The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic related to the Tampa Bay Bucs each week.

This week’s topic: What is your New Year’s resolution for the Bucs?

Scott Reynolds: More Accountability
I would be shocked if the Glazers don’t fire head coach Dirk Koetter after another double-digit losing season. So there will be another coach in Tampa Bay next year. Whoever that coach is needs to demand more accountability from his players and coaches going forward. That to me was a big factor in the losing culture at One Buccaneer Place – now known as AdventHealth Training Center.

What we saw all season long was Caleb Benenoch continuing to be a turnstile at right guard. Benenoch has given up 8.5 sacks and seven accepted penalties in his first year as a full-time starter. He was the best that the Bucs could throw out there this year? Rookie Alex Cappa or Adam Liedtke wasn’t worthy of a chance to replace Benenoch? There wasn’t any other option on the street or on another team’s practice squad? Why was mediocrity accepted all season long?

Bucs G Caleb Benenoch - Photo by: Getty Images

Bucs G Caleb Benenoch – Photo by: Getty Images

Left tackle Donovan Smith has given up 6.5 sacks in 2018 – the most ever in a season for him – in a contract year. Smith got lazy and give up a couple of critical sacks this year, including one at Dallas that led to a fumble and a scoop-and-score. Yet there is no accountability. Smith didn’t get benched for a series – or the rest of the game. There is no consequence for his poor play – or for Benenoch’s – and that falls on offensive line coach and run game coordinator George Warhop, who has done a poor job of developing the offensive line this year.

Brent Grimes had to be talked out of retirement and into playing one more year, and you can tell by the way he’s played that he’s been counting down the days until he’s done with the Buccaneers. In 12 games, Grimes has just three pass breakups and no interceptions. Last year, Grimes had 11 pass breakups and was tied for the team lead with three interceptions. Grimes has given up more plays than he’s made this year by a long shot and the question has to be asked – why has this coaching staff continued to start him, especially down the stretch with the playoffs being long gone by now? Isn’t starting M.J. Stewart or Ryan Smith outside make more sense from a developmental standpoint right now because those players will be in Tampa Bay in 2019?

There has been a sense of entitlement at One Bucs Place this year – and over the last couple of years – that I believe has contributed to continual poor play and helped foster a losing cultural in Tampa Bay. I covered the Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden regimes in their entirety and know what a winning culture and locker room looks like and feels like. It starts with greater accountability. If players need to be benched in-season going forward to either re-light a fire or put them on notice – or simply play better players and give others a shot – then so be it. If coaches need to be fired or demoted in-season going forward to demonstrate accountability – then so be it.

The Glazers need to demand a zero-tolerance policy for losing – whether it’s at the team headquarters or on Sundays at the stadium – in 2019 with whomever they hire to replace Koetter. Losing in general, and losing performances that have contributed to losing seasons have been tolerated too much around here over the last decade and it needs to stop.

Mark Cook: A Home Field Advantage
Scott Reynolds makes a great point, and I totally agree with him on that, but since that is his resolution I will go with wanting Raymond James Stadium to be a home field advantage for the Bucs once again.

Bucs DT Warren Sapp and Tampa Bay's 2002 defense - Photo by: Getty Images

Bucs DT Warren Sapp and Tampa Bay’s 2002 defense – Photo by: Getty Images

Reynolds and I were recently discussing with the youngest member of our team, Trevor Sikkema, how Ray Jay used to be a place that opponents knew would be a difficult place to play. Maybe it didn’t rival the old Metrodome in Minneapolis or the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, but for an open air stadium this place got loud. Really loud. I was telling Sikkema there were times in the late 90’s and 2000’s that standing on the field late in the fourth quarter you couldn’t hear the person next to you because of the crowd noise. When Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks stepped onto the field nursing a small lead with a couple minutes left on the clock, forget about it, communication was nearly impossible. And if Sapp got home to the quarterback, or Brooks made a stop short of the first down marker on fourth down to seal the game, the noise was deafening.

Sikkema hardly believed us. And most newer Bucs fans would scoff at the memory, but you Bucs fans who have been with this team since the early days can verify, Raymond James could get as loud as any outdoor stadium in the league.

I long for those days. Bucs fans long for those days. Will it happen in 2019? Will we ever see a sold out all eight regular season home slate of games, with very few opposing fans and jerseys in the stands ever again?

The answer is yes. But it will take some wins. And not flirting with 9-7 and the playoffs like the Bucs have a couple of times this decade. It will take some time, but Florida is a football state and Tampa is a football town. Give the fans a reason to show up and make noise and I truly believe they will once again.

Trevor Sikkema: Be Badass
One of my favorite things Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter ever said was when he said he wants the Buccaneers to be known as a badass football team. So far in his three-year tenure, they’ve been anything but, as they are now staring at another possible 5-11 season.

When I listen to Scott and Mark speak of the Bucs of old, yes they talk about the success on the field, but what I’ve learned most of their perspective over the years is when they tell stories of the locker room; what it was like with each personality. Sapp, Brooks, Lynch, Barber, Rice, etc. Each of those players were immensely talented, but from the stories I’ve learned, their attitude was as All-Pro as their talents.

Legendary Bucs DT Warren Sapp & Jon Gruden - Photo by: Getty Images

Legendary Bucs DT Warren Sapp & Jon Gruden – Photo by: Getty Images

They didn’t accept losing. They weren’t going to be losers. This wasn’t just about their paycheck or being in the NFL. If they weren’t winning, there were problems.

The current Bucs locker room doesn’t care. I’m sorry. They don’t. They don’t care that they’re 5-11 again or at least, they don’t care enough to change it — they haven’t. They’re going to get paid all the same. No one is pissed off when they lose anymore. They’re just bummed out.

“Oh well.”

Nope.

My New Year’s resolution for this team is to get back to why they played sports in the first place. To not accept losing. To never settle. To be a badass football team.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

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: sr@pewterreport.com
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seat26
3 years ago

I like Koetter as a man. He seems level headed and I think he genuinely wants the team to be better. But I think he simply has zero fire in him. I hate to say it and I will make sure I say it carefully. We need the ghost of John Gruden. We need a Coach that inspires players to be the best they can. To believe in the system and to know that when they step out on the field, they are prepared fully to dominate the other team. And to have each other’s backs. Until we have that… Read more »

e
e
3 years ago

I’m not sure what that means when you think that the Glazers should expect more accountability? Their only tool is to hire and fire and they’ve done plenty of that with poor results. The football decisions need to be left to an experienced PFO. There is no shame in knowing ones limitations. Everything else will fall into place if they get that right.

Devasher
3 years ago

I agree with Scott that there should have been snaps for the rookies in response to the poor play by some of the starters especially when it became obvious (essentially after week 4) that the playoffs would be a longshot. That said, does anyone believe Caleb Benenoch would be playing if Quenton Nelson, Will Hernandez or Connor Williams were on the roster? Does anyone believe that Brent Grimes would still be taking the same snaps if Donte Jackson or Josh Jackson was on the roster? It’s a pretty big indictment of the talent of the roster when you have people… Read more »

seat26
Reply to  Devasher
3 years ago

The problem is, that the Coach knows his neck is on the line. He wants the best players out there because he is hoping that a measly 6 wins will save his job. So he plays the best players he thinks are on the team even if it means we never find out if anyone on the bench is worth taking a look at in a real game situation. Because he wants to save his own neck. I think most losing coaches do the same.

Captain Sly
3 years ago

Trevor I can tell you one person who cares about winning Winston. It’s why he went after Jensen for constantly screwing up. None of the veterans from the Dominick era did anything and that’s why if we are cleaning house we need to start right there.

surferdudes
3 years ago

Trevor, are you sure Koetter didn’t say he wanted a bad football team that stunk like ass? That’s the way they’ve played the last two years under his watch. Again Scott Reynolds makes no mention of the G.M., Jason Licht that over sees this shit show. He could’ve stepped in and fired Mike Smith after last year. He’s the one who moved up in the third round for Cappa, who can’t beat out Benenoch. He’s the one who drafted R.Jones in the second round even though he can’t catch, or contribute to one of the worst rushing teams in all… Read more »

Horse
3 years ago

I agree with Scott, accountability should mean something; neither the HC or the GM deserve any more chances. Take a chance on doing something else.

drdneast
3 years ago

Have to agree with the comments about Licht and I used to be one of his defenders. But after watching the offensive line this season, I have seen enough. Add to that the drafting of Jones in the second round, a RB who wasn’t proficient with catching the ball and Cappa in the third, a player who was definitely going to need time to develop and I finally have seen enough. That is not to say either player is going to be a bust, but Licht had to know both of these players were going to have to take at… Read more »

matador
3 years ago

“…Why was mediocrity accepted all season long?”

Out of necessity.

Because Licht forgot to stock the larder with talent at any position that doesn’t involve catching the ball.

Because he has no freaking idea what he is doing.

Because there can’t be accountability when there is no talent.

The single most important thing that can happen this offseason is replacing Licht who understands the concept of building from the inside out. Even if a half decade too late.

Here’s to the 2020/2021 season. Thanks, Licht.

scubog
3 years ago

So here we have them. The 2019 New Year’s Resolutions. The more typical, stop smoking, lose weight, cut back on the drinking, spend more time with family, go to church regularly, exercise and take time to appreciate our blessings are replaced by what we would like our Bucs to resolve to improve. “More Accountability, Home Field Advantage and Be Badass”. Seems to me they are inter-related. If we have “More Accountability”, it will make the team the team more “Badass”, which will lead to a “Home Field Advantage”. Isn’t that exactly what Tony Dungy must have quietly resolved to do… Read more »

Captain Sly
Reply to  scubog
3 years ago

Great points!

yohohoandabottleofrum
yohohoandabottleofrum
3 years ago

in total agreement with this article. OFFENSIVE LINE STUNK UP THE FIELD and this is why we didnt have a running game, Winston running for his life and getting picked off NO TIME NO TIME. Where’s my bottle of RUM.

yohohoandabottleofrum
yohohoandabottleofrum
3 years ago

Time to break out the paper bags yucs fans

owlykat
3 years ago

Licht was a rookie GM who finally got the message of building from the trench up and that is why he went Via with his first pick and then should be credited with PFF and Nassib both which has given us a potent pass rush. He tried to help the Offensive Line by getting us a veteran Center too. He has given up on BPA and now is trying to fill needs before BPA. He missed the fact that Jones didn’t have the hands to catch passes. He wanted a CB who could play different CB positions and in a… Read more »

Devasher
Reply to  owlykat
3 years ago

Licht’s best draft pick by far was his first one in Mike Evans. His best draft was his second one, Winston/ Donavan Smith/Marpet/Kwon Alexander. His worst two drafts as far as anyone can tell are the abysmal 2016 Draft (which is his third) VHIII/Spence/Aguayo/Smith/Benenoch and this year Vea/Rojo/MJ Stewart/Davis/Cappa. Ryan Jensen wasn’t even the best free agent center this year, that would be now 4x Pro Bowler Mike Pouncey who signed for 5 million less than Jensen this year at the Chargers. When your two worst drafts are 2 of the last 3 and you keep missing on free agents,… Read more »

Captain Sly
3 years ago

Don’t break out the paper bags just yet, there’s a lot of hope for this team. We just got to get the right people to run it. Scott is right about the loosing culture though and the way you change that is by bringing in winners. The Glazers should be creating roles within the organization for proven Buccaneer Winners like Brooks,Sapp,Simeon,Alscott,Ronde guys who care about winning and know what it takes to win. When Dominick got the position his worst move was how he shoved the Legends out the door and threw away the the key. Well we need to… Read more »

yohohoandabottleofrum
yohohoandabottleofrum
Reply to  Captain Sly
3 years ago

yes another Alstott would be great…I just love the way he use to run over people and blood was running out of his mouth and he carried 3 or 4 defenders on his back for 10 extra yards.

EastEndBoy
3 years ago

Here’s what I want for the New Year: The Buccaneers to be run from top to bottom like any other successful organization in the world is. Start with a strategy – add quality people that all align to that strategy – acquire players that are geared to execute that strategy – hold coaches accountable to making decisions that best put the team in a position to execute the strategy – hold players accountable for their performance in executing the strategy. I’m not interested in cool sounding adjectives like “nasty” or “mean”… I just want us to have a strategy built… Read more »

Captain Sly
Reply to  EastEndBoy
3 years ago

Sounds like sweet music to my ears. Koetter had a plan but no strategy. Believe me there’s a difference, if you were to ask Koetter what’s your offensive game plan he would say “I want to run the ball”(Plan) then at half time after when we only got 10 yards on 10 carries ask well coach how do you plan on running the ball? Koetter “well we just have to find ways to Barber the ball” (none strategy). A strategy allows adjustments so that you could execute plan B

Mad Buc
3 years ago

All I want is an offensive line and please cut Donavan Smith

Bucfannomatter
3 years ago

FIRE THEM ALL!!!!! When you see the kind of product we saw this year….you make CHANGES. I saw NOTHING….NOTHING…. worth keeping. There are about 8 good players on this team worth keeping. 3 are receivers. The rest….GARBAGE! Complete garbage. Think about some of the dbacks that got hurt early? Really? Garbage. And how do you turn a decent corner into complete garbage (Hargreaves)??? Simple. You have garbage coaching him. Fire EVERY….SINGLE…ONE…. OF THESE CROCKNOCKERS, and bring some folks in, who know what the H3LL THEY ARE DOING. Period. End of story. Take the guy who handles the ball more than… Read more »