Saints head coach Sean Payton and Bucs head coach Lovie Smith - Photo by: Getty Images
SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL:
FAB 1. BUCS CAME OUT FLAT IN SAINTS GAME DUE TO SMITH
Lovie Smith was close to making the Buccaneers relevant again. Two weeks after blowing a chance to get above .500 for the first time in his two years at the helm in Tampa Bay, Smith and the Bucs had just beaten Atlanta at home and had a chance to achieve a winning record against New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium.
It was all there for the taking. The Bucs had a near-capacity crowd in full throat waiting for the Saints, a team Tampa Bay beat in New Orleans in Week 2, to be swept.
The Saints jumped out to a 14-0 lead and upset the Bucs 24-17. Tampa Bay never had the lead at any point in the game.
The Bucs fell to 6-7 and their momentum had come to a screeching halt. The stunning loss all but ended the team’s faint playoff hopes, and a tough Thursday Night Football game at what was possibly the last football game in St. Louis awaited just four days later.
Ex-Bucs head coach Lovie Smith – Photo by: Getty Images
The Bucs were obviously deflated following the game – but also before.
Everyone noticed that Tampa Bay came out flat in a game it had every reason to be up for. The Saints quickly raced out to a two-touchdown lead in the first 18 minutes of the game.
Multiple Tampa Bay players told PewterReport.com off the record what transpired prior to the game to cause the wind to go out of the Bucs sails before kickoff.
They spoke of Bucs special teams captain Russell Shepard, who is one of the more energetic and well-respected leaders, giving a fiery pre-game speech in the locker room and used profanity. Right as the players were frothed into a pre-game frenzy, the players said Smith took exception to the language Shepard was using and immediately ordered him to stop and for the locker room to be quiet.
Several Bucs players that PewterReport.com spoke with were shocked to see Smith essentially kneecap Russell in front of the entire team right before kickoff of the biggest game of the year. Why in the world would Smith do that?
One player said he felt embarrassed for Shepard, who was just doing his job as a team captain to help get the team amped up.
Another player called Smith’s quick derailment of Shepard’s speech “a buzz kill” and said he lost respect for Smith at that moment. Yet other players that PewterReport.com spoke with said they respected Smith, calling him “a good man, who doesn’t smoke, drink or swear and was just doing what he felt was the right thing.”
But it was the wrong thing for the team. It was a bone-headed move by Smith.
It was the wrong time and the wrong place for Smith to inject his own morality – just minutes before the biggest game of the season. If he was so offended by the language, Smith should have privately pulled Shepard aside after he was finished and asked him not to use profanity again.
After all, the Buccaneers are grown men. If swearing gets them more pumped up to play their best ball, then swear away as far as I’m concerned.
Obviously, Smith didn’t see it that way.
Bucs WRs Mike Evans & Russell Shepard – Photo by: Getty Images
Players told PewterReport.com that Shepard didn’t address the team before the Rams game on Thursday night, much to their dismay. Tampa Bay came out flat in that game, too, falling behind 14-3 in the first quarter and 21-3 at one point in the second quarter.
Bucs ownership and the front office caught wind of Smith’s ill-advised deflating of the locker room prior to the Saints game and were disappointed that the head coach would play a role in causing the team to come out flat.
Was Smith halting Shepard’s fiery pre-game speech the reason why the Bucs lost to the Saints, and ultimately the Rams a few days later?
Of course not, but it certainly didn’t help the Buccaneers. Many NFL players do not need a pre-game speech to get up for a game, yet some do.
As Smith would later say about the Saints game, Tampa Bay had opportunities to win, but couldn’t stop New Orleans. He denied that the team came out flat in his post-game press conference, but Bucs team captain and linebacker Lavonte David used that term with reporters in the locker room following the game.
“You can’t blame the game on penalties,” David said. “We came out flat in the first quarter. We were down 14-0 too fast. That is something me, as leader, I have to take pride in. I have to do a better job at getting guys ready, coming out, playing fast as soon as we get on the field. We weren’t able to do that. We dug ourselves in a hole. We tried to make a comeback, but you shouldn’t be put in that position in the first place.”
What Smith’s interference with the pre-game speech showed however is that he was lacking in certain areas as a head coach. Smith was usually reactionary rather than proactive on game days. Defensive adjustments often came far too late, especially in 2015 when Smith took over the play-calling duties. Smith also struggled regarding when to call timeouts, when to punt, when to kick field goals and when to go for it.
Smith failed to realize that veteran quarterbacks like New Orleans’ Drew Brees, Indianapolis’ Matt Hasselbeck and Chicago’s Jay Cutler had plenty of experience facing the Tampa 2 defense over the years and knew how to carve it up with chain-moving passes and to use slants and pick plays that always seemed to work against the Bucs’ man coverage in the red zone.
Saints TE Benjamin Watson – Photo by: Getty Images
Smith’s defense had fared well against Brees, intercepting him seven times in the first three meetings spanning back to the 2014 season – all of which were Bucs losses, however. Yet when it mattered most, Brees shredded Smith’s defense on December 13, completing 31-of-41 passes for 312 yards, two touchdowns – and no interceptions.
In fact, the Bucs defense wouldn’t get a single takeaway against New Orleans – a trend that would continue for two more weeks in losses to two more teams with losing records in St. Louis and Chicago.
“Things we did, you just can’t win football games [like that],” Smith said following the game. “Defensively, third downs killed us, big plays really hurt us an awful lot. We didn’t make any plays, no takeaways on the defensive side. Offensively, you have to score more points. It’s as simple as that.”
Tampa Bay’s defense, which had typically been stout against the run, surrendered 85 yards and a touchdown to 29-year old running back Tim Hightower, who last played in the NFL in Washington in 2011. That’s four years ago.
The Saints held a 37:14 to 22:46 time of possession advantage over the Bucs. New Orleans had the ball an entire quarter longer than Tampa Bay did, as Smith’s defense couldn’t get the ball back with a takeaway or a key stop on third down.
At one point, Brees hit wide receiver Willie Snead for a 41-yard gain on third-and-21. The Saints picked up three first downs behind Hightower’s legs and an untimely third down penalty on cornerback Alterraun Verner to salt away the final 4:21.
Tampa Bay had a chance to maintain possession and tie the game up and had a fourth-and-10 at the Bucs’ 44-yard, but Smith elected to punt.
“I thought we could back them up there and stop them,” Smith said. “That’s why I did that. [You] can second guessing it right now. I would make the same decision 10 out of 10 times on that.”
The loss to the Saints was the beginning of the end of Smith’s short-lived tenure in Tampa Bay. That game was a microcosm of not only the 2015 season, but also Smith’s tumultuous time with the Buccaneers.
Dropped passes by the receivers.
An opposing quarterback completing over 70 percent of his passes.
Not enough points on offense.
Too many points allowed on defense.
Questionable game management decisions.
A missed opportunity to get over .500.
And it all started with an inadvertent buzz kill moment by a head coach that didn’t know any better.
The Bucs lost more than a game that day against the Saints. Some within the organization began to lose confidence in Smith following that defeat. That was the day Tampa Bay lost its final bit of momentum in the 2015 season, and ultimately lost its head coach.
Three more losses to St. Louis, Chicago and Carolina would reinforce Smith’s negatives – which had begun to surface, but were in plain sight against New Orleans – and ultimately seal Smith’s fate. And it all started prior to kickoff.
FAB 2. GLAZERS EMPOWER LICHT TO TAKE CONTROL OF ONE BUC PLACE
Generally speaking, it takes two things to win football games in the NFL – talent and coaching.
Talent – because the NFL is a player’s league. It’s no secret Carolina, the team with the most Pro Bowlers, is 15-1 and the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl.
Coaching – because in the playoffs talented teams will play talented teams and great coaching can make all the difference in the world. It took an offensive mind like Jon Gruden to create mismatches against the Eagles in 2002 to finally win in Philly and to out-coach Oakland, his former team, to deliver Tampa Bay it’s first and only Super Bowl victory.
Bucs GM Jason Licht & Ex-Bucs HC Lovie Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Lovie Smith’s firing on Wednesday night proved that the Glazers believe in general manager Jason Licht’s ability to stockpile talent through the draft more than Smith’s ability to coach that talent. Licht, who was hired by Smith in January of 2014, now wields the power in Tampa Bay.
“I’ve never been one – and this is my philosophy and personality as a general manager – the power thing gets a little bit overblow,” Licht said at his press conference on Thursday. “Who has what – you work collectively. You can’t force-feed a coach a player. I do have the power of the 53[-man roster], but that doesn’t stop us from going after a certain coach. I’m not going to cross names off because of it.
“My job is to bring the best football coach to this football team. What kind of power they get, what kind of tweaks we have to make, it doesn’t matter. I want the best football coach. You want a good working relationship with the coach. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are the best of friends, but you just want a good solid relationship. Whoever has the power has the power, but together you’re going to make decisions.”
Licht will now have full control over free agency, the draft – which he has always controlled – and both the 90-man roster in the offseason, and the 53-man roster during the season, the latter of which Smith controlled. Licht will also be responsible for hiring the next head coach, likely offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. More on that later.
Most in the national media are shocked with Smith’s sudden departure and are panning the move – and the Glazers for making it. References to the Bucs becoming the next Cleveland Browns are all over Twitter from national writers and reporters that likely didn’t watch more than one or two Bucs games during Smith’s entire tenure.
There is a reason why the Bears fired Smith, who had a nine-year career in Chicago, following a 10-6 season. They finally saw what it took the Glazers and Licht only two years to see – that Smith was not a very good game day coach.
The 2015 season also proved he lost his touch as a defensive coordinator, evidenced by the fact that the Bucs finished the year with the 26th-ranked scoring defense, allowing an average of 26.1 points per game. During the team’s four-game losing streak to end the season, the points allowed per game swelled to 29.75.
In Chicago, former general manager Jerry Angelo tried to convince Smith to have an assistant coach handle the game day management issues – when to call a timeout, when to use a challenge, in what situations to punt, go for it or try a field goal. Smith scoffed at that idea and shot it down in Chicago, but never really improved as a game day strategist.
Ex-Bucs CB Tim Jennings – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
To say that Smith never got a chance to draft many defensive players in Tampa Bay would be accurate. To say that Smith never got the chance to bolster the defense with new players would be a bold-faced lie.
In two years, the Bucs imported 13 new free agents on defense that started at least one game – many of them were veterans hand-picked by Smith with experience in the Tampa 2 scheme.
Defensive ends Michael Johnson and George Johnson were expensive busts. Nose tackle Clinton McDonald became a team captain and was a good find, but was hurt most of this year. Defensive tackles Henry Melton and Tony McDaniel were average at best.
Middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, the only defensive player drafted in two years, was a huge hit and was an immediate starter on defense. Bruce Carter, the expensive free agent signed to start in the middle of the defense, was a decent find although overpaid, but couldn’t beat out a rookie.
Cornerbacks Alterraun Verner, Mike Jenkins, Sterling Moore and Tim Jennings were all benched at least once and none of them proved to be a fit. Safety Chris Conte proved to be a good player in Tampa Bay and is worth keeping around, but he’s not at a Pro Bowl level. Fellow safety Major Wright rarely made plays and was benched a couple of times over the past two years.
What Licht and the Glazers saw was a veteran-laden defense with players suited for Smith’s Tampa 2 scheme regressing as the season went on. Sure, Alexander is a very good middle linebacker, even for a rookie, but was his absence due to a suspension the reason why the Bucs fell off a cliff and went 0-4 down the stretch?
Didn’t the Bucs still have Pro Bowl-caliber players in defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David on the field with a supposed defensive guru like Smith calling the plays?
Bucs WRs Adam Humphries and Donteea Dye – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
What Licht and the Glazers saw was a Bucs offense that featured five rookies when undrafted receivers Adam Humprhies and Donteea Dye joined left tackle Donovan Smith, right guard Ali Marpet and quarterback Jameis Winston on the field produce a franchise-record 6,014 yards and finish in the top 5 in the league in total yards.
A lot of the time those rookies were on the field with second-year players like tight ends Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Cameron Brate, wide receiver Mike Evans and running back Charles Sims – all playing for a new offensive coordinator in Dirk Koetter.
When the Bucs had second-year guard Kevin Pamphile in the starting lineup against Jacksonville, there were times when the offense had nine – nine! – first- or second-year players on the field at the same time – to produce first downs and touchdowns.
The Glazers marveled at the job that Koetter did with the offense in one year and valued him more than Smith. When interest in Koetter for head coaching positions in Miami and Philadelphia began to heat up, Licht and the Glazers made the right move in opting to keep Koetter, who is expected to replace Smith as the Bucs’ next head coach once Licht begins the coaching search process and interviews at least one minority candidate to satisfy the Rooney Rule.
Licht spent time grooming for his first general manager job in New England and Arizona – two of the model franchises in the modern day NFL. He and director of player personnel Jon Robinson honed their scouting skills working with Bill Belichick in the Patriots organization, and drafted Winston, whom both men believe has strong similarities to future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
While in Arizona, Licht developed a strong relationship and friendship with general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians, an energetic, experienced, well-respected offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis before taking over the Cardinals and turning Arizona into an offensive juggernaut.
Licht, who had a hand in hiring Koetter and has raved about him since the day he stepped foot in One Buccaneer Place, sees some similarities between Koetter and Arians. That’s why Koetter, who is the league’s highest-paid offensive coordinator, is the likely candidate to replace Smith.
Whether it’s Koetter, Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, who is slated to interview this weekend, or a surprise candidate like New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels or Arizona offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, who was satisfy the Rooney Rule requirement because he’s African-American, Licht will allow the Bucs’ new head coach to choose his assistants.
Bucs GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“You know, when we zero in on the candidate, whether it’s Dirk, or whoever it is, we’re going to have conversations with him,” Licht said. “Usually, you let the coach pick his staff. There’s not going to be any stipulations on this coach.”
Perhaps just as important as getting the head coaching hire right is finding a defensive coordinator that can fix Tampa Bay’s porous defense. Licht will supply more talent in the offseason in free agency and with a defensive-laden draft.
It’s been an incredible two years for Licht, who came to Tampa Bay as a self-proclaimed “meathead scout.” He was fine at first with being Smith’s right-hand man, but the 2-14 debacle in 2014 changed him. Licht had come from winning organizations and wasn’t used to losing. He despised it and wore the look of disappointment following defeats like a heavy winter coat.
The ever-observant Glazers took notice. There was no complacency with Licht. He wants a team full of winners like Winston, and he wants to win now. The burning desire was obvious for them to see as the losses mounted in 2015, especially down the stretch.
“The decision was made – our ownership, I commend them on the fact that they take their time, they think things through, they don’t make emotional decisions, they don’t make in-season decisions,” Licht said. “They take in all the information. As the general manager, one of my jobs is to give them my analysis weekly, my analysis at the end of the season, of the scouting, of the coaching, of the strengths, the weaknesses. They take that information and they presented to me what their recommendation was.”
Ex-Bucs head coach Lovie Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Licht undoubtedly gave the Glazers his honest opinion of Smith’s coaching job, which was less than stellar this year. He had to for the best interest of the Buccaneers, even though it would mean that his input would help sign Smith’s pink slip. That’s the job of a general manager, and the Glazers think Licht is doing it quite well.
Reading between the lines during his press conference, Licht felt that the coaching staff, and Smith specifically, was letting the team down by suggesting they didn’t compete well enough.
“I think when you have eight wins in two years – three home wins in two years – I think [the fans] have been patient enough,” Licht said. “It does take time, but I think while you’re building a good football team, you can compete.”
The Glazers weren’t at One Buccaneer Place on Thursday and told Licht to handle the press conference. That’s not a sign of absentee ownership. It’s a sign of trust that the Glazers have in Licht, who has gone from “a meathead scout” to one of the faces of the franchise in short order.
“They’ve empowered me, right now, to be the face of the football operations, to run the football operations, to lead the charge for the next head coach,” Licht said. “They have confidence in me and my group, my personnel people. So I should be the one talking about this right now.”
Should Licht hire Koetter as expected, there’s a strong chance that Licht will retain his newfound complete control over personnel, and based on his first two drafts in Tampa Bay that’s a good thing. I’ve always admired Licht’s accountability and his unwillingness to hang on to mistakes for ego’s sake as much as I have his scouting acumen.
Bucs owner Bryan Glazer and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The Glazers have given Licht a well-deserved opportunity to run the show at One Buccaneer Place, albeit at the expense of Smith’s dismissal. I expect he’ll make the most of it, find the right head coach and defensive coordinator, continue to stockpile the talent in Tampa Bay and watch the win total climb each year.
Like the Glazers, Licht is tired of losing and won’t stand for it anymore.
“We came in together two years ago with a shared vision of winning, asking fans not to be patient, to win quickly, and we have all shared in the blame of that not happening,” Licht said. “But today is not a day to dissect the failures, particularly of Lovie as a coach. It’s to talk about the future, to talk about the next head coach of this football team, who the Glazer family has empowered me to lead the charge and find to bring us back to winning football here in Tampa. A coach that will have a shared vision of winning and bringing the fans what they deserve to this football team.”
FAB 3. SMITH STRUGGLED TO ADAPT TO FOOTBALL IN 2015
Here’s one final post-mortem issue regarding the Lovie Smith era in Tampa Bay. I think Smith was a very fine and honorable man. Despite my repeated calls for his firing this year, I never had a personal issue with Smith. I was just doing my job, which is to provide agenda-free analysis on the Buccaneers.
While I don’t think he cared for me personally after I called for him to be fired after blowing a 24-0 lead in Washington, I completely understand Smith’s standoffish stance and don’t blame him one bit. While I am proud of PewterReport.com’s reporting of the facts about Smith’s record and the risks that we took as the only media outlet calling for Smith to be fired during the 2015 season, I take no pleasure in seeing anyone lose his job.
I was obligated to point out that I didn’t think Smith was a very good coach and expressed some concern that his short-lived stint in Tampa Bay resembled that of Sam Wyche, another “name” coach that had taken his former team to the Super Bowl (and lost). The Bucs hired Wyche, who was supposed to be an offensive guru, in 1992 and he never lived up to the hype.
Now Wyche was two-faced whereas Smith was forthright and more honorable, but Smith came to Tampa Bay with the reputation of being a defensive guru. Like Wyche, Smith never lived up to the hype, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Smith arrived in Tampa Bay in 2014 with a football mindset of the 1990s. He crowed about his philosophy, which was to win eight games playing great defense and win two more with great special teams play. That formula went out the window a decade ago with NFL rule changes that favored the offense. And he never found another game-changer in the return game like he had in Devin Hester in Chicago.
Buccaneers secondary – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Smith’s Tampa 2 scheme is all but dead around the NFL. Carolina and Seattle are the only successful teams running a version of it, and that’s because they have the right personnel for the defense in the back seven and the pass rushers up front to go with it. Smith hand-picked over a dozen veteran players – many of whom had experience in his system – in his two years in Tampa Bay, but it never proved to be an effective defense.
The modern game of football might have passed the stubborn, 57-year old Smith by. He could never command enough respect in the locker room to let his message about penalties sink in. The Bucs amassed a franchise-record 143 penalties in 2015, which was tied for the NFL lead with Buffalo. The 261 penalties committed by Tampa Bay with Smith at the helm from 2014-15 are the most over a two-year span in franchise history.
Where does Smith go now? After being fired twice, he surely won’t get another head coaching opportunity in the NFL after a dismal 8-24 record in Tampa Bay, and Smith doesn’t seem built for today’s college game.
With 3-4 defenses en vogue around the NFL and the viability of the Tampa 2 waning, Smith may struggle to find a defensive coordinator gig either this year or later down the road if he decides to take a year or two off to collect his $10 million that the Bucs still owe him. Would his ego allow him to go back to being a linebackers coach? I don’t think so.
Ex-Bucs head coach Sam Wyche – Photo by: Getty Images
Smith’s defense went from bad to awful down the stretch, and with him calling the plays all season he can’t use defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier as a scapegoat. Smith solely owns the stench of the 2015 Bucs defense, and that may dissuade NFL teams from wanting to hire him to run their defense.
When the Bucs fired Wyche he was 51 years old, but his NFL career was all but over. Wyche came out of retirement for a two-year stint as the Buffalo Bills quarterback coach from 2004-05, but has gone into high school coaching and he is the offensive coordinator of Pickens High School in South Carolina.
Who knows what the future holds for Smith, but I wish him well. The Glazers made the right move in firing him and should be commended for not settling for mediocrity, which is what unfortunately defines the Smith era in Tampa Bay.
FAB 4. LICHT WILL INTERVIEW CANDIDATES OTHER THAN KOETTER
Moments after the Buccaneers fired head coach Lovie Smith on Wednesday night, PewterReport.com reported that Tampa Bay’s next head coach would likely be offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. PewterReport.com said prior to the Carolina game in Week 17 that if offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter received head coaching interest from around the league that the Bucs would fire Lovie Smith and promote Koetter to head coach.
If Koetter winds up being the selection, and he’s the leading candidate right now, it could happen as early as next week after Bucs general manager Jason Licht interviews a few other candidates, including Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.
Carolina DC Sean McDermott – Photo by: Getty Images
The two have a history together dating back to their time in Philadelphia. Swiping McDermott, 41, away from the Panthers would certainly help fix the Bucs defense, and it would be a big blow to an NFC South rival. Carolina has the sixth overall defense, allowing 322.9 yards per game, and the sixth-ranked scoring defense, allowing an average of 19.2 points per game.
Wouldn’t that be something if the Glazers gave Koetter a raise and he stayed on as offensive coordinator and McDermott took over as head coach? Tampa Bay would have two powerful offensive and defensive minds in place, and quarterback Jameis Winston would have the continuity he needs to continue to develop in the same system. That might be the ideal scenario for the Buccaneers.
Another candidate I could see Licht wanting to interview might be New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, whom he knew from his days with the Patriots organization. McDaniels, 39, has worked with a future Hall of Famer in Tom Brady and had some on-the-job training as Denver’s head coach from 2009-10.
But why pay him or Chicago offensive coordinator Adam Gase when the Bucs can stick with a guy that got them 6,000 yards? Why not build continuity and get better on offense in 2016?
Don’t be surprised if Koetter ends up as Lovie Smith’s replacement in Tampa Bay in the end. The Bucs will still have to shell out $5 million per year over the next two years to fulfill Smith’s contract, and still owe Greg Schiano $3 million in 2016. I doubt the next head coach of the Bucs makes more than $3 million per season, and that should be enough to afford Koetter.
Two names that the national media and some fans have speculated about that won’t be considered are former New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who hasn’t made the playoffs in four out of the last five years, and former Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly.
While Coughlin has two Super Bowl rings, his game management was horrible this year and cost the Giants games. That is a big reason he is gone in New York, and he’s 69 years old. Licht and the Glazers want a younger coach with some energy to appeal to this young Buccaneers team.
Kelly lacks good personnel sense and killed the Eagles front office in a power grab in Philadelphia. Licht wants no part of that, and neither should the Glazers. Why would the Glazers want to circle back around to a guy that spurned them in 2012? I am also not convinced his offense works in the NFL and Winston is not an ideal fit.
Bucs OC Dirk Koetter, GM Jason Licht and Jon Robinson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The upside with Koetter is that he becomes the next Bruce Arians, the head coach Licht helped find for Arizona, and has the same type of relationship with Winston that Arians has with Carson Palmer. Those two make the Cardinals offense click. Sean Payton and Drew Brees have the same type of relationship in New Orleans.
Having a strong relationship between an offensive-minded head coach and a quarterback can accelerate a young signal caller’s development. Just look waht Jay Gruden has done in Washington. He rehabilitated his own image with what he has done with Kirk Cousins and turned Cousins into a bona fide starting quarterback. There are examples out there of successful offensive coordinators becoming head coaches and carrying over that success with great QB rapport.
Barring an upset from a candidate that blows Licht and the Glazers away, look for Koetter’s rapport with Winston to grow even more in 2016 with his promotion as the next head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
FAB 5. SR’s BUC SHOTS
• If you were on vacation last week and missed the SR’s Fab 5 on New Year’s Day you missed a good one as I took an in-depth look at the Bucs free agents and Tampa Bay’s roster from a salary cap perspective. Find out how much cap room the Bucs have and how much more they can create with a few roster cuts. Click here to read last week’s SR’s Fab 5.
I also forecasted Lovie Smith’s firing in last week’s SR’s Fab 5. Here’s what I wrote last Friday.
“Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is the highest-paid offensive coordinator in the NFL. The Bucs absolutely love him and won’t lose him this offseason. If another NFL team makes a play to hire Koetter as its head coach, that could be the lone situation where Lovie Smith is fired and Koetter is promoted in order to keep the continuity with quarterback Jameis Winston and the Bucs’ top 10 offense.”
Don’t miss SR’s Fab 5 columns every Friday morning on PewterReport.com throughout the offseason for the best inside scoop on the Buccaneers.
• If Dirk Koetter is hired as the next head coach in Tampa Bay, finding the right defensive coordinator is essential as the Bucs need a lot of help on that side of the football. The last time Koetter was a head coach (Boise State 1998-2000, Arizona State 2001-2006), Brent Guy was his defensive coordinator. Guy is currently the safeties coach at the University of Memphis.
While Guy helped Sun Devils defensive end Terrell Suggs set the NCAA single-season sack record in 2002, he has never been a coach at the NFL level and hasn’t called plays on defense in several years. Despite Koetter’s familiarity and history with Guy, he would be a long-shot candidate in Tampa Bay.
The other names of some notable defensive coaches that Koetter has coached with before in Jacksonville (2007-11) and Atlanta (2012-14) are former Falcons head coach Mike Smith, who also coached the defense with the Jaguars, and former Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who is now the linebackers coach in San Diego. Atlanta’s defense was bad while Smith and Nolan were in charge, and Nolan is fond of the 3-4 scheme, while the Bucs have invested big money 4-3 personnel, such as defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and weakside linebacker Lavonte David.
Two other names of note are Mel Tucker, who was Jacksonville’s defensive coordinator from 2009-11 and its interim head coach during the 2011 season, and Bucs defensive line coach Joe Cullen. Tucker was Alabama’s defensive backs coach, which is his specialty, but recently accepted the defensive coordinator position at the University of Georgia under new head coach Kirby Smart.
Bucs DL Coach Joe Cullen – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Cullen coached with Koetter for a few years in Jacksonville and again last season in Tampa Bay where he’s been the defensive line coach since 2014. General manager Jason Licht has retained Cullen and linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson, but fired defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and defensive backs coaches Gil Byrd, Larry Marmie and Mikal Smith, Lovie Smith’s son.
Cullen, who coached under Tucker in Jacksonville for a few years, doesn’t have any defensive coordinator experience, which likely hurts his candidacy. But Cullen has been regarded as a great defensive mind, and he has been exposed to several different versions of the 4-3 defense, and even spent the 2013 season in a 3-4 scheme in Cleveland.
It will be very interesting to see who is hired to be Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator and what type of defense the Bucs end up running in 2016.
• Kudos to PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook for illustrating Tampa Bay’s lack of ability to finish in December and January in his column titled “Bucs’ Recent Late Season Record Of 7-31 Shows Lack Of Heart” on Monday. It’s well worth the read, Bucs fans. The Bucs need to find a head coach that can finally teach this team how to finish down the stretch or it will never make the playoffs.
• Two items to note for Tampa Bay, which will have a new head coach in 2016. The Bucs will get an extra mini-camp this year as a result, and will also be excluded from participating on HBO’s Hard Knocks series during training camp. Bucs general manager Jason Licht told PewterReport.com last year that he is not a fan of the show and would never volunteer Tampa Bay to participate. However, the NFL has a rule that states that it can pick a team to be the subject of Hard Knocks if no other franchise volunteers. The Bucs are exempt from that this year due to having a new head coach.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Buccaneers
• I know Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht is quite busy these days, but one of the first things I would do is sit down with quarterback Jameis Winston later this month and go over the roster with him from an attitude standpoint. He should ask Winston which Buccaneers have a winner’s mentality and which players have a loser’s mentality. Then I would get rid of the losers.
• Now that the holidays are over, the PewterReport.com Chats are back every Friday at 11:00 a.m. ET. It didn’t make sense for our staff to host PR Chats on Christmas and New Year’s Day, which fell on Fridays. I’m hosting the first one of 2016 today, so if you can’t join it live at 11:00 a.m. ET and ask your Bucs-related questions be sure to read the full transcript on PewterReport.com.
• A quick look back on 2015 – we set record numbers for web traffic on PewterReport.com this past year and boosted our Twitter followers over 20,000. We’re approaching 21,000 on Twitter, so if you aren’t following @PewterReport please join the Pewter Pack and do so. It’s a fast, easy way to get the latest Bucs news as well as updates on the latest stories to hit PewterReport.com. Follow us today and help get us over the 21,000 mark. Thank you!
Bucs QB Jameis Winston & RB Doug Martin – Photo by: Getty Images
• A couple of website programming notes. Stay tuned to PewterReport.com this weekend as we reveal our PewterReport.com Bucs 2015 Season Awards. Do we select Doug Martin, Jameis Winston or Lavonte David as the 2015 Bucs MVP?
Who are Tampa Bay’s most improved players on offense and defense? Who are the most disappointing and overrated players? Visit PewterReport.com on Saturday and Sunday to find out – as well as keeping up with the Bucs’ head coaching search.
And be sure to visit PewterReport.com on Monday as we unveil our first 2016 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft!
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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 enjoys 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: [email protected]
Look, Koetter might be a good head coach, and if he is our coach next week I will get behind him. But I haven’t seen any proof of it. And I don’t know why we panic-hired him. No one was going to hire him, certainly not Miami. But regardless, go Bucs.
Miami might’ve been the only team to actually hire him, IMO. I doubt the other teams, 49ers and Eagles) would’ve signed him.
Well I guess that the ownership sees that the bucs has a chance to do something now and not wait untill all the good coaches are gone. I forsee that Tampa in 2016 is going out of the gate in 2016 with Impact players on both side of the board and bring the BUCS back to the top GO BUCS.
Arians has changed the calculus of some coaching circles, and Koetter is probably Arians Mach II.
Wow, I am shocked, and disappointed, that Coach Smith would do that. These are men. It sounds like something Schiano would do. I thought we got past that. I support his firing now and look forward to a bright future. Go Bucs!!!
Call me crazy, but I don’t see DK being the chosen one. I really think this will be a real HC search.
One thing about Dirk I will say, still only the 20th scoring offense in the league. You get a lot of yards while playing from behind to reach 5th. Love’s D was 10th in yards… 26th in scoring, as you mentioned.
To further, I think Dirk just looks great compared to what we had last year. There are better options. But I will support him if he is hired.
This is the one time I agree with Steve Young who said, it’s more important to keep the good O.C. who’s got a good relationship with the Q.B., then the head coach. He said it doesn’t make sense not promoting Koetter. Sounds like Licht already likes their relationship. What did Koetter say at seasons end? The only thing anyone gives a shit about is wins, and losses. Lovie, pardon my French. That sounds like he checks one box, honesty. Funny how he said any H.C. could bring in his own coaches, yet fired some, but retained others. Could Koetter already tell Licht who his keepers are? Where’s John Gruden been? Not our J.G., the real one. Every other ESPN talking head has chimed in but him.
The search for the next Bucs coach is great Kabuki theatre! Koetter is the pick and that’s ok with me. But the drama being sold as an extensive search is a farce! Check to see how many outside interviews Koetter makes and how many coaches on the offensive side of the ball are let go. I’m surprised they didn’t pay Frazier $20 to take the Rooney rule interview before he left town to grease the skids.
Think about it! Name a new coach that has ever come in and didn’t bring his own OC? And isn’t the whole reason for making changes now is to keep Koetter’s rapport with Winston? As difficult as it will be to attract anybody worth a nickel for what most believe is at max a 2 year stint, no coach is going to come in and be forced to take the incumbent offensive staff. It doesn’t happen and it’s not going to.
NFL protocol requires them to go thru the motions and that they will do over the next few days. But like it or not, Koetter is already your next Bucs HC!
macabee – I think you’re correct. In my own business experience – and if it was DK I wanted, no one loses his job until DK is on board. That said – and staying with your premise, bringing in top DCs for interviews fits perfectly. We do pay coordinators well, maybe well enough for a lateral move.
a koetter mcdermott coaching tandem would be pretty exciting
koetter’s 2015 is merely good when looked at in a vacuum. his work goes from good superb in light of how much youth was on the field every snap and how terrible this unit (especially OL) was in 2014. what makes me believe there is upside is you saw those young players blow TD opportunities left and right and you just get the feeling koetter and our QB will get that cleaned up pretty fast
I’m sorry, but I think there is a whole different point to be made about the swearing thing. If your Shepard and you know that using profanity is offensive to your head coach, then you should have respected that. Your a college graduate and if you can’t come up with enough proper words to use without resulting to profanity, then maybe you should go back and audit some English classes, or you shouldn’t be leading the charge. You didn’t hear Jameis, or other players doing that in their speeches that have gotten played back on the news, and on the NFL network. You never heard it from Drew Brees, and he sure knows how to fire up his team.
Profanities are worthless, and meaningless words that have no real value. There has never been a meaningful speech throughout the history of this great nation given that used them. They prosper nothing. So why would anyone expect differently?
Second, that is no excuse to come out flat. If you can’t get fired up before an NFL game your about to play in (which that alone should be sufficient) than maybe you don’t deserve to be there. There’s not a single player in the league who should need a RAH, RAH speech to get them fired up to play. Especially when your getting paid a king’s ransom to play a game. That’s just an excuse. I don’t buy it.
I praise Lovie for not selling out his morals. Sure he could have handled it better, and I would have done like SR suggested and pulled him aside afterwards. But then again some things are more offending to some then others.
“….we gon’ go 7-0 on these bitches!”–Jameis Winston
Lovie Smith smiles in his reaction.
You’re kidding right? It’s a swear word and these are grown men. It’s reasons like this why Lovies soft ass will never coach again. As a coach, if you can’t deal with searing, go teach pee wee ballers. This exact situation is a reason why Lovie will never succeed. He too damn nice and that rubs off on his players, I’m looking at you Mccoy.
You are entitled to your opinion pick 6 but I am on the complete other side of this situation. You might as well have the players go check in with their mommy’s and make sure it’s ok to go play before the game.
Sorry just looked up, didn’t mean pick 6, dude was who I was referring to.
Actually Dude, quite the contrary. Jameis dropped MFs after a win while giving a speech and Lovie was grinning ear to ear like a proud papa. I can’t recall which game it was that they won but I think Lovie had a different set of rules for Jameis. Hey football is a hardcore sport and there is profanity shouted on every down in a game it just comes out along with the players adrenaline and has always been that way and always will. This team needs some fire and if it comes out profanity laden so be it.
Well, if that’s the case, then clearly Lovie has a double standard and all else is mute. I get the profanity on the field, in the locker room, ect. It’s just a fact of life. But it still don’t change the fact that if your paycheck isn’t enough to get you fired up to play in an NFL game, then maybe you don’t deserve to be on the field. This is still no reason for a flat performance against the Saints. Let’s face it, the coaches didn’t have their team prepared. It’s as simple as that. If they were prepared, a last minute buzz kill wouldn’t curtail all the preparation that was done the prior week.
Actually Dude, quite the contrary. Jameis dropped MFs after a win while giving a speech and Lovie was standing right there grinning ear to ear like a proud papa. I can’t recall which game it was that they won but I think Lovie had a different set of rules for Jameis. Hey football is a hardcore sport and there is profanity shouted on every down in a game it just comes out along with the players adrenaline and has always been that way and always will. This team needs some fire and if it comes out profanity laden so be it.
Great Fab 5 Scott! Cudo’s for the other beat writer’s at Pewter Report. Tthe missing word for Lovie was Leadership. I mean today’s type of leadership not his old way or my old way. We might need a younger HC like Josh McDaniels who I believe is ready to be a good HC. I’m not backing away from Koetter, but he is 57 and we don’t seem to be doing so good with the older coaches. Our success has been with Dungey and Gruden who were young guys. I’m sure the Glazer’s thought the same when Raheem Morris was promoted, but he just wasn’t ready. I’m wouldn’t leave Raheem out for an interview as he I think has matured at least i hope so.
Anyway the ship is not in that bad of a shape and i believe still has cannons to fire and sails still flurrying. Go Bucs!
A Fabulous Fab 5 Scott! I for one, am hoping we hire Dirk. We shall see. Keep up the great work!
One things for sure… If it’s Koetter, he’s only going to have a couple of years to prove himself as HC. There’s no denying the chemistry between Koetter and Winston, but that certainly doesn’t mean that Koetter will be a great HC. Lots of great coordinators fail at the next level. Lest we forget the hype around a certain youngry up and comer that the Glazers felt they could ill afford to lose? Fortunately, having Winston at the helm now is going to make any coach look good over the next few years, so the new Bucs coach has a good sporting chance to avoid the Glazer turnstile.
Anybody ever hear of this guy? A mockery of a well-intentioned rule rendered ineffective by the gamesmanship allowed for every NFL team. Fritz Pollard is rolling in his grave!
Tony Dungy, Raheem Morris, Lovie Smith.
If there was a team in this league that has not made “a mockery” of the Rooney rule it is the Bucs.
I know that the Bucs have hired black coaches before, more than most. I’m referring to how the rule is used by all NFL teams and in particular when they’re meeting the letter of the rule instead of the spirit. Unless you believe that Harold has as much chance as Koetter for being HC, my opinion stands! I don’t think the rule had anything to do with hiring those coaches. If it did, then Dungy aside, you would have to question it’s effectiveness!
9 years ago, the Steelers brought in Tomlin because of the Rooney Rule.
There You have it.
Please do not misunderstand. I don’t think it’s a bad rule. I think i’ts too often used as an accommodation.
Personally I get why the rule is in place, but I agree with you Mac, most times it’s used just to say that they did it. I’ve always been under the impression that whomever is best for the job, that’s who gets hired. I don’t care if they are white, black , purple, or orange.
First off Buccaneer fans, ask yourself where would we be today if Chip Kelly had come here? National media pundits don’t pay attention to us as much as the “big market” franchises so ignore their speculations as to what will happen here.
Lovie sealed his fate with the last four losses. I agree with Scott that his game management plus I will add his lack of ability to instill the discipline to reduce penalties over time were significant also.
Third, I believe that the Glazers had to be conservative for a few years after they bought the Manchester United team and then the broad economy took a downturn. In recent years they have shown that they are not afraid to spend some money. They seem focused on the Buccaneers again.
I am ever optimistic that good things are coming to our team, sooner rather than later. Go Bucs!!
The Glazers may have turned a corner in spending after being the lowest spending team in the league along with the Chiefs for several years but some of that is due to the fact that there is a salary floor requirement to meet. Teams can no longer do what the Glazer babies did from 2008-2011 and cheap out on their fan base by signing a punter as their biggest free agent catch in an offseason.
I think you have to look at this by what did Lovie really do that warranted him getting another year? If you say he improved from 2 wins to 6 wins, you could rightfully counter with the fact that he should have won at least 4-6 games in the 2-14 year. That makes any improvement this year less impressive. His defense regressed, he never got the penalty situation fixed, his teams came out flat in games that they shouldn’t, his game management skills were very suspect. What ever you think about Koetter, Lovie didn’t do his job well enough this year to be given a 3rd year IMO.
Yep. it was all Lovie’s fault. Not the fact that we only scored 17 points on the worst defense in the league. A defense that allowed 29.8 points per game. No mention of Koetter’s play calling. Yep, that’s real insight Scott.
Nope none of it is Lovies fault. The head coach has no responsibility on game day at all. You had 9 rookies or second year guys on offense, games like that are going to happen. You have a defensive “guru” running the team, with veterans and people who have played in his crap scheme before, who can’t stop anyone. Literally anyone.
You’re right, maybe smith should get another chance so we could’ve won 4 games next year we can say it was the offenses fault again.
Great fab 5 as always. The lovie situation with Russell Shepard is just embarrassing if you ask me. These are grown men who are about to go out and play a game that in essence has you running into a brick wall over and over again.
I don’t care what you have to do to get in the right mindset, you do it.
This soft Lovie is why I’m glad he’s gone. It shows in his coaching style, his play calling, and the way he deals with players. Good luck to him but I’m not going to feel bad for a guy whose making 5 mill a year for the next two years while doing nothing because he sucked at his job in the first place.
AS for our new head coach, Licht will do his due diligence and I trust in his skills of assessment. I’m glad he has power over the 53 man roster as well. I would be pretty surprised though if it was anyone else than Koetter.
We have some damn good pieces, need a good draft, and we need to be at leaste a little active in free agency. We have way too many holes to fill to just depend on the draft.
I’m more interested to see who our new defensive coordinator will be.
wait a minute!! so smith being authoritative & disciplinary – which you criticize him about not being and said was a reason for all the penalties – is now the reason for the team coming out flat? had nothing to do with the offense & koetter sucking it up both games? no lovie killed the locker room because he put his foot down LOL
Putting his foot down over curse words?? Why didn’t he focus on football issues instead of cuss words. How about He figures out how to make adjustments in the second half instead of getting beat by the same plays over and over. Your talking about a man who had mariota throw almost 25 percent of his td passes against us in week one. I’m glad he’s gone. Find me a real defensive coordinator now
I must admit to having mixed feelings about Lovie. On the one hand stability is important. OTOH, Lovie is clearly not a dynamic in-game coach. But what is more important here is what we see from Licht. This is the just the latest (and perhaps most poignant) example of guy who sincerely cares about building a successful football team. Even if that means cutting guys he signed. Or giving an honest, negative assessment of the guy who brought him in. I am impressed with him and agree with SR that he seems to “get it”. Good players can win games. Good coaches can put together winning seasons. A good GM can win you championships. And it doesn’t hurt to have a franchise QB either. Licht will get it right!
I agree. Licht is impressive.
Wow, we are throwing out names like Guy who coached a horrible defense at ASU, wow, and to give him credit for Suggs 22 sacks is hilarious, Suggs put his hand in the ground and just went after the qb not sure what the coordinator does to help him out. I was at the game vs Wash when Suggs sacked Cody Pickett 4 and half times so I know this team better than PR believe me, ASU Defense sucked big time than and gave up huge yds and pts to sub par teams, Koetter had a below 500 record within the conference and over all record of 45-40 at ASU and had the worst tenure of a ASU Coach since Larry Marmie another ex Bucs Coach on staff. Koetter is good with qb’s but were talking about the head coaching job where he has failed at the collegiate level and we think he will make a good head coach in the NFL? ok we will see I guess, but I hated him at ASU.
That’s why I’m for taking our time and let Jason find what he wants.
Cudos to Doug Martin for being named all-pro.
they should have fired him after the Saints game, if not the Rams game; this would have given the Bucs a better look at Koetter as a head coach.
I was pulling for Lovie. I had changed my mind or rather, was very happy with him after 12 games. I thought we had “turned the corner”. Something more happened by the end. I don’t have a clue what it might have been.
I heard a comment about the Seahawks in recent years on the radio this afternoon on the radio. It seems they win a lot in spite of consistently having a high rate of turnovers. Go figger!
I was caught by surprise but, not totally shocked when Lovie was fired. I still don’t have a feel for the thinking of the Glazers. Malcom was in charge of major business decisions from the time of his purchase until his strokes in 2006. This spanned the buildup under Dungy and the Superbowl win under Gruden. Gruden’s tenure was some seven years.
I have yet to see any insider analysis of the transition from the Malcom through the time of the three sons by anyone in the local or national media. If it happened I missed along the way.
How about it Scott? …. Go Bucs!!!
CORRECTION: The comment I heard was that the Seahawks have a high average number of penalties under Carroll. (Not turnovers.)
What a fantasic read. Sorru I couldn’t get involved earlier but a prior reservation at a local golf course intervened.
You nailed it right Scott in regards to the Shepherd. One of the few ooncepts my ex company lived by (and one of the few that made sense) was that managers “praise in public and criticize in private.”
Not only should have Lovie held his tongue, he should have waited until the next day to pull the young man aside and explain his thoughts.
I once heard Derrick Brooks was very respectful towards Dungy in regards to using it around him. Although Dungy did not disallow it, the majority of the players respected him so much they refrained from using it.
I myself hate to hear people dropping F and S bombs in every sentence they use. It shows a complete lack of education and the ability to converse intelligently.
Of course a football field, the belly of a ship and a foxhole are different places altogether.
Macabee, I think I have to disagree with you about new coaches bringing in their new OC with them.
When Dungy arrived in Indianapolis, he wasn’t allowed to touch the offense although he did bring in Clyde Cristenson as the QB coach to help the clumsy QB they had at the time with his mechanics and throwing motion.
As far as what the national media says, they can all go pound salt as far as I care.
As I said yesterday, they aren’t paying 1K a year to sit in the stands and watch our defense get shredded on a weekly basis.
Agree totally with your assessment of the defensive FA’s who were brought in after being hand picked by Lovie.
Finally jongruden I just have to ask this. It appears you have lived in Arizona for quite some time with the Cards being your favorite pro team.
Why the interest in the Bucs.
One exception does not make a rule! Feel free to change my statement to “As a general rule….”. Now to make my point – name two! lol.
Ha- Knew my name would be mentioned at some point, I lived in Bradenton, Fl from 1983-1994 dad huge Bucs Fan since 1976 brought me to training camps and games since we had season tickets. I have a photo album full of me with players as I would meet them after practice as they would cross the street from practice field to locker room. Me and Hardy one of my favs with his arm around me and smiling with his famous mouth piece in place. Sat through many horrible seasons from Joe Ferguson, Steve DeBerg, Vinny, Erickson sitting on the 50 yd line with my legs stretched out on those hard cement rows. Joined the USAF in 1994 and never lived in Tampa again except visiting family on vacation, sat with Scubog for one game and it was a pleasue meeting he and his wife. Hope I have your apporoval now, ha
SR- I really respect you but FAB 1 is nothing but crap. There was a game, i don’t remember which one, where JW give an impassioned speech and the Bucs played like crap. I was not and am not a Loive fan but saying that a his actions on that speech caused the Bucs to come out fast is ludicrous. How about this theory, JW played really poorly in the first half of the last 4 games. The offense could not convert a first down. Let’s start with JW looked like a rookie down the stretch and the defense was absolutely HORRIBLE. Pre game speeches are NOT the reason the Bucs lost 4 in a row.
Scott, having JL meet with Winston is a great idea, but I’d take it a step further. Have the winners, LD, GM, DM, and other winners sit with JL and go over the roster
Great read! This is why I like Pewter Report. Inside info you just don’t get elsewhere. Lovie needed to go for a million reasons. Too many to even name in one article. I do have faith in Licht. I hope to god we get the right coach this time. My gut says they have already decided on Koetter. I think he will make a good head coach but there are no guarantees about anyone period. Equally important as stated is finding a really good, aggressive, creative D coordinator. We have some very talented players on defense. It’s not as bad as people think IMO. They just were not coached well or put in the right defense most of the time. I just don’t see how any objective person could not give Lovie most of the blame for this teams woes on defense and the penalties overall. He really did himself in when he took away the defense play calling from Frazier. You do that nobody else to take the fall. Better be damn sure you can do better. He obviously thought he could. He clearly could not. I have zero doubt having a great defensive draft this year would not have helped much. Poor clock management, poor free agency choices, poor scheme and adjustments, just could go on forever. His press conferences were all the same. He talked in circles and insulted our intelligence every time. Lovie had no fire in him to win that i could see. Lot of the team adopted his oh well we will fix it eventually attitude. He didn’t seem to hate losing like our rookie QB does. Again wish him and his family the best he’s a nice guy and a lousy coach.
Sorry macabee, I guess I was just trying to show off what a smarty pants I am. That and make fun of Clyde Christenson. Boy, has that guy lived a charmed life. Just shows you want going to church will do for your career.
Thanks jongruden. I remember those years to well. I think I still have a picture of me shaking Sam Wyche’s and Craig Erickson’s hand when they had training camp at U of Tampa.
I know you say you didn’t like Lovie from the start and I can’t help but notice that you are not thrilled about Koetter as a head coach either.
Do you have anyone specifically you would like to see behind the held of the Buc warship.
Also you don’t need my approval. I’m not God, but I did play him one time on stage in the award winning play, “Waiting for Godot.”
Is there a head
I think Koetter can do fine as long as we have a good defensive coordinator, that will be key but hiring the coach Guy from ASU would be a disaster. If I had my choice I would like Mike Singletary or Hardy Nickerson as my defensive coordinator they are no non sense guys who would bring a fiery attitude for the defense. I met Sam Wyche too after practice he was always gracious with fans and I liked him as our coach even when he would have fans choose a play to run that week from the news paper, lol
That is helm, not held. I wish I could type without typos.
The religious Dungy wasn’t a fan of swearing, but I believe he had several defensive assistants that weren’t afraid to drop f-bombs to the players. I think I remember him discussing it on his radio shows several times that he didn’t care for foul language. Hell (pun intended), Sapp had a horrible mouth on and off the field and he didn’t put the kibosh on it.
As far as the Rooney Rule it’s hard telling from organization to organization. Since, I did not follow the Steelers in recent years I don’t have any insight into the ownership mindset. I do think that it is more likely that they got Tomlin because they thought that he would fit well. They had much of what they wanted in place when Cowher left and Tomlinson was really handed a golden opportunity. He has done the job and is still Pittsburgh’s head coach. Someone somewhere in all the discussion I have been trying to keep up with regarding our situation noted this. “The Steeler have had only three head coaches since 1969.” They had 13 during the previous period going back to 1933.
(I just love the Web. I don’t have to know very much, really. I got this info via Wikipedia just a moment ago. If it is wrong feel free to go there and update it.)
This is starting to look like the biggest coaching gamble since the Rah experiment….none of the DCs or OCs on offer are filling me with hope….I sure hope we find some diamonds in the rough this time.
How nice to see jonnyg and drdneast getting along so well. I must say, I’m surprised drdneast leaped off of the Lovie bandwagon so quickly.
As I have said since PR called for his firing on the Bucs lost to the Jaguars scudog, if the Bucs wanted to fire Lovie for the sound reasons PR stated, I was okay with it.
I only defended Lovie when he was attacked for things beyond his control and for his calm, cool demeanor.
The days of halftime locker room rah rah speeches are over. General Patton on the sideline doesn’t cut it either.
As the smarter foot soldiers under his command used to say of ole George “Blood
and Guts” Patton, “His guts, our blood.”
EastEndBoy, your thoughts were the main reason I had for keeping Lovie.
We fired Gruden because the team felt it needed to go in a different direction.
Well, it worked.
Scott OUTSTANDING ARTICLE! I have been searching media for the real story and insight! I agree with your assessment 1000%! I hope we can retain Koetter as a OC and bring in a strong DC as head coach. Offense is far too critical in today’s game for a HC to wear multiple hats. Hope ego’s stay in check thru this selection process. You have convinced me to be a frequent viewer of the PR site!
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