QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Getty Images
The Bucs win over the Panthers on Monday Night Football provided opportunity to show what type of team Tampa Bay has to a national audience.
It also puts the attention – and scrutiny – from national analysts and media members squarely on their shoulders, as head coach Dirk Koetter found out quickly after the Bucs 17-14 win.
“Can I just say something first?” Koetter said. “The worst thing about being on Monday Night Football is, Oh my God, there’s no TV on on Monday and I had to turn it off because, wow! Wow! You have a lot of experts out there on other people’s teams.”
Late in the fourth quarter, tied 14-14 with Carolina, the Buccaneers worked their way down the field with the intentions of taking the lead with either a touchdown or field goal. The Bucs began that drive on their own 20-yard line and took over five minutes off the clock on the drive before stalling out and attempting a 46-yard field goal that rookie Roberto Aguayo missed.
The prior play call before the miss was one that caused many fans, media and analysts to questions.
On third-and-9 from the Panthers 27-yard line, Koetter called for a handoff to running back Jacquizz Rodgers that ended up losing a yard. In came Aguayo, who had already missed earlier in the game from 33 yards, and the former FSU standout also missed this attempt to the left.
Quickly, social media lit up with those wondering why Koetter didn’t allow Winston to pass, and even MNF analyst Jon Gruden questioned the Koetter’s decision.
“I think coach Koetter lost confidence in Winston after he forced the ball into a double zone,” Gruden said on the national ESPN broadcast as Aguayo trotted out onto the field.
PewterReport.com asked Koetter his thoughts on Gruden’s comments.
“That wasn’t a lack of confidence,” Koetter said. “Again, when analysts say stuff like that, that’s like – when Jon [Gruden] was coaching and someone said that about him, you know what he’d be standing up here saying? ‘That guy doesn’t know what I’m thinking or anything about my team.’ He gets paid to talk on T.V. I get paid to coach the Bucs.
“Those guys can say whatever they want. Yeah, we ran it on third-and-nine. You know what? We also ran it on third-and-three and third-and-five and we were two out of three running the ball on third down and we weren’t nearly that successful throwing the ball. It had no reflection at all on my confidence in Jameis Winston. There can be no person on this planet, other than his parents, that’s more confident in Jameis Winston than me.”
Luckily for Koetter and the Buccaneers, Tampa Bay went onto win on their next drive, with Aguayo connected on the game-winning field goal as time expired. And to validate Koetter’s point even more, with under two minutes to go in the game, Koetter called a third down pass play from a one-receiver set from their own 17-yard line, that Winston threaded between two defenders to move the chains and that eventually led to the Bucs walking out of Bank of America Stadium with a 2-3 record heading into their bye week.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
It was crystal clear they changed entire offence to save team from #3 , a blind man could see that one !
And yet we’re only 5 wins away from your stupid prediction of 6 wins in he next two seasons.
Gruden would have signed a journeyman veteran QB after Jameis’ ill advised throw and started him on the next play. Gruden never enjoyed playing young QBs, hence the knee jerk response from him. I did appreciate that Gruden brought up how young Jameis is… Younger than Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz? Jameis is going to be great for the Bucs. But, he’s going to go through growing pains and he is really just a kid. I have confidence that Meathead will fill in the pieces around him as time goes on and the Bucs will be on the long term trajectory of success.
Agreed, as much as I loved Gruden, he hated rookies. We’d have someone like Luke Mcclown at QB right now. Gruden had no patience for rookies and it’s what doomed him as coach.
For all the nice things he has to say about Jameis Winston’s attitude and some of the throws he makes, let’s be realistic – if Jon were on the sideline, Brian Hoyer would have been under center for us Monday night
Not really, because we would never have had the number one pick. Maybe Russell Wilson, despite his overratedness.
Russell Wilson overrated?? Besides Tom Brady, there is no other QB I’d rather have under center with the game on the line than Wilson. He’s just a winner. Living in Seattle and watching every game he’s played the last few years have me with tremendous respect.
I don’t think they changed the entire offense to save the team from #3. But there certainly was a noticeable difference in the game plan. Only Koetter knows exactly why. I believe him when he says he hasn’t lost confidence in Winston. Yet, we all saw a noticeable game plan change. The Panther’s secondary is suspect and gave up huge numbers to the Falcons. Yet we still saw a desire to run, run, run. I’m cool with that because it was working just fine. Who knows. Maybe the Panther’s were expecting an air attack game plan and didn’t expect Rodgers to be a threat.
The bottom line for me is the comparison and similarities between the second to last drive and the last drive. On the second to last drive, Koetter decided to run on 3rd and nine. It didn’t work. On the last drive he decided to throw on 3rd and 7 and Winston made a great throw. But remember, Koetter also called a draw play on that last drive too. It was 2nd and 10. It popped for a good gain and set up a manageable 3rd down. What would we all have been saying if that play went for -2 yards? The point is that Koetter was calling plays that he thought would work at that moment. Sometimes he was right and sometimes he was not. But if he didn’t have confidence in Winston, I couldn’t tell on the last drive. He called runs and passes and they won the game. They got it done when it mattered. We should be talking about this more. The kicker situation and the question of confidence in Winston has overshadowed the fact that the Bucs found a way to win, on the road, late in the 4th quarter, against a divisional rival. Come on folks. It’s a good thing. Let’s not nit pick it to death.
I personally think they were trying to get the ball on the right hash for awesome kicker because coach knows he really sucks from the left and middle. They did the same thing with the game winner so why not with the first possible game winner? That makes more sense than the latter. At least to me.
This was the same desired game plan to be balanced, but predominately run based, as last season. This year the Bucs have been forced out of that plan by getting behind early in games, and, oh by the way, missing our star RB and lead blocker.
Dirk called the right play with a run on 3rd and 9. The chances of converting were low at that distance – we were 6 of 15 on all third down plays in the game, and that total included several 3rd and short plays – and given that, putting the ball on the right hash mark to aid in the FG attempt was the right call.
An interception – a high risk play on 3rd and 9 and the CAR defenders coming after the quarterback – would have potentially lost the game.
As Dirk said, nobody anywhere knows what is in his mind but him. Whether it’s game analysts or Bucs fans who claim to know that Bucs players have loser mentalities, or who claim to know coaches who don’t have confidence in their players, they’re full of it. We’re just fans and analysts – we don’t know what is in anybody’s mind but our own.
Naples: If you are referring to my perspective that often the Bucs and some fans have had a “defeatist” attitude when something goes wrong let me be clear to you. I never said they had a “losers mentality”. Those are your words. There’s a difference. I am one of those idiots who always thinks the Bucs can win and see the positive in virtually everything they do until it fails (which it has very often over 40 years) I can compare my record of being a loyal Buc fan to anyone on this site. Never missed a home game, more often than not surrounded by the enemy fans. The point I was making in a previous comment for which you took offense, was that many Bucs fans always think the worst. Not me! No doubt a lot of fans expected Roberto to miss that last second game winner. Why? because we’ve been there so many times before they’ve come to expect it. But it’s some of the players who seem to lose their grit and fire at the first sign of trouble and it just snowballs. One of Dungy’s greatest feats was changing the player’s attitudes. Sapp and Brooks cite the Chargers game of 1996 as the turning point. Koetter himself recognizes the need for a “culture change” . I’m pretty sure he is close enough to the situation to know.
This past victory, the players had many opportunities to go into the tank as they have many times before. But this time they kept fighting, showed tremendous grit and pulled out an unexpected win. Maybe that will serve as a turning point.
I’ve said it before…….Winston can’t keep over throwing hos receivers. Talent is there but he is consistently inconsistent on deep throws. I keep waiting for a game where he is spot on. Young QB so time will tell.
That TD to Evans was spot on , dropped it right in the pocket with Evans in stride. TD !!!
When I first heard Gruden say that I bought into it, but after a few seconds of more deeper, thoughtful reflectin, I discounted it.
It was third and 9 at the 27 which resulted in a 46 yard field goal. If Winston had been sacked on the play for more than a 4 yard loss, the kick would have been a 50 yarder which decreases to chances of it being successful significantly.
Also a draw play when the Panthers are expecting them to pass I not a bad call.
Because of those reasons, I threw away Gruden’s remark that was said without much forethought.
“E” you are absolutely right. Gruden would never had started Winston because of his age and experience. He much preferred more experienced players like most coaches.
Mike.Seven is a Winston hater for reasons other than football.
Since the game ended late there were no stats available for the game but I understand the Bucs ran the ball 30 times and passed 30 times. That’s not hiding someone, that’s called a well balanced attack that most coaches would be envious of Mike.Seven.
Take another hit of that Zoloft Mike.Seven, it might help.
Im with you, initially I might have thought the same. But after listening to Koetter talk about it, I can see why he made the choice he did. Their defensive line was getting a whole lot of pressure.
I think if you happen to check the video on NFL.com you will see that Winston was not as off as it looked. They have every pass he threw in the game. With that being said he was 18 of 30, 3 were drops, 1 was a throw away on the screen play. I know the misses seem larger than life, but when you look at it one after the other you will see that he was actually pretty good tossing it this last game. Have a look and then let me know your thoughts.
Gruden is behind the times now and should refresh his commentary.
Good info cgmaster. Even without the drops and throwaways I believe Winston was at 60 percent for the evening without any INT’s which is what every NFL QB shoots for.
I had a feeling the Panther defense would bounce back after the terrible game they had in Atlanta, much like the Cardinals defense did against the Bucs.
This time however the Bucs didn’t go into the game all full of itself.
Yes, their is a reason analysts are in the booth, because most of them can’t have a team of their own!
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