PewterReport.com is beginning a new feature off an an old one this week called the PR Roundtable. In the new edition of the Roundtable the staff will take just one topic each week and share some brief thoughts. Take a look and tell us what you think, and share your feelings on the topic in the comment section.

Pewter Report Publisher Scott Reynolds: How many wins will save Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter and his staff after a dreadful 2-6 start to a season full of high expectations? That’s a great question, and a difficult one to answer. Let’s first look at the Glazers’ history of firing coaches. All of the coaches – Sam Wyche, Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden, Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith lost their last game. With the exception of Dungy, who was the only coach to be fired after a playoff game after the 2001 season, all of those coaches had a losing record in the month of December.

Wyche finished 2-7 down the stretch, including losing the last two games of the year, after a 5-2 start in 1995. Morris lost his last 11 games in 2011. Schiano was 1-3 in the month of December in 2013. Smith lost his last four games in 2015. So for Koetter it’s really going to be how he finishes this season in addition to the amount of wins.

Let’s say Tampa Bay wins three or four more games to finish 7-9 or 6-10. Getting to 6-6 or 7-7 but losing the last two or three games would leave a bad taste in the mouths of everyone affiliated with the Bucs – players, coaches, fans and ownership. Remember that Gruden was fired after a 0-4 finish to a 9-3 start during the 2008 season. Smith got the Bucs to 6-6 in 2015 before going winless over the last four games.

Unless the Bucs are dead set on hiring Jon Gruden – or someone else regardless of how the team finishes – I think Koetter needs to get to 9-7 to keep his job and win the last game of the year. Anything less would be a step back for a team that went 9-7 last year. Remember that this team had playoff expectations this year.

After winning their last two games, can the Bucs go 5-1 down the stretch? If so, Koetter deserves to stay. But with games ahead at Atlanta, at Green Bay and at Carolina, and home games against Detroit, Atlanta and New Orleans I just don’t see that happening. Beating the New York Jets and Miami is one thing. Beating playoff-caliber teams is something that this team has yet to do. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Pewter Report Editor Mark Cook: The magic number isn’t really a number in my opinion. It is how this team responds to coaching down the stretch, how competitive they are and the direction of the team over the final six games. The Bucs could go 1-5, but lose all five on a last second field goal, and I think that bodes better for Koetter, than say winning three of six, but getting blown out in the three losses.

Scott makes a good point about the timing of the losses. We saw Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano’s last games be embarrassing loses. The Glazers are proud. They don’t want to sit in their box seeing their football team being completely uncompetitive in blow out losses, knowing it will be nine more months of that bad taste in their mouth. And that kind of goes back to what I said before – how will these players respond to the coaches once, if in fact, they end up mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. The players, if they respect, and believe in the system, won’t check out and will fight to the end. It was obvious in Morris and Schiano’s final game what the players felt about their coaches.

If the Bucs can be competitive, and show some improvement over the next six games, then it is possible 7-9 is enough for the Glazers to give this staff another year. They could also ask Koetter to make some staff changes in order to return, and if Koetter refuses then that could change everything.

I won’t even get into the Gruden situation, but that also could factor in. If the Glazers do have interest in Gruden, and they feel he is most certainly taking an NFL job in 2018, then that also changes everything.

Pewter Report Buccaneers Beat Reporter Trevor Sikkema: I really do think Scott nailed it right on the head when he talked about when the wins will come meaning more than how many. I think that’s the case because of the fact that just because this team did rattle off two in a row here, taking into account who they played and the lack of control they still have when it comes to running the ball, it’s hard for me to think they’re going to finish with anything more than 8 wins, if that.

The Bucs are 4-6 right now. They have three more games at home and three more on the road. Four of those game are against division foes and the other two being at Green Bay and hosting the Lions. I’ll start by saying that if Koetter can’t get at least two more wins minimum, I think he’s gone. I think the possibility of the Buccaneers being interested in Jon Gruden and vice versa is real, and there are also rumors going around about good coaches that might hit the open market looking for a gig.

Knowing all that, if the Bucs finish worse than 6-10, Koetter is out. But, after that things could get tricky. You can’t definitely say that “if the Bucs don’t finish 8-8 or 9-7, Koetter is gone,” because what if the team drops the next game in Atlanta, wins back to back in Green Bay and then against the Lions, beats the Falcons on primetime television on Monday night, drops their second one in Carolina, but then upsets the Saints, who might be the best team in the NFL and be playing for home field advantage – that game in front of the home crowd, too. That would put the Bucs at 7-9, but that would be a pretty good feeling of 7-9 going into the offseason.

See what I mean? It’s hard to have a magic number because I believe when the wins will come mean just as much as if they will come – if they don’t, we know he’s gone anyways. I think 6-10 is the bare floor of wins Koetter needs to have a shot at being retained, and I think somehow getting to 9-7 would almost all but guarantee getting him another year. In terms of 7-9 or 8-8, I think it would be about when the wins come. If the Bucs win the next three in a row, then drop the last three, he’s gone. You can’t let owners and general managers go into the offseason with a sour taste in their mouths.

If the season plays out to where this will come down to the wire, Koetter will be fortunate to have that Saints game as the last game. It appears to be the strongest statement game for his defense as head coach, and will come at home in the final word.

PewterReport.com Intern Austin DeWitt: Following  the Buccaneers’ second straight win Dirk Koetter proclaimed, “We’re 2-0 the second half of the season,” and that is exactly the mentality this team needs to have for Koetter to keep his office at One Buc Place.

For me, the magic number is seven wins. That’s not the number of wins anyone expected out of the team this year, in fact, it’s the very definition of a lost season. Not good enough for the playoffs , not bad enough for a top five pick in the draft, but I think it will be enough to save Koetter’s  job.

7-9 is mediocre. It’s especially mediocre when you consider the talent on this roster. But, I think if the Bucs are able to make anything close to a run at the end of the year it could prove more valuable than drafting  ten picks higher. Last year, with a 9-7 finish and the first winning  season in Tampa since 2010, Koetter began to establish a winning mentality for this organization. While 7-9 is a losing season, it would not completely diminish the progress Koetter has made with this team. They will have regressed slightly, but if they are able to finish strong that would provide much needed momentum into next season and leave a chip on the shoulders of the players and coaching staff that should be motivation for next year.

In my opinion, next week’s game against the Falcons just became the biggest game of the year. The Falcons look to be a shell of the team they were last year and are very beatable. The Jets and the Dolphins are two bad teams that the Buccaneers outplayed and were still barely able to beat. The result of next Sunday’s  game, for me, shows whether this team if for real about finishing strong. If they are able to go on the road and beat a divisional rival, the Bucs will get to at least 7-9 and Koetter keeps his job.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

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, the beach and family time.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 mark@pewterreport.com
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Naplesfan
3 years ago

Agreed that the character of losses will matter as much as the number of losses, but within limits. If we only win 4-6 games this season, and given what the Glazers have seen from this crew of coaches and GM, they’re going to make changes. As in heads rolling for both Koetter and Licht, and by extension all of their respective staff. If we win 8 or 9 games, Glazers are still going to make changes, but perhaps less drastic. Maybe fire Smith, force Koetter to hire both a new DC as well as a better offensive coordinator (we’ve seen… Read more »

seat26
3 years ago

If Koetter doesn’t at least split the last 6 games he is toast in my opinion. That is not my wish, but Buc fans are already starting to revolt. The last couple of weeks obviously is giving the organization some hope, but the toughest part of the schedule is in front of us. If we beat Atlanta twice and Greenbay we are 7 and 9. Koetter deserves to stay. If we only win one or two of the remaining games…….?

Jlog
Jlog
3 years ago

If they get us to .500 I somewhat doubt the Glazer will make a change.

surferdudes
3 years ago

I thought the decision was already made on Licht when the trade deadline came, and went without the Bucs making any moves. IMO the Glazers already knee capped Licht. That, and the fact there’s no extension for the lame duck G.M. speaks volumes. Koetter is in his second year, but Licht’s draft history hasn’t been stellar, and has left us with more questions, then answers. So I believe he’s gone, and any new G.M. will bring in his own coach. Like Scott said in fab 5, these decisions are made now, not after the last game of the season. I… Read more »

EastEndBoy
Reply to  surferdudes
3 years ago

I think that’s right @surferdudes…this has little to do with how many more wins we might get this year….barring some miracle of going 10-6 and winning the South because of a Saints collapse. The Glazers make these decisions based on their feelings, who they like or not, what their alternatives are, and indeed believe it or not they get swayed by the fans….e.g., SchiaNo absolutely got the boot because the fans gave up on him (recall those advertisements) long before he had lost the team or the front office or the Glazers or the majority of his games.

Horse
3 years ago

I want Jameis healthy so we can see what we got for next season. I hope he’s ready to play after Green Bay. He is either coachable or he’s not and I would like to know that before the end of the season. I think he’s coachable with the right coaching. Let’s see what happens after Atlanta. I think you’re alittle early with Round Table discussion. Just my opinion.

Jlog
Jlog
Reply to  Horse
3 years ago

Jay Cutler made career of opinions like that, we know exactly what we have Winston.

Horse
3 years ago

I meant this topic; I like the Round Table.

martinii
3 years ago

This is all BS! I don’t care if the Buc’s go 4-12 they should not change coaches. There is no magic number and the Idea that Beating the Falcons next week will dictate the future of Licht and Koetter plus the front office and coaching staff absolutely scares the hell out of me. Tampa is getting a reputation for going through coaches like sh*t through a sieve. Who will want to come here? Coaches and players aren’t stupid, they see dysfunctional programs that have a short leash on their staff and are willing to shoot before asking questions. We have… Read more »

TBAtlas
Reply to  martinii
3 years ago

10/10 would +1 again.

Tired of all the stupid over reactions and “GIVE ME NOW” mentality that fans have. Get out of the business of making moves for the sake of making moves and actually build a stable and winning franchise.

Horse
Reply to  martinii
3 years ago

You do realize OL & DL has , 0 1st year, 0 2nd year, 2 3rd year, 0 4th-5th-6th year, the rest are higher years. Tell me again about the time for growth?

matador
3 years ago

I, too, believe Licht is gone after this season and while not universally shared, in my opinion he should be gone. His lack of appreciation for the need to invest early and often in both lines has realistically set us back two years.

It could actually turn out to be worse, since lineman can play 8-10 years while some of the skill players will age out well before that, and our QB will (hopefully) be chewing up a lot more cap space during this process.

bEubanks11
3 years ago

This talented team has looked unprepared, undisciplined and inspired. Those are coaching deficiencies. The offense looks brilliant one play completely lost the next. The defense was elementary and amateurish the first half of the season. 8 wins was my initial response but the Glaziers and all the rest of us, need to see play that inspires confidence. They’ll need to finish this season just as they did last season to inspire hope. If Koetter can establish a buzz of hope again this year then that’s the hope he’ll be able to ride for another year. Without it he’ll bee without… Read more »

bucballer
3 years ago

I agree Eubanks…unprepared, undisciplined, and uninspired! This is a direct result of the Captain who has lost his ship! Defense…Fo sure needs some talent infusion. But the Offense has some quality talent and is clearly underperforming. That is scheme and coaching! There is no fire there! This Jamesis fiasco could cost him a 6 game suspension or so and he is do to be re-uped for around 100 mil! Do u feel comfortable giving his professional progression and his personal regressions!? I don’t. I dont think Jamesis is a 20mil/year QB at this time… could he be with the right… Read more »

bEubanks11
Reply to  bucballer
3 years ago

I wouldn’t necessarily say Fitzpatrick won those games. If the defense played as well the whole season as they have the last 2 we’d be talking playoffs for real. Winston is still a puppy and with the position this defense and Koetters lack of setting up manageable 3rd downs put him in. I can see why he plays so frantic. Not to mention his sloppy left tackle whiffing behind his back. I agree he’s not worth the top dollar we thought he might be at this point but he will. Less talk and more remembering that feeling he had after… Read more »

4girls
3 years ago

For me, I don’t think it’s the number of wins as much as HOW they look in those wins and losses. This team can not seem to put together a complete game offensively or defensively all season. It’s not because of talent (with exception of in the trenches, especially on the OL). My biggest question is this…is there ONE coach who seems to have done his job well consistently? The offensive line is just that. The D-Line rarely gets to the QB. The secondary gets lit up like they’re radioactive. The receivers have been inconsistent. I don’t remember hearing about… Read more »

bEubanks11
Reply to  4girls
3 years ago

Washington state? Where at? I’m in Kirkland with Sunday Ticket!

toofamiliar17
3 years ago

I appreciate the work you writers put into every piece here on PR, so I want to make it clear – I intend no disrespect here when I say this. This entire approach to answering the question of Koetter’s future is backwards and misses the point. Like, in the biggest way, asking how many wins we need (in what is almost certainly a lost season) to save Koetter’s job fails miserably to approach the entire idea of team building in a way that makes sense. When a team signs a player to a free agent contract, why do they do… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  toofamiliar17
3 years ago

toofamiliar – your analysis is correct. But you assume too much if you believe that the baby Glazers share your understanding. If they did, they would not have done what they’ve done ever since Malcolm Glazer got sidelined with a stroke a decade ago.

I think they look at pretty much just the bottom line, in terms of Ws vs. Ls, and they especially look at the last month of a disappointing season. If both looks are negative, then they act. That’s been their modus operandi since the end of Gruden’s last season as head coach.

scubog
3 years ago

Lots of good comments. We all want the same thing from our football team. We want a team that competes for the play-offs every season. We want a team that every so often competes for the championship. We want consistency. We want tradition. We want passion. We want excitement. We want a loyal fan base. We want to be proud of our team. That’s what the folks get in places like Green Bay, New England and my hometown Pittsburgh and we’re all jealous. Is that too much to ask? Here in Bucville we often have just hoped we wouldn’t be… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  scubog
3 years ago

I think that if the Glazers decide to fire Koetter, they will also fire Licht. Remember, it was Licht who was handed the keys, after Lovie Smith was shown the door, and told to hire a head coach who would finally get the Bucs back to respectability. If Koetter’s hire is viewed as a failure by the end of this season, that’s a millstone around Licht’s neck that he may not survive. At best he would not get extended, and it’s likely that the baby Glazers would snatch the head coaching hire away from Licht and make the hire themselves.… Read more »

bucism1
3 years ago

if the glazers cut a deal with gruden secretly before seasons end then koetter is gone…if nothing is secretly etched in stone with gruden, and koetter doesn’t lose double digits, he shall return for a final 3rd season…however, if he finishes a stellar 9-7…by going say 7-1 in the second half, i think he is gone anyway if gruden and the glazers secretly shake hands on a deal…the glazers have learned a lesson since the gruden curse…and they are ready to fix it with the little chuckaneer… and they know if they slack on grabbing jon boy back, he is… Read more »

stlbucsfan
3 years ago

There’s no magic number of wins that should save Dirk, it should be how the team plays and I think we all know what the problems will be against better teams. Now if we make the playoffs then obviously he stays but barely winning some bad teams shouldn’t save his job. Dirk’s biggest impact came as OC not HC. I look at my teams very simple, could we achieve this result with another HC and my answer is yes. Dirk did not have the guys ready to play early in the year, our soft camp set us back as other… Read more »

mwestdominguez
3 years ago

Did anyone watch the Seahawks/Falcons game last night? No way this team wins in Atlanta based off what I saw from Atlanta and that was a road game for them. Also no way we win another 15-10 game. Based on what I saw, Matt Ryan is going to shred our secondary.

Buc 1976
3 years ago

It is hard to imagine this team winning half of the games left on the schedule. With the exception of G Bay the other teams have number 1 a Good QB and really good defensive lines. Going to Atlanta even though the stats show that teams that win on Monday night 80% lose the next game so we will see. So as far as the coaching staff goes IMO does not look good for them. One thing I have seen since the beginning in 76 is this seems to be a coaching graveyard. Not one coach has left here and… Read more »

Randy H.
Reply to  Buc 1976
3 years ago

Not one coach has left here and had a winning record with another team? How about Mike Tomlin, Jim Caldwell, Joe Gibbs and Dennis Green? Not only did they all have winning records, half of them won Super Bowls!

Naplesfan
Reply to  Randy H.
3 years ago

You missed a few too, Randy..

Those who went on to be successful head coaches after leaving the Bucs include Jay Gruden, Jim Caldwell, Lovie Smith (at the Bears, anyway, including a Super Bowl championship), and Mike Mularkey.

Other former Bucs assistants also went on to successful assistants, including Rod Marinelli, Kyle Shanahan (now getting a start at the 49ers, success there TBD), and Mike Shula.

Randy H.
Reply to  Naplesfan
3 years ago

Naplesfan, yes I should have included Lovie. However, he stated “winning HC”, so I didn’t include your other three, as they have a overall losing record as a HC. I agree with your assistants, in addition to other ones that there have been.

Naplesfan
Reply to  Randy H.
3 years ago

I included them because despite overall losing records (Gruden, anyway), their teams have been winning the last several years. Usually a new coach begins because the team he hired onto was very bad, and the first couple of years really don’t reflect their potential. That’s certainly true of Jay Gruden and Jim Caldwell and Mike Mularkey. They may not win Super Bowls any time soon, but they’re not disasters.

Buc 1976
Reply to  Randy H.
3 years ago

A HEAD COACH! I guess I should have explained my comment better. Yes some assistant coaches have gone on to be very good head coaches but only one HEAD COACH has and that was Dungy. I guess some people missed the point in 41 years and so many head coaches I can’t remember them all. But thanks for correcting me.

jongruden
3 years ago

I said it when we hired Koetter he is not an NFL Head Coach I knew him well from his days out here at ASU, he is not head coaching material offensive coordinator is best suited for him. Hopefully we bring my namesake Gruden back in the fold this team needs a spark and a fire lit in their butts.

Horse
Reply to  jongruden
3 years ago

jongruden; yes you did and I give you full credit.

scubog
Reply to  jongruden
3 years ago

Got to give you props so far my desert dwelling friend. Six more chances to solidify it one way or the other.

a-bomb
3 years ago

I understand that Licht has increased the talent at some of the skill positions. He has hit on some LB’s, the Marpet pick and signed Brate. But we all know this game is won and lost in the trenches and outside of McCoy and Marpet, the talent level on the lines is lacking. The plan for running back turned out to be bad. The plan for safety and cornerback is unsettled. Now with this new allegation about JW, quarterback seems less settled. Looking at all of that I would not necessarily assume that Licht should remain the GM.

Buc76
3 years ago

Dont be a fool and let Chicago, Dallas, Oakland or others get Gruden when you can get him. You have to think big picture. This division has 3 Superbowl Coaches. Its starting to look possible it could be a 3rd straight year the NFC South is in the Superbowl. It doesnt matter how many games Koetter wins. He will never out coach this division. He gets beat every week on offense and defense and its going to get bad the last 6 weeks. This team has no shot against Atlanta. No way they are losing to us Sunday. Koetter and… Read more »

Buc76
3 years ago

I meant get rid of Licht for the kicking thing

buddah
3 years ago

How soon they forget. John Gruden had a record of 57-55 as Tampa Coach. He was hated by his players and had a reputation for dishonesty and disloyalty. Jay Gruden is 25-32. Dirk Koetter is 13-13. Tony Dungy finished his first two years 16-16 and was 24-24 at the end of his third year. With the exception of Gruden, who took over a very seasoned team, no Tampa Bay head coach has ever been 13-13 at the end of his first 26 games. Raheem Morris was 13-19 at the end of his first two years and he got a third… Read more »

buddah
Reply to  buddah
3 years ago

Ridiculous. Jay Gruden is 25-32. His best year was 9-7. He is 4-6 in his 4th year.

Mike Mularkey is awful. He is 33-50 and is coaching in the worst division in the NFL.

Naplesfan
Reply to  buddah
3 years ago

Ridiculous. The old meme that Gruden was hated by his players is simply not true for most of them. There were a few whiners like Keyshawn Johnson who hated Gruden because Gruden saw through his act. The good ones didn’t hate him, and the fact that other popular players were let go was not Gruden’s fault but due to horrible salary cap management by the GMs. He has best record of any head coach at the Bucs – the only one over .500, the only Super Bowl Championship, and the only Bucs coach with three Division Championships and only Gruden… Read more »

Freeman Strickland
3 years ago

The Bucs had the chance to sign elite offensive linemen in the 2017 free agency period. They had the chance to draft elite offensive linemen in the 2017 draft. They should have done both, and they failed to do either. That looks like Licht’s job to me, and he blew it.

SaskBucs
3 years ago

I don’t care about turnover. Dirk has had 3 years of Jameis and not only has he not improved him, but he hasn’t recognized how to help him with scheming. Lack of run game, to be blamed on RBs and O line doesn’t help but it isn’t an excuse. No one complained about firing Lovie after a brief stint and that is because it was obvious the team sucked under him. Well… we suck again, with much more talent than Lovie had. Dirk should have already given up playcalling, he cannot do both. I was a supporter of this staff… Read more »