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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. Howard Leads Impressive Bucs Rookie Class

It’s a shame when a Bucs season is essentially over in November rather than December.

Or January, ideally.

Too often PewterReport.com’s focus has shifted away from discussing a potential postseason berth and looking at the playoff picture to looking at potential draft picks and discussing how high Tampa Bay’s first-round pick will be.

But that’s been the case nearly every year since the 2008 season.

Instead of featuring some future draft picks that could help turn the Bucs’ fortunes around in 2018 in this edition of SR’s Fab 5, I’m writing about some of the team’s current draft picks and how the success of the 2017 draft class will be just as important to a better year in Tampa Bay than the incoming 2018 rookies.

While the 2017 class doesn’t quite rival general manager Jason Licht’s picks from the 2015 NFL Draft where the Bucs landed a franchise quarterback in Jameis Winston, a stud linebacker in Kwon Alexander and two good offensive linemen in center-guard Ali Marpet and left tackle Donovan Smith – who is better than he often gets credit for – Licht was able to land four more big-time contributors this past April.

Needing a home run draft after the 2016 class, which consisted of struggling cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, oft-injured defensive end Noah Spence, and former kicker Roberto Aguayo, who is out of the league, among others, Licht delivered with four more rookies that ended up being starters this season. In a similar way in which Licht’s first four picks panned out in 2015, Tampa Bay’s first four selections in 2017 – tight end O.J. Howard, safety Justin Evans, wide receiver Chris Godwin and linebacker Kendell Beckwith – showed incredible promise.

“Yeah, we are real happy with that whole rookie class – even throw Antony Auclair in there as a rookie free agent,” Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said.

Let’s start with Howard and Evans, whose seasons ended prematurely on Monday Night Football as both players suffered serious ankle injuries that landed them on injured reserve. Once projected as a top 10 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Howard slipped in the first round because many teams drafted for need rather than the best player available. When Howard fell into the Bucs’ lap with the 19th overall pick, Licht and Koetter wisely pounced.

It was a no-brainer.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, TE O.J. Howard & GM Jason Licht - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, TE O.J. Howard & GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Howard has lived up to his first-round billing, catching 26 passes for 432 yards when he hasn’t been forgotten by Koetter, the team’s play-caller. Howard’s 16.1 yards per catch average leads the team, and his six touchdown catches is the most by a Bucs rookie tight end in team history and is tied with Cameron Brate for the team lead. Howard’s 58-yard touchdown catch against the New York Giants is also the Bucs’ longest play from scrimmage this season.

“The thing about O.J. that stands out to me is how coachable he is,” Bucs wide receiver Adam Humphries said. “He has the athleticism, the talent and speed for a guy his size, but he wants to improve each week. If he runs a route and Coach Koetter comes and asks him to run it a different way he doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t complain. He does it the right way and he wants to do it the right way. He’s coachable. That’s the biggest thing about O.J. that I’ve seen this year.”

Despite having Brate has 42 catches for 541 yards and six touchdowns this season, Howard has found his role on the team as a blocker and a big-play weapon on offense.

“First of all, he is an NFL tight end – he is a rare commodity these days,” said Bucs offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Todd Monken said. “With any player, you want them to do everything well. ‘Boy, we want a tight end that can block, and run, and catch and we can flex him out there and we can do this with him.’ Those guys don’t exist, especially early in their careers. He is the closest thing to that. A lot of guys now are H-[backs]. They are much more outside. They are air-raid guys. He is not that guy. He is going to be a tremendous, tremendous player. It’s only starting to come with him in his route running, his balance and body control, his aggressiveness and going against grown [men].

“We ask a lot of him. He not only has to be really, really tough and really fundamental in his run game, but he’s also got to be a receiver for us vertically. So, you’re right – I think he has an unbelievable ceiling. This floor is still really high. We thought that when we drafted him. That’s the bottom – you are going to get a really good player. Now, where that [ceiling] is – that’s up to him and the coaches around him to develop him.”

Unfortunately, Howard’s season ended prematurely on his 30-yard touchdown catch on Monday Night Football against Atlanta when he suffered a severely sprained ankle. Howard’s six touchdowns are currently tied with New York Giants tight end Evan Engram for the most by a rookie this season and he certainly made his mark in Tampa Bay this year.

Bucs TE OJ Howard - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs TE OJ Howard – Photo by: Getty Images

“This rookie class in general, everyone came in and bought in,” Howard said. “Everyone learned their role and embraced it. That’s the most important thing you can do your rookie year or as a team player in general. Just come in and embrace your role and know what it is.”

Evans, who was Tampa Bay’s second-round pick, became a starter in his fourth game of the season due to injuries to safeties T.J. Ward and Keith Tandy and recorded an interception in his first start against New England quarterback Tom Brady. Evans, who has solidified the free safety spot, is currently third on the team 66 tackles, two tackles for loss, six passes defensed, second on the team, and three interceptions, which is tied for the team lead.

Evans, whose season also ended against Atlanta due to a sprained ankle, took full advantage of early playing time during his rookie campaign and didn’t leave the starting lineup once he got his shot. The same thing happened to linebacker Kendell Beckwith, one of the Bucs’ two third-round picks.

Beckwith won the starting strongside linebacker role coming out of training camp, but was forced to take over at middle linebacker when Kwon Alexander suffered an injured hamstring that sidelined him for several weeks.

“I think it’s because we were put in situations where we had to play,” Evans said about the success of the 2017 rookie class. “O.J. was a first-round pick, so of course he was going to play. Then when I came in, I got my first start was because T.J. and Tandy were hurt. I had to play. Beck came in and started when Kwon got hurt. It was either play or not, and you have to play. This is what we have wanted to do for so long so you just have to make the most of it. Whatever happens after that, you learn from it – good or bad.”

Bucs FS Justin Evans – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Evans has given up a few touchdowns in coverage as he’s taken some lumps as a rookie, but he’s also made some sensational plays, including a diving interception in the end zone in Miami.

“I guess we’ve got the playing time because we were doing it well enough to stay on the field,” Evans said. “If you aren’t doing it well enough they aren’t going to keep you out there. That’s how I feel. We just take that to heart. Just doing your job. Trying to do your job like everyone else. Yeah, we’re rookies but we’re trying to make the same plays everybody else makes.”

Beckwith was leading the team in tackles through the first quarter of the season when Alexander and Lavonte David missed time due to injuries. The LSU product is fourth on the Bucs with 65 tackles, seven tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble during his rookie year.

Beckwith recovered quickly from a torn ACL last November and played so well early in the season that the Bucs wanted to keep him on the field so bad that they modified their nickel package, moving away from a 4-2-5 scheme to a 3-3-5 look. Tampa Bay has also used Beckwith at defensive end.

“I love it,” Beckwith said. “I love rushing the passer and they’ve got me standing up doing it so I have a better view. I lack no confidence. I had confidence that my knee was going to be ready this season, and I knew whoever picked me was going to be happy about it. At the end of the day once I got in I showed what I could do.”

Wide receiver Chris Godwin, the Bucs’ other third-round draft pick, has only started one game, which came against the New York Jets when Mike Evans was suspended. Godwin had a career-high five catches for 68 yards, which he matched weeks later against Detroit. Godwin was given a game ball for two clutch catches for 38 yards in Tampa Bay’s 30-20 win at Miami.

Bucs LB Kendell Beckwith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs LB Kendell Beckwith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Godwin has a catch in each of the last 11 games and has 24 receptions for 316 yards (13.2 avg.) during his rookie year and has a bright future in the league. Godwin is expected to get the start Sunday in Carolina for DeSean Jackson, who has a sprained ankle and hasn’t practiced this week.

“Our rookies have been impressive,” Tampa Bay wide receiver Adam Humphries said. “Chris is really good. I think he can be a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in the NFL. He’s got that kind of talent. Chris wants to mold his game after Larry Fitzgerald. I think he’s a perfect model. Obviously, Larry is one of the best to do it, but Larry works in the run game like Chris does. They have similar body size and body control. If Chris keeps working he has the size and capability to be like him. It’s fun watching him play, and he’s what, 20 or 21? He’s a real young dude but he feels real comfortable out there playing.”

Howard knew that Licht’s 2017 rookie class could be special shortly after the draft.

“All those guys I played against in college except for Chris,” Howard said. “I knew Beck and Justin were two good defensive players. I played against them in college every year because we were in the same division. They’re really good players that you knew were going to correlate to the next level. I wasn’t really too surprised by their success.”

The Bucs cut their fifth-round pick, running back Jeremy McNichols, after the preseason, and seventh-round pick Stevie Tu’ikolovatu has missed the entire season on injured reserve and will make his official NFL debut next year. But Auclair, an undrafted rookie free agent from Canada, also makes Tampa Bay’s 2017 rookie class special.

Auclair is primarily a blocking tight end and saw his first NFL action of the season on Thursday Night Football against New England. He was used primarily in short yardage and goal line plays and running back Doug Martin scored a touchdown on Auclair’s first NFL snap.

The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Quebec native has two catches for 25 yards this season, both going for first downs, including a 14-yarder against Atlanta on Monday Night Football. His first NFL catch, an 11-yarder, came at Green Bay on the first play of the game.

Auclair was improving at such a rapid rate that his progress prompted the Bucs to cut long-time tight end Luke Stocker in November to give him more playing time. With Howard sidelined for the final two games of the year, Auclair will see more snaps and a more prominent role on offense. While he is making his adjustment to playing American football, Auclair has been closely watching Howard’s development and modeling his play after the Bucs’ first-round pick.

Bucs TE Antony Auclair – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“O.J. has gotten better every week and has really been on the details to enhance his game and it’s shown on Sundays,” Auclair said. “O.J. is my boy and it’s fun to work with him. I try to watch what he’s doing out there and apply it myself. He’s getting better and I’m getting better.”

Bucs fullback and tight end Alan Cross sees a lot of promise in both rookie tight ends.

“O.J. has learned a lot and I’ve seen him grow – Antony, too,” Cross said. “From when they got here they both put their heads down and got to work in the playbook and get better at the little things. That’s all you can ask from a rookie. They’re going to be a big part of what we do going forward.”

Evans is proud of how he and his fellow rookies have played in their initial rookie season in the NFL, and as I pointed out in last week’s SR’s Fab 5, the success of this draft class should help Licht’s future in Tampa Bay.

“Yeah, I mean it is definitely a good look for the class when guys come in and handle their business,” Evans said. “We just have to finish it off strong and continue to get better and better.”

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th 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 son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

28 COMMENTS

  1. I know that I am in the minority in this and that I will get skewered by all the trolls; however, I think it would be a mistake to fire Koetter and not give him another year. If you fire him after one bad season you become the Browns and the Bills. A new coach will mean a new system and he will want his own players, which means the great drafts we’ve had might mean nothing and we would be starting all over again. You can’t build a consistent football team like that. Do we really believe that Koetter is as bad as Morris, Schiano or Smith? At some point, any good perspective coach is going to look at Tampa Bay as a coaching graveyard and will turn down the job in favor of going to a team with a more patient ownership. Free agents will think the same thing despite whatever money the Glazers throw at them. Yes, some players are in it for the money. Those are the wrong type of players anyway. Most players want a shot at the playoffs and a Super Bowl ring. Give Koetter another year and make some coaching changes. If the result is the same, then you fire him.

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    • JayBuc52
      Be prepared for the trolls but I’ll stand with you. Instead to writing a comment I am going to use your words and emphasize my sentiments verbatim. Sweeping coaching changes now simply imply we are the Cleveland Browns South.

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      • The Bucs ARE the Browns of the NFC South, the perennial cellar dwellers of the division, ever since Gruden was fired at the end of the 2008 season. Since then, we’ve only had two seasons with winning records out of nine, no division championships. Sitting in our accustomed position of last in the division yet again this year.

        Changing coaches is not the problem. Changing coaches is the result of choosing coaches poorly. Starting with the foolish decision to fire Jon Gruden in January 2009.

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    • Yes, arguing for firing Koetter makes you a troll. Real strong defense there. *eye roll*

      Churning through coaches is only a negative if you’re firing good coaches. Like Morris, Schiano, and Lovie, Koetter is a bad coach. He was hired not because he was the best candidate but to preserve Winston’s development (which hasn’t happened). Under his tenure the Bucs have been bad on defense, terrible on special teams, and never better than 18th in points scored. He’s not a leader and has hired bad coaches.

      A real keeper there.

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    • Jay I agree: if we look at just one example the head coach for Carolina the Fan Base wanted him fired after his second year.
      The owner stayed with him it worked out very well. I do think some coaches on the team will be replaced. Just my opinion.

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    • I’m with you 100%. If this team fires yet another coach after only two seasons I’m done with them. I’m sick and tired of drafting guys, watching the develop into quality NFL players, then watching them get let go because they don’t fit the new coach’s scheme (Donald Penn) or the new coach doesn’t like their attitude or personality (Michael Bennett). Its just draft picks down the tubes. And if Koetter is fired who are you going to replace him with, Jon Gruden? Fat chance. Gruden’s not leaving the best job in football to come back and work for the same owners who treated him like garbage the first time around. I know pewter report has been pushing that fairy tale for weeks now but grow up people, it ain’t happening.

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      • i’m sick of hiring bad coaches.

        Hey, I’ve got an idea, why not hire a GOOD coach?

        Who’da thunk it?

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      • As for Gruden, he is on the razor’s edge with his current job as the highest paid on air talent at a network that has been conducting mass layoffs for the last two years because of plummeting ratings and plummeting “cut the cord” cable tv revenues. The handwriting is on the wall. Gruden either needs to get back into coaching, or resign himself to a massive pay cut or a firing. He’s too young to retire. And he is the best head football coach candidate available to the Glazers, who almost certainly have already offered him the job.

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  2. Go read Trevor’s article. Koetter’s offenses decline year after year. Three different teams and the same results. It’s the wrong offense. He will never out coach Payton, Quinn or Rivera. We need a more talented Head Coach. It was the wrong decision to put him in that job. The fans are not going to show up to watch a Dirk Koetter team next year. Gruden brings excitement and people will buy tickets to see it. That’s what the Glazers have to be considering.

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    • It can be said with Trevor’s chart Mike Smith is a bigger problem. Defense is still what it is about and allows most NFL QB’s and OC to not have to be perfect. We have a horible defense; stay focused on that thought.

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      • Koetter is not the coach of only the offense, he is the head coach and responsible for all aspects of team performance, offense, defense, and special teams. Koetter personally hand picked Mike Smith to coach the defense, after many years of working with and later for him. There is no excuse for Koetter to say that only Smith is responsible for the defense.

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  3. I always enjoy your very detailed analyses, Scott. I think that after the Atlanta game, the critics of Winston have to admit that he proved that he is well on point to be the Franchise QB that we have been looking for since our Super Bowl win. He also showed he can keep his emotions under control for an entire game without overthrowing his receivers and can start scoring on his opening attempt. I also have to admit that this year’s draft has panned out a lot better than I first projected. At the same time, though, you should admit that Licht has failed to build a strong Offensive Line to protect Jameis, which resulted in his hurt shoulder that threw this season into a tail spin, and he also failed to build a strong defensive line to pressure the opposing QB with skilled DEs and, and failed to build a defense to stop the run, missed on his first pick last year, wasted picks and choices on his place kickers, and should have gotten one of the many great RBs in this years’ draft. He still failed to get us into the playoffs which he said was his job. He needs to walk the plank for all those failures.

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    • I still reject the notion that a single game performance by Winston against Atlanta somehow defines him as a player, while completely ignoring that just one week earlier he lost the game for us with three give-aways. That game also does not define Winston as a player. The two games taken together actually DO define Winston as he has been for three seasons, a hot-cold-hot-cold player.

      Cherry picking and selective memory are not truthful descriptors of reality.

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  4. Week 8 of Scott’s series “Save My Friend Jason Licht!” and the struggle continues.

    Scott would really, really like to talk about something else other than the nice looking rookie draft class when it comes to Jason Licht’s time here, but unfortunately for readers, if he did, it wouldn’t be too positive.

    For example, if Scott talked about the fact that the Rams going to the playoffs this year will mean that the Buccaneers have the longest playoff drought in the entire NFC, well that wouldn’t be good as Jason has made the roster for the past 4 of those years. If Scott mentioned that the GM managed to make the Bucs defensive line the 3rd highest paid in the NFL with 40.1 million in cap space going to it, but which is last in the league in sacks (18) and 23rd in run defense at 119.5 ypg that wouldn’t be good either. But what if I told you that Jason agreed to keep Doug Martin’s 5th highest salary of any RB in the league this year even though it was unguaranteed due to his drug suspension and the Bucs have the 27th overall rushing offense in the league with their best runner being a UDFA because Licht largely passed on the bumper crop of RB’s this year? Would that sound good? I guess we should stick with our focus on that rookie safety and linebacker in order to save him instead.

    Now I would think a 4-10 team who’s 4 wins came against equally bad teams and did not beat a single team at or above 500 would be an indication that this team and the talent isn’t as good as people think, as you would think a supremely talented roster could play up to, or steal a game against a good opponent or two but Scott has informed me that actually it’s Dirk Koetter’s fault that the team only beats other teams to the level of it’s record. Thanks, for the heads up, Scott, next time my kickball team continues to lose to teams better than us I’ll make sure to blame our coach.

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    • The funniest part is EVERYONE knows you can’t evaluate a draft class after 1 year. It’s literally impossible.

      Howard, Evans, Goodwin, and Beckwith could all be busts. You CANNOT evaluate these players after 15 games. Yes, they look good in limited action. SR used to praise to high heavens every one of Domink’s draft classes because the rookies looked good.

      He hasn’t learned.

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      • There’s a thing in investing called recency bias I can only assume Scott Reynolds has never heard of, but thanks to the powers of google and a donation of 5 cents of electricity he may one day be able to find out. Help Scott Reynolds learn of recency bias by donating here.

        https://mullooly.net/recency-bias-is-everywhere/8236

        So if the 2016 NFL Draft was a complete dud despite a top 10 selection available in each round, the fact that the 2017 NFL Draft was good is more important to Scott because, naturally it is more recent even though if anything, the 2016 Draft had more capitol invested (higher draft picks) and a below average return. Further, if the Bucs were a stock, and that stock has been a dog for the past four years would you want the CEO during that time to continue because 4 new stores out of 53 were doing well? Which is more important, overall results or cherry picked recent ones?

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      • Yup … it takes a minimum of three years to judge a draft class, unless they all fail completely sooner. I like the guys we got, but the Bucs have specifically had LOTs of one-year wonder players who completely failed a year or two or three later, whether due to injury or just bad performance (see, Cadillac Williams, Michael Clayton, ASJ, etc. etc.). Ditto with players who were thought to be busts in their first one or two years who turned out to be terrific players, including perennial pro bowlers like Gerald McCoy and Ronde Barber.

        Light as a drafter is about average for the league. He’s an absolute failure on free agents and trades. And, we now know, Licht is also horrible as a head coach picker.

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    • thanks for telling it like it is…

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  5. Devasher, I’m with you. Scott starts off by saying drafting Howard was a no brainer. Like most of Lichts picks when drafting high it is kind of hard to miss. However Licht did miss big time with giving up draft capital for a kicker, an under sized, and slow corner, and Spence who was to small, and slow for a 4-3 D end. Even if you agree Godwin. Howard, and Evans are talented, we would’ve been just as well, or better off going in a different direction. With Mike Evans, Brate on board looking to get paid soon, did we really need another receiver, and tight end? Wouldn’t Hunt, or Kamara added better value? Justin Evans could become something, but safety is the last line of defense. The first line of defense is well the D line! How has Licht in his four years of drafting improved that area? Don’t sign Gholston, and Baker, you can afford C. Cambell. For those who want to stay the course, be prepared to stay the course. What you’ve seen in Licht, and Koetter is what you’re going to get. Atlanta S-canned Koetter, and Smith. Since then they’ve won division titles, been to the Super Bowl, and will probably make the playoffs again. Us?

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    • William Gholston had proven to be a consistently poor pash rusher who averaged 2.5 sacks a year in his first 4 years in Tampa. Was he an above average run denfender? Sure, but is a run-defending defensive end with no pass rush worth 6 million a year when you have no one who can reliably rush the passer in the first place? Who are the QB’s in the NFC South again?

      As noted the Bucs actually have the 3rd highest paid defensive line in the entire NFL(40 million) with the fewest sacks (18) and the bottom half run defense (23rd) in the NFL thanks to poor decision-making of the GM. For every Kendell Beckwith or Justin Evans, I can point to a William Gholston and Chris Baker, the question is which is more vital to a team’s success, sam linebacker and safety or pass rush at the defensive line?

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  6. Scott, Defense comes first and foremost. Why are you continuing to focus on Koetter and Winston when it should be Mike Smith and Jason Licht? How can you not yell loudly that Smith needs to go? Even Trevor’s chart connects the dots more to Smith than Koetter.
    Let go back to the real problem? No productive DE drafted since when? No DE drafted in the first round since win? There’s the big problem. If Licht learned anything from Belicheck, is a very special coach, is never be afraid to toss away a drafted pick if it’s not producing, but get something for it, so it’s totally not wasted. You article today was far from your best one because you’re repeating your message over and over and are bringing nothing new to the plate; it’s still bread and water.

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    • A long forgotten about move by the “greatest GM in Bucs history” according to at least commenter on PR is that rather than filling the vacant LG position in free agency or the draft in 2014 Jason Licht swung a trade with the Patriots in training camp for 32 year old Logan Mankins. The Bucs then proceeded to go 2-14 that year. I’m not sure how wise it is to trade a draft pick for a nearly-retired player when you are about to embark on being the worst team in football, but then again, I’m not a GM.

      For those wondering, the 4th round pick that year was the 2nd pick in the round, was used by the Patriots to take Trey Flowers, who is the Patriots best pass rusher this year, has 6.5 sacks and 13.5 over the past two years. Which is sliiightly more than Noah Spence has in the same period (6.5).

      If pass rush wasn’t your thing at the top of the 4th round of the 2015 draft, the Bucs could have used the pick on Panthers starting RT Daryl Williams who was taken one pick later, or WR Jamison Crowder (4 spots later) who has been slightly more productive and cheaper than big dollar free agent Desean Jackson has been for the Bucs.

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  7. Could it be that PR misjudged the Buccaneers strength of schedule last summer, which is currently rated toughest in the league. We’ve beaten the teams we were supposed to beat with the possible exception of Arizona. We’ve lost close games we could have won against the Bills, Patriots, Lions, Falcons, and Packers. We have the #11 ranked offense in the league even without a quality running back. Our head coach showed he can win in this league last year. He should get another year. Gruden had a four win season and kept his job. Get to the playoffs next year or get fired. Has any team ever gone through a season with as many missed games due to injury as the Buccaneers. On Sunday, we will start the game without 7 starters on offense and likely at least 6 on defense. That will be true of no other team in the league, yet they still are playing hard.

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  8. It’s amazing how one year makes such a transformation in our assessment of the Coaching. Last year, at the end we were all sure that we were going to go to the playoffs, and that we would be one of the top NFL teams.
    Now, we need to fire everyone, including the QB, Coaches, and Management. I don’t think it is that dire. Actually, I think the Drafting as of late has been pretty good even though some of the picks this year were surprises and most of us figured that with the exception of the first pick this year that the others would be lucky to get in the lineup at all this year or start or become exceptionally good, and yet several of them did just that. I still will say that strategy seems to be something lacking in this organization. We need free agency strategy and drafting strategy. We have more holes to fill than one draft can solve. We have got to do better than players like Baker and Sweezy. Bucs are going to have to strike gold this next year in the draft and Free Agency. And as far as coaches? Let’s start with a Conditioning Coach.

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  9. I have gone on extensively about Lichts inept abilities as GM but I think there’s a more simple reason he should be gone. He inherited a 4 win team and after 4 years of his influence on the roster and coaching staff we are likely headed to another 4 win season. The results don’t speak of this drastic roster improvement some y’all about. The names are different but u til the results change then he’s not doing a good enough job.

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    • Unfortunately results aren’t as important to some people. Especially if the guy that is in charge of those poor results keeps a good relationship and access to those covering so they can write puff pieces about him.

      As Scott Reynolds has already indicated, the worst sin you can do to PR is not perform poorly (Mark Dominik did that for years) but restrict access to them. That’ll get strong calls for being fired early into your second year even if you were coming off of a promising 7-9 record as Scott admitted was a major player in his calls for Greg Schiano to be fired.

      For those who may have forgotten Scott took the side of a QB who had half of Tampa reporting his extracurricular activities in Josh Freeman and write confidently that he’d be comfortable with Freeman babysitting his children to explain big bad Schiano is to blame for his failures. Bias much?

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  10. mike smith might be swinging a horsec*ck in the booth up stairs, but he still has to go no matter what,…if chucky says yes you gotta go with the little chuckaneer…you really don’t have a choice…maybe retain coach koetter to wash jerseys or something…but make sure to make him the highest paid laundry boy in the nfl…frankly i could care less if his hands smell like keesters or liquid tide

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  11. Several points:

    1) The 2017 draft is a good draft so far, but that judgment may change completely in one or two years, as they do more often than not.

    2) Licht is horrible at managing free agents, just horrible. The Win-Loss record along with the record of expensive free agents hired then not producing and being let go after 1 or 2 seasons are all that we need to know that Licht sucks at this really important part of his job.

    3) Licht is also horrible at head coaching hires – he’s hired one, and he’s produced 4 wins in his second season. I mean, how much more proof do we need to know that Licht sucks at this really important part of his job, just as he sucks at job #2.

    4) “Strength of schedule” is meaningless in a parity league like the NFL, where “worst to first” and “first to worst” are the norm in most divisions not including the Patriots, Steelers, or Seahawks. Predicting next year’s strength of schedule based upon this year’s results is a fool’s errand.

    Finally, with reports now circulating from the NFL network’s best reporter (Ian Rapaport) that Gruden is already assembling a staff of assistants, we must assume that the Glazers have already offered him the job, but are keeping it unofficial until the Week 17 game’s last whistle is over. Expect an announcement right after the last echo of the last whistle.

    As to whether Licht will be the GM after the Koetter regime is obliterated, I don’t know. IF the Glazers retain him, it will be for one season only (per his contract extension inked last summer), and Gruden will not be under his thumb, and will have final say over the 53-man roster. Or perhaps the Glazers already have a new GM in mind, and they’ve already run him by Gruden for a thumb’s up.

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