on defense, they are both there. Changing to Winston may result in more turnovers on offense. What has changed in the last two weeks that gives you a definite advantage to move back to Winston. Anything? Nothing I see makes that a definite better case.

    It is nice that writers debate on which QB to start but the fact of the matter is, unless a change brings a definite improvement you stay with what you have. My guess for one more week Koetter stays with Fitzpatrick. The Giants are beatable as they only score 18 points on average a game, one point less than Washington. If the defense does not lay an egg and if we get decent QB play it is a winnable game. I am just not sure those two things can happen, particular if Koetter is play calling again like he did this last game.

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    • Honestly at this point I hope they just go into straight tank mode, everyone is getting fired anyways. Give me the top 5 pick. Which I would then use on Ed Oliver, Greedy Williams, Nick Bosa(if high enough), Clellin Ferrel, then we can grab a secondary player in the second round. I think we will have to tough it out one more year with Jameis. Build our defense, so the next quaterback that comes in here will have a competent defense and offensive weapons to play with. Hopefully Will Grier falls to the second round, I think that kid has something.

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      • I think they will tough it out one more year with Jameis as well, right or wrong. I don’t see the current staff tanking it unless directed to by the Glazers. That is more ammunition to be fired with cause unless the Glazers order it. I don’t see them doing that.

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      • You lost me at….. Will Grier

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        • I mean have you watched him this year. He is tearing it up

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  5. Just bring in coaches on both sides of the ball that understand the modern NFL game and adapt their schemes to compete in it. Disrupt the short passing game on offense with exotic looks up front and tighter coverage off the line of scrimmage. Run your offense through a short passing game and a multi-dimensional RB. Bring in a HC that can instill some toughness and create an identity for this team.

    Please.

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  6. Regarding Vita Vea the guy’s just a rookie it’s way too soon to call him a bust. I remember Gerald McCoy’s first two years and lots of posters on here we’re calling him a bust and calling for him to be cut. They were saying he was too soft and injury-prone. That was how many pro bowls ago?

    The fact is it takes DLs two to three years to fully develop. Gerald McCoy is already starting to fall off and in two or three years when Vita Vea is hitting his stride it’ll coincide with with the time to let Gerald McCoy go.

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    • I agree with you that DT takes two to three years to develope. The question is why would a regime that needed players to help them WIN NOW would take players in the top three rounds that need time to develope? I guess the next coach(es) and GM might get to reap the benefits of Vea if he pans out.

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    • We give Vea a lot of excuses but I see another DT in Daron Payne from the Redskins who was picked right after Vea showing promise while Vea has shown us nothing.

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      • Vea did miss most of Training Camp, whole Pre-season, and first six games. Not enough sample to determine if he’s a true bust yet. A mistake, yes for a franchise that needed to win now. The Defense was doomed when Koetter decided not to replace Mike Smith at the end of last season.

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        • I know he missed most of training camp, but I would at least expect to see a glimpse of potential in the #12 overall pick in the draft..he could very well turn out good in the future, but as of right now, the pick was a mistake.

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  7. “….It just isn’t the way the Glazers operate.” This is yet another component (and the component that ends all components) in why we will never navigate out of the losing culture here at One Buc Place. We are truly the Cleveland Browns of the NFC because of this quote. Licht must convince ownership that holding on to a loser like Dirk Koetter any longer past yesterday can have serious long term damage to the roster and in turn, this organization. It ruins careers to hold someone in this high of position (Head Coach) when that person did something 100% selfish (100% non-team-first) by taking play-calling duties away from Todd Monken. The organization will be better off this year and the long run if they fire Koetter this week and name an interim HC from within to finish out the season.

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    • Licht is responsible for the players on the field.. The bucs gm and head coach should leave the building together …like yesterday after the game !

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  8. Could we try and talk former Cardinals coach Bruce Charles Arians out of retirement? He’s healthy now and at 66 is 6 months younger than Bill Belichick. Just want everybody to know that I’m down wit old timers! Lol. The Bucs need an experienced coach that has been there and done that. Everywhere he’s gone he’s been able to turn that team around. NFL record as head coach is 50-32-1 (.608). He has proven expertise developing QBs – Andrew Luck (Colts), Carson Palmer (Cardinals).

    He is NFL two-time Coach of the Year (2012, 2014) and knows both offense and defense. He talked to Ian Rapoport and said Cleveland is the only team he would consider coming out of retirement for. The Browns leading candidate is now Rams QB coach Zac Taylor, but the Jets fans are screaming for him to replace HC Todd Bowles. Bucs need to get in the mix now and try to get this guy to Tampa. Great weather, no income tax and total control could win him over. Besides, who knows he may be able to talk CB Patrick Peterson into joining him at the Bucs. Go get’m Bucs!

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    • Arians has health and family issues.

      I’d be surprised if he’s not done.

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  9. Bruce Arians would be an excellent choice. But he says he’s done with football. I’d also look at Tony Dungy as a GM. He knows what it takes to build a great defense. But if our Bucs are not careful..We will go down as the worst NFl franchise in NFL History. Yes, even worse than the Browns! Its all on the Glazers. They need to get off the snide and bring in some great football minds here to Tampa Bay. Not confident in the Glazers though. Why would they hire guys who could not get the job done in Atlanta in the 1st place? I’m talkin Smitty and Koetter here. Lets see what happens come seasons end. But they;d better get the ball rollin or..stay in [email protected]

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    • That ship has sailed, unfortunately. Dungy will have nothing to do with the Bucs. The way he was let go did not leave good feelings. While Malcom had more to do with that than his sons (he was still active with the team at that point) I seriously doubt he would come back to the Bucs.

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  10. What’s the point of keeping koetter around at this point? He’s finished, what he did yesterday had to be one of the dumbest moves he has made since being here..you can tell that the man is obviously panicking and not knowing what to do at this point..we can finish out with monken, maybe the team will respond better so we can finish out strong, even though we aren’t making the playoffs this year. As for candidates, I too would like Bruce Arians, but I don’t see him wanting to have anything to do with us right now as he clearly said he would only coach the Browns..

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    • Yes that’s exactly what I’m trying to say about firing Koetter now, BucRy. Taking play-calling from Monken and increasing targets and plays for Rodgers and Shaun Wilson screams that he WANTS to be fired. Then responding to media after the game and today with the smugness of “I have my reasons” when those reasons ignore red zone statistics and offensive rankings…. it screams he WANTS to be fired. Give the man what he wants and send him off. Let this season finish out with an interim Head Coach who has much better charisma, passion and enthusiasm for the game than this guy…. Monken, Duffner and Buckner ….all 3 of those guys have better enthusiasm, passion and charisma to be an interim than Koetter’s piss-poor selfish attitude right now.

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  11. Koetter may or may not be a problem….but we’ll never know as long Jason Licht is allowed to run amok on this franchise.

    Koetter is working with a turnstile at LT, a black hole at RG, a shell of a RT, a 35-year old QB not named Brady (or otherwise the turnover machine Winston), RBs (not named Barber) that have to see the field (some of the time) that fumble when caught from behind by Ryan Anderson (that’s right, that Ryan Anderson…..who? you say….exactly!), a secondary filled with potential, no-potential and used-to-have potential players, a third-string MLB that is third string for a reason, a DLine that sure is paid handsomely but can’t even rack up some stats against a decimated Redskins OLine featuring Jonathan Cooper (yes the guy that’s on his 5th team in 5 years, and was brought back off his couch last week!)…all Koetter has to work with is a fantastic receiving core (backups that could start on other teams, but just have roles carrying water bottles for us)…if only Mike Evans could play Linebacker, or OJ Howard Tackle, we’d be in business.

    Licht has obliterated this franchise…we need a new leader at the top that understands how to build a team and can take the next 5 years to do so…ugh.

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    Rating: +5. From 7 votes.
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    • For a bit more color:

      Redskins OLine = Ty Nsekhe, Jonathan Cooper, Chase Roullier, Tony Bergstrom and Morgan Moses = $8.3m for that gaggle. 3 of whom were debating roles with FEDEX a week ago. Cooper was a 1st rounder – somehow…the rest scrap heaps.

      Our Dline: Beau Allen or Vita Vea (1st rounder), Gerald McCoy (1st rounder), JPP (1st rounder), Carl Nassib (1st rounder) or Will Gholston = $25m at the low end (mostly GMC and JPP).

      I find it really hard to assess whether Koetter is a problem or not when we get GMC 1 sack, 1 tackle + JPP 1 assisted tackle. It’s never going to get easier than that was for these guys.

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  12. And therein lies the problem EastEnd. A team (Redskins) has an offensive line in shambles; yet, in only a few days, was equal to our supposedly talented and expensive defensive line. Gerald did absolutely nothing and hasn’t all season. Neither did JPP, who is perhaps unconsciously making less of an effort especially against the run. Beau Allen, with his J-Lo butt is simply invisible. Every now and then the cast-off Brown, Nasib shows up. Gholston hasn’t made a play in three years. Spence doesn’t even see the field enough to make a play after so many teammates predicted greatness. There are other on again-off again back-ups who just occupy a position for a play or two. Then we have the rookie Vea, who had no Training Camp so he is just now getting a chance to work on his craft, yet folks are ready to declare him a “bust”. Perhaps that will be his ultimate fate, but I’m at least willing to wait since he is the only one right now who should remain after the purge that will include Coach Buckner who has turned what was supposed to be chicken salad and turned it into chicken………….well you know.

    A two man D-line of Sapp and Rice would fare better than this collection. Maybe even now.

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