FAB 4. The Real Reason Why Smith’s Defense Failed

Over the past two years we all heard former Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith stand up and tell the media in his press conferences that there were “communication issues” that allowed receivers to run free, wide open against Tampa Bay’s secondary as opposing offenses rolled up 400 yards and close to 30 points against his defense and wondered what that meant.

Smith’s system hasn’t changed since he arrived in 2016, so aside from some rookies from this year’s draft starting in the secondary, why were there so many communication issues?

Bucs DC Mike Smith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DC Mike Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

I spoke with several Bucs defensive players off the record over the last two weeks to get the inside scoop on what happened under Smith’s watch and how things have changed for the better with linebackers coach Mark Duffner taking over as defensive coordinator. So instead of breaking down the Bucs vs. Bengals game film this week, I’ve decided to reveal what I learned about why Smith’s defense failed in Tampa Bay.

Under Smith, the Bucs would run half a dozen coverages or so in a given game. That’s about normal. But sometimes, at the first sign of trouble after those coverages have been rolled through in the first quarter with mixed results, Smith would deviate from the game plan and call coverages that weren’t run in practice leading up to the game and maybe haven’t been used in a game in weeks.

That’s one thing for a veteran like safety Chris Conte or cornerback Brent Grimes who has been in Smith’s system for years and has seen it all, but for a second-year starter like safety Justin Evans or cornerback Ryan Smith, who is in his second playing defense, or safety Isaiah Johnson, who is in his first year playing defense, trying to remember a coverage that hasn’t been played in three weeks in the span of 12 seconds while lining up against a bunch formation that features a player like Julio Jones, while trying to identify his assignment and get into the right alignment to use the right technique is not exactly a recipe for success.

It’s a recipe for disaster.

Bucs CBs MJ Stewart and Carlton Davis - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs CBs MJ Stewart and Carlton Davis – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Now imagine being a rookie like Carlton Davis, M.J. Stewart or Jordan Whitehead and being asked to run a coverage in Chicago or Atlanta that hasn’t been run since Week 1 or perhaps the preseason.

It’s one thing for Smith to call it. It’s his playbook. He’s taught it, knows it and has a firm grasp of it.

It’s another thing for a rookie, who winds up grasping at straws and guessing what to do as the play clock runs down and the ball is snapped.

What Duffner has done is stick to the game plan. He only calls coverages that the Bucs back seven (defensive backs and linebackers) have practiced during the week and perfected. That gives the players confidence that they know exactly what is coming from Duffner on Sunday with no deviations. As a result, the Bucs defenders can play looser, freer and more aggressive and confident.

After not breaking up a single pass against Atlanta in Smith’s last game, the Bucs secondary broke up three passes against Cleveland and three more against Cincinnati. While Tampa Bay has just one interception this season, the secondary is becoming more confident under Duffner and those will come as the result of tighter coverage and less thinking and more reacting during the second half of the season.

Another huge improvement Duffner has made has been eliminating the multiple checks that would occur on virtually every play. Smith was too much of a tactician from the press box. There would be a play called down to middle linebacker Kwon Alexander’s headset, but for every offensive player that went in motion there would be an additional check to another coverage.

Bucs CB MJ Stewart - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs CB MJ Stewart – Photo by: Getty Images

So imagine getting set on defense with 15 seconds left on the play clock. Alexander makes the initial call and you’re Davis or Stewart playing in your fourth or fifth NFL game in Smith’s defense and you’re facing a veteran like Jones or Chicago’s Allen Robinson. It’s a coverage that you haven’t run or practiced since the Saints game in Week 1 and you’re trying to remember what your assignment is – 10 seconds are left.

A tight end goes in motion, and now you’ve checked into a different coverage with Evans making the call – and there are 5 seconds left before the ball is snapped. Then the running back, whether it’s Tarek Cohen in Chicago or Tevin Coleman in Atlanta, motions out of the backfield and into the slot. With literally a few seconds left, that brings another check.

Now the rookie cornerback has essentially had to think about three different coverage calls – the first of which he struggled to remember because it wasn’t practiced during the week – in the span of 15 seconds and boom, the ball is snapped. There’s a split-second hesitation and the jam at the line of scrimmage was missed and automatically the receiver has the advantage and a step on the Bucs defender.

That happened too often under Smith. Anytime there was motion, there was a check and an adjustment had to be made. Too many checks. Too much confusion.

Duffner has eliminated the checks – with only a few logical exceptions. The play that’s called is the play that’s going to be run come hell or high water.

That gives young players like Johnson, Whitehead, Davis, Stewart and even guys with less than two years of experience like Smith and Evans 15 seconds before the ball is snapped to settle in, look at their assignment, quickly study the formation, get lined up correctly and ready to use the appropriate technique for the called play.

Bucs DC Mark Duffner - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DC Mark Duffner – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Duffer is at least giving the secondary a chance by simplifying things. Smith’s overly complex system with all of the audibles didn’t give this young Bucs defense much of a chance.

And finally, several players told me they could feel Smith’s panic all the way from the press box when things didn’t go right in the first half of games and when he would meet with the team at halftime in the locker room. That didn’t inspire a lot of confidence among the defensive players in what they were doing.

Duffner has come in and calmed the waters and inspired some confidence. While it hasn’t been perfect by any means, the defense has allowed fewer points than the Bucs offense has scored in both games.

After beating Cleveland 26-23 in overtime, Tampa Bay’s defense surrendered 30 of the 37 points Cincinnati scored last Sunday. It wasn’t a stellar performance by the defense against the Bengals, but the Bucs could have won 34-30 if not for Jameis Winston’s pick-six.

Former Bucs DC Mike Smith and current Bucs coach Mark Duffner - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Former Bucs DC Mike Smith and current Bucs coach Mark Duffner – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Every Bucs defensive player I spoke had nothing bad to say about Smith personally other than he was kind of bland and not as positive as Duffner is. They weren’t trying to throw Smitty under the bus. Rather they were talking about the positive changes that have occurred under Duffner over the past three weeks.

So far, these players absolutely love playing for Duffner, and changing defensive coordinators was the absolute right move by head coach Dirk Koetter.

1
2
3
4
5
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]

72 COMMENTS

  1. It’s not fair to lump Bridgewater in with Ponder. By most or all objective evidence, Bridgewater was on his way to being (at worst) an average-to-above-average starter when he suffered a devastating injury that was nobody’s fault. And by the time he was healthy enough to play again, Case Keenum had created a situation where uncertainty at QB was not something the Vikings could afford after having a career year and taking Minnesota to within one game of the Super Bowl. If Minnesota had been middle of the road last year, they might very well have rolled with Bridgewater and Keenum at QB this year and seen what happened.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  2. What about promoting Monken to Head Coach? I get that the same strategy didn’t really work out with Koetter, but Todd Monken seems to be the main person responsible for any success this year in Tampa. Get a Defensive Coordinator who runs a concept relevant to this decade and this might be a decent team.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
    • I like Monken right where he is now.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
      • Well, we’re going to lose him once everyone gets fired in the offseason. I guess that’s what I was getting at.

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
        • Caption for above photo

          Licht”Picked my company car, an AMC Gremlin. It was no good so I had to trade it in for a Chevette. That was no good so I had to thumb a ride to the dry cleaners to pick up my suit after beating them Browns.

          Koetter” Pick…. Trade….Whaaaat?

          Licht” Yeah them Browns sure are a mess.

          0
          0
          No votes yet.
          Please wait...
  3. Great Fab 5 Scott.

    While I think the psychology and sheer number of coaches/mentors/family/lawyers in Winston’s ear is interesting, I personally believe it has little to do with his execution. He has continued to make the same mistakes with his reads. He has continued to make the same mistakes with ball security. Every time he scrambles and dives for the end zone or a first down, he loses the ball. Every time.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  4. This is a win now league and a fantasy fan base. I really do like this article and agree with most of it, but can the fans wait for this to come to fruition? Will Winston be ok on the bench for a year? And get paid $21 million??? I really thought Winston was ready to take the reigns but after last week and watching turnover replays, disgusting. So happy to have this offense and hope Fitz can produce a play off birth …GM Licht definitely try to get something for McCoy! OFF TOPIC does anyone see what Gruden is doing? Bombing 2018 to get Bosa and also will be Bombing 2019 to get TUA …they will lose every single game here and moving forward to get Tagovailoa!

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  5. As a diehard Bucs fan all I what is for the team to win. I’m tired of the losing and coaching changes. If Fitz can lean this team to playoffs great. Then explore trading Winston in the off-season and build a long term plan for the QB position. But if we fall out of playoff contention Winston must start and get thrown back into the fire. We have to know 100% that it can’t work even if that means him playing next year with a new coach. I know it’s not a popular idea but what choice do we have? Blow the whole thing up again and start over? That plan doesn’t seem to work that often.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
    • Exactly why Jameis needed to go back in after the bye no matter what happened, and exactly why he needs to go back in whenever Fitz falters. Fitz has no shot of being the future of this team; Jameis still does even if that shot is getting longer by the week.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
    • You are ignoring the fact that if Winston is put back in and gets injured (and therefore untradeable) the Bucs are on the hook for his entire 2019 salary at almost $21M. Winston getting injured is more likely than not – remember he missed several games last year for that reason. With him dropping back and passing 50+ times a game, it is in fact highly likely he’ll take lots more sacks and get injured, and then the Bucs are screwed.

      The only smart thing to do is inactivate Winston, not let him play or practice, and try to trade him before the league year starts in March. There will probably be few or no takers at his $21M salary, though, given his weaknesses as a player … the most likely result is the Bucs will get no takers and have to cut him.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
      • You’re right that the Bucs would get no takers and be forced to cut him. Which is exactly why inactivating him is utterly moronic – by doing that, you’re telegraphing that you’re giving up on him, which equals giving up any hope on having constancy at the QB position for the next few years. (Fitz is too old and too inconsistent to be relied on for anything beyond this season, period.)

        The REAL smart thing to do would have been NOT to exercise his option back in April in the first place when the threat of a suspension for the Uber incident was hanging over his head. As far as I’m concerned, once they decided to do that, they burned that $20 million, and trying to wiggle out of getting it back will be more trouble than it’s worth.

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
        • Blake Bortles got extended because of injury in his 4th year. Jags were on the hook for his 5th year salary becasue he couldn’t pass the end of season physical. To offset the huge 5th year cap number, they signed him to a 2 year extension to lessen the per year hit. Thats how they got stuck with Bortles.

          RGIII got a concussion in his 4th year. Draft classmate Kirk Cousins came in and lit it up. RGIII was inactivate the rest of his 4th year so the Redskins wouldnt be stuck picking up his expensive 5th year option. RGIII is a bust.

          Jameis Winston is a BUST.

          0
          0
          No votes yet.
          Please wait...
    • Mizz Lady…The Bucs are not going to the playoffs this year. They will be lucky to win 8 total games. Their remaining games:
      at Carolina(5-2), Washington(5-2), at NY GIants(1-7), San Fran(2-7), Carolina(5-2), Saints(6-1), at Baltimore(4-4), at Dallas(3-4), Atlanta(3-4).

      They have to win at least 10 if not 11 games to go to the playoffs based on wild card teams ahead of them. That means they can only lose 2 more games this year to get to 10 wins(which, again, will likely not be enough to get in). Tom Brady would have a hard time quarterbacking this Bucs squad to 7 wins out of 9 contests.

      Jameis is done in Tampa. Koetter may or may not be depending on how the team responds.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  6. Very good Article Scott.
    Winston isn’t going to change his bad mental habits; maybe he might improve a little with another team. Griffin needs to be the back up and Winston goes on the Inactive game list. There’s 21 million that can be used else where.
    Winston has put us in this position and we have to move on. We’re lucky to win 3 more games at best. We don’t have to blow up the team because of one person.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  7. this might not be a popular theory and it is certainly not an excuse, but any new father knows how much a baby can mess with your sleep and your routine in the first 6 months to 1 year. having had 3 kids in 4 years i can attest to sometimes barely knowing where i was as the household muddled through sleepless nights, illnesses, and random digestive issues. Yeah he’s wealthy enough to push it off to a nanny but many parents who can afford to be absent from the little things opt not to. Jameis is in week 4 of balancing a football season with a little one, as he was not able to be around the football team for about 4 weeks after training camp.

    again, it’s not an excuse any bucs fan cares about, but it is a more temporary condition than just sucking hopelessly and could explain an otherwise inexplicable Sunday

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
    • When I think of a Buc father with a lot going on, Joe Jurevicious is the first name that comes to mind. Look at what he endured and look at how he responded. Good chance Tampa doesn’t win a SB without him.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
      • Lot fewer demands on your third receiver than your prospective franchise QB. Not exactly an equal comparison.

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
  8. Koetter is in more danger than licht is, at least that’s how I feel. I still believe that if licht felt like his job was on the line, he would have pulled the trigger on the Landon Collins trade, but he backed off holding on to those picks…did the glazers stop him from doing so? I doubt that..I can see a coaching change at least with Winston having another shot under a new coach..I’m ok with it if we do so but I can’t say I’m not worried during the draft with some of the questionable picks he makes.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
    • Much more likely that, being as Licht was on probation this season, after the baby Glazers refused to give him a long term contract extension, Licht was forbidden by the Glazers from any trades involving future draft picks.

      Certainly if I were the Glazers and hadn’t already canned his ass after his despicable previous season and four full years of grotesque failure as a GM, I would never let him trade jack shit. Why let a loser on his way out the door mortgage the future of the franchise and simultaneously deny draft picks to the guy who will replace him in about two months?

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
      • when will the pain go away Naples!

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
        • Good question.

          The baby Glazers have proven repeatedly that the apple fell very far from the tree. Their ability to judge football talent, including GMs and coaches, is nil.

          The best suggestion I’ve heard is to (again, the weakness here is that it requires personnel judgment by the baby Glazers) is to hire a President of Football Operations of unquestioned knowledged and judgment, then let him hire a GM and coaches and provide the kind of football smarts guidance that the Glazers clearly lack.

          The best candidate suggested to date is Tony Dungy. He would never leave the broadcast booth to become a coach again, or even a GM, but I think he could be enticed with an offer to be the Bucs PFO, with total control over everything. Similar to when John Elway was hired as PFO by the Bronco’s owners, the Bowlen family. It’s worked out pretty well for Denver, even if they’ve had some issues in the last two years.

          0
          0
          No votes yet.
          Please wait...
          • I don’t think he wants all that pressure.

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
          • Geeezaaas Criminy Naplefan…Tony Dungy isn’t coming back to ANY TEAM in ANY CAPACITY. He has a cush job and as much access as he wants to all the teams. No stress. No pressure. No staff. Just him and Rodney breaking down the days games for an hour before SNF plus a little bit of halftime work.

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
    • I agree with BucRy Licht will probably get one more year unless we hire a high profile coach that wants more team control. But Koetters only chance now is the playoffs with Fitz. The Glazers have stood by Winston for 4 years I just don’t see them dumping him until they know he won’t make them look like fools by having immediate success elsewhere.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  9. This should read: “I want Licht to survive even if Winston is a bust.” because as any reader of Pewter Report knows, Scott Reynolds is a devout follow of the church of Jason Licht. Whether it’s 5 years of missed playoffs, 25-46 record, a top overall draft pick bust, an embarrassing trade up for an awful kicker, 2016 or 2018 draft failures, a history of bad kickers, inept line/defensive backs or misses in free agency Scott wants you to know one thing: “Keep my friend Jason” and Scott is going to write about it until someone in ownership has the guts to fire him.

    There is literally nothing Jason is going to do, no objective record or transactional failure that will get Scott to think another way. And that’s sad.

    You want to talk about a great offense Scott? Sure, let’s talk about picking up yards through the air because your defense can’t hold anyone. Let’s talk about the fact that the person who is driving the success in the offense is a 35 year old journeyman QB with a penchant for throwing INTs almost at the same rate Winston is. You want to keep the GM who’s built the franchise on a 35 year old QB and 29 year old pass rusher after 5 years “building” this team while missing the playoffs every year? That sounds like a success to you? Of course it does Scott, because Jason is your friend, he’s your source and you could care less about what actually happens to the team in the process. Go 2-14 earn the top pick then miss on said pick, miss on the ENTIRE 2016 Draft have the 2018 NFL draft leave very bad impression and regularly miss in free agency, sure why not? Sign me up for some more of that.

    You don’t care about the team Scott, you care about your friendship with the GM. Just admit it.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
    • You think the guy who has been covering the bucs for over 20 years doesn’t care about the team? Do you honestly believe what you wrote?

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
      • The team has missed the playoffs for 13 straight years, the second longest streak in the 32 team NFL to the Browns and Scott is only critical of the coaches. Every year. Show me the take down of Bruce Allen, Mark Dominik or the Glazers when they are in charge? Show me. I’ll show you take down of Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith, Dirk Koetter all by year two. It’s year 5 of the Licht experiment. How’s it working out for everyone?

        You realize Pewter Report is NOT a media source like the Tampa Tribune or St Pete Times. The Buccaneers organization can easily block Pewter Report’s ability to cover and access the team and the subscriber base here can just as easily move to another source. Scott needs access to cover the way they have for 20 years and if you can’t tell he commonly treats the GM and management with kid gloves.

        Does Scott care about the team’d W-L more than he cares about his own business which covers it? The lack of any accountability to the GM or ownership who have built said team and hired said coaches say otherwise.

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
  10. Scott is right on. A regime change (GM and Head Coach) usually brings unwanted changes such as discarding Gerald McCoy, Lavante David, Cam Brate, DeSean Jackson, Ryan Jensen, JPP and others who are on the hook for big money that the team feels can be replaced by draft picks or lower priced/less talented players. I fault Licht’s poor drafts for Bucs’s inability to move forward. He gets a D for his overall effort, including passing on Minkah Fitzgerald and Derwin James, both of whom lead their teams in INT’s. I was not that impressed with Vea unless the thinking was to discard McCoy. Licht has a nice resume but his failures stand out. Imagine how much better Bucs would be with a productive running back and better talented secondary, areas where Licht has not delivered.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  11. Nice trick ya did there, Scott.

    As if all first round picks are created equally, and bring equal consequences to their teams.

    Everybody knows that getting the no. 1 overall pick in any draft is likely a once in a lifetime opportunity that will either make or break the GM. Not true with any other pick in the first round, especially outside of the top five picks.

    It is a once in a lifetime pick, because if that same GM ever drafts no. 1 overall again, he is provably a huge failure as a GM. Indeed, more often than not the GM who picks no. 1 overall is the replacement for the GM who put their team in the no. 1 position in the draft.

    Licht already got his mulligan by being both the failed GM who produced a no. 1 overall pick, and then being the GM picked wrong on the no. 1 overall pick in the draft.

    Licht stepped up to the plate, and in his career defining move, he picked wrong. Game over.

    That’s not even considering the fact that his drafts have gotten progressively worse and worse each year, and in the overall course of his five years at the helm of the Bucs franchise, he is responsible for destroying the Bucs legacy of great defenses. Producing the worst defense in the league two years in a row – his last two years with the Bucs.

    Nope – Licht is history, unless the Glazer boys are even bigger chuckleheads than they’ve proved to be so far.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
    • PS – Gabbert was the no. 10 overall pick, and Weedon was the no. 22 overall pick. In no way, shape, or form was either pick equivalent to the no. 1 overall pick.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
      • I think you missed his point. The reason a team fired the GM in the past was because of financial reasons. This Bucs team is loaded with talent and a top flight offense in an offensively driven league. Winston failing doesn’t set the team back in terms of salary cap and spent money. They aren’t getting rid of players to accomodate a rookie QB and his enormous salary any more. Look at Minnesota, they failed twice on their 1st round QB and the GM survived Bridgewater but not Ponder because they didn’t have to mortgage the franchises future to draft him.

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
        • Survived Bridgewater? The 32nd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft? Well hell BucWild: Austin Sefarian Jenkins was the 38th pick in that same draft under Licht. Noah Spence was the 39th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and Ronald Jones was the 38th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Jason Licht appears by some folk to be surviving similar slotted busts just fine.

          That Teddy Bridgewater would even come up in conversation compared to the NUMBER ONE OVERALL PICK in 2015 is a joke. The value of the two selections is miles apart. The fact that Licht earned the pick by going 2-14 the year before while giving out big money to Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins and Josh McCown seems to have been long forgotten.

          I believe Licht later said on Hard Knocks that he cried after drafting Winston. Man, who couldn’t trust the judgment of such a stellar GM after that? I wonder if he cried after trading up and drafting Aguayo too.

          0
          0
          No votes yet.
          Please wait...
          • Devasher-The article is about GM’s surviving 1st round “franchise” QB misses. Its based on the crippling effect a miss would have before the rookie salary cap was put in place. Read much do ya?

            A question though…which general manager in the NFL has hit on all free agents and draft picks? You seem to have all the answers about how bad a job Jason Licht has done, but who would do better?

            Winston was arguably the best QB of his class. Tampa needed a QB and was in position to take the best one in the class. QB’s are the most important position on the football field. The kid had won a national championship. He had won a Heisman. The turnovers were going to be the challenge but they had to love that he wasn’t Glennon, who was checking everything down or throwing it away. He was confident and most importantly, he was a winner. They made the right choice then. No one else would have done it differently.

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
    • You know what’s crazy? Scott pointing out that Ryan Fitzpatrick is only one year older than Aaron Rodgers.

      Rodgers was drafted in April 2005 almost 14 years ago:

      The Buccaneers made the playoffs exactly ONE time since he was drafted.
      The Packers have made the playoffs NINE times since Rodgers was drafted.
      The Buccaneers have played one playoff game during that time.
      The Packers have played in 18 playoff games in that time.
      The Buccaneers lost their only game and are 0-1 in the playoffs (Jan 7 2006 loss to the Redskins).
      The Packers are 10-8 in the Playoffs under Rodgers including their SB win Feb 2011 over the Steelers.

      So yeah guys, I’m so glad we are looking at the potential of having a QB who is only ONE year older than Aaron Rodgers lead the team for the forseeable future. The amount of mental gymnastics Scott has to go through to spin his way for his friend Jason is both fascinating and laughable.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
      • I wonder, does Aaron Rodgers has anything in the Hall of Fame? I know Fitz does for being the first QB in NFL history to start a season by passing for 400 yards in each of his first 3 games. There’s tread on the tires and talent/leadership/savvy with Fitz behind center. Is he Aaron Rodgers? No one is saying he is. But he’s leaps and bounds better than the “W” eater.

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
        • Was that a joke? Like seriously? Aaron Rodgers bust will be in the Hall of Fame exactly five years after he retires and Fitz will only get to go if someone gets him a ticket.

          If you’re trying to have some sustained success with a journeyman QB who is 1 year older than a 14 year vet who could’ve retired 3 years ago and still gone into the HOF you’re doing it wrong. Having the worst defense in the league doesn’t help matters any.

          0
          0
          No votes yet.
          Please wait...
          • Devasher, BucWilde was not asking if AR will end up in the HOF – of course he will – he was asking if there are any Aaron Rodgers artifacts in the HOF, such as a jersey or football used to break an NFL record, as was the case with Fitz earlier this season when he broke the record for most consecutive 400 yard passing games.

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
          • The answer is yes, there is an Aaron Rodgers jersey from week 14 of the 2014 season for being the fastest QB to pass for 25k in NFL history. https://www.profootballhof.com/news/rodgers-700-25-000-club-jersey/

            Of course Cadillac Williams cleats are also in the HOF after his blistering start in 2005. Did that validate the decision to draft him over Rodgers that year? I think not.

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
          • Devasher: Listen Troll, no one is calling Fitzpatrick Aaron Rodgers. He’s saying it’s possible to still perform at a high level at that age. Dim wit.

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
          • Bucwild you asked if Aaron Rodgers had anything in the HOF like Ryan Fitzpatrick did. In addition to the hilarity that you would attempt to make an Aaron Rodgers/Ryan Fitzpatrick HOF item comparison, I did the 5 seconds of research to determine that yes Aaron Rodgers does in fact have something in the HOF. But I’m a dimwit. Good call.

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
    • You say he picked wrong way number one but the bucs HAD to take a qb with that pick and Mariota is just as bad as Jameis this year. So it was a 50 50 shot and both guys haven’t really panned out.
      I do agree with your assessment that Lichts drafts have gotten worse. This years his worst since hes been here I my opinion. Although I will say it’s too early to tell on that. I just think he out thinks himself so much. Drafting guys thay play at one position, only to play on our squad at another.
      Lucky seems to be much better at getting thay undrafted talent that works. His second round picks have pretty much all be horrible since hes been here, outside of this years guys as it’s too early to tell again.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
      • Nobody required that the GM select a quarterback at all in 2015. Sure, we were focused on a quarterback but both the Bucs and the Titans passed on some great talents such as Vic Beasely, Todd Gurley, and Amari Cooper.

        All drafts are crap shoots, of course.

        But the specific areas of Winston’s failures – both on field and offfield – were extremely well known by everybody, including Licht. He ignored all the red flags, and decided that Winston’s enthusiasm trumped every single other thing. That’s what he said at the time, and that’s what he said on Hard Knocks. He talked Lovey Smith into going for Winston, against Lovey’s inclinations, and he completely ignored and overruled Koetter who clearly did not want Winston at all.

        At the end of the day, there are NO excuses for making a bad pick at no. 1 overall. You get one shot at that pick, and you cannot blow it.

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
        • Well in terms of a number one overall pick that year, yes we had to take a qb. We had glennon as our qb, how could we not draft a qb? As for Gurley. For one, you dont take a rb at number 1. For 2 ,he was coming off of acl surgery, so he wasnt even an after thought at the time for number one. It was either Jameis, or Mariota and no other choice would have done it for bucs fans.

          0
          0
          No votes yet.
          Please wait...
          • Exactly right cgmaster27.

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
          • Or, rather than drafting a player with assault and turnover issues, we could have moved down and collected an abundance of much needed draft capital. Chip Kelly was desperate about nabbing his boy MM.

            https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/buccaneers/2015/05/09/eagles-chip-kelly-trade-draft-marcus-mariota-jameis-winston/27052859/

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
      • How do we know they are poor picks? I admit they weren’t my favorites, but I learned after saying McCoy was a bust after 2 years, and had to hear about it from Scubog for years, that I’d wait for three years before saying it was a bad pick.

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
    • Licht had no winning choice to make in the 2015 draft. Winston and Mariota are busts as #1 picks. There were no stars worthy of the first round pick in 2015. Most are good pros but not stars worthy of the first pick. The only players who have turned into stars have been Gurley, Gordon and Peters. Licht would have been instantly crucified for using #1 on either running back and Peters did not reach his second contract with the team that drafted him.

      Who could Licht have picked at #1 that would have worked out?

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
      • I have one great answer: Vic Beasely, who’s been giving us fits ever since he was drafted by the Falcons. In a position that we’ve been horrendously bad at ever since Simeon Rice retired (but looking better at the moment with JPP).

        And yes, we did not need to stay at no. 1 either, could easily have traded down for more picks, and still gotten Beasely. Or Todd Gurley. Or Melvin Gordon. Or even traded for a future year no. 1 pick, and gotten Jared Goff or Carson Wentz, if he understood that both of those guys were better than Winston.

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
        • Good point. Trading out would have been a good move. I seem to remember the Eagles offering a huge package but cannot remember details except that Corey Peters was involved. Under those circumstances adding Beasley would have made our d-line formidable.

          0
          0
          No votes yet.
          Please wait...
          • If we add Gurley or Gordon to our current set of receivers…..

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
          • Hah and the Eagles would be dealing with the Winston issues 🙂

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
          • Perfect

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
          • Duh I meant Fletcher Cox not Peter’s

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
        • Good points about trading out, but kicht would be been crucified for taking nearly after our luck with Clemson DE. And he was awful his first year until they moved him to lb. You think the bucs wouldve done that? I dont

          0
          0
          No votes yet.
          Please wait...
  12. I fully support this article and in my best SR impersonation I’m going to pat myself on the back and say you heard it here first. I pretty much wrote the first Fab in the comments of the cover 3 earlier in the week.

    “bEubanks11
    Oct 31, 18 at 1:07 am
    I don’t believe the Glaziers think that Koetter or Licht are the problem and frankly I don’t either. With a historically bad defensive scheme our offensive with a journeyman QB and a turnover machine leading the way have kept us competitive in every game so far this year. We have a gem on offense and finally cut ties with what was keeping our defense from clicking. This offensive scheme is top 5 in the league. It hums with whoever at QB (as long as you don’t hand the ball to the other team on record pace), RB, offensive line…”

    It’s true. The scheme and the receivers are the heroes. This offensive scheme of Koetters is his “get out of jail free” card which doesn’t expire until other defenses figure out how to stop it. The scheme is the rare talent that’s more important than any draft pic could be. We have the best offense in the league with a journeyman QB and lost soul right now. Let that sink in. It’s rare and we have it.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  13. Some are willing to be patient with Winston as he grows. What about our coach and GM who were hired as NFL rookies at their positions and are finding their way as well. Koetter has learned and Licht have learned from obvious mistakes they’ve made. Im sticking with them like first overall pics because I truly believe they have raw but rare talent and have the drive to be the best. It’s making the same mistakes over and over that get you benched. Those guys are moving forward. Let’s ride this thing if for no other reason than continuity. We’re an average defense away from being perennial superbowl contenders. We’re closer than we are far from it.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  14. Come on SR, I completely disagree with your take on Fab 1. KOETTERS offense is leading the league in total offense. I can’t give Licht any credit for OJ Howard, he fell right into his lap, any GM would have made that pick. Same with Mike Evans.

    But that’s not the point, Koetters main job is the offense, which is thriving. Licht has been tasked of fixing a defense that has been putrid for the past 3 years. What has he done, yes Kwon was a great steal, but where are his other playmakers on defense besides JPP. He picked MJ Stewart in the second round when we could of had Marcus Peters for that pick. Think about that one for a little.

    I give Koetter credit for having the best offense in the league but Lichts job is building a full TEAM. Which I don’t see at this point. His draft this year is not looking good at all.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  15. Out OL is weak and requires several high picks to fix
    Our DL is a patchwork with many FA misses over the last 5 yrs, as GMC and JPP age our will need a total rebuild
    Our entire defensive backfield is a mess
    Our QB is a bust so far but we’re hoping against hope he pulls it together in year 5
    Our RB situation lacks quality and depth
    We over-drafted and over spent the WR and TE positions at the expense of everything else
    We used a 2 on a kicker despite these many needs

    Whether or not Winston works our five years and lots of turmoil later, Licht has proven himself unqualified to be GM and must go.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  16. Winston needs to hear a different voice in his ear. If the Bucs wants to improve Winston as a QB, they must hire a new QB coach. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Winston has too much talent not to bring in a talented QB coach. Jared Golf didn’t become who he is now until they changed coaches. Can anyone name one QB Mike Bajakian, Todd Monken or Dirk Koetter developed? If I am the Bucs I let Fitz finish the year as the starting QB and hire a proven QB coach. Playing Winston anytime the rest of the season with the same voices in his ear would be insanity. We do not need to have another Steve Young on our hands. Scott please read and investigate to see if that’s at least a thought.
    Go Bucs.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  17. Insightful article and enjoyed reading all the comments as well!

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  18. I can’t believe you’re all still not happy with the number 1 offense. No part of the offense is a problem as a whole they are the best. And neither is the talent on defense that Licht has provided. I said before the season started that this team will go as far as Mike Smith’s defense. That was and remains my only concern. The defensive scheme. Find one that is decent and we’ll be good for a very long time. We’re right on the edge. Small adjustments and watch the machine churn out the wins.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  19. The Glazers make me nervous. They also fired Tony Dungy.
    I think that if Fitz goes down we should put the youngster in-not Winston.
    I think we’re one defensive draft away from an NFC championship.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  20. Can Licht survive a first round bust? Maybe, but can he survive all the second round busts? Many he moved up in the draft for. Can he survive all the free agent busts? For every JPP, there’s at least a Sweezy, and a Baker. Scott how can you point to Licht drafting Evans as a find? He was the 6th pick in the draft. What if Licht would’ve picked Donald instead? Would we have been worse off? How about Godwin, great find. We could’ve had Hunt, think we could run the ball now? So what Licht has done going on five years is 25-46, soon to be 47. To me as a fan, that’s not good enough.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
    • You’re right surferdudes, but unfortunately Scott isn’t interested in a good faith argument about Licht’s successes and failures. The failures are significant, the record is poor and the foundation of the franchise is rockier now than since the day Licht earned us a 1st overall pick by overseeing the worst roster in football in 2014.

      Scott wants to point to a couple of wide receivers and a tight end for 5 years of drafts and warn people we can’t do better? I’m amazed that people are buying it. Scott isn’t doing this out of good faith, he has long ago decided that he benefits in access if Jason stays where he is and the fact that another GM could come in and build a playoff team is secondary to it.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  21. Buc fan here since inception. I sat in the old Sombrero with my dad who drank beer and cursed the Bucs. we never won then. Kinda like now! We’ve progressed greatly under one coach in Tampa. And that was..Tony Dungy. Before him, we were the laughin stock and steppin stone of the NFL. Yes, chucky won the Superbowl with..Tony’s players and foundation. He sanked right after that. Now enter the years of the Buc revolving coaching doors. Enough to make one take daily doses of dramamine! I say Show Licht and Koetter the door after this losing season. And yes, its gonna be one..A big one! Hire Tony Dungy as head of Buc Football Operations and lets start this ball rollin in the right direction. Thats it IF..we truly want to become winners again. Funny how we won a championship with an Outstanding defense and an Average offense. We were..approaching the great offense status, and still cannot win consistently. Yet we have no dense. Kinda makes one wonder huh? I don’t think Koetter is taking us anywhere but mediocrity or slightly above average..at best. Time for him..to join his road-dog, Pressbox Smitty at the St Pete Fishing hole for ex-Buc coaches!!

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  22. FAB 1 is why we are the Bucs…how many devastating mistakes does Licht have to make before there is consensus to kick him out? It’s not just the whiff after whiff in the draft (drafting is hard and there will be more busts than success), it’s

    A) the absence of a decision process – if you know our team is going to have a zero tolerance policy for DUI, why spend a 2nd rounder on ASJ?
    B) the bizarre selection of players with high picks that don’t fit our schemes – MJ Stewart is the latest.
    C) the lack of any thinking late in the draft – why pick a backup FB with no sp team’s experience, or a WR with poor hands every year
    D) what ever the trading up and selection of a kicker was ????
    E) the passing over players of obvious need like Gabe Jackson for bit players like Simms…and the knock on effect of that forcing panic trades.
    F) the strange stubbornness to never trade up in round 1, but trade up in round 2 as a religion.

    But it goes way beyond the draft. We have cut loose two of the top 5 safeties in the league this year…both were ours!

    We cut loose Penn, who continued to play at a pro bowl level for years, which forced us to reach for D Smith (one of the worst ranked OTs in the league every year).

    Does any GM have a worse record with FAs? His successes are Brate, DJax and maybe Jensen (maybe), Nassib (maybe, maybe, we hope), Grimes (maybe)? Failures go on and on: Johnson, Collins, Verner, Unrein, Curry, Conte, Sweezy, Baker, Ward, JJ Wilcox, kicker after kicker, etc.

    Speaking of – why did we cut Connor Barth? He was performing as a top quartile kicker…oh right, so that we could make that great draft pick.

    Come on – I know it’s not easy to be a GM but at least make a plausible strategy (maybe copy a successful approach to football) and follow it.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  23. Twspin I’ve said that on this forum weeks ago. Glad you’re on board. I also say hire Derrick brooks to be the GM and in 5 years when dungy retires again brooks can run it. Licht is a total joke. He’s done more damage here than any other GM and I’ve seen them all. If the glazers want people to buy tickets koetter and licht will be gone. This weekend we get destroyed by Carolina. Think raiders last night but a lot worse

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
    • Great ideas guys! Hey, while we’re at it lets get Bill Cowher to be the head coach! Also, lets trade for Gurley, Mack, the Dallas offensive line, Derwin James, Patrick Peterson, Aaron Donald and of course Tom Brady! Then Tampa fans will know how much winning means to you! Oh yeah, don’t forget Stephen Gostkowski and Adam Viniateri!

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  24. Buc76, you really must have a couple of empty Gordon Gin bottle next to your lounge chair or you are definitely Mark Dominick hiding behind that name.
    Dominick was no doubt the worst GM this team ever had and Bruce Allen wasn’t to far behind.
    Dominick’s drafting was so bad he can;t even get a job in an NFL front office.
    Allen went back to Washington and in the spirit of American business, continued his imcompetent drafting thier so he was promoted to Presidency of the organization where he couldn’t mess anything up.
    The only player left out of all of Dominick’s drafts is Gerald McCoy and he is more of an
    All Pro to the local media than anywhere else.
    The Super Bowl Bucs were built on four draft picks, Warren Sapp. Derrick Brooks, John Lynch and Ronde Barber.
    I give Licht a C as far as drafting which is much better than the F almost every fan other than you gives Dominick and Allen.
    Of course I really shouldn;t blame Allen that much since he was Jon Gruden’s lap dog and did everything he told him to.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
    • Worst GM in my mind-Ken Herrock or Phil Krueger.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  25. Pewterreport is losing credibility posting sh!t like this. So we’re going to preach and clamor for 4 years that if they can’t develop their #1 overall quarterback then they should be canned but now if Winston’s a bust they can keep their jobs because they gain yards? Jesus… btw, Winston isn’t a bust. You people are guzzling kool-aid at this point. This offense is one-dimensional fool’s gold regardless of QB play. You don’t build a team completely backwards ignoring the trenches and running attack for years and rely on “explosives” and 7-step deep bombs to ride into the playoffs when you’re a team in the NFC South. Horrific defense. Special teams points consistently left on the field. Can’t run the ball and maintain a lead to save your life. This is not a prolific offense by any stretch of a sound imagination.

    Look at the rest of this schedule. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not going to drag this team into the playoffs. His last two starts would be universally considered disasters if we didn’t make a comeback against Pittsburgh. You know why? Because NFL teams will figure you out, especially so in a playoff hunt as the competition heats up. Get him off his spot early and often and he comes back to Earth, then we turn in to the exact same offense we are with Winston; piling up gigantic yardage as we fight tooth and nail back into the game. This is not me hating on our Buccaneers, this is the hard truth. There’s a difference between being cautiously optimistic and being delusional.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  26. They can survive but only if they can muster a 7-9 Season or better. If Fitz becomes the 2nd coming of George Blanda or Tom Brady, they might salvage this season, and who knows maybe milk another season or two out of him. But, Fitz is a back-up for a reason. He has flirted with this before. if Winston is a bust, then the QB Carousel continues, and I can’t choose between which is worse, that or the Coaching Carousel. I am sick of seeing new regimes come in and have one good year and then poop out. With all the talent on this team, it really is mind-boggling why we cannot put it together.

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...