Cover 3 is a weekly feature column written by PewterReport.com’s Tampa Bay Bucs beat writer Trevor Sikkema published every Tuesday. The column, as its name suggests, comes in three phases: a statistical observation, an in-depth film breakdown, and a “this or that” segment where the writer asks the reader to chose between two options.

Sikkema’s Story of the Week

Every facet of the game. And I wasn’t wrong.

At the end of the first half, the Buccaneers had a 14-3 lead and the New Orleans Saints right where they wanted them. And after Drew Brees fumbled on the second play of the second half and gave the ball right back to the Buccaneers, you could see the future before your very eyes.

A win over the Saints; a sweep, even.

Two games on the road with the playoffs on the line.

Coming back to Tampa Bay, perhaps one win away from the goal of running the table and making the playoffs.

And then…

And then we woke up.

That moment, as Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter later went on to proclaim, was the turning point in the game. The Buccaneers were still up on the the scoreboard at that time, but it wouldn’t last. After that blocked punt, the next four Buccaneers drives went: minus-13 yards and a punt, minus-1 yard and a punt, three yards and a punt, and an interception to end the game. In the span of those failed drives were 25 unanswered points for New Orleans, enough to give the Saints the victory.

The Bucs had the Saints right where they wanted them – and then they remember they were the Buccaneers. They crumbled, just like they always do.

Having guys like defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul here in Tampa Bay has been quite the change of pace when it has come to the mentality for winning in the locker room, and you know what? I’ll give Vinny Curry his due, too. Those two guys hate losing. They aren’t losers. They won’t be losers. But they are now. At least on this Bucs team.

I remember walking into the Tampa Bay locker room after its embarrassing defeat up in Chicago earlier this year. The locker room was as silent as can be. I remember walking up to Pierre-Paul and Curry specifically, each with disbelief in their eyes that their team just lost 48-10. Pierre-Paul said it was the worst loss he’s ever been a part of. Meanwhile Curry was just trying to say the words out loud that that wasn’t what they were, that they couldn’t allow themselves to believe they were a team that was capable of losing like that.

Welcome to Tampa Bay.

I hate being this negative and bleak. I really do. That whole “you media guys love when the team loses” is ridiculous. No, we don’t. You really think we enjoy talking to players and coaches that don’t want to answer our questions we have to keep asking about why they can’t figure this out? You think that’s fun?

The two two-game win streaks the Buccaneers went on this year was the most enjoyable I’ve had as journalists here recently. I don’t like dogging on this team. I wish I didn’t have to. You have to sit there and try to craft ways to ask each man why they can’t get it done. But this is who they are.

If you ask me, this season had three potential turning points.

The first was against the Steelers.

Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Monday Night Football. It doesn’t happen often for the Buccaneers, but this time it did, and it was in their house. I remember going down from the press box to go meet my dad at his seat to say hello for a few minutes before kick off. As I stood their under the lights with thousands of crazy, jacked-up Tampa Bay fans, eager to see their 2-0 Buccaneers take the stage on national television, I remember standing next to my dad, hearing him talk about the team, and I couldn’t help but think of all the games he’s been to. You know, the ones back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The ones that held meaning. And I couldn’t help but think that the game we were about to watch might be historic. It might be the moment it all turns around. I mean, if they were to win that one, with the whole world watching, the Buccaneers would be back on the map for the first time in 10 years.

It wasn’t. It was a 30-27 loss instead.

The next was against the Falcons after the bye week. Though Tampa Bay had lost two in a row, that didn’t have to be the identity of this football team. The Bucs could still be the team that went 2-0 to start the year, even with Jameis Winston back as the starting quarterback. Beating the Falcons would be huge. It would mean they were still two up games in the division. Though it was a back-and-forth game, the Bucs had a chance at the end, and the moment that broke Buccaneers fans’ hearts was the final play, the one that bounced six inches too short of DeSean Jackson’s hands out of bounds as the clock struck zero. Imagine if that ball had just travel six more inches. Imagine how much that changes things. The Bucs lost 34-29.

And the final one needs no recap, it was the game we just saw. After winning two in a row, the Bucs had the Saints’ number. They had them down double-digits at halftime. They were forcing turnovers from Brees. They had the Saints’ run and pass games contained.

And then it was gone. And the main takeaway from it all, is that when the moments are brightest, when they mean the most, when they could change everything, this team doesn’t know how to win, evidenced by 25 straight points by the defending NFC South champion Saints in a 28-14 win over Tampa Bay.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Whether the Bucs win the turnover battle or lose it. Whether the defense holds the opposing team under 20 points or they don’t. Whether they throw for 500 yards or not. Whatever it is – and everything in between – no recipe is a recipe for victory for this team, at least not enough; not against the best. They will find a way to lose. They will believe their own fear of failure. The second momentum began to slip against New Orleans, that rope of control came flying out of their hands.

Good teams can feel control slipping and snap back into shape. Just look at what the Saints did on Sunday in the second half. Heck, good teams can start like the Saints did and refuse to believe it’s over. But even comebacks can be easy. It’s when the pressure is all there that really matters.

What’s the phrase? No pressure, no diamonds?

There are no diamonds in Tampa Bay.

It’s just ashes. Again.

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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]

49 COMMENTS

  1. These vids speak volumes to the those like that like to spout stuff about Jameis not completing enough passes for them. Look at the receivers here! This was all game. There was no separation and an awful run game along with crap line play. But the uninformed trolls like to jameis for everything.
    He certainly was rattled, you would be too if you got hit literally half the time you dropped back. As for the play calling, koetter loves playing not to lose , he has no aggression and when the game gets close,he turtles up. And the play designs are all 7 step drops,nothing creative and short to help jameis out. Nope just go deep. Cant wait to see Warhop not wasting the talent we have on the offensive line. We coaching staff incoming again.
    As for what I would change this season. I believe benching jameis was the best thing to happen to him. Now I wouldve played him on the giants game after fitztragic showed back up. And Mike Smith wouldve never even been brought back this season. But hey koetter loyalty will hey hom fired .

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    • So Winston overthrew how many times and less the 50% completion rate so he also was not very good . (just maybe??)

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      • He overthrew guys with d tackles in his face. Next time watch the videos in the article, it helps.You see guys open? Stop with the one games completion percentage, he doesn’t average about 5 yards a pass like your man crush mariota.

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    • “As for the play calling, koetter loves playing not to lose”

      I agree, and you would think that a HC who was 5-7 until Sunday, knowing he was probably going to be fired end of the season, would throw caution to the wind and start taking all kinds of shots at the Saints secondary. The Bucs are a passing team, and until they can actually run block with consistency, they shouldn’t be running on 2nd and 10.

      If I believe I’m going down, I’m going down swinging and not playing it safe.

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    • Benching Jameis was good it made him more self aware. But for me if I could’ve changed anything I would have fired Smitty after last season.

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    • A winning mentality also means NEVER missing a chance to improve (even if your season is “over”). Our LT and RT were disasters in the Saints game… so when news of an NFC South team adding an experienced tackle to see how he’s rehabbed from knee injuries surfaces it has to be the Bucs, right? Wrong, it’s the team in our division that refuses to accept any weakness without trying (not always successfully) to fix it: the Saints. Ugh! No idea if Derek Newton has anything to offer, but I’d love to see anyone trying out to replace Smith and Dotson.

      http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000998893/article/derek-newton-joins-saints-2-years-after-serious-injury?campaign=GMFB_20181212_Position3_Article_DerekNewtonJoinsSaints

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  2. Trev, there’s to many regrets to count, and do over, so I’ll give you one from this last game where I think the Bucs should’ve done something different. The Bucs had the lead, and got a turnover in Saints territory. Some bad play calling left them with a fourth, and three. Instead of showing some guts, and going for it, Koetter shrinks like he usually does, and trots out his kicker who just missed a F.G. earlier. The result, another miss, and I believe the real turning point in this game. It was the same old, same old. No guts, no glory, that’s Koetter. He finds ways to deflate his team, not inspire them. In overtime the Cowboys were faced with a fourth, and one. Their coach would not settle for a F.G. instead getting the 1st down, and T.D. that came to win the game. No way Koetter would do that. He’s a chickenshit coach who plays not to lose rather then come up with creative ways to win. These last couple of weeks watching NFL games coaches have been coming up with new, and creative plays to win games. Nagy with Santa’s sleigh is an example. Koetter? He’s got nothing, never has never will. When was the season really lost? The day the Glazers gave Koetter, and Licht another year.

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    • Couldn’t agree more with this. Too many times we’ve seen Koetter play not to lose instead of showing this franchise is turning a new leaf. Uninspired is the feeling I get from this coach

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  3. I would go back in time and not purchase season tickets for a garbage franchise! I would like to introduce my nephew to Buccaneers football but his mother would probably consider it child abuse to commit him to a lifetime of disappointment possibly punctuated by one glorious season. Fans/customers deserve better.

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  4. If you could have one re-do, where would you use it for this Bucs team?

    This is tough as I immediately go to firing Mike Smith but not drafting Derwin James is right up there.

    I would have to go with firing Mike Smith in the off-season as the defense was historically awful for the entire 2017 and early 2018 seasons.

    Vita is not good, yet, and or reliable but he has had flashes. While Derwin is going to be an All-Pro his rookie year. Really tough decision for me.

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  5. The Re-do I would want is the Glaziers selling the team. They have shown little ability since Malcolm passed away that they possess any ability to get the team on track. They got rid of McKay and it has been downhill ever since. It starts with the GM and while Licht is the best of the bunch that they have picked, and he is at least average, the coaches have not worked out at all.

    At this point it really does not matter what the Glazers do. Will things change if they fire Koetter? Will they change if they fire Licht? I give the Glazers at best a 20% chance to do the right thing and actually get someone into the franchise who knows football. The odds go up slightly if they keep Licht to pick a coach – maybe they have a 30% of success. At this point it has been 14 years the brothers have run the team – and all they have to show for it is one season under Dominick and Morris of 10-6 and missing the playoffs, and one season under Koetter and Licht of 9-7. Do we really expect them to do any better with another change?

    Put it another way – Hugh Culverhouse his whole life owned the team and it never went anywhere. From 1976 to 1994 the Bucs barely made the playoffs inthose years, except for 1979 through 1982. Malcolm bought the team, brought in McKay as GM, and with Dungy and Gruden won a Super Bowl. Now his sons have taken over and we have a team that has a difficult time getting out of its own way in over a decade of play – over 100 games. Who thinks they Glazers brothers can turn this around? I have lost faith in them.

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    • Yup – this is about as clear a case as you will ever see that correlation proves causation.

      The only way that the Baby Glazers can fix this, aside from just selling the team to a competent ownership group, is to ask the best owners in the league, guys like Art Rooney, Bob Kraft, and maybe Pat Bowlen, to give them some kindly advice on who they should hire to run the Bucs franchise. Not because their respective teams have had a great season this year, but because their teams much more often than not have good seasons.

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      • Not even sure that will work – if we all remember correctly, they went to the Patriots, got permission from Kraft to talk to him and Bellichck, and the result was Gregg Schiano – not a roaring triumph. I think you are right as the best option if they maintain ownership, but I am not sure even that will work.

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  6. A few points:

    1) Any time media writers or fans in comments start getting into player mentality and psychoanalysis, they are clearly running off the rails. Nobody can psychoanalyze players or entire teams like that. It is just utter BS and nothing but mere projection of what the writer or fan believes with zero evidence to back it up.

    Just don’t go there.

    2) Teams don’t “know how to win” or “not know how to win”. They just make plays, or they don’t make plays, and at the final whistle, the team that makes the most plays wins. It ain’t any more complicated than that. The better teams make the most plays and win the most games. Those that don’t, don’t. Nobody makes all the plays and virtually never wins all the games. But the good teams win the most games, and especially, they win the most important games that matter the most.

    The play-calling doesn’t really matter very much when the players cannot make plays. Play-callers do not call plays that require quarterbacks to make bad throws, or offensive linemen to hold the defenders, or special teams to let the other team block punts, etc. etc. etc. That is virtually 100% on the players making plays, or not making plays.

    As for a do-over, I’ve written this several times before going back nearly a year:

    The Baby Glazers screwed up last January when they failed to fire the Licht regime and hire a decent football man to do all the other hiring for them. The Baby Glazers are incompetents when it comes to hiring football people. I said nearly a year ago that if the Glazers didn’t start over at the top, then the following season – this season – was more likely than not to be a repeat of the season just completed, and the four seasons of futility just completed.

    And here we are.

    Successful NFL franchises start with competent owners, who always manage to produce at least some significant success season after season. And then there’s the rest who don’t – including our Baby Glazers.

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    • It’s almost laughable to me that you continue saying that coaching doesn’t make a difference? Tell that to the bears, the rams, the titans, the chiefs when they got Andy Reid, etc. Yes the coaches can put players on a better position to succeed and anyone who doesn’t see that is clearly shortsighted about what it takes to win on the nfl. Heck just look at the job Duffner has down with a bunch of no names on the field. Come on now Naples..

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    • Why do you have to continually refer to the 50+ year old Glazer family members as “Baby”? I suppose that’s your way of insulting people you don’t know anything about. I’m not here to defend their track record in hiring head coaches (even thought you think the coach is meaningless) or general managers because the results speak for themselves. For whatever reason(s) this regime has failed.

      When I grew up in Pittsburgh the Rooney family and the Steelers were the laughing stock until the “Baby Rooneys” reaped the benefits of Chuck Knoll and a bevy of Hall of Fame players who arrived in the mid-70’s. Now there’s a team that has believed in consistency with it’s coaches. Noll, Cower & Tomlin.

      Like you, I believe it’s the players themselves more than the play called. In this game and in many others, when something bad went wrong, the psyche of the team deflated and pumped up the Saints. You could almost hear it being sucked out.

      The Glazers didn’t pick any players. The Glazers don’t hire assistant coaches. The Glazers don’t prepare any game plans. The Glazers don’t call any plays and for sure the Glazers aren’t kicking field goals although I’ll bet Bryan could miss just as well as our collection.

      If we think the rostered players are not good, that’s on Licht. If we think they players are good , but not being developed or put in the best positions, that’s on Koetter. If we think neither are up to snuff, then they both have to go. The Glazers aren’t going anywhere.

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  7. Trevor is actually spot-on about the turning point though. It was that Steelers game. We just did not have the leadership or the will. Steelers practically were sayin, Here, its yours..take it. And then that Falcons follow-up. I knew then. But the real blame goes to the Glazers and Koetter. Quite a few teams would have fired Smitty after last seasons shameful Defensive performance. So many of us shouted for Smitty’s outster. But Koetter kept him..at the fans expense and heavy losses. For this alone, Koetter’s got to pack bags. Its now apparent, the Glazers don’t have a clue. So I am hopin, they see the light..or have been told..to get some football professional know-how in here. I’m tired of bringing up the rear..Yearly. My Bucs are quite Drepressing.

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  8. Oh it’s easily firing Smith sooner. And you fire him before the bye week. That dude was disgracing the proud defensive history of this franchise in a historically bad fashion. But benching Jameis Winston could be there too. Both should have happened LAST year! Still can’t believe that dude had never been benched before in his life, it showed in his carelessness when he’s played the majority of his games in a Bucs uniform. Benching him was the best thing Koetter has done for him I think.

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  9. But Koetter stinks and so does his buddy George Warhop, Smitty who is thankfully already gone all are SOFT!! Duffner and coach Buck are the most aggressive minded people on this staff, I know there are some Licht haters here. But I think he is figuring it out. No doubt he’s had some whiffs though. It sounds crazy but I think you let Licht choose the next coach see how it goes. Cause he does have an eye for talent and our salary cap has been outstanding.

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    • I agree with you. Whatever everybody else thinks of Licht’s record, he does have a decent eye for talent, we’ve had no salary cap issues in years, and the issues this team has had the past 4 years are more coaching-related than anything else. Fire all of the coaches except Buckner, Duffner, and Monken (let them choose to keep an assistant coach of their choice if need be).

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    • I have to agree Charlie, Licht has drafted the best receiver we have ever had, best QB, and possibly best tightend. Nobody is perfect but to suggest he has done a poor job I can’t support that.

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  10. Wining about the Glazers owning the team is a useless exercise. They are not going anywhere. Accept that then look for solutions. There is no identity here. Go back to 1995 and it seems very similar. 1996 they brought Dungy and the culture changed. They are already considering him for a new role here. The question is would he do it. He does have unfished business here. How about winning a Superbowl as a President of Football Operations. That would be the icing on the cake of his career. I’m sure he’s still competitive and would embrace the challenge. I guess we’ll find out soon.

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    • “They” didn’t bring in Tony Dungy … their dead old man did that … he also brought in Jon Gruden, had McKay for a GM, got RayJay built … and won tons of games, made the franchise a successful going concern for the first time ever.

      But absolutely none of that was done by the Baby Glazers. As soon as old man Malcolm suffered his stroke and lost control of the team in 2007, it’s been downhill ever since.

      This isn’t whining about the Baby Glazers – it is pointing out that the are at fault, and the only way this gets corrected is for the Baby Glazers to either sell the team to a competent ownership group, or else recognize their incompetence and get someone knowledgeable to help them hire the guy who can run the team for them in a way then never have been able to do.

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  11. The real shame is that a 9-7 team is probably going to get the last wildcard. how pathetic that we are so bad. The other reason Koetter and Licht are gone is because of Goff, Trubisky, Watson and others who were drafted after Winston and have left us in the dust.

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  12. I’ve gotta day I think the first step we should take is getting rid of GMC. This was a big game for us that we needed to win and once again our “captain” no showed. He had 1 assist the entire game. We haven’t won since he’s been here and the only time we see any fire from him is when a reporter writes something he doesn’t like. We need to move on and find players that want to win and not just collect a paycheck

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    • Tying our losses to MCCoy’s presence on the field is ridiculous. McCoy’s play, except this year, has been the one shining example of good play on a Bucs D-line which has sucked for years. On the other hand, letting McCoy go might send a message to the remaining players that even guys like McCoy are going to be held accountable for their play.

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      • There was a time when Sappand Brooks decided they weren’t going to be called the Yuccaneers, and they changed the attitude of the locker room. Sapp would take games over and get a timely stop, or a timely sack. Brooks would get an interception, he’d get a pass breakup, he’d get a tackle for loss when we needed it most.
        Kwon is the only player that does that on our defense. McCoy had been here his whole career and had not once gotten us a timely sack, or a timely tackle for loss. I’m the big games when he’s needed the most he disappears. It’s been his MO throughout his career. He just goes missing in big games and big moments. He does need to go to not only send the message that no one is safe, but to also send the message that the old days are done. No more getting ice cream during training camp, no more apologizing to opposing QB’s for a late hit or a tackle. I know GMC is a fan favorite but it’s time for him to go

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  13. If we were to pretend that mentality matters almost as closely as talent does then Ryan Jensen, Vinny Curry, MJ Stewart and Carlton Davis would all be great NFL players. And yet if you look at their actual talent and performance this year you’d have to question each and every move 50-Loss-Licht made with them this year (as many of his moves are questionable). So let’s break it down:

    Ryan Jensen signed to a 4 year 42 million dollar contract with 22 million guaranteed. Jensen is the highest paid center in the NFL. How has the offensive line been this year Trevor?

    Vinny Curry signed a 3 year 27 million dollar contract with 11.5 million guaranteed. How valuable do you think Curry’s 2.5 sacks this season has been. You think his mentality has made up for Browns castaway Carl Nassib significantly outplaying him?

    MJ Stewart and Carlton Davis were drafted 53rd and 63rd overall this year. Do you think either of these players have been playing up to their 2nd round status due to their mentality? If you’re sitting at 63 in the draft are you taking Davis over Justin Reid a favorite of yours coming out Stanford?

    Let’s be clear, 50-Loss-Licht made a concerted effort to obtain players with more of a dog mentality this offseason. He paid premium prices for them and as with the majority of the players he’s used money and draft picks on it hasn’t worked out. Talent trumps most things; MJ Stewart can give 110% every play, but if 100% is 4.55 speed and WR’s are running 4.4’s at 90% then give me the 90% WR as they blow by him every day and twice on Sundays.

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  14. My re-do would be to clean house last offseason instead of watching this season slowly fade to black. People hoped another season would be the one that put this coaching staff over the hump but it has not. The only thing that would’ve changed a thing about this seasons is starting over from Licht on down. We wanted to hire Gruden last offseason but didn’t because of the contract which was bullet we dodged but the real travesty was that we were told there were no other candidates that peaked our interest so we retained Dirk. Well the Bears seem to be doing just fine and as usual there were qualified candidates but Meatball Licht just didn’t know about them. The draft was bad not because I can definitely say the players we drafted will be busts but because I can definitely say that there were better players available that were ready to step in and play right away. We needed a RB not a guy that cant even get carries over midway through the season. We needed CB help not a CB with athletic deficiencies when a CB with Donte Jackson was still on the board and would have paired nicely with Carlton Davis at CB. Now we have MJ Stewart and VHIII both with ceilings of CB but the 2 highest drafted CBs on the team. Vea may develop into an impact player or he might cap out as a gun run stuffer, either way he wont have the impact as Derwin James and his DROY campaign. Lichts’ strength was the draft and it has been more crapshoot than strength, Dirk as OC couldn’t figure out a way to get this offense moving so Im not sure what purpose it served bringing him back. He knew nothing about defense, kept Warhop around which has only served to cloud the real state of affairs on the OL and has developed a wildly ineffective STs unit. So firing Mike Smith earlier might’ve helped but the only thing that would really helped would have been to replace the whole staff and never let them draft or affect this season at all.

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  15. Agree with all who point to the Glazers and their decision to keep Kirk Dudder another year. Lack of leadership from the owners and from the HC is the problem.
    Glazers run the team by committee, which does not work. No leadership.
    Dudder runs the team by analysis, not leadership, which also does not work.
    It’s not the players fault. The Bucs are a headless organization. Until they get a smart capable leader in charge, they will remain headless and the results will continue without change, ad nauseam.

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  16. Yes I would have fired Smith sooner like after last year. After the bye at the latest.

    Naples get some new material tired of hearing about “baby glazers” sounds dumb as shit taking about grown men.

    I do think the Steelers game was the turning point when it all went to shit. Wasn’t Fitz’s fault or Winston’s. The O line began to suck and teams started to see we couldn’t pass protect that great or run the ball. We caught saints and eagles off guard airing it out like we did but once teams realized we can run or really protect QB they just pinned their ears back and also blitzed a lot like Steelers did.

    The defense spiraled down too after that game and Smith should been fired. He was just brutally bad.

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  17. And I agree Koetter is worthless and needs to go yesterday. Seen enough of his non sense. He’s horrible. His play calling is shit. Honestly can’t say much positive about him at this point.

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  18. The obvious is Mike Smith. We would have won at least 3 more games if he was let go last season at this point. So what do the Glazer’s do? Extend Licht contract for another year. Why?

    Okay here’s who I blame next? Pewter Report Scott Reynolds. Somehow he found out Via and Jones was Licht’s guys and boy did most of us drink the cool aid. Licht reached for Via after trading down a few spots justifying he got a extra pick for it; problem there was no past history that Via was really a first round guy.
    I don’t see what some are seeing in Via or Jones when we drafted them especially Scott who really did do a nice job spinning it as something good when it wasn’t because we needed help right then, not later if it actually happens. I’m sorry Scott, but you are just like Licht; didn’t do your homework.

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  19. Biggest re-dos for me…

    Firing Mike Smith and Warhop in the offseason
    Drafting Derwin over Vita.
    NOT drafting RoJo.
    Starting Jameis vs the Giants

    One thing that is bothering about the Bucs “are playing hard for Koetter”. Maybe they are. But, for me it comes down to two points…
    1. Why are they playing hard for him? Are they playing hard for Koetter just because they like him? I don’t get a fear vibe off any of the players. I think the Patriots play hard for Belichick because they respect him and they are scared shitless of him. Anyone can be traded or cut and everyone knows it. I don’t really care if the Bucs play hard because they like their coach; it’s not leading to enough wins. Not nearly enough.
    2. I don’t know if Koetter coaches as hard for the Bucs as they play for him. I hope this makes sense. But, the play calling scheme doesn’t fit our players’ strengths, like Trevor pointed out. Refusing to fire Mike Smith until he had no other choice was not for the players. Not firing Warhop is not for the players. Not firing the Special Teams coach is not for the players. Benching Jameis against the G-men was not for the players. Not benching Benenoch is not for the players. And so on…

    I get that it’s the coaches who get fired on “Black Monday” and Koetter is trying to keep his job. But, it seems to me that many of Koetter’s choices this past year have been based more on loyalty, saving his ass, and thinking he’s right, more than doing anything for the greater good of the Bucs.

    Of course, I am simply spitballing and can be entirely wrong about all of this. But, Trevor, you asked.

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  20. Looking at it unbiasedly, the Glazers are the only constant in a long history of failure since the Superbowl. It’s nothing personal. I suck at gardening. Most things that I plant die. It’s not the plants fault or the anything else… It’s me. I would do well to hire an expert (of course, I won’t.) I think that the Glazers just need to realize that this is not one of their strong suits. Recognize it and hire an expert to oversee all things football related. If not Tony Dungy, then someone with successful coaching and/or GM experience and let him make all of the decisions on hiring & firing.

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  21. Leadership starts from the top down, it cannot be inherited. The truth is that it was Malcolm Glazer who turned this franchise around. He was responsible for hiring Rich McKay and thus Tony Dungy and John Gruden. He had been a very successful businessman and was a winner, both in life and ultimately with the Bucs, bringing this franchise its lone Super Bowl. Under Malcolm the team had character, it had leaders and it had a never-say-die, winning attitude, that no doubt reflected his own personality.

    The Glazer boys, are manifestly decent people, undoubtedly with good intentions for the Bucs, but unfortunately they have never had to win on their own, having been brought up in an environment of privilege, due to the tenacity and business acumen of their father. The dreadful personnel decisions they have made for the Bucs, since Malcolm’s sad demise, reflect a lack of leadership ability and a lack of understanding of the business they have inherited.

    Any Manchester Utd fan will be able to relate entirely to this scenario, as the disastrous personnel decisions they have made there also, since the retirement of the legendary Alex Ferguson, (who they inherited as manager), have set that club back about 5 years.

    A winning culture is not fostered by accident and doesn’t just occur by happenstance, it is created by leaders and by winners. I always used to cringe when Mark Dominic would introduce yet another draft picking/signing, usually a bust, with the preface “you will like this guy” or “he’s a good guy” or some such. It just reflected an attitude which was too damned nice. Sure you don’t want to sign a genuine scum bag, but NFL football is not a knitting circle or croquet club. It’s a ‘badass’ brutal game, for real hard men and our great Super Bowl winning team was characterized by men who would run through a brick wall for the team and their team mates and epitomized what it meant to be a Buc.

    Guys like Sapp, Brooks, Lynch, Barber, Alstott weren’t just talented players, they were winners. They never knew when to quit and that unquenchable fire burned within them. There are not enough of these type of characters on the Bucs now and have not been for a long time. Mediocrity has been tolerated for too long, complacency long since has set in and there are too many nice guys, unfortunately epitomized by Gerald McCoy.

    Jason Licht may or may not ultimately be the right GM for this franchise, but he does have some good points and has genuinely improved the quality and depth of the team in some areas, in spite of several notable ‘faux pas’. Dirk Koetter however is manifestly not the right coach. He is not tough enough nor accountable enough in his relationship with his coaching staff and he must be replaced and a much tougher, better, coach appointed. If Licht can address the coaching issue, handle the weaknesses in the ‘O’ line and improve our depth on defence, then a high caliber, tough, new head coach could turn this team around into a genuine play off caliber team again.

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    • Wow! That was well said!

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    • Could not say it better myself – and I tried with a similar statement above. You are right about Manchester United, it has the same symptoms of the problems the Bucs have – and that only relationship between the two is the Glazer brothers who inherited all of this. Manchester United is a very proud franchise with a great history, but as of late, has been an also-ran in their league as well.

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    • Hey, great comment, I always believed that a winning organization starts from the top and you nailed it!

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  22. Like the large majority of people out here I was extremely disappointed with the final score Sunday, especially after the way the team dominated in the first half.
    But one thing I’m not going to do is blame Koetter for the play calling.
    If you guys would remember, he handed those duties back to Todd Monken after the offensive line stunk it up in the same fashion against the Redskins.
    So if you guys want to turn into a lynch mob on someone that’s fine, just don’t hang the marshal, it was the deputy who was responsible for the jail break.
    As for sunshineben, the best thing to do is just simply call him an idiot and move on after today. He is blind with his hatred towards Winston and roots for him to fail and if Winston fails, the Bucs fail.
    Anyone with eyes could see what was going on out on the field Sunday and if that wasn’t enough, looking at the replays just reinforces the fact the offensive line was a joke and the receivers were covered yet “Monken” kept calling for the seven step drops.

    No screen plays, not even a draw as a running play. No misdirection.

    sunshineben=idiot.

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    • Totally agree;

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  23. Devashar, your numbers on Vinny Curry seemed high so I checked them out on Sportrac.
    You are wrong.
    Curry has a base salary of $3 million and made a roster bonus of $3.5 million for a total of $6.5 million. Pretty good money and kind of high considering his play and performance but just a little bit more than half of the $11.5 million you say he is guaranteed.
    His big money comes next year in a base salary but none of it is guaranteed.
    I could do this with a lot of you guys out here who misstate facts, but I would need to make it a full time job and I don’t have the resources like the Washington Post does trying to keep up with all the lies that come out of Donnie Trump’s mouth.

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    • Ugh, so you find something that sources a different number but you’re telling me you completely ignored the contract reporting you would’ve found by searching for it?

      si.com/nfl/2018/03/17/vinny-curry-signs-tampa-bay-buccaneers-contract bleacherreport.com/articles/2765086-vinny-curry-reportedly-agrees-to-contract-with-buccaneers-after-eagles-release bucswire.usatoday.com/2018/03/18/vinny-curry-tampa-bay-buccaneers-bucs-nfl

      You literally find one thing you can cite that disagrees with a contract that was reported by sports illustrated, usatoday and bleacher report and try to insinuate I’m making things up. Complete and total garbage and innacurate post @drdneast Not your first.

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  24. Cover 3) I think the non holding call on Saints #53 on Brate coming across the middle, two plays prior to the punt block was more huge. If Brate isn’t held, we get the first down on that 2nd down play. If the holding call is made, we get the first down. Either way we wouldn’t have been punting.

    All Twenty) Unfortunately I think Koetter is back to calling plays. You can see the difference with him and Monken. Koetter calling – bland boring offense. Monken calling – high scoring fun to watch offense.

    Read option) My do over has two parts, it would have been firing Mike Smith after last season and taking the no brainer pick Derwin James over Vita Vea.

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  25. 4girls I share all of your do over points and especially Smith. It also was stupid to start Fitz against Giants.

    I also am a bit perplexed as to why the Bucs don’t just pack it in. I think you raise a very good point when you asked “is he coaching as hard as they are playing?” Hard to put a finger on it overall but he just doesn’t seem to be a good leader and gets out coached weekly. Yet they obviously like him, but liking him doesn’t really matter especially if he can’t get the job done ultimately.

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  26. Idk why people have such a problem with Licht. I think with the way he drafted he was trying to tell Mike Smith to change. He drafted vh3, Carlton Davis, M.J. Stewart, all guys who played much better in tight press man coverage. Vh3 was one of the top corners in college when he played like this so why would you change it, same with Carlton Davis. He also drafted Noah Spence who is a speed defensive end but, Mike Smith wants d lineman to eat up blockers. Smith and Koetter do not play to their players strengths. I do not have a problem with Licht. I believe that all the coaches on this team suck besides Monken, who no longer is calling plays i don’t care what Koetter says to the media he’s been calling plays since the Steelers game, Buckner and Duffner. Everyone else can go. Keep Licht he understands the teams weaknesses, we were soft last year and he’s trying to change the culture. Results aren’t always going to come quickly, with a couple more years and good, quality coaches I believe we can become contenders with Licht as our gm. Koetter needs to go he’s awful, along with all the coaches besides Monken, Duffner, and Buckner.

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    • Nailed it! Licht is not our problem neither are the Glazers, we have play makers on this team but no coaching leadership. Put another way if you were to swap our coaching staff for the Patriots coaching staff, New England Patriots would only have 5 wins with Koetter and miss the playoffs.

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  27. fredster, I am completely befuddled as to why you are perplexed about why these players don’t just pack it in.
    I’m not going to try and explain it to you because for someone to ask such a question makes me wonder if they have the intellectual ability to comprehend the answers.

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    • You seem to have an inability to source things that don’t support your preconceived opinions @drdneast so maybe your intellectual ability isn’t as high as you claim? You do seem overly interested in calling other people here idiots though. If it makes you feel any better, I assure you nothing you’ve ever posted has impressed me. Many are flawed feelings over facts posts.

      But nice use of befuddled though 😉 It goes well with the arrogant but not particularly deep posts you make.

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