Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter addressed the media to recap the 2017 season and look ahead to 2018, which will be a critical year for the embattled Koetter, who is coming off a disappointing 5-11 campaign in his second year at the helm in Tampa Bay. PewterReport.com’s Bucs beat writers were on hand to cover the press conference and ask questions.
Now it’s time to dissect Dirk, breaking down exactly what Koetter said in his press conference and ultimately went he meant when addressing the future of the Bucs as this series of PR Analysis continues.
Koetter on the possibility of re-signing 34-year old cornerback Brent Grimes:
“Well, I tried to give him a sell job this morning and I told him we would love to have him back,” Koetter said. “I think Brent defies his real age and there’s been other guys around the league that have been able to do that. He’s a free agent so he’s in control of it but we’d love to have him back and I told him that.”
Given the fact that Grimes was easily the best cornerback on Tampa Bay’s roster in 2017, given the struggles of second-year corners Vernon Hargreaves III and Ryan Smith, it’s a no-brainer that Koetter wants Grimes back for one more season. The Bucs’ pass defense is already ranked dead last with him. It would be significantly worse without Grimes’ three interceptions and 11 pass breakups last year.
Bucs CB Brent Grimes – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Veteran reserve cornerback Robert McClain is also an unrestricted free agent and may or may not be back. The Bucs will need to address cornerback either in free agency or the draft – or both – as the team can’t expect that either Hargreaves or Smith will automatically improve in third year in the NFL. Penciling Grimes in as one starter solves one third of the problem at cornerback. Tampa Bay also needs to find another capable outside cornerback and a nickel cornerback, too.
Whether or not Grimes returns for one more year may depend on a couple of things. What is Grimes’ relationship like with defensive coordinator Mike Smith and cornerbacks coach Jon Hoke after such a disappointing season? How much money will Grimes demand? He’s made $8 million in each of the last two seasons and seems to have good amount of bargaining power right now.
At some point in time Grimes’ skill set will falter and his production will fall off. Will that be this year when he turns 35 or does he still have a couple more good years left? If the Bucs can re-sign Grimes, they have to plan for him not being as productive as he was in 2017 due to his age, and find at least three other cornerbacks that would be suitable starters. Remember that Grimes missed three games due to a shoulder injury last year and his absence was definitely felt on defense.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th 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 sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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