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.

This week’s topic: Will the possible suspension of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston help Dirk Koetter keep his job?

Publisher Scott Reynolds: A possible Jameis Winston suspension should have nothing to do with Dirk Koetter’s future in Tampa Bay, nor do I think it would impact the decision of any coach to come coach the Buccaneers next year if Winston were to get suspended. Let’s say Winston gets suspended for four games for the inappropriate touching accusation from the 2016 offseason. That would have no bearing on this season as Winston missed time due to an injured shoulder and hasn’t performed as well as most expected. Koetter needs to be evaluated on what he’s done during his two years on the job.

If Winston gets suspended, I don’t think that’s any detriment to the Bucs hiring a new coach if the team decides to fire Koetter. We don’t know how long Winston would be suspended. It could only be a game or two, and he would have a chance to appeal it, too.

The reality is that Tampa Bay may not even know about a possible suspension until much later in the offseason when the NFL concludes its investigation. So the uncertainty about Winston’s situation may be inconsequential to any candidate that would possibly replace Koetter because of the time standpoint.

History suggests the NFL could suspend Winston for the allegations the female Uber driver made, especially in the current social climate where men are getting fired left in right in a host of industries over sexual improprieties. A good deal of the allegations may indeed be true, but it doesn’t mean that every one is true. Winston has maintained his innocence since the allegations surfaced.

As more and more allegations come out in society, there could be a pendulum swing in the other direction where some men – possibly including Winston – could be given the benefit of the doubt instead of being subjected to the immediate rush to judgment in the media that appears to be taking place right now. I think the longer Winston’s investigation drags on the better. The NFL and its unpopular commissioner, Rodger Goodell, could very well decide to help his image and the league’s image and show some leniency when it comes to Winston, especially if the only evidence is simply her word against his.

While Goodell suspended NFL poster by Tom Brady for simply destroying his cell phone in the “Deflategate” investigation, it came at a steep price as the league’s popularity has taken a big hit. A good deal of NFL fans are upset at how Goodell has handled the discipline for players like Ray Rice (too lenient), Ezekiel Elliott and Brady (too harsh). The NFL Players Association and some NFL owners are, too. Without solid evidence, the league does nothing positive for itself suspending a young star like Winston based on an allegation, which may be baseless.

Now if there is some damning evidence, that’s a different story. Either way, the league needs to tread lightly and get this right. Yet whether or not Winston gets suspended or not, it won’t have any affect on Koetter or his possible replacement if he gets canned.

Editor Mark Cook: Should or will it? They are really two different questions.

It really should have no bearing on what the Glazers decide to do. If they decide and believe Dirk Koetter is not the long-term answer, they need to cut the cord. Like a bad marriage, getting out and moving on – and realizing you made a mistake – is always the best course of action. Gerald McCoy isn’t getting any younger. Lavonte David isn’t getting any younger. Why essentially waste a season if you believe you don’t have the right person in charge?

But will it though? That is possible. The problem is Jameis Winston is the carrot that the Glazers dangle in front of Jon Gruden, Jim Harbaugh or one of the up and coming coordinators that will be in demand the Monday following the last regular season game. Gruden is already somewhat wishy washy. He obviously still has coaching in his blood. It is a disease that is impossible to completely rid yourself of, especially when you have had a taste of success. Maybe even more when you leave a job not by your own decision. Make no mistake Gruden wants to stand on the sideline once again. And he will get, and has had opportunities. The problem is it has to be the perfect situation. Is starting your new coaching career not knowing if you will be without your starting quarterback for potentially the first six games?

Same thing with a Jim Harbaugh who, like Gruden understands you meed a quarterback to win in today’s NFL. Winston is that carrot to dangle, but how enticing is it knowing you may not have him to start a season? And no one wants to say it, so I will, but what if Winston were to have another allegation down the road? I would guess the organization would swiftly move on from Winston. Now a new coach could be left in a lurch as greg Schiano was after the Freeman meltdown in 2013.

Personally I believe Winston. Man to man, looking me in the eye, when he said he is certain he will be exonerated, I believe he believes he will. But unfortunately for Winston this isn’t a court of law and the NFL, if they even believe the Uber driver at all, not even 50/50, but at all, Winston will be suspended. Which is a shame. But that is the NFL today, protecting the shield, even if they do so by squirrel hunting with an elephant gun.

Beat Writer Trevor Sikkema: Unfortunately for coaches, disappointing seasons don’t stop when the season is over. For Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter, the disappointment of this season is going to linger into the offseason in the minds of his bosses, both the Glazers and Jason Licht.

There is not doubt that this season has not lived up to expectations from a coaching standpoint, both Koetter and his defensive coordinator Mike Smith will tell you that. Both sides of the ball for the Buccaneers are not what they should have been, not even close.

But, how much of a pass does Koetter get? That’s going to be the key part of his defense to his higher-ups this offseason. Koetter has had injuries to his starting offensive line, his defensive line and some of his star players. But there is one outside factor that might get Koetter a pass more than all of that: quarterback Jameis Winston’s investigation.

Nothing moves the line of win probability like the availability quarterback, and with that in mind, to expect a coach to perform at a playoff level without their predicted starter is often unfair to do. Winston has been hurt this year, but even beyond that, does this on going investigation with him give Koetter another year of coaching this team by default?

Here are some factors to that.

If Koetter were to be fired, what is the most alluring factor in a coaching coming to Tampa Bay? It’s Jameis Winston. If it’s likely that Winston might be suspended, why would you fire your coach knowing you won’t be able to lure a better one in during the investigation, and perhaps, suspension of a franchise quarterback?

I think it’s more likely than not that Winston will be missing some time in 2018 for this investigation. Whether that’s four games, six games or eight games all depends on how the investigation plays out. If that’s the case, it’s a valid question whether or not Koetter gets a pass.

I’m going to say that he doesn’t get a pass for it, even though I do think Winston will be facing some punishment. I think that there will still be a few viable candidates out there who would take the Bucs job, even if Winston misses some time. The way things were handle and ultimately performed this season seems inexcusable by those who came up with the game plans.

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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for 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 [email protected]


  1. This whole “accusation=evidence” trend is just awful all around. It’s already starting to go downhill as it is.

    Ultimately, I don’t really think Winston will get suspended unless something concrete comes out of this for the reasons that the article already stated. The whole Elliot suspension by itself was already pretty bad for the optics of the NFL. But at least there was what like 5 incidents that they are talking about? Would they really suspend a guy for one maybe-but-not-really-sure-I-mean-it’s-possible incident?

    I still do think Koetter gets a pass for now, but not so sure on Smith. I could see line coaches fired, but I can only really see Smith as the highest guy fired. Koetter is different from Morris and Schiano. Both of those guys created dumpster fires and totally lost the team. Koetter so far has been only disappointing and I don’t see quit coming out of the team. They competed in Green Bay. We’ll see how the year pans out but as of this moment I think he stays.

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  2. What is frustrating beyond words is regardless of who the HC/OC/DC is, we still are mired in a losing culture. Whether we as fans like Winston or dislike him, we can’t put together enough wins to be respectable for any length of time. Watching the Steelers down on Monday Night Football, I knew they would pull it out. Now whether that’s solely on them being a winning organization or just fortunate to play against a Marvin Lewis coached team, they were going to pull it out at the end. I have been calling for Harbaugh since mid-season. He has had enough success to warrant consideration. I also would like David Shaw to at least get an interview, assuming Dirk gets fired. I’m still not on board with Gruden. I’ve never been a fan of someone sniffing around someone else’s job. However, I implore the Glazer’s to bring in Derrick Brooks and possibly Tony Dungy to change the losing culture that has permeated this team for years. This season sucks.

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  3. It’s so absolutely bizarre that this roundtable is about whether Jameis Winston’s second sexual assault allegation in 4 years would affect the job status of…Dirk Koetter.

    Dirk Koetter? How about the guy who staked his claim that he did thorough and extensive research into Winston’s character and history including the previous rape allegation and bet the number one overall pick that nothing like it would happen again? How about his job status?

    But I kid, PR couldn’t have an honest discussion about this GM if they were forced to binge watch all 39 losses of the last 3+ seasons consecutively. Hey, we are one short of an average of 10 losses a season under Licht, w00t!

    I apologize, back to slicing and dicing Koetter 👍

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    • i think the context of this discussion is 3 reporters who follow the bucs closely and who all seem to firmly believe that Winston is being falsely dragged into the mud in this matter. No amount of due diligence can eliminate the possibility of a person being falsely accused. I can’t imagine a single bucs fan, reporter, or suit standing behind Jameis or the GM who staked his career on that due diligence if it turns out this situation went down more or less like the Uber driver said it did

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      • Ummm….Jason Licht and Jimbo Fisher followed Jameis as closely as anyone and Winston still has a second sexual assault allegation to his name 3 years after he was made the number one pick. Dare I say they knew the guy far better than Scott, Mark and Trevor ever did or will and yet, here we are.

        If we are going with incentives, I would have more doubt about the Uber drivers allegation if A. She didn’t make it to Uber immediately after the alleged event, which uber apparently investigated and banned Jameis from using it. B. She followed through with a police report at the time (a la Kinsman) which would have given her greater ability to sue him later.

        The Uber driver hasn’t made any attempt to sue Winston that I know of, and if she isn’t making a money grab then could it be possible, that maybe she made it public because Jameis did something that she felt was violating and a negative encounter that she was compelled to report in light of other allegation of men in position of fame or power? Is that possible? No, it must be the money grab that hasn’t happened. That’s it. Everyone is against Jameis, poor guy.

        But even if the uber driver’s account isn’t true, aren’t you taking a risk with your number one overall pick that a player with a prior rape allegation could be put in that boat again fairly or unfairly and it could sink your season? Isn’t that part of the gamble a GM makes with the number one overall pick, that he avoids ANY future accusations? And now he has two? Doesn’t it seem like a bet that Licht made and lost? I guess not, since here we are, talking about Koetter’s job security from it.

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  4. Simple answer no.

    Winston isn’t a Koeter issue.

    Do I think the Glazers will fire him no. The Glazers are among the worst owners in football. These fat losers aren’t Malcolm, they are worthless silver spoon greedy little [email protected]#$%es. That is why Koetter is very likely to remain the coach. They don’t have the social capacity to interview for a proper coach and it’s not economic because they make enough stringing along Tampa die hards.

    Is Winston guilty of those accusation quite very likely. Taken by itself that isn’t the end of the world, he’s young and immature we knew that going in. Winston’s problems are in his head and he has until the end of next season to resolve regardless who is coach.

    Winston is not why this team is looking to the draft right now, it’s not a talent issue either, it’s extremely poor coaching. This team might not be playoff royalty but they should be in contention with the talent we have. We have a bad play caller in Koetter and he’s even worse at coaching.

    Koetter is the type of guy that should always be working under someone. Sound harsh it’s not, some of you may be these type of people yourselves or know someone like this, leadership is not for everyone. I have firsthand seen these type of promotion ruin otherwise competent people many times, it happens all the time in business, in fact most of the time.

    We need a proven NFL leader right now. That is a very tough sell with Winston at the helm.

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  5. This must have been the attitude back in the days when they would burn a young girl at the stake simply because someone called her a witch. I thought that in a rational society, which nowadays is a foreign concept, an accuser needed some apparently inconvenient thing called evidence or maybe another pesky thing called a credible witness to demonstrate guilt. I sure hope some of my fellow posters are never accused of something they didn’t do.

    I once was scolded and called out by my 6th grade teacher, “Scubog shut up” to which my classmates replied, “Teacher, Scubog is home sick today.”

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  6. Quite frankly some of my demeanor at this point is not just about football. Our Country has changed and the core ofwhat use to be us is changing whether good or bad depending on what side you support. We use to be a country of one, but now we are a very divided county. Football and other sports are taking big hits because of this. Fan base is down in most sports and getting worse. People just don’t care about things they use to care about. Times are a changing, but not for the Bucs. They’re basically the same, not very good team most times. I’m getting to a point where it’s not fun being a Buc fan. The Bucs are the only pro football team I watch from start to finish now; the rest I don’t care about. I don’t have the answers as to why the Bucanneers are an up and mostly down team. I know it’s not the fans as we have stuck around for decades when they really didn’t deserve it. This does suck!

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  7. I don’t think one has to do with the other. Koetter has a body of work he’ll be judged on. Licht has been here four years, also long enough to judge his success rate. Gruden has not been sniffing around for Koetters job as some have suggested. That’s a false accusation right there. He didn’t nominate himself for the Bucs ring of honor, or invite himself to camp, that would be the Glazers. Winston’s friend Darby admitted being in the back seat with Winston yet I haven’t heard of him being suspended, why? Koetter’s best chance for a win was last Sunday, and this Sunday. If we end up with a 4-12, or 5-11 record firing everyone but Koetter, and Licht wouldn’t make sense. A better round table discussion would’ve been should the Bucs fire Koetter with a loss this Sunday paving the way for Gruden. Next Monday night will be interesting.

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  8. DK should only lose his job (and take Smith with him) based on his coaching performance. This team has under performed badly based on the talent at each level. Yeah some may not be Pro Bowl caliber, but most are good enough to help a team not be 4-8 at this point of the season. injuries are not an excuse, see Minn Vikings…The GM and Coach put together this team and any team must have depth to sustain injuries which always happen. I feel like we have been out coached and haven’t made the necessary adjustments in game and week to week to get better. I don’t really care who the coach or GM is anymore, I just want to win and have a respectable team year in and year out.

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  9. You might be right Mark…but if that is the case, you can write next season off….might as well take a rest and draft the first guy in the draft for the following season. Why….because I think by that time the players and fans will have lost all trust in Koetter and the hole that we will be in with a backup starting for six games. And what about the fan base game attendance and national interest? Empty echoes.

    And actually, I feel badly for great publications like PR, that will find the dearth of fan interest difficult, when all you have done is do a great job of covering the team…. still miss the printed draft publication though…it was truly great. Well worth the membership. But times change.

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  10. Now this JW investigation get’s on my last nerve, just like the first one and any other person that’s automatically made guilty in the public before anything is ever proven…there is no longer “innocent until proven guilty” in this world…those that like you, believe you are innocent until something CONCRETE shows your guilt…those who dislike you only need the accusation to warm up the chair…This kid was never charged or proven guilty of the first accusation, he paid to have it go away and move on with his life, the same as Big Ben did more than once (and others btw), now he’s accused of grabbing a woman’s crotch in a drive through and there’s been absolutely nothing yet that show’s that he did, but we’re talking 6 game suspension??? He has a credible witness that has come out publicly and says that he was there along with a third person, yet to be named, but because they were friends in college and he was there to witness the events of the first accuser and for some crazy reason they are still friends and were together in AZ and he was there to witness or possibly not witness this event. This accusation has been out for over a month now, which means the nfl has had it longer and her attorney, and why do you need an attorney when you didn’t even go to the police to press charges, except wait, your attorney is the same one that the first accuser had to secure a pay day, and yet there has been no new information that has come out to support your accusation. Of course I’m biased as an FSU fan and a Bucs fan, but my brain works differently. either Jameis was being an immature, disgusting jerk that night or possibly he was in the back seat, something happened with the passenger in the front seat, but he’s not a recognizable as JW, she see’s his face on television months later and says “hey, that guy was in my car that night” and is told of the JW sexual assault case that ultimately ended with the accuser getting almost a million and here we are, just trying to be objective…I’ve seen both sides to the he said/she said and have actually watched a Soldier get taken through hell, denied promotion and the whole nine over an accusation, this kid had video and photo’s secured by CID that showed it was consensual, but it still took nine months before the case was thrown out and there were no charges filed on the accuser for false allegations and this poor guy never recovered professionally from that false accusation and had to leave the Army and he wanted to complete a 30 year career. I know people (mostly men) can do some terrible things especially with inappropriate touching and unwanted sex, but that doesn’t rule out those who falsely accuse. I’m still in the business of “innocent until PROVEN guilty”…call me old fashioned i guess…

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    • ArmyBuc69, Thank you for your service from another Army Combat Veteran.

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      • Semper Fi Horse!

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      • Horse,

        Same to you Brother!

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    • I totally agree with your viewpoints my friend. Call me “old-fashion” as well!

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    • Innocent until proven guilty is a criminal justice standard, under our Constitution. It is NOT a social justice standard, in the court of public opinion. In the minds of many, easily a majority of NFL fans who are not Bucs fans or Noles fans, Winston was likely guilty of the rape in Tallahassee, given the obvious coverup by the university administration and the local PD which was called out by the State’s Attorney in his written decision to not prosecute charges. In the minds of most Americans, even including a lot of college football fans, college football is corrupt, and is a corrupting institution when it comes to local law enforcement in “company towns” like Tallahassee, or Gainesville, etc. etc. None of that means Winston was guilty of rape, but this is the factual situation in America today.

      Now we get a second accusation of criminal sexual assault, and guess what, the very same “eyewitness”, Darby, pops up to say he was there (again) and Jameis didn’t do as accused (again(. The American public can easily be forgiven for assuming that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Again, none of us knows if Winston was guilty or not.

      What will be interesting is the fact that the accuser’s attorney has demanded the cell carrier locational records for Darby to prove whether or not Darby was actually in the same vehicle with Winston as he claims. Cell carriers can pinpoint, within a couple hundred feet, any cell phone user who has their phone turned on 24/7/365. Whether or not those records are in fact provided to meet the demand is yet to be seen, Whether those records prove Darby is telling the truth, or is lying, will be decisive.

      If Darby is telling the truth about his being in the vehicle with Winston, then Winston is likely vindicated, or at least it is nothing more than a he said/she said/he said situation that is unresolvable. But if Darby is proved to be a liar, it also effectively proves Winston is also not telling the truth, else he would have immediately refuted Darby’s statement and by his silence, agreed with it.

      So it really comes down to the cell carrier records. This should be interesting.

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  11. I think the Glaziers should follow the formula that the Jaguars implemented by bringing in Tom Coughlin as their Vice President of football operations. Look what he has accomplished for the Jags in a very short period of time. The Bucs answer to that is Tony Dungy as Vice President of football operations…he knows the Bucs, lives in Tampa and is a respected football mind throughout the NFL. This will begin to address the losing culture surrounding the Bucs and the Glaziers just changing head coaches every two years won’t change anything. Just A Thought!

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  12. I think Dirk should stay. Two years with him hasn’t been enough. Tons of injuries to start the season on defense, and Winston has just been bad. I don’t think there are other good candidates out there. Keep the coaching staff in place. Just reload and come back in 2018. Sometimes, your year just doesn’t work out. I think Hard Knocks is a curse too.

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  13. Whatever happens with Winston has no impact whatsoever on the coaching staff, nor in hiring the next coach. If the next coach comes in and Winston gets a multi-game suspension, the new coach will have zero responsibility for that … it will all be on Licht, whether he’s still the GM then or not.

    Depending on how things go with the investigation, the Glazers themselves may decide that Winston is one-contract-and-done in Tampa Bay, or not. For example, hypothetically, if it is proven through cell carrier records (which the Uber driver’s attorney has demanded be produced) that Winston’s two-time “witness” Darby lied about his location in the vehicle with Winston, yet Winston did not rebut Darby’s statement that he was there, then Winston is done in Tampa Bay. Case closed. If cell phone records prove Darby was there in the vehicle, then Winston is likely safe from any punishment. Or possibly the cell phone records are not available, in which case it’s still he said/she said’he said, and unknowable.

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