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):
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.
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.
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.
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.