In PewterReport.com’s exclusive, 10-minute sit-down interview with Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer on Tuesday at the NFL Owners Meetings in Orlando, Fla., one thing became crystal clear.

Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter has the full support of ownership at One Buccaneer Place.

The perception that Koetter may be entering the 2018 season on the proverbial hot seat after a disappointing 5-11 season in 2017 that didn’t meet expectations may not be true. While there is no assurance that Koetter would survive another double-digit losing season this year, Glazer didn’t mince words when it came to supporting Koetter, and appreciated the offseason acquisitions by general manager Jason Licht, too.

“Overall, I feel good about the team we have and I look forward to next season,” Glazer said. “I really like what we’ve done this offseason. I go back to his first season when we were 9-7. Everything was very positive and everything is easy when it’s positive. You learn about people when things don’t necessarily go as well.

Bucs GM Jason Licht and Joel Glazer - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs GM Jason Licht and Joel Glazer – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“When you start out a season and people are heading in 12 different directions in Week 1 because a hurricane is on its way and you go 16 weeks without a bye and your quarterback is hurt and playing hurt and you’re not having success on the field, that’s when you learn about people. Dirk was the same person through it all. He kept the team playing hard and we were in close games that didn’t go our way. Here’s what I know. I know up to the final whistle of the season and the final pass for a touchdown – our team was playing hard. That has something to do with the head coach.”

Koetter, who spoke to PewterReport.com and the media at the NFL Coaches Breakfast earlier in the day, reiterated that he felt the Bucs had the talent to win, but were 3-7 in games decided by one score. Glazer also feels Tampa Bay is close to turning the corner, but wouldn’t bite when asked what is the reasonable number of wins he would expect in 2018.

“What’s interesting about the NFL is that every year there are some surprises,” Glazer said. “Teams that you don’t expect to do well, do well. I’m not going to put a number of victories we’re expecting or this or that. Nobody wants to win more than us. I know Jason and Dirk, and last season killed them.

“We always look to see improvement. You can’t always control certain things, but we want to see a team heading in the right direction and ultimately built to compete – and not just for one year, but for several years. It’s tough this early in the year to set an early expectation. There’s an ebb and flow and you just let the season play out.”

Glazer was asked if he would be disappointed if the Bucs didn’t make the playoffs in 2018.

“I’m disappointed every year we don’t make the playoffs,” Glazer said.

Good answer.

Glazer was also asked whether or not the Hard Knocks experience was a positive or a negative – or both – last year, but he quickly dismissed the notion that it caused a distraction to the point where it impacted the Bucs’ ability to win games.

“I don’t think we can point to it for anything,” Glazer said. “I think it was something the league asked us to do and we did it. But I don’t think you can point to that to have any affect on our season.

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy and head coach Dirk Kotter - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy and head coach Dirk Kotter – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

“There is no question there were some positives in it. Would I want our team to do it every year? No, but I think it was actually a good experience for our players to get used to being in the spotlight and dealing with some adversity and having some cameras around. We did it and people enjoyed it, but we’re going to have a different type of training camp without it around this year.”

Because there was no one particular reason that can be blamed for the team falling short of expectations last year, Glazer again staunchly defended Koetter and his staff.

“There are so many pieces to all of this, and it’s so easy just to point to the coach, but you have 53-plus players and you have injuries,” Glazer said. “There are a lot of factors. You saw this offseason – we shuffled our defensive line. Hopefully we’ll get more productivity out of those players. In the draft we’ll add more players. It’s a combination and we’re pleased with our coaching staff where we have a good blend of experience. It was not the season they wanted to have last year, but I feel that we’re going to bounce back.”

Glazer was asked about how much interest there was in possibly bringing former Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden back to the Bucs, but didn’t bite. PewterReport.com has reported that there was mutual interest in Gruden returning to the Bucs, but that once Oakland offered him an unbelievable 10-year contract worth $10 million the Bucs wisely ceased interest.

“I think there was a lot of misinformation out there last year, and clearly we have a long relationship with Jon Gruden,” Glazer said. “Jon lives in Tampa and Jon was coming back to coaching and people try and put two and two together and match up with us, but we were pleased with the way Dirk handled things last year. One thing that is important in the NFL is continuity. Jon chose to come back and we wish him the best in Oakland. But for us, we felt good about the way Dirk handled things, and again, going back to the 9-7 season the previous year, continuity was absolutely the right direction for us.”

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, WR Mike Evans, TE Cam Brate and GM Jason Licht - Photo by Mary Holt/PR
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, WR Mike Evans, TE Cam Brate and GM Jason Licht – Photo by Mary Holt/PR

To Glazer, a telltale sign that the Bucs are moving in the right direction is that several Tampa Bay star draft picks are getting lucrative contract extensions just like the glory day teams where Pro Bowlers like Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch, Ronde Barber, Mike Alstott and Simeon Rice received rich second contracts as the Bucs were a perennial playoff-caliber team from 1997-2002.

Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg have re-signed several key Buccaneers to long-term contract extensions, including defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, linebacker Lavonte David, right tackle Demar Dotson, and most recently wide receiver Mike Evans and tight end Cameron Brate this offseason.

Licht and Greenberg are going to attempt to sign Pro Bowl middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, guard Ali Marpet and left tackle Donovan Smith to contract extensions before the start of the 2018 regular season. Those three are entering contract years, and the Bucs plan on picking up the fifth year option on quarterback Jameis Winston’s contract for the 2019 season in advance of working on a long-term extension for Winston next year.

“That’s usually the early sign that good things are coming,” Glazer said. “That’s the kind of money we love to spend and we hope to spend a lot more of it in the next couple of years because you are drafting well. That’s the backbone of every successful team. 

“These guys have a deep connection to the community. This is where they came into the league. There is a camaraderie among themselves, so that’s great money to spend. We love that.”

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

14 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds like straight truth to me, down to earth and to the point. Zero dancing and a commitment to winning. I am a fan of this franchise from the top down. Go Bucs!

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    • Great comment SappAttack

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  2. Hey, I get what he’s saying, but continuity is only good if it leads to wins, we’ll see. Ultimately it’s the Glazer’s team, we have our opinions, they make the decisions.

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    • there are maybe 3 franchises\head coaches in the league where a “down year” still gets that team above .500 and possibly into the playoffs. For everyone else, stuff happens and there’s a year where you go from above .500 to below .500. I’d like to be one of those few teams that appears to be impervious to setbacks, but fully understand that we are not. In that sense it is smart of the owners to not make a decision to move on based on a split 2-season sample size. The Schiano and Lovie firings were different in my opinion because there was no evidence after 32 games that those guys could hang with legitimate playoff caliber teams. In 2016 we went on a run of beating playoff teams or at least taking them down to the wire and even in a down season last year the Bucs gave playoff teams all they could handle and even beat the saints in what was a very important game when everyone could have mailed it in

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  3. Very sound comments and viewpoint for an owner to make after a bad season. Joel Glazer understands the NFL and making drastic changes after a bad season does not make for a good season the next year. I only wish our “sports-media” understood that viewpoint. Constant speculation without the facts makes for good reading but erodes trust!

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    • Always enjoy your insightful posts Bill. In our construction industry, trust and relationships go a long way. Being “fair, up front and honest” has served me well. I suspect that philosophy works well with the Bucs organization too.

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  4. Very nice public relations release for the press. I still say Dirk and Smitty had better win this year ir else. Especially Coach Smith. He either needs to get better binoculars or come down out of the pressbox and coach his Defense on the sidelines. The vast majority of us Buc fans are truly tired of all of the excuses. We are tired of being one of the laughin stocks of the NFl. We just want wins..by any means necessary! .Every team in the league right now is 16-0. Every team is..talkin a little trash. But when the losing starts……… I just hope this teams Defense has improved immensely. If we do that on the field, we got a shot.

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  5. I liked the interview, but what else is Glazier going to do…put down the man they brought back?! That ‘d do a lot for the team and free agents going into this season. You have to stand by your man, but we know for a fact from this very website that they were interested in firing him and bringing in Gruden.

    I didn’t think that this team was as bad off as some said it was…add the free agents with hopefully a 50% success rate, and I think we have reason to have optimism going into the draft and the 2018 season.

    In the end, though, the question is how will the Glaziers feel about Koetter as this upcoming season progresses.

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  6. Hopefully, this is has been a learning process for the Glazers. I like that they are embracing consistency, even in the face of angry and impatient fans. Constant upheaval over the last decade was not serving this team well.

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  7. The Glazers are spoonfed trust babies with no idea or concept of what it takes to be a winner there only hope was to hire GM that knew about winning, but looks like they hired GM to keep the team from losing money. Nothing was done this offseason to indicate they what to drastically improve the team. Go ahead smash up the negative button, I would like to see Bucs win and being at the bottom of the tough division this team need big moves and coach with winning background. Not coach that as OC won 1 st pick in the draft.

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    • It would interest me to know more about you Mike since you are so critical of virtually everything about the team you claim to love. You’re like the Life Cereal commercial kid, Mikey who “hates everything” except the cereal. You must be single. I can’t imagine a “significant other” willingly being badgered by you every day while you pout in the corner. Perhaps you have a “trust fund”.

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  8. We all want what’s best for the Bucs! Let’s see what Winston can do this year,he is going to need a strong running game and great OL play. I would like Nelson and Michelle maybe Guice I wish we would go after Maurice Claiborne in free agency he can’t be that expensive….

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  9. Bucs will bounce back! Go Bucs!

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  10. This aged well

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