BREAKING NEWS: GRUDEN SAYS HE WANTS TO COACH AGAIN

About the author

Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

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35 Comments

  1. 1

    macabee

    Bucs re-signed C Joe Hawley to a two-year contract. He held up in pass protection last year, but finished near the bottom of PFF’s run-blocking grades.

    Jeremy Zuttah is a free agent and had a strong season in 2016, getting named to the Pro Bowl and grading out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 14 center out of 37 qualifiers. He received extremely strong marks for his run blocking. He is also an effective left guard as demonstrated before he left Tampa Bay.

    Needless to say, I preferred Zuttah over Hawley. But I’m a Buc fan. If they want Hawley, I’m rooting for him. Go Bucs!

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    1. 1.1

      chetthevette

      Should of never let Zuttah go. Lovie?
      GO BUCS

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  2. 2

    Bucco63

    This is a good signing for depth and short term. But another 2 year deal this year? Are we headed to a cliff with regard to cap in 2 years?

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  3. 3

    macabee

    To demonstrate Zuttah’s value – the Ravens announced the cut of Zuttah this morning. But before the paperwork could be turned into the NFL Office making it official, the 49ers called and offered a trade. The Ravens traded center Jeremy Zuttah to the San Francisco 49ers and swapped sixth-round picks. Only in the NFL. And I feel better now. lol!

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  4. 4

    stlbucsfan

    Don’t get this resigning. Hawley fell in the Akeem Spence category for me, no impact on the field. We should have swapped 6ths or 5ths if it meant acquiring Zuttah. You don’t re establish the run by signing the worst C in football. It’s foolish to like every offseason move but this one is a head scratcher.

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  5. 5

    Horse

    Well this sucks!!! I hope there wasn’t much guaranteed money.

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    1. 5.1

      toofamiliar17

      -4? Have any of the people who apparently love Joe Hawley ever, ya know, actually watched him play? Do we have 5 illegitimate children of Hawley that patrol PR and make sure to vote down anything said against him? Did he donate organs and/or tissue to some of the readers of the site? I truly can’t think of many good reasons people would scoff at someone who doesn’t like when we sign really bad players.

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  6. 6

    e

    Good depth signing. Not every signing is going to be an All-Pro selection. Let Licht work his magic. Bucs are now #10 in the preseason power rankings? I don’t care if Licht signs CG as our starting RB, he’s on a roll!

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  7. 7

    bEubanks11

    He’s a great leader and tough as nails. Maybe we shock the world and draft Pocic or Elfien and Hawley is their Mankins…. something has to be in the works with Hawley being retained. I can’t imagine this is Lichts end game at this position.

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    1. 7.1

      toofamiliar17

      You know the difference between Mankins then and Hawley now? Mankins had been great before and was still capable of being good. Hawley checks neither of those boxes.

      If the intention is for Hawley to ultimately be a backup, then I’m fine with this. Whatever. But nothing the team has said or done this offseason makes me think that we’re going to go after an upgrade from the perpetually below average Hawley. Feels to me like he’s going to end up the starter again.

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  8. 8

    BucWild02

    So the 53 man roster will likely have 8 offensive linemen:
    LT Donovan Smith
    LG JR Sweezy
    C Joe Hawley
    RG Ali Marpet
    RT Demar Dotson
    Depth provided by T/G Kevin Pamphile, G/T Caleb Benenoch, C/G Evan Smith

    I like the continuity first and foremost. It frees the Bucs to use their top draft picks on positions like WR, RB, CB, S, or DT.

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  9. 9

    fredster

    This is kind of bummer. Was hoping for upgrade at center. He’s not the worst but we have to have better run game and like they said he just doesn’t run block well….maybe having Jacksons speed will help some too.

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  10. 10

    bEubanks11

    Or maybe they’re banking on the DJax ripple effect on defenses giving them a little breathing room to run with the same O line that did a great job in 15?

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    1. 10.1

      toofamiliar17

      The line did not “do a great job” in 2015. They benefited from an otherworldly season from Doug Martin and a QB who has great escapability. Jameis only got sacked 27 times that year, but he led the league with right around 100 hits taken. Doug led the league in both broken tackles and broken tackles per carry, and he was pretty close to the bottom of the league in average YPC before contact.

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      1. 10.1.1

        Naplesfan

        There is no way to deny the performance of the offensive line when it produced the best pair of running backs in the league that season, including the (barely) second best runner. Doug Martin makes his living running between the tackles, he’s not an end-around scat back. He cannot be productive if the line isn’t doing their job in run blocking.

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        1. 10.1.1.1

          toofamiliar17

          It’s impressive how many incorrect things you were able to say in just 8 lines of text. I really don’t know where to begin, so I’m going to pass altogether.

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  11. 11

    drdneast

    I was thinking the same thing as I read your post.
    I’m not going to get into the merits of Zuttah except to say he’s had two coaches who wanted to get rid of him for close to nothing.
    Of course I never wanted to see him leave in the first place but the genius known as Lovie Smith did when he blew up the line on his arrival which proved to be an extremely bad move.
    Sorry, but got ll you people who wanted to see Hawley move on his replacement was going to be the lead footed Evan Smith. Hawley has beaten Smith out of a job since his arrival.
    So in essence, what you wanted was a bench warmer to replace a starter. Very curious line of thought, if you can call it that.
    I’;m glad he resigned and I bet Winston is too.

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    1. 11.1

      stlbucsfan

      I don’t think anybody wanted Evan Smith as an alternative to Hawley. We wanted Zuttah who could’ve been had by swapping 5th round picks, made the Pro Bowl last season and would’ve been under contract for 2years at roughly 9M total. I don’t buy into the whole 2 coaches let him go thing bc he was clearly a cap casualty in Baltimore and the first guy who fired him had the worst record in the Big 10 last season. We missed a chance to improve our line at a position that could’ve used an upgrade is our point.

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      1. 11.1.1

        BucWild02

        Who knows if there is merit to this theory, but maybe Jeremy Zuttah didn’t want to come back to Tampa. Maybe he was happy to leave Tampa when he was cut by the previous administration. Maybe his respect for Greg Schiano (his former coach at Rutgers) getting a raw deal from the community and the organization sealed his fate and future with this organization. He clearly went on to play well for Baltimore, so it probably wasn’t his talent that got him cut but his allegiance.

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  12. 12

    Freeman Strickland

    Signing Hawley was the best move left.

    PFF’s three highest rated UFA Centers still on the market were Hawley rated 76.0, Joe Sullivan, rated 76.6 and Nick Mangold rated 78.0. With the ratings that tight, Hawley made sense just for continuity and morale.

    The Bucs can play with the group they have now to test the effect of a healthy Sweezy. If that is enough and the run game returns to 2015 production, the Bucs are set. Sadly, I am not an optimist. I think that the Bucs took a step backwards by not signing LT Andrew Whitworth. Maybe the Bucs will spot someone releasing the next Donald Penn and grab him in time.

    The Bucs may be satisfied that they can get by with what they have for CB, LB, RB, S and TE. If not, there are still capable free agents available. And, more will probably be available after the draft.

    The Bucs are in pretty good shape to go into the draft. They should have little pressure from need. They should be able to make each pick looking for the most bang for the Bucs.

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  13. 13

    scubog

    Signing Joe Hawley in no way means the center position is his at this point. I’m always in favor of signing our own players and letting them compete. I like his spirited attitude and do recognize that he was often hurt last season which no doubt had to affect his play that sometimes was questionable. Many times he left the field in obvious pain only to be back in the lineup a few plays later. Gotta admire that.

    There are five centers on the roster plus a couple of guards who may be capable of sliding to the middle. At the very least Joe is a known entity in case none of the other competitors, like Horse’s favorite Ben Gottschalk, are able to unseat him.

    Neither the final 53 man roster nor the starting lineup is settled. As they say, “stay tuned.”

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    1. 13.1

      BucWild02

      Center position isn’t his? Maybe not, but I sure wouldn’t bet against it. He has played for Koetter for 4 years between Tampa and Atlanta. He became the starting center and never relinquished it. He just resigned for multiple years. The job is his to lose, clearly.

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      1. 13.1.1

        scubog

        I’m sure he will take the first team snaps in Training Camp, but if there’s someone who is clearly better, Hawley will be cast aside just like any other journeyman player.

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    2. 13.2

      Horse

      Scubog, I only mentioned Gottischalk as being a starter back in the 2016 season for the 2017 season because Hawley and Smith weren’t protecting Winston enough. I didn’t care who we obtained in Free Agency as long as it wasn’t Hawley or Smith. Okay he’s here again. I would appreciate it if he would do a better job at Center than he did last year. We have a lot of hope for our team and Winston is the reason for it. i had thought we owed Winston better pocket protection. Go Bucs!

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  14. 14

    surferdudes

    No mention of numbers, or guarantees. Competition is never a bad thing. I’m not a Hawley fan, I’d like to see Marpet slide over to center, but he, or anyone else shouldn’t be handed the job. Hawley was in, and out of the line up last year with an assortment of injuries. This signing could come down to not being stuck with nothing if Sweezy can’t stay healthy, or god forbid Marpet should get injured. All three, Marpet, Smith, Hawley, missed time last season, not to mention Sweezy. Having Joe on board is better then trying to find a center mid season.

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  15. 15

    Naplesfan

    The Hawley haters never give up … but it is extremely obvious that GM Licht and Coach Koetter want him on the Bucs … they got us a big improvement in team performance last year, Koetter’s first season in the league as a head coach. They know their players vastly better than any of us couch-warmers can ever possibly know them. They are responsible for the bottom line performance of the team. It’s a package – we get the choices we’d vote for, and the choices we’d down vote, and no, this isn’t a Chinese restaurant where we can mix and match from Menu A and Menu B.

    I’m OK with anything Licht and Koetter do or don’t do until they prove then can’t win.

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    1. 15.1

      Horse

      I woudn’t use the word hate if fans like me have a different opinion than you. I don’t know about you, but I was raised not to use the word hate.

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      1. 15.1.1

        Naplesfan

        Hawley haters are just that …

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  16. 16

    Buc 1976

    Well Zuttha would have been nice? It is a shame we didn’t try harder to get him!

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  17. 17

    magoobee

    Remember – The compensation system for the NFL revolves around how many FAs a team loses vs how many they sign. In addition, the value of the contract is considered and whether the original team made an offer. There is also some secret sauce in there.

    The loss of Glennon gives the Bucs a lot of value because they offered him a competitive salary and he got, what some would say, an overvalued contract.

    Signing Hawley does not impact the Bucs 2018 compensation but signing Zuttah probably would have.

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  18. 18

    WinstonMVP

    Naplesfan: Exactly, Couldn’t agree more. Now the Bucs have real Coach’s and a great GM. They’ve proved they know what there doing. I don’t get fans that think they know better than Licht, Koetter and Smith. Let them do there freaking job and see what happens instead of trying to play GM all the time. GO BUCS!!!

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    1. 18.1

      Naplesfan

      Yup – several couch-warmers who are legends in their own minds are evident in this thread. I’m a fan of the Bucs, but not of many of the people who are their fans but claim they’re smarter than the coaches and GM.

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  19. 19

    plopes808

    Like any other starter, the position should be his to lose. Continuity is very important on the Oline, especially with the Center and QB. Hawley may not be a flashy signing but he did well enough the past few years. If nothing else, you have to respect his fire and toughness

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  20. 20

    drdneast

    The problem on the left side of the line last year wasn’t Hawley but Pampille.
    Try watching some game field.
    On Winston’s great scrambling play against the Bears, the problem starts when Pampille completely whiffs on a stunt.
    Against Atlanta, at home, Martin is hit in the backfield on his 3 yard TD run because the defender blows by Pampille.
    This isn’t to knock Pampille or to call him a bad player, but facts are facts.
    As one of Pewter Reports writers pointed out to me after I stated this, this is only his third season and his second as a guard, the Bucs coaching staff sees a lot of upside in him.
    Unfortunately for Zuttah, two coaching staffs felt different about him. And please, don’t give me the salary cap excuse either. Zuttah isn’t paid that much to have to get rid of him if he is really that good.
    The only difference between 2015’s line and 2016’s is Logan Mankins being gone and Pampille replacing him. Do I need to paint you a picture.
    Hawley has an edge and a nastiness to him that this line needs. He also plays better when he’s hurt than Smith does when he is healthy.

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    1. 20.1

      scubog

      I too prefer Hawley over Evan Smith at Center, but I believe Smith has shown he can also play guard and I don’t know if Hawley also can slide over. I agree with you about Panphile too. He’s versatile, but his play at guard wasn’t where we need it to be yet.

      Folks seem to forget that coaches and GM’s are always looking to replace any player with a better one.

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