Buccaneers GMJason Licht and Head Coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
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. KEEP THE FAITH IN LICHT AND KOETTER
After losing two winnable games at home to Los Angeles and Oakland – mostly due to coaching mistakes – and a primetime game against NFC South-leading Atlanta on Thursday Night Football – mostly due to a lack of available talent, I was prepared to let both Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht have it after the Bucs fell to 3-5 at the midway point of the 2016 season.
But I’m not going to.
With each passing year, each losing season – and 2016 seems to be heading towards another year with a losing record and without a trip to the playoffs – it gets harder, right? After eight years without making the postseason you want the losing to stop – now. Without a winning record in five years you want to see the Bucs win again – now.
You see yesterday’s heroes like John Lynch and Mike Alstott, two recent inductees into the Bucs Ring of Honor, with thinning hair in their 40s. You see Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks, also in his 40s, with his graying hair.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? It’s been too long.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The Bucs’ glory days seem further and further away – because they are.
Dads tell their own kids to root for the Bucs and not to root for the Seahawks, the Broncos, the Patriots – or heaven forbid, the Panthers. Only to hear, “But Dad, the Bucs are losers, and this team has Richard Sherman.” Or to hear, “The Bucs are losers, and this team has Gronk.” Or “I always play with the Broncos on Madden because of Von Miller.”
You want to win so bad that disgust is an easy, go-to emotion right now when it doesn’t happen. It’s hard to keep the faith. It’s hard to be patient when losing smacks you in the face over and over again.
The losing doesn’t numb you, although you wish it would.
It hurts. It stings. It bites.
Fans don’t want to hear, “Be patient.”
Patience runs out after so long, and it’s been far too long for Bucs fans and ownership that are longing for a return to winning football – let alone consistent winning that would usher in a new era of glory days.
So I’ll be the bad guy here.
Yet I’ll be what might be the lone sane voice in a growing angry mob of discontent in Tampa Bay.
I’ll be the guy that says to be patient. Be patient with Licht and be patient with Koetter.
Be Gus Bradley patient.
Bucs co-chair Bryan Glazer & GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Unless this team bottoms out 4-12 or worse, give Licht and Koetter three more years, and I’m not just talking to you, Bucs fans.
I’m talking to you, Glazers.
Sure, Bradley will likely get fired after his fourth season as Jacksonville has an incredibly disappointing 12-38 (.240) record, and rightfully so. But Bradley has been given time and a fair shake with the Jaguars. He is well liked by his players, got the chance to draft a franchise-caliber quarterback with a top-5 pick, and he’s had four drafts to stockpile the roster.
And Bradley has had an owner that spent a ton of money and ramped up heavy in free agency this year after a 5-11 season in 2015, expecting this year to be the breakthrough year in Jacksonville. Instead, the Jags are 2-6, and I’d like the Bucs’ chances of beating them in a close game like they did last year in a 38-31 win at Raymond James Stadium.
That was one of three home wins Tampa Bay has enjoyed in the last three years by the way.
But this isn’t about being better than the Jaguars, is it?
This is about being better than the Saints, the Panthers and the Falcons. This is about becoming a team that wins 10 games or more each year and being better than the Seahawks, the Broncos and the Patriots.
Past personnel decisions have absolutely haunted the Buccaneers (see Fab 3), and the team has a thinner-than-expected core of talented players as a result. But is Licht better than the last two general managers, Mark Dominik and Bruce Allen when it comes to the NFL Draft, which is the best and most reliable way of adding talent to a team’s roster? Absolutely.
NFL general managers are largely based on their ability to hit on first-round draft picks. Allen’s initial first-round choices in 2004 and ’05 – with help from head coach Jon Gruden – were wide receiver Michael Clayton and running back Carnell Williams. Both had successful rookie seasons, but fame and complacency sacked Clayton, who never improved, and injuries ruined Williams’ once-promising NFL career.
Guard Davin Joseph was the lone Pro Bowl player that Allen selected in five drafts, which is an abysmal record, and that was followed by the drafting of defensive end Gaines Adams in 2007, a bust that was traded two and a half years later. The best player that Allen and Gruden drafted was cornerback Aqib Talib, but he had the most amount of success after leaving Tampa Bay and turned into a Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowler. Talib was traded away due to character issues.
Former Bucs GM Mark Dominik and head coach Raheem Morris – Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers
Dominik was more successful with the selection of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in 2010 and running back Doug Martin at the end of the first round in 2012. But Dominik whiffed on safety Mark Barron with the seventh overall pick in 2012, and defensive end Adrian Clayborn, a first-rounder in 2011. Barron and Clayborn are NFL starters for Los Angeles and Atlanta, respectively, but have played more like mid-round picks rather than first-rounders.
Neither has Pro Bowl-caliber talent that you would expect from a player drafted in the first round.
Dominik’s biggest first-round mistake proved to be his first – the selection of quarterback Josh Freeman in 2009. After a promising 2010 season in leading the Bucs to a 10-6 record while throwing 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions, Freeman threw 22 picks the following year. He had a decent rebound season in 2012 with a franchise-record 27 touchdown passes and 4,065 passing yards under Greg Schiano before completely falling apart in 2013. Freeman was released mid-season and was out of the league two years later.
Of course, Dominik was also in charge of hiring Schiano in 2012 after Raheem Morris was fired. Schiano wasn’t widely liked or trusted by the players, which proved to be his undoing, and he was fired after just two years.
Licht was hired by head coach Lovie Smith, who lasted just two years before a dismal 2-14 showing in 2014, and a not-good-enough record of 6-10 last year led to his abrupt firing. Smith was respected by his players, but they didn’t respond to his complacent coaching style and didn’t believe in or like his vanilla, predictable defense.
Licht’s first-round picks include wide receiver Mike Evans, who is on pace for his first Pro Bowl in 2016, quarterback Jameis Winston, who made the Pro Bowl after a 4,000-yard passing season as a rookie, and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, who has earned a starting role during his rookie season. Drafting two Pro Bowlers in your first two drafts is quite a start to any general manager’s career.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: Bucs
Finding a promising, young franchise quarterback in Winston is Licht’s signature accomplishment, which is key for a team that tried and failed to find such a player in the first round for decades before with the likes of Vinny Testaverde, Trent Dilfer and Freeman.
Let’s not forget that Licht has also been instrumental in making sure Pro Bowlers Martin, McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David were re-signed by Tampa Bay. Keeping good talent is just as important as getting it in the first place.
Licht also traded for aging guard Logan Mankins, who made the Pro Bowl after the 2015, which was his final NFL season.
Licht has drafted promising starters in middle linebacker Kwon Alexander and offensive linemen Kevin Pamphile, Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet, too. Kicker Roberto Aguayo is also a starter, but the jury is out on whether he’ll be successful or not. Rookie defensive end Noah Spence is a part-time contributor on defense, while running back Charles Sims is a part-time contributor on offense.
Out of Licht’s 20 draft choices, 13 picks remain, which is a normal number considering that around 50 percent of any team’s first-round picks end up being hits, while the chances on hitting on second-rounders is around a 40-60 proposition. The numbers drop to 30-70 in the third round in terms of these players winding up as starters or being signed to a second contract, and slips to 20-80 in the fourth. From the fifth to seventh rounds, the chances of a team hitting on a draft pick are just 12 percent.
Licht’s draft record is far from perfect, evidenced by the miss on 2014 second-round pick tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and the shaky selection of Aguayo with a second-rounder this year.
Hitting on free agents is an even trickier proposition. It’s about a 25 percent success rate across the NFL. Licht has publicly admitted he favors building a team through the draft rather than free agency. Privately you can tell that he despises free agency because of its high cost to ownership and the organization’s salary cap and the success rate – or lack thereof.
Free agency is nothing more than a necessary evil. Poor drafting leads to holes on rosters and teams need free agents to try to fill them until those positions can be addressed again in the next draft. Licht has had to turn to free agency more than he’d hoped for due to inheriting a team that lacked a lot of talent from previous regimes.
Remember, the Bucs only had three homegrown All-Pros on their roster in McCoy, Martin and David when Licht arrived in 2014 – and no franchise quarterback.
Bucs GM Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers
Fans also demand that teams are active in free agency because of their desire to see their franchise get better as fast as possible. Not being active in free agency causes some fans to grumble that the team doesn’t care about winning – despite the incredibly low success rate.
Licht also had a hand in hiring Koetter as offensive coordinator last year as he helped guide the Bucs offense past the 6,000-yard mark and a top 5 ranking in the NFL for the first time in franchise history. When Smith was fired he wisely promoted Koetter to head coach.
Koetter is halfway through his rookie season as a head coach and he deserves more time and a longer leash than a veteran coach like Smith did.
Koetter deserves more time because this team is firmly and completely behind him.
“I like Dirk as a person and a coach,” Bucs right tackle Demar Dotson said. “He keeps things loose around here and does a great job of putting in game plans each week. I don’t think we as players have done a great job of protecting him, backing him up and making him look good. He’s doing his job and he’s doing it well.
“That’s this business, man. Coaches coach and players play. You need the players to go out and perform to make the coaches look good. I don’t think we’re doing a good enough job for him. A lot of guys really respect him around here.”
Tampa Bay nose tackle Clinton McDonald was also eager to give high praise to Koetter.
“He’s not handling this situation like a rookie coach,” McDonald said. “He’s handling it like a veteran coach. He’s been great. He’s taking care of business and trying to get us on the right track. We have to do a better job of listening to the things he’s saying so we can be more effective on the field.”
I’ve also asked several Bucs off the record if they still believe in Koetter and they do. Half a season in, and this team believes in Koetter more than it ever did in the two years of either Schiano or Smith. There’s something to be said for that.
“I think he’s done a great job,” Bucs tight end Brandon Myers said. “I think he’s a great coach and he’s obviously got more things on his plate this year, but that comes with the territory. I think he also has a good group of coaches around him. We have a new scheme on defense and it’s going to take some time to get it going the right way. I think some fans are freaking out a little bit, but he’s not the kind of coach that is going to panic. He’s going to stay the course. We have a lot of faith in him.
“Dirk has come out and pointed the finger at himself after losses – even though it’s not all on him. It’s on us as players. He leads from the front and that’s the type of coach he is. He gets a lot of respect in this locker room for being the first one up there to take bullets.”
The arrival of a proven defensive coordinator in Mike Smith and coming off a season in which the Bucs tripled their win total and placed five players in the Pro Bowl raised expectations for 2016 – perhaps prematurely.
PewterReport.com played a role in raising fans’ expectations too much with a 9-7 prediction, and I personally forecasted 10 wins and a playoff berth in 2016. It’s looking like I was wrong and too premature in predicting a postseason run this year.
A rash of key injuries and losing winnable games with some questionable decisions by a rookie head coach and some poor execution from the players with games on the line has the team’s record at 3-5 instead of the 5-3 that I expected at this point of the season.
Let’s see how Koetter grows as a head coach over the second half of this season – and then let’s give him the next three years.
I know that’s a lot to ask, especially if the Bucs don’t show some improvement with at least a 7-9 record this year. But the only thing that’s going to allow this team to grow is continuity.
That’s right. I’m the guy that was leading the charge for the Glazers to fire the last two head coaches after just a two-year term. Now I’m asking for continuity.
But Schiano and Smith never won over the entire locker room during their stay in Tampa Bay. Koetter has, and he should be afforded the chance to get the Bucs turned around on his watch as long as the team remains in his corner. Continuing his tell-it-like-it-is policy with players and keeping the Bucs offense humming will only help his cause.
It’s time for Smith to tweak his defense, apply more pressure and dial up some better coverages to help out Koetter’s offense on Sundays.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
In just three years Licht has already outperformed his predecessors in the talent acquisition department, and he found a franchise quarterback in Winston that Koetter is successfully developing. The teams that have the most success in the NFL are the ones that keep the great quarterbacks in the same system for continuity’s sake.
That’s happening in Tampa Bay. It’s just going to take some more time – and some more good drafts.
I’ll continue to praise the good personnel moves and criticize the bad ones, and hail the coaching in the wins and offer critiques in the losses. But I’m going to keep the faith in Licht and Koetter until they give me firm, valid reasons over a good period of time not to.
I’m suggesting you do the same.
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]
The problem is this organization is built incorrectly but they have to take their lumps now to build some level of continuity:
Third year GM
No young defensive assistant ready to take over the defensive play calling when Smith moves on (By force or by choice).
2nd year QB, with loads of other 2nd year and 3rd year players on offense
Defense that has no quality young depth or starters.
Free agents that are deadweight
Glazers need to hire a consultant/football czar to help out Licht/Koetter IMVHO.
Excellent Fab 5 Scott. I’m with you on the patience. This team has to have a little consistency and not make wholesale changes in coaching staff etc. Koetter and Licht deserve the time to get a deeper team by drafting more prospects and developing that talent. Adding in a key free agent or two (similar to when we picked up Vincent Jackson from SD) to round out various areas of need is helpful too. Mike Smith is a good coach too and he deserves the time to prove himself with the right personnel. Man, when I saw Sabby Piscatelli as one of the draft busts, I could see him getting burned on yet another 40 yd bomb and/or making a beautiful arm tackle. Sorry to pick on him in particular, but I still have nightmares about those defenses! The core of this team is young and it’s important that they don’t get flushed into this losing mentality. Better days are coming with patience, time and keeping consistency. My Toronto Maple Leafs are a young, improving team that has drafted well recently, has an experienced coach and GM and are on the rise. With time and patience, the same can be said for the Bucs. Look, in 5 years, Jameis will still only be 27, Kwon Alexander will be 26, Mike Evans will be 28 and your future draft picks will be even younger. Pair that with some shrewd moves and hopefully you’ve got a contending team. I’m in it for the long haul. That being said, they better beat the Bears Sunday, home field advantage comes with winning. Go Bucs! I want to hear lots of cannon fire!
Great read….I completely agree! I think there are of course many areas for improvement but shipping coaches in and out like a revolving door wont help anything, as we’ve seen since Gruden…so time to try it the other way…just how you said it.
Great breakdown, Scott. Always look forward to the Fab 5.
Fab 1: I have no problem giving Dirk & Licht time to steady the ship. I’m tired of the Glazers being firing everybody and having no continuity at One Buc Place. I’m tired of losing. I’m tired of seeing the Bucs not field a quality team. I’m good with noticeable progress. Fans are fickle, but if we see the correct moves being made, we’ll give it a chance. That being said, Licht has to absolutely nail this upcoming offseason because 16 is looking more and more below average. He can’t get cute in the draft like he did in wasting two picks on a K and a 4th round on a developmental type of guy. I hope Smith pans out. Too many holes to fill that kind of nonsense.
Fab 3: Reading that breakdown was depressing to relive. So many terrible picks. So many bad player evaluations. Bad player development. We are easily 2 years away from competing for the playoffs. Those awful picks definitely contributed to our current situation. The next two drafts will make or break this administration.
I was optimistic about this season. I figured we were a 8-8 or 9-7 type of team. Unfortunately everything started to fall apart in week 2. Even with all the ridiculous injuries to the offense & defense, we still could easily be 5-3. This team isn’t as bad as we looked the last game. But, it’s nowhere near good enough to compete with the best teams. Yet. We have to upgrade the offense at WR, LT, TE & RT. I’ll give Martin 1 more year before I call for drafting a RB. Defense needs DT, SS, FS, CB, DE upgrades. I’m still hopeful for the rest of the season, as key players are finally suiting up again. Let’s pray we get this win on Sunday.
Some of us in the preseason said that they didn’t believe in the Buc’s success this year and unfortunately it appears we were correct. I bought the kool-aid last year and the year before when we heard how much Josh McCown was tearing it up in the off season and how much the Bucs were poised to win last season under Smith. Several of us cautioned that the team needed at least another draft.
I’m not a pessimist by nature, actually the complete opposite but you always hear the same rhetoric during the preseason and this year I just didn’t buy in. I saw lack of depth at receiver, a new defensive scheme and too many new faces along with what looked like a tougher schedule. I just didn’t have enough faith in a new head coach and a new defensive coordinator to feel confident enough to predict better than a 9-7 season if we were relatively injury free and more likely a 7-9 or 8-8 season if we didn’t lose too many key players during the season. I was also disappointed in Licht’s bold move to select a kicker using two picks instead of addressing depth in the safety and wide receiver positions. I understood his reasoning, but never felt good about it because our team still lacked quality depth. This team is still a ways from being able to use two draft picks on one player, especially when we had two options that were capable options.
However, I wholly agree with you about giving Koetter and Licht at least 2 to 3 more years. You are not going to build a winning team if you are changing the offensive and defensive schemes every year. It’s disappointing that this team is likely to win only 5 or 6 games again this year, but if we draft well and pick up a quality free agent at one of the weaker positions we might be able to turn it around next season when the offense will be working on it’s 3rd year in the same system and the defense going into it’s 2nd.
Good article Scott.
Good read Scott and I pretty much agree. But face it man, Jason Licht REALLY blew it with most of his FA choices, Aguayo when the Buccaneers needed so much depth and his lower round picks. We have FAR too many undrafted FA’s on this team, many of them starting.
He has to do better IMO, MUCH better.
But I certainly agree he and Koetter stay on a few more years to finish this out. There is a lot to be typed for continuity, something the Buccaneers have not had since the Glazers fired Jon Gruden.
Oh, one more thing of course, I’d like to see a President of operations in Tampa. A qualified czar type who could find the identity of the team, stick to it and hire accordingly. I suppose it won’t be necessary if Koetter/Licht succeed like we all hope they will.
Very good article Scott. I give the Coaches another year, but they gave to show improvement. Licht I ‘m not sure about. He’s too much of a river boat gambler. I hope he acquires more draft picks and uses them to pick players at needed positions.
From time to time I get to do marriage counseling. In talking to one party or the other they often ask me what the chances are that their mate still cares about them. It’s usually not hard to tell. If there is anger, yelling and finger pointing there is still passion and chances are good that the passion can be channeled in the right way. It’s only when the other party just doesn’t seem to care and has no response that there is trouble. For many in Tampa they have reached this point. Following the Rams loss in such a winnable game it seems like the fans’ theme song became the Who’s “We Won’t Get Fooled Again”. To see so many empty seats at the Thursday night game is an indicator that the fans just don’t care anymore.
The only way that this gets turned around is with patience. Look at the Steelers and other winning organizations. They give their front office and coaches time to build. Look at perennial losers and you find a revolving door of coaches. New coaches, new philosophies, new directions for drafting. Result, a mish-mash of players that don’t fit any one system.
The other thing I tell men in counseling is that it is going to take time to gain their wife’s trust back. They screwed things up for years and can’t expect to turn things around in a couple of months. The fans in Tampa have a “show me” attitude. At this point only consistent winning at home will bring them back. The Glazers made a huge mistake in hiking prices yet again after a season in which they had a losing record and fired their coach. My tickets went up by 41% and I had to let them go. I’m glad I did. It’s depressing to have to sit through the heat, slow service and exorbitant prices at the concession stands, only to endure loss after loss. If I have to endure losing I’d rather doing from my air conditioned living room watching a 70″ screen.
My wife commented that I used to always cheer for the Bucs and be an enthusiastic fan for years in spite of the losses but that now I just expect them to lose and just sit there watching them dispassionately. Like many others I’m looking for something to cheer for but I’m not seeing a progression.
Bucs, give us something, anything to cheer for and we’ll be back; only it will take time and consistency.
Keep up the good work, Scott.
You hit the nail on the head Jay. Apathy for a team is far worse than anger and disappointment. Here on Pewter Report we are the more passionate fans; yet we find ourselves getting “comfortably numb” with each torturous “home” loss. Being a marriage counselor you are no doubt aware that in order for the fans to rekindle the trust, the Bucs need to do some “Bargaining Behavior”……………like a win this Sunday.
I too have lost my enthusiasm for the NFL and the Bucs. Scott, this is a great Fab 5 and I agree with everything you said. Goodell has ruined the game for me with his political correctness. I feel he wants to turn the game into flag football. The passion and collisions are still in college football. I spend most of my Saturday’s watching college games because they are exciting. My Sunday’s are now spent elsewhere and not in front of the tv. Even though I have the very expensive NFL package from Directv, I no longer watch the games I started watching in the mid 1950’s. I watch the reruns of the bucs games on Game Pass, but only if they win (so I don’t watch often). The NFL needs to observe what happened with Trump and Brexit. I feel a ground swell movement is developing.
I am with you on your thoughts 76. I am loosing interest in NFL games. More commercial minutes then football game. The game has so many rules against contact now that it’s become a flag fest!! The NFL is losing viewers. Other then the Bucs I don’t watch any other games. I tend to record Bucs games so I can zip past the 1,000 commercials.
Very good article Scott and I do agree that this time we need to try keeping coaches, GM for the long term. We have tried the quick changes and how’s that worked out???
As usual, great Fab 5 SR. I couldn’t agree more with Fab 1. In part, I mentioned this in a previous fab that you replied to. You can easily articulate better than me though. To be more blunt, I do think we have to be patient now but I also think we should consider trading some of our “few” talented players for high (1-2) round picks if we can. I love McCoy, Martin and David but if we were able to trade 1 or 2 of them for younger talented players (R1-2)would that be so bad? In 3 years they will be past their prime or perhaps out of the NFL (injuries). I look at our roster and see a JV team in terms of talent at WR, TE, Secondary, and DL except for the obvious players. To rid ourselves and infuse more talent we need more premier talent in 3 years than what we have projected so far. I hope it becomes a consideration by the higher ups. As much as it pains me to write this I cannot be patient in 3 years with mediocrity. Anyway, that is my 2 cents.
Scott, I say let them grow (not go)… First Three years of Theo Epstein with the Chicago Cubs. 61-101, 66-96, 73-89. Besides Greg Schiano, I like to give the coach and GM more time. I wasn’t crazy that they fired Lovie after one year, although I know you wanted them to Scott. But I think change breeds too much rework. The Arizona Diamondbacks are doing that. Not good. The San Antonio Spurs don’t. They stick with a plan, win or lose, they believe in what they are doing. I am hoping the Glazers will be patient.
Good afternoon all.
Yes I’ll be patient and optimistic. Hell I’m a BUCCANEER fan aren’t I.
So, I’ll keep watching on Sunday, all the while chewing my thumbnail off and stressing out about who can goof up and lose the game for us.
At least it seems that it’s not a collective goof up leading to losses. I actually think the team is playing hard football.
I’ve said it before that the injuries are very debilitating and tough to overcome with thin backups.
As for #2. When the best grade is for a punter you know things are bad. I wonder if Sweezy is just some kind of ghost or something. It’s like you only hear about him in the Fab 5.
#3. Man, depression just set in big time. To borrow a quote from recent times. “What a basket of deplorables”.
You know Sabby wasn’t the worst on the crappy list. That honor should go to Alan Zemenkist. I’m not even going to spell check his name, that’s how bad he was.
But in all seriousness, it’s time to stand firm with the BUCS and support the regime for anything good to come out of the mess their in.
So I’ll keep drinking that Kool-aid and bite my lip and support them as I have since day one. It’s not as bad as we think, we could have someone like Ray Perkins coaching. Wait a minute, we could have coach like Leman Bennet.
I’m trying to be a glass half full kind of guy lately.
GO BUCS STILL IN YOUR CORNER. BUT THE CUT MAN IS HAULED ASS
That’s hysterical Vette/ Our failed Draft picks really are a “Basket of Deplorables”; and it’s a mighty big basket.
Regarding patience, it’s obviously important to not be impatient and then make bad decisions that only make matters worse. Patience can also be excessive, when it devolves into making excuses for more of the same. Regarding coaching choices, the selection of Dirk Koetter as head coach is the first good decision – one that I felt good about on its fundamental merits – by the Glazer boys. They began their reign of error by stupidly firing Jon Gruden, and compounded that error by making three bad head coaching hires in a row. On every single one of them I assumed that the error would eventually be proved, and in each one of them, it was. Based upon the fundamentals of the guy they hired.
Now I believe the Glazer boys finally hired the right guy for the right reasons. He is not perfect – he will not wow anybody this year, because we need time to put his system in place (both offense and defense) and time to acquire the necessary players talented enough to succeed in his system.
Now, if at some point Koetter appears to be making terribly wrong-headed decisions, I am prepared as always to reassess. But I’ve seen nothing like that yet. So we need patience to let him succeed, but it will take several seasons.
As for Licht, I think he’s been doing a creditable job so far – he’s not proved his ultimate worth yet, that’ll take a couple more years, but he’s done nothing to merit the trashing that an element of Bucs fandom is directing his way.
As for the quality of his record, Scott pointed out that Licht still has 13 of the 20 players he’s drafted so far, which is OK, though it is a number buoyed by the fact that it’s only three drafts to date.
Well, if you check out Bill Belichick’s record over the same 20 players drafted (in his case, over just two drafts, not three, because he manages to end up with so many extra picks from his draft horsetrading plus compensatory picks), Belichick has done only one player better – 14 of his last 20 picks are still on the roster. And he is bar none the very best personnel man in the league, probably the best in league history, with his virtually guaranteed trip to the playoffs every year, and a record 4 Super Bowl championships (plus two more trips to the big game) under his belt.
So if Jason Licht can do nearly as well as the best GM in the history of the league, I can’t imagine why anybody could justify any talk of firing him … except for the fact of their extreme ignorance of the actual record of performance for even great GMs. Such critics seem to assume that every draft pick has to be a star or the GM sucks. Not true. Bill Belichick has a 35% success rate with his draft picks over the last 10 years. That’s not the floor – that’s the ceiling – for success in picking em.
Giving Licht credit for drafting Evans, and Winston isn’t saying much. Had he picked Donald, and Mariota, it still would’ve been two good picks. Although it’s been done, we’ve done it, should have a high success rate picking that high. Truth be told, jury is still out on all of Lichts picks. He doesn’t have a stellar free agent record to hang his hat on either. You can point to his resigning of Martin, McCoy, David as positives, but Scott, all those mentioned have done nothing to stop the losing. Those are our stars? No Von Millers in that group.
this is also true…other than Kwon, he hasn’t had any success past the 2nd round of the draft
Pamphile and Sims III are decent players past round 2 and who knows maybe Ryan Smith and Caleb Benenoch will turn into decent plays, probably not, but maybe
Not wishing to pile on the guy too much , and in the end he does have to send in the pick, however, as I understand the story…
It was Lovie Smith that discovered Kwon, fell in love with him, saw his potential in a Tampa2 type defense, and was banging the table to draft him…and Licht appeased Smith eventually in round 4 given that the entire rest of the draft was offense.
So say my “sources” anyway….
you are right on. MM will end up being better pro than JW and would love to have Donald
Yup he did grea last week with three turnovers. two in the 4th quarter to lose the game. Ouch, I’m sure that stings a Tennessee fan such as yourself.
Your bias against Winston is all too predictable.
Yes but … so far Licht is three for three on first roundpicks, and 13 of 20 on all picks. That’s much better than the league average.
The only one of his top three round picks he’s whiffed on so far is ASJ. There are five that are keepers (Evans, Winston, Marpet, Hargreaves, and Noah Spence), and three more to be determined (Aguayo,Dooavan Smith, and Sims as a change of pace running back is sort of on the bubble).
In the day three picks (rounds 4 through 7), Licht has picked very good some winners (Alexander, Pamphile) and several that are to be determined ( Ryan Smith, Benonoch, and Bond). That’s actually pretty darned good for day three picks.
And Licht has also done VERY well with UDFAs, including Adjah-Barimah, Peyton Barber, Cameron Brate, Adam Humphries, Bradley McDougald, and Russell Shepherd.
I just think you and other Bucs fans just have really unrealistic expectations of drafting success.
As Scott wrote in his post above – half of all first round picks in the NFL fail. So far Licht is three for three.
And first rounders have by far the best success of those from any of the other rounds. Overall, the average drafted player in the NFL has only about a 25% chance of being successful, as proven by their still being on the roster for a second contract or even if traded to another team for a player or a draft pick. Bill Belichick has a 10-year 35% success rate on all of his draft picks – much better than average. Jason Licht is conceivably on a path to doing similarly well if his current success continues.
Unfortunately, no one can fix a decade of bad personnel decisions in just 3 years. Licht has done a lot of good so far finding a WR1, Franchise QB, QB of the defense, and a few other pieces that need time to develop. He hasn’t been able to address safety yet as there are only so many picks per year and there hasn’t been a good option in FA so far. So I think he made a good move in holding onto Conte and Mcdougald for another year. He took a big shot on Aguayo and so far looks like a fool for doing so. Time will tell if this decision pays off or not. I’m all for giving him more time to fix what has been severely broken for many years. We’re definitely improving little by little each year which is realistically all we can ask.
As for the coaching staff, the constant turnover has done nothing but dig the hole deeper for us. I think it’s crazy to even suggest coaching changes at this point. Stick with the staff we have and things will improve. Anyone remember how we played early on this year before the injury bug plagued our roster? Especially on defense? This season may already be lost but we are showing improvement despite a tough situation with our roster. The ship is turning, albeit very slowly. Baby steps, but we’re making progress
Winston is not Franchise QB
In your mind Winston does nothing right. Your opinion is based on your bias .
Neither is Marcus I fumble every two plays mariota. 14 TO this year, as a Tennessee fan that has to hurt.
Uhh, just because bucnut spends all of his time looking for a needle in Jamei’s haystack doesn’t mean it’s fair to do the same to Mariota. Currently Marcus Mariota is all of 0.1 points less than Jameis Winston in the season-to-date QBR ratings (they rate nos. 17 and 18 as of yesterday), and as great as Jameis Winston’s game was yesterday, Mariota’s was even better, leading the entire league in QBR while trouncing the Packers with a 4 TD/0 INT performance.
They’re both great young quarterbacks, and they both make the league much more exciting. It’ll be fun to watch both of them develop. I may be a Bucs fan but I greatly admire great players regardless of what team the play on. Being a homer is good only to a point. The game is bigger than any single player or any single team.
Uhh, dude, yes Winston IS a franchise quarterback, by any reasonable definition.
He is not yet an elite quarterback .. but second year players virtually never are elite, as it takes anywhere from four to 8 years to get there.
I think for this team to get back to its winning ways we need continuity. We have to stick with Koetter, we cannot keep changing head coaches over and over again because that keeps setting us backs more years. IMO Cotter has done a ok job as a rookie head coach, he has had his bad moments but compared to past coaches I think he is doing fine. As for Licht, I am a big fan of him and think he is great at finding talent in the draft but man, he cannot sign good free agents. I do not like the signing of Sweezy, how do you not know about an injury that appears this serious. I wonder if we could bring in someone that handles free agent signings and let Licht stick to stocking this team with young talent. Although Licht doesn’t have a very good track record in the 2nd round outside of Marpet. the ASJ pick is already a bust and it was inexcusable to draft a kicker in the 2nd round with all of the holes on this team, and I am not a fan of Donovan Smith whatsoever. But aside from that Licht has done a great job drafting, Mike Evans, Pamphile, Sims III, Jameis Winston, Ali Marpet, Kwon Alexander, plus productive undrafted FA Adam Humphries and Cam Brate and hopefully many more to come this next year. Also, I would love to see John Ross in red and pewter, I believe his game breaking speed is just what this offense needs to reach its full potential. Go Bucs!
Jury Still out on Winston. He increasingly looks like a bust.
while i agree he isn’t proven yet i wouldn’t say he is increasingly looking like a bust. I feel he is playing well for the talent around him
And you’re a moron, so there’s that. I mean we know you’re a troll but, do you really have nothing better to do with your time?
“Bust”? You’re just over the top with your bias. He’s going to be here for a while. Perhaps you should just go into hibernation or depart the area entirely. I didn’t see Winston get a penalty costing the Oakland game or missing tackles. What I see is a guy, in spite of his youthful growing pains, fighting his ass off to lead a team.
Winston is a GREAT leader, just not a good QB.
So what does that make mariota cause he’s not a great leader either? As a Tennessee fan that has to sting a little huh?
I didn’t see Winston hitting a wide open VJ in the end zone to win the Rams game. I also didn’t seeing him making a single first down for five straight possessions in Oakland game allowing our defense to get tired and torched. I my humble opinion, I see nothing that indicates that he will be a franchise QB. At this point he looks average at best.I hope I’m wrong beecause if I am not, this pick set the franchise back 5 years. My point on JW in this FAB 5 is that it is not fair to defend Licht partly on the basis on his picking a franchise QB. This is 0 evidence that he did.
Didn’t Carr miss a wide open Cooper at the end of the Raiders game just before it went to overtime? Hit that pass and the game was over and Carr has another year experience over Winston.
Get over it BN, you are being far too critical of someone that normally would still be a senior in college. Winston IS inconsistent, but really for a kid only 21 years old, what were you actually expecting? Winston is going to be a good quarterback for us for a long time.
Do you mean the guy that set rookie records doesn’t seem to be a franchise qb? The guy who’s been throwing to mike Evans and 6 undrafted guys? You’re a damn idiot bucnut. We get it, you don’t like him, but you’re a broken record and its kind of pathetic. I mean we all know you’re not a Bucs fan so get a life and find some time for another hobby, such as rooting for your Titans.
I always wait to read this and always enjoy it. I just wish the college player and draft talk would not be brought up week after week (at least it seems that way) starting with the preseason (in August, you were already talking about the receivers for next year’s draft when the college season hadn’t even started yet). No one knows what college players will get hurt, how they will perform or what underclassmen will come out. I wish the draft talk would at least wait until the season is over, as it’s very easy now to go back and look at highlights anytime. Again, the draft talk throughout the season is the only thing that I don’t care for, it is a great read on everything else!
Also, I now have seats in the 300s after moving from the sun-beat club seats that I had. My seats are around a lot of “old-timers” , i.e. they have had seats in my section since the stadium was built, and during the games I like to stand when the PA guy says on 3rd down, “Everyone let’s stand” or whatever he says. When I do, everyone around me scolds me for doing it. I always say “That’s what he said to do” and they say “yeah, but don’t do it”. Can anyone out there tell me am I supposed to stand or not????? Thanks!
Stand when National Anthem is sung, player introductions, field goal attempts, TD’s, great plays, when the folks in front of you stand, when someone is entering/exiting your row, introducing the military, cheering the Bucs or taunting the opponent with the rest of the crowd, halftime to stretch your legs. No longer need to stand during kick-offs since those plays are now the least eventful.
Do not stand or enter/exit your row during the play. Do not stand and wave your arms back and forth while on your cell phone shouting, “Do you see me now?”
It’s a tradition to bitch and moan half way thought the season.
It’s a tradition to fantasize about draft picks halfway through the season.
We’re BUCS fans aren’t we?
GOD BLESS THE BUCSS
I’m definitely for staying the course. I, too, got swept up in pre-season euphoria and predicted a winning season for the Bucs. That’s not looking too likely right now.
I still believe in coach Koetter. Jason Licht, I’m beginning to wonder about but if I’m the Glazers, I don’t make any changes this year. I don’t know if I’d go full Gus Bradley – but I would give it at least 3 years with this duo together.
SR- I agree on Koetter but you are giving Licht WAY too much room. At this point Wintson shows NO signs of being a franchise QB. He looks like Tannyhill and Borltes, nor Rothlisberger or Luck. I think he may have blown the ONLY #1 pick we will have. Winston is just not good. It must be hard for you and Mark to admit that you got this wrong as well, but you did. The NFL now has a lot of film on Winston and figured out that his accuracy and slow release are areas other teams can exploit. If Winston had gone to college at a school outside of Florida, you and other media types would likely already shouting “bust”.
Licht also should lose his job for the Aguyao pick. You don’t give up a third and fourth rounder for a kicker. You endorsed and defended this pick in an article comparing it to what Bellicheck kickers. What you failed to mention is that the kickers for New England were 4th round picks and un-drafted FAs.
I have lost a lot of respect for you guys. You got in bed with Licht and Winston. They have one thing in common, their hype dramatically exceeds their performance. If talking won games int eh NFL, Licht and Winston would be headed for the and NFL title. But if REAL results matter, they are both pretenders.
We all know how much of a homer you are for Marcus mariota. You bring it up literally every week. So much so, that when you make an argument about Jameis, you lose all credibility. Really, you do.
Seriously Bucnut, we get it, you don’t like Winston. But calling him a bust week after week when he’s a season and a half into his career makes it clear you are biased. The kid has had some up and down play but can you blame him with the team that we are putting out there right now for him. He literally is playing with a FIFTH STRING running back and Evans is his only competent receiver. Show me any other QB that would thrive in this situation. For what he’s been dealing with injury-wise this year you can’t really fault him. Obviously he can and will be better. He’s a 22 year old kid who has already been to the pro bowl and has thrown for 4,000+ yards. If you like Mariota so much go follow the Titans and write how much you love him in the comments of one of their websites instead of spouting the same useless BS in here every week. CHEF, I’m happy I’m not the only one who has noticed this idiot.
Nah there are a few of us that see him for the troll that he is. He’s almost boring at this point.
I have an opinion just like the rest of you guys. Someone please show me some facts to show I’m wrong. By the way, facts= much more than he’s “a franchise” QB. I honestly hope I am wrong. IF he does bust it will set our franchise back at least 5 years.
You know how I know your “I hope I’m wrong & want Tampa to succeed” is crap? Because when the Bucs win or Winston plays well, you disappear from this website. You only crawl out from under your bridge when the Bucs lose or Winston has a bad game. If you truly wanted the Bucs to succeed with Winston, you’d be here when they win. But, that doesn’t fit your narrative. Do us all a favor, either go spout your Mariota love on this site called Musiccitymiracle.com, or start being an objective Bucs fan. Criticizing AND praising our team.
I’m sorry, can you not look up stats yourself? Pro bowl and rookie of the year last year. He is top 5 in TD’s this year and yardage, all while throwing to nobody outside of mike evens. You don’t have an opinion, you’re a troll so we don’t care. Like roots said, when Winston has a good game, you’re invisible for a week so do us all a favor and just stop with your bullshit.
Bucnut has zero credibility. Now matter what Winston does, Bucnut looks for a flaw.
“If some socially-activist media members and politically correct members of the NFL front office want to ignore that concrete data because it goes against their own ideological reasons they can, and they can join the rest of the mainstream media that simply refused to see a path for Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. Presidential race until the ballots were actually cast and he actually won. ”
Why do you feel the need to even mention this, Scott? There’s absolutely no reason to bring the presidential election into the conversation; zero relevance whatsoever. You write about grown men playing a game for entertainment. You’re a sportswriter, try just being that for your readers. Enough already. Please.
hmmm “BKNYfootballhead” I wonder who you voted for. Seems like Scott touched a nerve on you there. Sorry Hilary didn’t win but you and the rest of the country need to stop crying and accept the defeat. Also, last I checked Scott made a very pertinent connection between the NFL ignoring data the same way that the media ignored the data that showed that Trump was more than an afterthought in this race (obviously). So I would say that there is a hell of a lot more than ‘zero’ relevance in that statement considering it was only the most talked and written about event in the entire country. This is Scott’s article and he can write about whatever he pleases week after week and if you have a problem with it you can hit the tiny little X in the top left of the browser. One tiny paragraph in an article with 5 separate sections and 1,000s of words isn’t exactly him not “being a sportswriter”. That was a completely relevant comparison, just because you’re upset about the results of the election doesn’t discount that fact. Maybe you can ask Scott to reserve you a “safe space” on the website so that your feelings don’t get hurt when you have to read something that you don’t agree with. L-O-L.
That “safe space” for us Buc fans is a great idea. We could go there and not have to read Bucnut’s comments.
Nah people like Bucnut are like a rash that doesn’t go away. Nothing constructive to say ever. And not only that but as much as most of our team sucks, he only picks on Jameis. It’s so blatantly obvious that he’s a straight up troll.
Does it matter who I voted for? Did I say I was sorry Hilary didn’t win? Funny you lecture me so aptly to “stop crying” and “accept defeat” about the election results, but then continue to spiel about pertinence.
Also, its a tired, silly argument to say this is “Scott’s article”, when he provides a forum with which to comment. This is a place for discussion, right?
“because it goes against their ideological reasons they can”
This is a false equivalence, I don’t need reservations for a “safe space” to see one when it’s written. Scott could’ve made the election comparison without the “ideological” reach.
Feel free to chalk talk more with me more about “fact”, but you’re not going to find it in Scott’s quote.
Esquandolas4, I’m reposting this b/c it appears and hit reply to the wrong user.
Does it matter who I voted for? Did I say I was sorry Hilary didn’t win? Funny you lecture me so aptly to “stop crying” and “accept defeat” about the election results, but then continue to spiel about pertinence.
“because it goes against their ideological reasons they can”
This is a false equivalence, I don’t need reservations for a “safe space” to see one when it’s written. Scott could’ve made the election comparison without the “ideological” reach.
Scott, I really appreciate the review of Licht…something I’ve been hoping to see for awhile. I find it confusing that your review is largely not very good – hitting on top-11 draft choices is not exactly “professional GM” caliber activity, and other than those 3guys it’s a pretty baron landscape of draft picks coupled with a whole lot of nothing in FA apart from a punter – yet your conclusion is give him more time? I have to think any “professional” that gets three years to show some promise out of the work they’re supposedly an expert at, would have something to hang their hat on other than ‘I changed the font on our website’ aren’t I excellent. Where is the hope coming from? I kid you not, I could have picked Evans, Winston and VHIII….every pundit picked Evans, Winston and VHIII for us.
I think one key aspect of your review that you have missed (and I will give credit to @stlbucsfan for reminding us all of this) is the decisions he made in subtraction. I think equally as important as which FAs he signed, are which ones he let go (e.g., Zuttah, Miller, Penn, etc.), not just which players he drafted, but which ones he passed over (e.g., Gabe Jackson – I highlight because we had a very clear need at OG and at this stage of the draft only 1 OG was off the board…value was knocking loudly, and he chose Sims), and of course which players he outright cut (e.g., Revis), and the resultant knock on effects of those poor drafting and FA decisions like having to sign several underperforming FAs to fill the holes he made or draft players out of needs that shouldn’t have been needs (Donovan Smith comes to mind as a reach to backfill the Penn decision)….and then there’s the decision to subtract Barth after the terrible trade up for Aguayo…I think we’d all rather have Barth and 2 high pick new rookies at this point instead of Aguayo.
So, I appreciate your work, but just wanted to see it completed.
Since I always read SR’s Fab Five early Saturday mornings I get a chance to read everyone’s comments. It’s easy to sense the mood of we fans shifting from excitement after the impressive win against the Falcons, to disappointment after the losses to the Cardinals, Rams and Broncos, then the feeling of hope after the Panther and 49er wins and now the increasing apathy after successive home losses to the Raiders and Falcons.
So as usual, after reaching the halfway point of the once promising season, we are already peeking at the 2017 Draft prospects. Rather than look at what appears to be right with our favorite team, we are looking for it’s flaws and assigning blame. It’s been this way for the vast majority of my 40 years of undying loyalty.
At 3 dash 5 the team is at a crossroads. Which path it takes on the second half of the 2016 journey will set the tone for a very critical off-season in which the ever increasing team needs must be satisfied. With so many undrafted college free agents playing key roles the roster is weaker than many of us thought; especially on the defensive side. Injuries have magnified the problem.
So the question becomes, does Jason Licht try to maximize the Draft choices by trading down and obtain more, but theoretically less talented players like Horse suggests, or reach for the brightest star in each round? Focus on Offense or Defense? For me it will always be best player since needs often change. Since the offense seems closer to being complete, I say finish the deal and find another stud WR or TE and then load up on Defense.
Hopefully the Bucs will win Sunday and we can shelve the Draft talk.
Always appreciate your comments @scubog. Personally, I won’t be too hard on the players if we finish the second half of the season weaker in record than we ended the first half…our last 8 games are against:
1) Bears – the weakest team we’ll face by far (and at home…which for most teams would be an advantage anyway)
2 and 3) Saints twice – they always play us hard and Brees is already licking his chops at the sight of our defense
4) Panthers – unfortunately this time with Newton and Stewart
5) Cowboys – EzE against our D…yikes
6) Chargers – Rivers may throw for 600
7) Chiefs – playoff team
8) Seahawks – playoff team
I expect we might win a couple of those…maybe three if we’re very lucky….four wins (splitting the second half) would be a minor miracle. That means at best 7 wins this year, probably more like 5 or 6.
The only team I would love to beat on that list is Dallas. Make my season.
Winston is our franchise Q.B. period. He has plenty of talent, smarts, drive to win. Reminds me of another X Nole Q.B. Brad Johnson. Arguing what Winston is now is pointless. Fellows, he’s only 22 in his second season, he’s far from the problem. We can’t stop anybody on defense, and we’re weak on offensive threats. We’re all frustrated, but we have to stay the course for a change. Licht, Koetter deserve at least the end of next year to see where we’re at. Hopefully we can still finish strong this year. Half the season to go.
Brad was a good QB. But I think Winston is better. If he had a career like Brad I would be happy happy happy.
Why does mr. Light get a free pass when he has blown it on free agents and wasted picks on kickers?
As someone else posted, the Glazers have demonstrated an astounding KCM of judgement by replacing Gruden with one incompetent boob after another, the failure of which was foreseeable each time.
Koetter seems different, with a nice blend of experience, passion and character. I am in favor of giving him at least 3 and preferably 4 years to prove himself capable of turning the Titanic around, since he didn’t build it. Break the cycle of disruption!!
The descriptions of our former coaches is getting good.
Incompetent Boob. Freakin awesome
Sorry lack not KCM
Many of you have more insights to offer than I do. A full assessment of Licht requires more time than I can offer. But I will say that so far I am not impressed. He is learning on the job and making a lot of mistakes along the way. Whether he is any good will be easier to tell 2-3 years from now, PR’s habitual man-love for him notwithstanding.
A comprehensive look would include our picks, those not taken instead, and free agents (the latter particularly odious so far, but then again what caliber of player is going to come down to be part of this mess? Not one who is all about winning, that’s for sure).
It’s a shame PR doesn’t seem to have time to do that for us, either. What I can offer is my take on the picks, season by season. Feel free to read, disregard or dispute:
1. Mike Evans WR – “Quality Pick” but of the Obvious/easy variety (i.e., Top 2 at his position). Had ups and downs early which concerned me but unquestionably talented, coming into his own this season and super productive. Well done Meathead.
2. Austin Nefarious (couldn’t resist : – ) Jenkins TE – “Bust”. Talented but oft-injured, bad attitude and poor character, which it appears based on his history had to be known by the front office and overlooked. Whiffing on picks this high up is what kills teams like ours.
3. Charles Sims RB – Okay production for a 3rd down back but complete inability to function as a 1st and 2nd down RB when Dougernaut went down exposed his limitations. I’m sorry but for a 3rd round RB to be so one dimensional and incapable of carrying the load even for a couple of games when needed makes him a “Disappointment” to me.
4 (5th rd). Kadeem Edwards G – “bust”. Waived in ’15, out of football. A bust with a small b given where drafted.
5. (5th rd) Kevin Pamphile G – TBD. He’s still on the team, but despite being on an OL bereft of talent hasn’t established himself as a starter other than by process of elimination. Trending toward disappointment but only a 5th rounder and worth giving a little more time.
6. Robert Herron WR – “bust”
On the plus side of the ledger that’s one “Quality Pick”, though it was of the obvious/easy variety in Evans.
Unfortunately, that leaves five other picks not on the positive side of the ledger – one ‘Bust’ with a capital B, one ‘Disappointment’, two later round ‘busts’ and Pamphile as TBD. Even if Pamphile can be a swing player and not a weakness when on the field, making him a good value in round 5, this will still not be a good draft.
Three comments here at the tail end:
First, Amen! … to what you said, Scott. I agree wholeheartedly.
Second, If the Bucs were to keep the coach/GM carrousel going no self-respecting experienced NFL professional would want to come here. They would just be throwing their careers away. Mostly unknown entities would be in the potential pool for the job. CONTINUITY is very important at this time for our future. The Bucs really do have a lot of good things to build upon now.
Third, ASJ had no obvious “red flags” in anything I came across before he was drafted for us. His character issues had to have been well concealed. I certainly have nothing to offer as to any mistakes the scouting staff of the time could have made.
I identify with lot of above comments. I used to get so mad when Bucs were losing. I just don’t care as much anymore and expect losing. I never would leave a game early either.
Good fab five I enjoyed it. I absolutely think Koetter will be a good coach and he does need at least 3 years.
Not as sure about Smith or Licht but I guess I’ve had enough changeover and we need to stick with something at some point. Glazers should have him on a short leash though no more kickers please.
On the one hand, I agree with staying through course because I think that is what winning teams do. On the other hand, Licht Jason not impressed me. Winston a no Brainer, and I can give credit for evans, Hargreaves, Marpet and Alexnder….but rest of the Dr after been mostly miss…free agency has been mediocre at best…as for Koetter…not an inspiring choice…but I don’t want to fire him yet just it hire Jeff fisher or someone like that….but we are worse than last year…
SR: I am honored that you thought so highly of my post that you included it in this edition of your SR’s Fab 5, which I regard as the best weekly column covering the Bucs and a must read for all Tampa Bay fans. I, too, would not say that Sims is a complete bust, but I would like to see more production from him running between the tackles. He is a fine outside runner and an excellent receiver out of the backfield. I also agree that ownership needs to give GM Jason Licht and HC Dirk Koetter more than a two-year shot to turn things around for this franchise. It has been a coaching change carousel in Tampa Bay ever since Jon Gruden was relieved of his duties (now on their 4th head coach in the last 8 seasons). This constant turnover leads to constant philosophy change, forcing players to learn new offensive and defensive systems every 2-3 years. And it also results in mistakes like sending a first round draft pick to the Jets for CB Darrelle Revis, only to fire the head coach one year later, and when the new head coach is hired and he brings in a new philosophy on defense, Revis is seen as not a good fit, and is ultimately released. So the Bucs essentially gave away a first round draft pick for a one-year player rental. Give GM Licht, HC Koetter, and DC Mike Smith some time to build the roster. The Bucs have some good young pieces in place, but more are certainly needed.
Wonderfully written and very well said Scott, and I couldn’t agree more. I look forward to reading the Fab 5 more than any publication, and historically I would take my lunch late on Fridays so I could read the post “hot” of the press. However, I have found that I enjoy the column more by saving the read until after the BUCS games (usually on Sunday night or Monday morning). It is hard to hold off, but find the points to have more meaning and relevance after the weeks game has played.
I said it last week when Smith’s head was “hypothetically” on the chopping block, that the BUCS just don’t have enough good players to win. Your Fab 5 bore that out. I completely agree with patience, and also strongly agree that this organization needs consistency. McKay once said he had a 5 year plan because he had a 5 year contract, just think if the BUCS had dropped him after his first 2 seasons!? We know we need better players to be winners and to consistently win. I believe we should give both the coach and the GM 3 more years (after this year), and see were the chips fall. Changing coaches changes schemes & methods which only stunts the growth of the players (even good ones) creating “learning curve” years. In watching the games & organization I truly believe we have a good HC & GM…give them time.
The BUCS look good against the Bears. We all agree that they should have won the game, but they looked good doing it. Let’s see if that carries over to the meat grinder of their schedule (KC, Seattle, and SD). 2 teams leading their divisions, and a SD team I think is better than their record. IF the BUCS can win 2 of these games we’ll have our glimmer of light, and something that maybe propels this team for the rest of the year.
I appreciate the attempt to defend Licht but the information you are passing off is incomplete. First I don’t think he gets credit for firing lame duck Lovie and promoting the only coach worth a damn in Koetter due to fear of losing him to another HC job, you call it brilliance I call it obvious.
I’ll start with his drafts and how @eastendboy stated you are not factoring what needs he neglected while taking risks on players at positions we dont need. My golden example is the decision to draft Joey Iosefu and Kailin Clay when La’el Collins sat on the board filling a HUGE need and well worth the risk. He was not going to hold out and anybody with common sense knew the kid wouldnt miss a year of football to not sign with a team. No kid thats guilt of anything he was being questioned for would be stating that he’s not signing with a team if not drafted by a certain slot, he would be eagerly taking any money and staying quiet. But as usual Jason was a day late and a dollar short as we would up with a FB and a KR specialist neither of which made the team. Then the year we draft Sims there was Gabe Jackson available which also would have filled the crater sized hole we still have at guard, see the signing of JR Sweezey for details. Now on to Jameis who he drafted as a result of arguably the worst offseason in team history. He signs Josh McCown to start over Glennon who was possibly better and in house. He signs Anthony Collins when he had Donald Penn a better option already in house. He trades away Zuttah who was capable of playing center and a very good guard and is then forced to trade for an old Mankins AND ultimately lead him to signing Evan Detrich Smith when Zuttah could have very easily both spots for cheaper. He signs Alterraun Verner as a result of CUTTING Darrelle Revis in his prime bc “that’s too much money to spend on a CB and we have other needs to fill.” When in reality the only holes he “filled” were the ones he created. We trade away Barron without ever having the thought to try him at LB. Lovie valued guys that can play sideline to sideline so why Jason never suggested that in the pre-Kwon days are completely baffling to me bc again thats his job, maximize what we have before moving on and that option was never even explored. He drafted Mike Evans but so did every other mock draft that year so no I dont give him credit for typing Mock draft into google and seeing what pops up. Now on to how he handled the ASJ situation. I won’t get off into whether or not ASJ is an addict or if he needs help or if he needs rehab bc honestly I dont care. The fan in me only cares about his potential impact on the offense this season which is why I was against cutting him. I feel as though if he were truly on such thin ice with the organization then we should have been focusing our efforts this past summer on bringing in other options. Not sure what message he planned on sending by standing pat if the goal this year was to truly light a fire under ASJ. Anyone with half a brain knows the best way to get the best out of someone is to challenge them and push them to be their best. Martellus Bennett was available and I thought would have been targeted given ASJ injury history and our need for a complete TE. Not Brate who can only run routes or Stocker who can only block a guy that can actually do both so we dont tip plays by sending in certain personnel groupings, but who knows maybe that’s too forward thinking for our GM. Also you failed to mention that his love affair with Kenny Bell led to him not addressing a need at WR this past season either in the draft or FA. Again I thought a player like Travis Benjamin would have been a nice addition. He can return punts, game breaking speed and from the state of Florida. It seemed like a no brainer but as usual we dont even consider the guy bc of some player thats never even put pads on and we are stuck holding the soap this season hoping another in season FA pans out bc he failed to properly equip the roster with what we need. I am curious how you can type that he states the importance of building through the draft and how he hates FA but has drafted exactly 1 defensive lineman in his 3 years on the job for a team DEVOID of pass rushing. And please don’t use that patchwork group he drafted on offense as an excuse like we did the first 2 seasons. The only good thing he did was incorrectly assess the talent from day 1 which allowed us to be bad enough to draft Jameis.
For everybody that defends Jason Licht I ask that you go through our position groups and ask yourself what has he improved during his 3 years on the job. I dont think replacing Barron with Conte made the safety position better. He turned Darrelle Revis into Verner and Grimes, neither of which have played at a Pro Bowl level for us so thats an easy no as well. VHIII has shown flashes but has been beaten like a drum by the better WRs in the league so far. At linebacker I honestly feel like Lavonte at MLB and Barron at WLB could be as good as Kwon and Lavonte. That said im willing to concede that could possibly have improved. Defensive line is different but I still dont see anything that remotely resembles a consistent pass rush and the best/most consistent player on that unit remains McCoy. McDonald has been a solid addition but he’s another rotational player that we ask too much from IMO which has lead to his frequent injuries so it’s hard to count a player for improvement when you can barely count on him being available. The same can be said for Ayers who looks good in spurts but is being overused and overall hasnt had the impact many predicted. Golston is our most consistent run stopper and McCoy is our best player overall and since both were already on the team I cant give him any improvement their. Now moving on to the offensive side I’ll start where most do at quarterback. Nobody can deny this is his area of most improvement bc he drafted Jameis but as I stated earlier thats largely due to the worst offseason in Bucs history. RB is hard to say we are better off bc of him. Sims is a one trick pony whose production we could have gotten from Jacquizz and used the draft pick to address other needs. We have a Pro Bowl RB and he was already on the team so he’s gets a no in the improvement category for me. TEs are different but not sure im seeing anything that will change the world. Maybe he keeps building chemistry with Brate but as for now the guy he brought in to improve the TEs isnt even on the roster so it’s hard to say Brate alone can be classified as improvement. Lastly WRs, most people will look at Evans and say it’s easy, he drafted him and we have improved. I however remember what Vincent Jackson did with awful QBs and believe that with Jameis a younger VJax would have been just as goodas Evans. That said Evans rise and Vincent’s decline seem to offset for me. We still only have 1 WR his name is just Michael instead of Vincent. Different yes, improved….not so much. Happy my Bucs were able to dominate the Bears but again this team is winning in spite of terrible player personnel decisions and we have been forced in practically every season he’s been on the job to rely on street FAs and that’s not by accident.
And to think I wrote all that and forgot to even address Roberto Aguayo…
Stlbucsfan, again with L’ael Collins.
You have harped on this for two years and simply ignore the fact that Collins’ agent said if he wasn’t drafted through I believe the second round, he wouldn’t sign and sit out the season and wait for next year’s draft.
I believe he was being investigated for a murder rap so no one wanted to take a chance on him.
Does the name Bo Jackson remind you of anything.
It’s exactly what Jackson told the Bucs about drafting him in any round.
Geeeesh guy, get a clue and for gods sake man get back on that Zoloft.
The rest of your concerns seem to be concentrated on what occurred when Lovie Smith had full roster control of this team.
Does that mean anything to you?
Lovie got to say who stayed, who he wanted and who he wanted to say goodbye to. That is what full roster control means. Geeeesh. Again.
But I will pose that question directly to Scott Reynolds himself.
I believe it was Smith’s desire to blow up the offesnsive line and also to get rid of Darrell Reave because of his price tag. Was it not?
Also, when it came to who we signed as FA’s that year, exactly how did that work. I don’t think Licht brought in the only ones we signed and told Lovie, here this is who we have.
It is my belief that Lovie was given the names of a number of available players in FA and he directed Licht to the ones he coveted the most. Am I wrong?
As usual another splendid SR 5. Unlike MudManVa, I love to tear into SR5 like a rare steak as soon as it appears.
drdneast as usual you come on my posts commenting nonsense and repeating points I’ve shut down before. LA’el Collins’ agent has already said that he was bluffing and I even posted the link to confirm it, not worth finding it now bc obviously you cant click and read what appears. But again if he was guilty there’s no way he’s making a stance on not signing if not drafted before a certain slot, he would take whatever he could get and hope to get signed before this “murder plot” was uncovered. Lovie had control over the final 53 but not the entire roster according to ESPN. Lovie had input like most head coaches but the bad signings ultimately fall on Licht’s shoulders bc he had FINAL say so, you get it??So your statement about full roster control is purely false. Geesh! Lovie having a “desire to blow up the offensive line” has nothing to do with a GM sitting him down and letting him whats available vs what we have. Thats his job, do you get it? Lovie was not given Bill Belicheck type control of the roster so your entire post is pointless bc you want to take Licht’s blame and give it to Lovie when he ultimately pulled the trigger on every idiotic thought Lovie ASKED for. Also Bo Jackson and La’el Collins are completely different bc La’el never said he wouln’t play for Tampa just any team that didnt draft him.
Lovie had control over everything but he drafted 1 defensive player in his entire 2 years on the job, as a defensive head coach?? Does that make any sense to you?? You dont suffer from an inability to read its the comprehension where you fall short my friend. Defend this awful GM all want as he takes 2 draft picks and turns them into Roberto lol. I’ll say the same thing until he gives me a reason not to, fortunately there’s been no offseason to date where I’ve been wrong.
I would also like to add that in addition to whiffing on draft picks constantly, we have also done a horrible job of evaluating and retaining the correct talent. For a team that constantly hovers near the salary cap floor, the claims of ownership being fed up and ready to open the wallet ring hollow when you make horrible personnel decisions because a free agent is in line for a raise. Biggest case in point from past years:
– Letting Michael Bennett walk to make room for Daquan Bowers. This still makes me sick to think about.
– Trading LeGarrette Blount after drafting Martin. As a Bucs fan living in New England, it’s just depressing to have work colleagues constantly ‘thank’ me for the number of players the Pats have scooped from the Bucs roster only to turn them into above average contributors. If Martin is an injury concern, retaining a 250lb back is the smart move for a run first team with cap to spare.
I’m out of market so for me to watch the Bucs I need to spend money each season. As excited as I am to hear of Winston’s growth and as hopeful as I am for Koetter, I’m definitely in the wait and see camp right now. And I like the Pats, but watching them roll over teams isn’t that exciting either honestly. I’m definitely part of the ratings casualties at the moment. I’m currently spending my money watching the Tampa Bay Lightning each season which IS great product currently. I’m ready to come back for the Bucs as soon I see some consistency. I’m hopeful for the second half of this season though. Let’s put some consecutive wins together Bucs!
Mr light wasted two draft picks on a kicker and had a chance to draft M.M. but drafted a local qb instead. M.M. who has no #1 receiver or tight end is being raved about while bucs qb seems to come in 2nd in comparison. Why does Mr. Light keep getting a pass?
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