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SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL.

FAB 1. No Staff Changes In Tampa Bay Seems Crazy

The old saying goes that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are intending on bringing the current coaching staff back for the 2018 season without any changes – which is what I’m hearing – I would suggest that there might be a good deal of insanity taking hold at One Buccaneer Place.

Former Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin once told me that you either get better or you get worse, but you never stay the same. Of course Kiffin didn’t coin that phrase, but it’s certainly true.

The Bucs didn’t get better in 2017. They got worse.

Somebody has to be held accountable, right?

Defensive coordinator Mike Smith?

Defensive line coach Jay Hayes?

Special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor?

Tampa Bay’s record got worse in 2017, going from 9-7 to 5-11.

The scoring offense got worse, going from 22.1 points per game to 20.9 points per game despite even more weapons at Jameis Winston’s disposal.

The scoring defense got worse, falling from 15th in 2016 to 22nd in 2017. Total defense fell from 23rd to dead last in 2017. It was a similar fall in passing defense from 22nd in 2016 to dead last in 2017. The Bucs finished dead last in sacks with just 22, and went from first in third down defense in 2016 to dead last in third down defense in 2017.

So bringing back the entire coaching staff, especially on the defensive side of the ball, is going to fix things in Tampa Bay, right?

If the organization isn’t going to make any changes to the coaching staff, what that does is directly implicates the players for the team’s shortcomings in 2017. It’s saying that better players are needed to win – not better coaching.

If that is the line of thinking at One Buccaneer Place, I beg to differ.

As I reported in last week’s SR’s Fab 5, if the Bucs weren’t going to be able to land former head coach Jon Gruden then Dirk Koetter was going to get another year. Six hours after I published my column, that’s exactly what happened at 3:00 p.m. on Friday.

Koetter gets one more year to get this team to the playoffs.

He enters 2018 already on the hot seat for a do-or-die season.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

That was the Glazers’ decision and I’m all on board with it since they couldn’t – or wouldn’t – outbid Oakland for Gruden. The players like Koetter and obviously played hard for him down the stretch.

The Bucs offense could move the ball at will for most of the season, it just bogged down in the red zone where better play-calling and better execution will be needed in 2018. Koetter’s offense had to settle for too many field goal attempts and with the erratic nature of former kicker Nick Folk in the first quarter of the season, there were too many points left on the field.

With the talent the Bucs have, Koetter’s scoring offense, which is ranked 18th with 20.9 points per game, needs to match its total offensive ranking, which is ninth overall, averaging 363.5 yards per game. There’s no reason why Tampa Bay can’t average at least 24 points per game next year. The Bucs should have done that this year.

The Bucs defense is a much different story. Take a look at the tale of the tape between the Mike Smith’s defense in 2016 compared to last year’s defense:

2017 Bucs Defensive Rankings
32nd in total defense (378.1 ypg)
32nd in passing defense (260.6 ypg)
23rd in run defense (117.5 ypg)
22nd in scoring defense (23.9 ppg)
32nd in third down defense (48 percent)
32nd in yards per play (6.0 avg.)
32nd in sacks (22)
15th in interceptions (13)
2nd in FF (18)
2nd in FR (13)

2016 Bucs Defensive Rankings
23rd in total defense (367.9 ypg)
22nd in passing defense (250.8 ypg)
22nd in run defense (117.2 ypg)
15th in scoring defense (23.1 ppg)
1st in third down defense (34 percent)
25th in yards per play (5.8 avg.)
9th in sacks (38)
4th in interceptions (17)
7th in forced fumbles (16)
6th in fumble recoveries (12)

Looking at the stats themselves (to the right, in parenthesis) rather than the rankings (to the left), the numbers are eerily similar except for the huge discrepancies in third down defense and sacks. Now there is a strong correlation between sacks and putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and a defense’s success on third down. The more sacks and more pressure from a defense, usually the more successful third down numbers.

The Bucs’ pass rush regressed in 2017, and that was a big culprit in the team ranking last in total defense, pass defense, third down defense and sacks. But take a closer look at the 2016 rankings when the defense helped key a five-game winning streak that helped earn Smith a pay raise to keep him in Tampa Bay in 2017.

The total defensive ranking, as well as the rankings for run defense and pass defense were all in the bottom third of the league. Tampa Bay’s scoring defense in 2016 was middle of the pack.

I’m going to give credit to Steven Beck (@becksync78), who is one of our most intelligent @PewterReport followers on Twitter, for pointing out that last year’s five-game winning streak consisted of smoke and mirrors.

Chicago was a bad football team that got trounced, 36-10.

Bucs S Keith Tandy - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs S Keith Tandy – Photo by: Getty Images

Kansas City was missing three defensive stalwarts for the Tampa Bay game in cornerback Marcus Peters and outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali in a two-point Tampa Bay win.

Seattle was missing safety Earl Thomas, defensive end Michael Bennett and running back C.J. Prosise, while quarterback Russell Wilson was dealing with a knee injury in a five-point victory by the Bucs.

Reserve safety Keith Tandy came up with three fourth quarter, clutch interceptions against New Orleans, San Diego and Carolina to help Tampa Bay win those respective games by seven points, five points and one point.

Based on how Smith’s defense regressed in many areas last year, it leads me to believe that the 2016 defense just wasn’t as good as we thought it was.

And I’m afraid I don’t see it getting much better in 2018, even if the defense added a free agent pass rusher like Ziggy Ansah or a rookie defensive end, and upgraded the cornerback position by re-signing Brent Grimes and either drafting a cornerback in the early rounds or adding Malcolm Butler or Trumaine Johnson through free agency. Those players would help, but would they be enough to make Tampa Bay’s defense elite? I don’t think so. I’ve seen enough poor game plans from Smith and poor defensive line stunts directed by Hayes to think otherwise.

The fact that the Bucs have yet to make any coaching moves is an indication that Koetter apparently believes in his staff. That’s admirable. But loyalty and stubbornness make for deadly bedfellows in the NFL.

Earlier in the week I suggested that the Bucs consider looking at former Oakland and Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio, who was a defensive coordinator in Carolina (2002) and Denver (2012-14) and known for quick turnarounds. But it’s hard to attract good coaches for what could be just one year before the next regime change if Koetter doesn’t win 10 games and get the Bucs to the playoffs in 2018.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

I don’t know if that’s the necessary mandate that the Glazers have given Koetter in order to make it to 2019, but it would certainly be mine if I owned the Bucs. Playoffs or bust in 2018.

Del Rio, who Koetter worked for in Jacksonville, wasn’t going to come to replace Smith. He could be seen as a threat to replace Koetter if the Bucs fell short of the playoffs, but the defense played well – the way Koetter ended up being the in-house replacement for Lovie Smith when the offense played well in a 6-10 season in 2015.

Koetter has seen that movie before. He played a leading role in it.

So after two-year hooks for Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith, the Glazers are going to try the continuity route with Koetter and his staff.

I happen to think that’s a little crazy.

I believe keeping the Bucs’ coaching staff intact for the 2018 season is a mistake.

I hope I’m wrong.

Without any changes I have a feeling like 2018 is going to be a wasted season in Tampa Bay and that there will be regime change this time next year.

Again, I hope I’m wrong.

For the record, I have absolutely nothing against Koetter. If you’ll recall, I campaigned for him to replace Lovie Smith as Tampa Bay’s head coach during the 2015 season, and applauded his hiring and his 9-7 season during 2016. Koetter has treated me fairly and that’s all I can ask of any head coach that I cover.

I’m sure he didn’t appreciate all of the Gruden articles I wrote, but I was just doing my job. PewterReport.com uncovered that there was legitimate interest in Gruden’s desire to return to coaching in 2018 in Tampa Bay, and there was legitimate interest from the Bucs hiring him as Koetter’s replacement.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Getty Images

I was simply reporting what I knew to be true at the time – the Raiders just made a better offer for Gruden in the end. And given what’s been reported in terms of Gruden potentially getting $10 million per year and a potential ownership stake (which has been refuted by Gruden), I don’t blame the Glazers for passing on Gruden. That is a monumental investment.

My job as a Bucs beat writer is to take snapshots of what is going on with this football team and analyze them for our PewterReport.com readers and 620 WDAE listeners. Right now, the picture I’m analyzing is that of Koetter’s bad, underachieving, 5-11 football team, one that could be just as bad next year without a great draft and free agent haul – and an upgrade in the coaching department.

Based on what I’m hearing right now, I don’t see the latter happening. And I happen to find that a little crazy.

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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]

97 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think the Bucs five game win streak in 2016 was smoke and mirrors. A win is a win is a win. If the Bucs had beaten New England and the Packers this year, would that have been smoke and mirrors, because the Pats were in disarray and the Packers didn’t have their starting QB? Nope. We would have gladly taken those wins. We could have won both those games, but we choked. The 2016 Bucs didn’t choke. Give credit where credit is due.
    I hope we bring back Mike Smith. Firing him would be largely a symbolic move. Bucs have given him nothing to work with except some veterans on their last legs in 2016. Smith got all he could out of that crew and didn’t get any real replacements.
    I think he could work wonders if he had some talent.

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  2. Feels like fab 2 is half full of low key apologizing and back peddling. Lol

    I look forward to Friday mornings when these fab 5’s come out! Thanks SR, another great article.

    Go Bucs!

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    • Fab 1… sorry. Forgot this one was a fab 6. Lol

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      • Yeah, sorry about that. We had a formatting issue that created 6 pages instead of 5. It’s fixed.

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    • Thank you. I’m not backpedaling one bit. I don’t apologize for anything I’ve written as it pertains to Fab 1. Just letting you and our readers know that I have no grudge against Dirk Koetter for any reason. He’s always been fair to us. I don’t know how he feels about us, but that’s on him and we will continue to be fair when reporting on him and his staff. If they win and turn this thing around, we’ll sing their praises and have no problem in doing so.

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      • “I’m sure he didn’t appreciate all of the Gruden articles I wrote, but I was just doing my job. PewterReport.com uncovered that there was legitimate interest in Gruden’s desire to return to coaching in 2018 in Tampa Bay, and there was legitimate interest from the Bucs hiring him as Koetter’s replacement.

        I was simply reporting what I knew to be true at the time – the Raiders just made a better offer for Gruden in the end.”

        Above is your Fab 1, posted today 1/5/17, below, in your Fab 1 on 12/8/17 you profiled McDaniel’s and Patricia, whom were most certainly not linked to the Bucs. In that you wrote below:

        “The Bucs need a new coaching staff next year that has the experience, intelligence and aptitude to make much better in-game adjustments than what we’ve seen this year.

        But then again, I’m not making the next hire in Tampa Bay. That’s on the Glazers. They’ll have to correctly identify those folks and make sure that whoever replaces Koetter has the knack for making quick, wise in-game adjustments.

        It’s that important.”

        Scott, I agree with many of your criticisms on Koetter, but the idea that you would portray yourself as merely reporting “Grumors” rather than editorializing (which is the point of the Fab 5 series) and adding in the shoveling of dirt over Dirk Koetter’s grave is counter to your very own written words. If you stand by your words, then stand by the fact that you have, literally above, called for the Glazers to replace Dirk Koetter, with someone who “has the knack for making quick in-game adjustments.”

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        • I’m pretty sure that Scott is not giving any endorsement whatsoever to the Glazers’ decision to retain the underperforming coaching staff and GM for yet another season of sustained mediocrity. It’s clear Scott doesn’t like it.

          Reporting what he does is what he does for a living. You and others may not like what he’s reporting, and as a result make attacks on Scott for reminding you of something you’d rather not be reminded of.

          In my humble opinion, Scott is just doing his job. If a majority of readers and commenters are glad that the Glazers made no changes, I then disagree with a majority of readers and commenters. That doesn’t make me an asshole for disagreeing, and it doesn’t make those who disagree with Scott assholes, and it doesn’t make Scott an asshole for disagreeing with a majority of his readers and commenters.

          The old saying is that opinions are just like assholes – everybody’s got one. That doesn’t mean that everybody is one, for harboring an opinion. Way way way too many commenters here at PR get their panties all wadded in huge knots because someone expresses an opinion they don’t like.

          Here’s a clue for everybody here – get a grip, everybody has an opinion, and get over yourselves for having a different opinion than some other person.

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          • You missed the point, which to your post is: If Scott has an opinion (which he clearly posited as noted above) it would not be very honest to say that he was “simply reporting what I knew at the time.” That simply is NOT true. Scott had an opinion, he posted it, I quote it, and despite his own written words which are easily accessible on this site he walked it back as though he had no opinion on the matter.

            Your response to my post is to say that he has an opinion. Great! No one is saying he shouldn’t, I even agreed with many parts of it but don’t conflate that he has an opinion with the fact that he’s trying to spin this into just ‘reporting the facts.’ It is, literally, not what the Fab 5 is about. It’s an editorial, so when the editor tries to look for other coaching candidates, promote them to readers and says the team needs to hire someone that can make quick in-game adjustements that the current staff cannot capably do, then he is no longer just a reporter.

            Reading is fundamental, and comprehension helps too.

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      • There’s a huge piece going on right now about the Kraft-Belichick-Brady trio by Seth Wickersham and how it might be falling apart and you know the difference between that piece and the past 3 months of Grumors on this site? It’s a sentence like this:

        “… according to interviews with more than a dozen New England staffers, executives, players and league sources with knowledge of the team’s inner workings, the three most powerful people in the franchise — Belichick, Brady and owner Robert Kraft — have had serious disagreements.”

        Now the story is most likely nonsense, but it at least has the decency to say that it has sources OUTSIDE of one interview that a fellow staffer did with one of the parties involved. At no point were the articles that PR (particularly you, Scott) justified by a statement like that. Rather, it kept falling back to that one interview Trevor did with Gruden.

        If you had sources, even anonymously, they needed to be cited. If not, just admit that it’s an opinion piece and stop trying to blow it up our asses like it’s fact. I’m fine with you digging in your heels on your opinions, but the problem is that you’re still presenting it as objective reporting when it clearly wasn’t. Just admit you were wrong on that part of it and move on. Devasher above me has a very similar sentiment.

        This is the last time I want to write on this topic. Don’t make me do it again please.

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        • Scott, I feel the same way as others. All you did was create fake news then blame it on something else that really wasn’t there. Fact checking is what it is about. Top it off you can’t even say you were incorrect; that was all I was asking for. So you can talk the talk, but can’t walk the walk.

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          • There was nothing fake at all in what Scott reported. You just didn’t like the news, and so you want to shoot the messenger, Horse.

            I liked the message. I like what Scott wrote. But the Glazer babies have shown themselves to be serial incompetents and could not bring themselves to do what really needed doing – firing everybody and starting over. It is for that reason that I further suggest that in the spirit of “firing everybody”, the baby Glazers should have fired themselves by putting the team up for sale. And then I would pray that Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates immediately step up and buy them out.,

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      • I think there’s a loyalty issue with Dirk and his defensive coaches. Reminiscent of Dungy and his offensive coaches back in the day, but Dungy had a ‘D’ that could single-handedly win games not so sure Dirk’s offense has that. Great article BTW.

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  3. Fab 2 makes me think one thing: How much would a trade-up to #3 to guarantee us Chubb cost?

    Ugh… I am not a fan at all at spending our first-rounder on a guard.

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    • And that’s after reading Fab 3, for the record. Still think 7 is too high to be drafting a guard.

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  4. It seems like last year at this time, the Pewter Report articles were terrified that Mike Smith was going to get a head coaching job someplace, after doing such a great job with the defense. It is interesting how quickly we can change our opinions. It was also suggested that the 2016 five game winning streak was due the rash of injuries that our opponents had when they played the BUCS, yet when the BUCS have a ton of injuries, we suggest that is no excuse. My opinion is that the BUCS primary problem is that they don’t know how to win, and that they do not expect to win. I also thinks that carries over into our fan base and the media. We tend to be a bunch of fair weather fans, the stadium is often full of the other team’s fans, and our community in general is full of transplants from the Northeast and Midwest that only are loyal to the NFL teams from wherever in hell they came from. Wouldn’t it be amazingly wonderful to go to a sold out game full of rabid home team fans (aka NE, Pittsburg, Dallas, GB, Minnesota, etc.) that could be a factor in winning those close games. Unfortunately, I doubt it will ever happen in Tampa.

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    • We have a different market in the tampa Bay area. We’re getting younger, less intune to sports and any media from cable channels and we have plenty of other activities to enjoy such as the weather and water.

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    • I love when we create categories that don’t really exist. Wins against injury depleted teams aren’t really wins. Balls tipped by receivers aren’t really interceptions. You don’t see the Pats giving up their home field advantage in the playoffs, because the Bucs win didn’t count since we didn’t have a good kicker and should have won the game. A win is a win is a win.

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    • We did believe that keeping Mike Smith last year was a big move for the team, but times have changed. The performance of the defense this year has forced us to go back and look at the 2016 defense and some of the warts that weren’t initially present. We are allowed to change our minds. Anyone is allowed to change their minds.

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      • *Except if it’s about Jason Licht.

        Jason is entitled to have a worse winning percentage than Mark Dominik over his career, constructing 4 NFL rosters that win less than 35% of it’s games, but if DC Mike Smith who has a 14 year career in the NFL as a DC that lead Jax D to top 12 rankings in all 4 of his years there and a 59% winning percentage as HC has one very bad year without players who can rush the passer, he needs to go.

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    • So true. Last year, everyone was in love with Mike Smith and begging the Glazers not to let him get away. Fickle.

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      • It’s not fickleness – it’s performance. Perform good, fans like coaches. Perform badly, fans dislike coaches.

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  5. Geez Scott; there’s 12 teams in the Playoffs, it’s a little early to say Bucs aren’t interested in any of those coaches for an up grade. Can you please stop with the Gruden crap; most of us could care less. You continually try to defend what you past posted than man up and just say hey I missed on this you. Instead you sound like someone else in a high position. Stop it please! As to drafting a OG over a DE’s and I meant DE’s, is how we got to this present situation by ignoring the need. The priority is not one, but two DE’s. Once we have a pass rush, much will change. One last thing; okay Koetter is a little cocky and he makes it difficult to interview, or does he? I have learned much from Koetter answers when the correct questions are asked. He’s very informative and he appears to me to be a straight shooter. How about Pewter Report challenging themselves in 2018 to lead the pack with new thought out questions to Koetter; he’ll answer them.

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    • For the most part Dirk Koetter is a straight shooter. There’s no doubt about that, and it makes our jobs in the media easier. As for drafting a guard over a defensive end, what if Bradley Chubb isn’t there at No. 7 and there isn’t a DE worthy of taking that high? Should they force that pick? I don’t think so. Take the best player available – even if it’s Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson.

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      • Scott, first try to trade down, then go for a CB/Safety as I believe that’s our still same need which is Defense. Can’t see a OG worth it when we have needs at defense. You and I didn’t put us in this present situation; Licht, Koetter, Smith did. If they want to stay employed past 2018, I hope they pay attention with the focus on Defense. Thank you for responding Scott. I do enjoy your Articles.

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      • Totally agree. Stay with your draft board. When is the last time the Buccaneers had an all pro offensive lineman.

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  6. I am going to stake my reputation as past president of the Disgraced Armchair GMs of America that DE Bradley Chubb will be there at pick #7. Not to worry. Competition for Chubb has been the Colts at #3 from most of the mocks I’ve seen lately. Colts owner Jim Irsay has come out publicly stating that he wants another Edgerin James for QB Luck. RB Barkley answers that bell. Others before pick #7 want/need QB or OT. Chubb is a Buc if they want him! Go Bucs!

    https://horseshoeheroes.com/2018/01/03/jim-irsay-wants-select-running-back-high-2018-nfl-draft/

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    • Gulp… You’ve got to be a brave GM to risk a top 10 Penn. St. RB pick!

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    • I got an even wilder prediction for you on top of that – Nelson isn’t getting past 3 in the draft.

      The biggest threat to draft Chubb atm is the Giants with Big Man Gettleman. He could also go for G Nelson, as the GIants OLine is trash or even Barkley, as they really could use one. Might even go QB! Giants are the wild one in the mocks so far. I trust Gettleman is going to stay true to his fat-people-matter ways and go for OLine though.

      But you better bet your damn farm that whoever coaches the Colts next year is NOT going to be the one that lets Luck get killed by a completely trash OLine. They’re going for OLine absolutely and if the Giants don’t get Nelson, it’ll be to Indy. Otherwise, I think you’re right and it’s Barkley to get SOME pressure off of Luck.

      Chubb is going to be there at 7. Here’s how:

      1) CLE: QB Sam Darnold
      2) NYG: G Quentin Nelson (move to anywhere but C as needed)
      3) IND: RB Saquon Barkley
      4) CLE: S Minkah Fitpatrick (move to CB or FS)
      5) DEN: QB Josh Rosen
      6) NYJ: QB Baker Mayfield (yes he is worthy of this spot and even earlier, but CLE won’t risk another Manziel and DEN is going to highest rated one)
      7) TB: DE Bradley Chubb

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      • Obviously, my first choice is Chubb, but I will not be upset if instead the Bucs took either OG Nelson, CB/FS Fitzpatrick, or traded down for extra picks and took DE Marcus Davenport/UTSA 6-6 255 4.77. Draft is loaded with D-Line talent.

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        • Agreed, fine with all of those guys. I have some concerns health wise on Fitzpatrick but yeah, those would be fine. I like DT Vea as well.

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      • Yeah I agree with you about the Colts. Every has Chubb mocked to them, but how in the world can they ignore offensive line again with Andrew Luck and that shoulder?

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    • What is it that I don’t know about Arden Key? LSU keeps putting great players in the league & the Bucs’ seem to do especially well w/ them. Maybe I haven’t seen enough of Chubb? He’s a shorter, stouter, bull rusher that’s great in college, but doesn’t always translate to the NFL. IMHO. I’m just asking here, I know that I don’t know.

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      • Key is a great player but has been inconsistent. Some people think he’s a head case because he left the team unexpectedly with no explanation. I think he’s okay but he’s going to face interviews at the combine that will determine his draft status.

        https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/lsu-football/not-crazy-suggest-arden-key-doesnt-return-lsu-prepares-2018-nfl-draft/

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        • Great Link, thanks. Reinforces what I’ve read thus far. Very physically talented, very raw draft. That beautiful & terrible NFL word; potential, Your pick is as good as your coaching. Brings it back around doesn’t it?

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    • Nobody knows how any draft will proceed an hour before the opening bell, let alone months beforehand.

      Team needs evolve, new coaches and GMs come on board, players impress or don’t impress in the college allstar games and draft combine and individual workouts, stuff comes to light (bad behavior) and suddenly a player’s stock plummets. In an NFL where quarterback play is so important that teams will literally do anything to improve at that position, suddenly QB talents start shooting up draft boards.

      Licht is a decent draft picker – that’s about the only thing he’s reasonably (but not especially) good at. So I expect we’ll get some quality guys in the draft. But whether we have the coaches to develop the talent, design the offense and defense, and call the plays – that’s where we’re clearly in the toilet.

      Bill Belichick has had more success than anybody in the game for the last 17 years – it’s not because he’s a better draft picker than anybody else. What he does is gets the most out of whatever talent he has … and he’s perfectly willing to churn his roster to keep the overall quality above average, and does not let sentiment get in the way. He’s very cold blooded about all of that stuff … even to the point of getting into a dispute with the all time greatest quarterback to ever play the game (as written about on ESPN this week).

      Talent is greatly overrated – coaching is what turns talent into performance.

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  7. Don’t sleep on Ohio St. C – Billy Price. He will end up moving up into the middle of the first round. I wonder how much better the line would be with Marpet back at guard and Price at center? I’ll say this in defense of the Glazers (here comes the down thumbs!) They’ve tried the coaching roulette for a decade. Now, they are giving continuity a shot. I like it. I’m thinking that a team with not a whole lot of second contracts is trying to compete in a division with three Superbowl experienced and franchise QBs is going to have a rough go. Meathead is building this teams talent. It’s going to take a little patience and I do like the patience that the Glazers are showing.

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  8. Two things: first, I appreciated the last Gruden article here even as I’m glad that sage is over with. Given y’alls coverage of it, if you don’t address it, you open yourself up to criticism and questions, but now when you defend yourself, people want to cry “sour grapes on you.” Your job is to report what is going on and to keep us in the know, and you did. I was one who talked with Mark about did it undercut Koetter’s standing out of honest concerns, but he was forthright with me and I was very pleased and respected where you all were coming from. Giving a coach ten years guaranteed AND a share in ownership is too much, and we were wise to walk away. If it hadn’t worked out, we would have been without options.

    I do say respectfully, that I disagree with what I see as an assertion that Mike Smith should be fired. The keeping of our defensive line coach and special teams coach is inexcusable given our lack of pass rush, the DE’s always being sucked in against the bootleg, and apparently we don’t know know how to cover a kickoff or to help someone kick a field goal. (some basic elements of special teams coaching). Mike Smith had a good record with the Falcons, and thought he did a solid job for us in 2016. We had a serious rash of injuries, too. We blew it in overtime vs. the Packers, but the last five weeks of the season the defense stood toe to to and held its own against some strong offenses…this with a third of our starters on the bench. I’m not ready to say that this man can’t coach (granted, a little hyperbole there but you get my point I hope).

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  9. I will be a contrarian and say that the Bucs problem since 2007 has been a lack of talent in the trenches and not coaching. Gruden took a talent depleted team as far as he could. But we all agreed that in that playoff game against the Giants the Bucs did not have the horses in the trenches.

    What have the Bucs done since a decade ago to address the trenches? They have drafted trench players but not enough have lasted their duration for Tampa Bay. It is hard to have a winning team and a playoff team without trench players you can count on for at least a decade. Unlike the RB position where the average career is half a decade at best in comparison to trench players that can last at least 8-10 years with a team. If McCoy is the best the Bucs have done since 2007 that shows the Bucs need to try harder at addressing the trenches. Regardless of the failures (eg Bowers, etc).

    2017: NT S. Tu’ikolovatu
    2016: DE N. Spence
    2016: OL C. Benonch
    2015: OT D. Smith
    2015: OL A. Marpet
    2014: OG K. Edwards
    2014: OL K. Pamphile
    2013: NT A. Spence
    2013; DE W. Gholston
    2013: DE S. Means
    2011: DE A. Clayborn
    2011: DE. D. Bowers
    2010: DT. G. McCoy
    2010: DT B. Price
    2009: DT. R. Miller
    2009: OL X. Fulton
    2009: DE K. Moore
    2008: OL J. Zuttah
    2007: DE G. Adams (RIP)
    2007: OG A. Sears
    2007: DE. G. Peterson
    2007: OT: C. Denman

    What is interesting to note is the emphasis on trench players (offense and defense) at the tail end of the Gru-Allen era. Also interesting to note is how Morris-Dominik put an emphasis on trench players on defense. Schiano-Dominik really went the wrong direction by ignoring the trenches year 1. But year 2 of Schiano-Dominik era saw a re-emphasis on defensive trenches. Year 1 of Lovie-Licht they finally addressed the much neglected trenches on offense. year 2 of Lovie-Licht they doubled down on their commitment on fixing the trenches on offense. During, Koetter-Licht it has only been Spence and Benonch and that is not enough.

    Have the trenches been addressed adequately since the Bucs playoff loss to the Giants? No. In my opinion that is a firm no.

    That is why not re-signing Akeem Spence was a mistake. That is also why I think it was a very good decision to re-sign Gholston. And it would be a mistake to not re-sign Pamphile despite him having a down year.

    Marpet, McCoy, D. Smith, W. Gholston and K. Pamphile are all the Bucs have to show for in the trenches at this point. That is NOT enough! Sure, Spence, Benonch, and Tu’ikolovatu can improve but at this point the odds are the Bucs need to fortify DE, DT, OT and possibly OG.

    Fix the trenches.

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    • I agree that not re-signing Akeem Spence and replacing him with Chris Baker was a mistake and in addition, not re-signing Alterraun Verner, had a negative effect on the defense in 2017. Verner is a former All-Pro who was signed to replace Darrelle Revis. He is also one of the best tackling CB’s in the league. His absence in the slot was sorely missed. Verner ended up signing with Miami for just $980,000. I disagree with drafting a guard with the first pick in the draft because of needs at DE, CB, DT and RB. There are two “special” players at DE in this years draft and if Chubb is gone then we should draft Arden Key LSU.

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  10. SMOKE AND MIRRORS? Really?? You could argue the same for all of our close, last minute losses this season despite Jameis playing injured for 4-6 games (at least), missed field goals early on and then later on (a missed extra point almost cost us the Saints game recently).

    I know your panties are in a bunch because the Bucs couldn’t (or didn’t) bring Gruden back and make you a soothsayer, but hey its obvious the Glazers were feeling like Santa Claus lately by giving Koetter another season to make It right – this time without HBO/Hard Knocks and WITH some more talent on D-line and O-line.

    Koetter wont ever get another head coaching job if this fails so if he feels his best chances are with his existing staff then it’s his head on a lance as I see it.

    I’m just a manic fan of our Bucs, never played pro ball or coached. but I do know that the teams that raise the Lombardi trophy every late January are the ones most stable and have the least amount of system changes including but not limited to head coach on down to the equipment dudes.

    I’ve read Pewter Report since back when it was on news paper called Buccaneer Magazine and was delivered via USPS, affiliated with Jeff Fox and Buccaneer Heaven. Looking forward to an off-season focus on the draft and free agency – hopefully not anymore shoulda, coulda, woulda……thats for bandwagon fans.

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    • Totally agree circa 76. Having been a subscriber even before Buccaneer Magazine with the old It’s Sports magazine; you just don’t put an asterisk on a win or a loss. It is what it is.

      Now Scott is reversing course with his assessment of the 2016 Defense. Apparently the evaluation was faulty. It sure misled a lot of folks into believing the players had learned the scheme and were ready to thrive in it in 2017 with Mike Smith at the helm.

      The stance is now that Mike Smith, once thought to be the guru and Jay Hayes, are the problem. There’s a reason the Bengals severed their ties with Hayes. Is he, not Mike Smith, why the D-line regressed?

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  11. Fix the trenches. Draft and sign some young guys at DE, DT, OT and OG. This isn’t rocket science. This is why the OL looks better than the DL (eg Marpet, Smith).

    Ayers – 32, turns 33 in Sept
    McCoy – 29, turns 30 next month
    Baker – 30, turns 31 i Oct
    Gholston – 26, turns 27 in July
    Clarke – 26, turns 27 in May
    McDonald -31, turns 32 tomorrow
    Siliga -28 , turns 29 in April
    Russell – 25, turns 26 later this month
    Ward – 25, turns 26 in Sept
    O-Connor -24, turns 25 in Nov
    Spence – 23, turns 24 later this month
    Tui-Kolovataue – 26, turns 27 in June

    The Bucs have TWO, yes only two DL that are under 25. That is Spence and O’Connor. Fix the trenches. Of the players that are under 30 years old only Gholston is a starter. That is a BIG red flag waving to Licht that he needs to address the DL.

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  12. Insanity is firing your coaches every two years. I only got through 1/2 of Fab1. I’m looking forward to the offseason and less terrible articles. It’s time for PR to get over Gruden and get on with the program

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    • I find it interesting that a guy in Mike Smith, a well-respected coach with 14 largely successful years of coordinating/coaching is apparently the root cause of all that ails the Bucs. Yet, this is roughly the same record the Bucs have had on average over the past 9 years (31% winning this year 35% over 9 years). Remember when it was all Lovie’s fault? What about when Schiano was to blame for everything? Or when Raheem Morris let the players run amok. Seems like the deck chairs keep changing but the Titanic keeps sinking.

      Name me one edge rusher with a track record of success on the team? Tell me who the top cover corner is and how deep we are at that position?

      If anything Scott’s take that the Defense was aided by “smoke and mirrors” last year is a credit to a defensive coordinator who created said smoke and mirrors. Smith deserves criticism this year, but sometimes it goes back to the Jimmies and Joes more than the x’s and o’s.

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  13. If Chubb, Nelson, or Barkley are gone I wouldn’t mind trading back with Arizona to the 15th pick. We would most likely get their 2nd round pick. So we have #15, #38 and #47 overall draft pick.

    I also didn’t know anything about Quenton Nelson and would have never thought of drafting a guard in the first round. After watching that video, assuming Chubb if off the board, I wouldn’t be mad at all. That dude as pancaking those d-linemen.

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    • And the ones that don’t get pancaked are showing him their back as they try to disengage. They are quitting on the play. That’s what you ideally want. To demoralize the other guy. Make him give up.

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  14. I’ve been saying for a while that if Chubb is gone, we need to go Nelson at 7. He’s BOA at that point and dude is a freak.

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  15. The Cardinals need a QB bad, they just lost their head coach, QB, and probably their best wide receiver. They’re going to be rebuilding big time in Arizona. Jason Licht has ties to that organization. My guess? The Cards move up to our spot and we get an extra 2nd and 3rd round pick out of it. This draft is pretty deep, I think that’d be our best move. We don’t just need starter spots filled, we need depth. Gotta load up on players and make the best fight for it. That’s what I’d do if I was Licht.

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  16. I’m O.K. with drafting a guard with pro bowl ability. Anything along the line on either side of the ball is sorely needed. Not surprised no coaching changes could occur. Not surprised no other team values any of our assistants. Koetter has a bad coaching dynamic within his staff. Neither coordinator has a chance at a head coaching gig with someone else. Smith viewed as to old, and our defense sucks, Monkin because he doesn’t call plays. Great coaches leave a coaching tree when they’re done. Holmgrum, Reed, Gruden, Mooch, who’s the up, and coming coach on our staff?

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  17. We are not smart enough to take Nelson.

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  18. One of my 11 New Years Eve resolutions is to put the 2017 Buc’s season behind me. All the Gruden rumors, all the excuses, all the close loses, all the injuries, all the Fake News is history today. Nothing I or we can do about it so might as well sweep it under the rug. 2018 is a fresh new year, full of challenges, hope, and excitement. It is what it is and hopefully I will still be celebrating well into 2019. I am not a football expert and 95% of what I post is opinion. I spent 40 years of my life running banks, that mattered. I love football but it’s a hobby and really doesn’t matter. I sincerely hope Bradley Chubb is sitting there at 7 when we draft, but That Saquon Barkley kid would be fun to watch. Oh by the way my favorite pick in the 2017 draft was Tanoah Kpssagnon. I think he is selling shoes in Cleveland.

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    • You and me Martinii. I make out over Chubb because the Bucs pass rush was so bad last year. I have no idea how he would transition to the NFL. Myles Garrett, last years draft phenom was okay, but did not have the season he was expected to have due to injury. And we all remember Jadeveon Clowney/Texans – just now starting to play as advertised. It’s a crapshoot! I will be happy to have any player that contributes, I’m not hung up on perceived stars. But we are entering the silly season and me like most fans get hyped on what could be. Tanoh Kpassagnon was another player I was high and perhaps sold you on him early on. Shows how much I know or anybody this time of year. Since you asked, here’s a piece on Tanoh. Good Luck, my friend!

      https://arrowheadaddict.com/2017/10/22/wheres-tanoh-kpassagnon-chiefs-rookie-pass-rush/

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      • Thanks Mac, just kidding about the shoe salesman, but your research shows how hard it is to predict how these players are going to turn out. I think often times it’s the team the wind up on.

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    • Barkley is good, but I don’t believe any running back can succeed with the current offensive (sic) line. Buc’s need to upgrade the offensive line both for the running backs and the QB

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  19. I see GMC has reached out on Twitter to Michael Bennett welcoming him back once the Seahawks release him. Another interesting story line is the potential release of Aquib Talib from Denver. Both players I never thought should have ever left are now potentially available and at positions of need. Target these types of FAs as they should come motivated to win in a place where they didn’t get it done before. They both have an edge this defense and coupled with the right edge rusher could turn this into a top 15 defense with of course a solid running game.

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    • Both those guys would destroy the team unity.

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    • Bennett hardly has any gas in his tank; if Seattle is releasing him isn’t that enough to tell us we need to stay away from him? It’s been over 5 years since been it’s been here and he’s a lot older.

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  20. Everyone talks about firing Smith what about the pathetic offensive line coach. Also as I look at the draft I believe we have more urgent needs than draft picks on the first two days of the draft. I don’t care who is available, Bucs need to trade down and set themselves up so they have between 5-7 picks those first two days. We have already proven one player cannot turn the franchise around, there are to many holes in the roster (2-DE, CB, OT, C/G, DT,S,RB)

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  21. How about player performance? It’s NOT coaching. Mike Smith was Great in Atlanta. His coaching works. This is a player issue. Get better players, players need to execute what the coaches call. Run the plays properly. Make tackles, blocks, passes, runs, catches, etc… This 5-11 season is squarely on the players. Not coaches fault. Fundamental football. Get it done. Changing coaches every couple of years DOES NOT WORK.

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  22. Our Bucs have done one thing consistently the last ten years: lose. Stop the coaching carousel. Glad to see Koetter get more time. Now let’s make some smart drafting moves ( heavy on the defense ), get working on the Jackson/Winston chemistry, and look ahead to finding an identity on defense. Our linebackers our probably the best unit in football. Help them by getting McCoy some help and many of this year’s close losses become next years wins.

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  23. Hey scott can anybody tell me why no one is talking about this front office personnel/scouting department???? i mean wtf…… I feel like thats the real problem…..dey need to be checked asap….who are they???? They need to be put on blast on your next fab5

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  24. The only offensive lineman I’ve seen who should be in the conversation with pick No.7 is Connor Williams LT Texas. Quentin Nelson is a mauler guard who cant pull or reach 2nd level blocks with any consistency. A one dimensional guard would be a disaster pick that early.

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    • Way too many people already picking players to be top notch NFL performers for our team. I have no clue who will really be better than what we have already. Lets wait until the Senior Bowl and the East-West games are played where the college players are invited to show us what they really can do.

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  25. One thing I do know because I have seen enough to tell me we are in dire need of pass rushers.

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  26. I have to admit, I really do not understand the anger towards SR related to the Gruden reporting.

    Gruden WAS interested in getting back into coaching.
    It’s just dumb to think that he didn’t talk to the Glazers and also dumb to think he would ONLY talk to the Glazers.
    10 million a year for 10 years is a CRAZY deal and whatever else happened that’s why he’s the Raiders coach.

    The biggest disappointment is all the copy wasted talking about Gruden now that we know he’s coaching in Vegas baby. Maybe that’s what’s got everyone so worked up.

    As for actual football I’m with Alldaway 2.0 in that trenches are the way the best franchises are made. I have no problem with the Nelson pick at 7. I think a pro-bowl guard makes Barber a better runner as well as whoever we draft at RB. That being said we need d-line in the worst way. If Chubb is there he’s got to be ours especially if this class is thin at DE. Smith needs all the help he can get.

    Sorry guys, our DC is weak and has always been weak. Even thought so during his ATL days. I hope I have to eat crow next year and our D is killing drives in the 4th quarter. Nothing would make me happier.

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  27. I for one don’t for a second think the coaching staff is set for 2018 just yet. Did we not pay attention when Koetter noted that everything and everyone will be evaluated? It’s been only six days since our final game of the 2017 season. Is it not reasonable to think those reviews are now taking place? Is it not possible that Koetter and Licht are waiting to see who might become available to upgrade the staff? As I recall the upcoming Senior Bowl is a huge job fair. Sit tight fellow Bucs fans. What’s “insane” is to think the assembling of the coaching staff is over before it’s even begun.

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  28. The Raiders actually agreed to Gruden’s demands. I see no way he lives up to expectations. Al Davis must be spinning in his grave.
    Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if Del Rio came to the Bucs now? I want Smith to stay, but would enjoy that working out for Bucs and messing with Raiders at the same time if it has to happen.

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  29. The assistant coach who absolutely needs to go is George Warhop. That guy has one good line in 2015 and they have absolutely SUCKED every other year. I assume 2015 was an aberration because he didn’t have enough time to coach the talent out of Marpet and Smith. Get him the hell outta here.

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  30. I think the person that needs to go more than the coaches (I would have supported a Smith firing but understand keeping Koetter for another year) is the GM Licht. Talk about a track record. He has so many misses with high picks such as:

    1. Roberto after trading UP for heaven’s sake,
    2. Donovan Smith makes me pine for Kenyetta Walker,
    3. Seferian-Jenkins was such a cancer I’m not sure how you couldn’t have scouted that,
    4. wasting a 3R pick on the seldom used Sims,
    5. the jury being very much out on injury prone Spence and Hargreaves)

    Combine the high pick poor decisions with picking good players that aren’t a huge need (Goodwin and Howard in the same draft after the FA pickup of Jackson??), and I think there is a very compelling case that Licht has to go. How can you excuse no offensive lineman in the draft since Benenoch in the 5R of 2016. Way to protect the franchise QB genius. When did the downward spiral of the team start this year? It was when Folk missed easy kicks to beat the Patriots and when Winston played hurt and missed a handful of games after a promising 2-1 start. I put both of those things at Licht’s feet. His performance has sucked and he has to go imo.

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    • And his lower round picks (R4-R7) have been pretty abysmal too:

      2014–He went 0-3 w Herron, Pamphile and Edwards
      2015–He went 1-4 w Alexender being the lone hit with misses Bell, Clay and Iosefa
      2016–A bit too early to tell completely but the names Ryan Smith, Benenoch, and Bond don’t make me think All-Pro let alone good NFL starter. We know Vitale is a miss already from this group.
      2017–Tu’ikolovatu and McNichols; the latter whom will never play a game with the Bucs.

      The more you look at this the worse it gets. Outside of Howard, Alexander and Beckwith, I don’t see any picks where you feel like you really got a good value pick. His track records is pitiful. Something tells me we end up with similar draft this year. Maybe a nice pick with our first rounder but little else.

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      • It just got comical when it sounds like you are seriously expecting consistent All-Pro/starter hits from Rounds 4-7. The Aguayo pick totally sucked, and while ASJ had the talent it didn’t pan out for us. The rest are still early or debatable.

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        • I never said that I was seriously expecting consistent All-Pro/starter from rounds 4-7. From my count Licht hit on potentially 1 of 13 picks in those rounds. Outside of Kwon, who on that list are you ready to anoint as a good pick? You sound like an apologist for Licht’s picks.

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        • The “rest are debatable”. Really??…I beg to differ. These picks are not debatable:

          1. Donovan Smith sucks…just ask Winston’s sore shoulder.
          2. Sims had 150 touches in 2015 and since then he had 75 touches two years ago and 56 touches last year…if that’s the type of production you want from a 3R pick I think your expectations are too low JustABuc
          3. I said the jury is out on Spence and Hargreaves but you have to agree that if they don’t have outstanding third years, then they too are busts. I think they are leaning closer to bust then great picks.
          4. Tell me who in rounds 4 – 7 in the list above is a good player outside of Kwon? The mere fact that we only had two such picks last year cause Licht wasted them on trading up for Beckwith when I don’t think he needed to (remember he was coming off an ACL) is proof of how bad of a GM he is. Did the same stupid trade up with Roberto and wasted two picks on him in reality.

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          • Beckwith looks like great pick so far. As does Godwin. Maybe you should go scour through those rounds where you have an issue with what we did…you may be surprised to see that most GMs aren’t hitting regularly where you think they may be.

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      • Well you don’t typically get “good NFL starters” on Day 3.

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        • I just listed every pick from 4 – 7. Here they are again. Outside of Kwon there is nothing noteworthy here:

          2014–He went 0-3 w Herron, Pamphile and Edwards
          2015–He went 1-4 w Alexender being the lone hit with misses Bell, Clay and Iosefa
          2016–A bit too early to tell completely but the names Ryan Smith, Benenoch, and Bond don’t make me think All-Pro let alone good NFL starter. We know Vitale is a miss already from this group.
          2017–Tu’ikolovatu and McNichols; the latter whom will never play a game with the Bucs.

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  31. There was a good article about the Saints defense in today’s Wall Street Journal, of all places. Summarizing it down to a couple of sentences, the Saints’ defense went from allowing the most points in 2015 and the 2nd most in 2016 to being really good in 2017, and thus the reason they are in the play-offs. The Saints did add a new defensive line coach, but the primary reasons for the success was the awesome play of DE Cameron Jordan, hitting big on draft picks CB Marshon Lattimore (Rd #1), Safety Marcus Williams (Rd # 2), and getting lucky with “bargain bin” free agent LB Manti Te’o. Of course #3 pick Alvin Kamara didn’t hurt the offense either. Sadly, it seems that hard work, player acquisition judgment, and good defensive coaching may be less important that getting lucky in the draft and avoiding a lot of key injuries.

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  32. Just as with every other opinion I have, I could easily be wrong. But my opinion is that I’m with Scott at disliking that the Glazers elected to sustain the mediocrity of the Buccaneers franchise for yet another dreary season of ineptitude.

    I subscribe to the opinion that NFL teams are simply reflections of their owners. Competent owners generally win a lot more games and have a lot more franchise success than do crappy owners. The Glazers are clearly crappy owners, and their sustained level of incompetence has doomed the Buccaneers to sustained incompetent performance. They are the Jimmy Haslams of the NFC.

    I am still a fan of the Buccaneers, out of geography (being a Gulf Coast Florida resident for the last 29 years running), and probably out of habit (I just can’t get into either the Jags or the Fins, sorry). But the brief renaissance the Bucs enjoyed from 1995 to 2007 died with Malcolm Glazer’s stroke. The ownership pre-Malcom Glazer, and the ownership post-Malcolm Glazer, have literally stunk up the joint for 30 of this franchise’s 42 years.

    Nothing will change as long as the utterly incompetent baby Glazers own and manage the team.

    I’m thinking that what the Buccaneers really need most right now is an attractive purchase offer by Jeff Vinik, backed by by Bill Gates’ money. I am pretty certain the Bucs fortunes would skyrocket if such a dream were to come to pass.

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    • The glazers have made some mistake Naples no doubt, but do you think gruden was worth that contract? I don’t. 10 years guaranteed is absolute insanity. Heck it wouldn’t surprise me if gruden was just using he Bucs to get a bigger deal. Rough cal on this one but I don’t blame the glazers in this particular instance. But like you said , they have made mistakes.

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      • As much as I like Jon Gruden, he was not the only choice. Indeed, Scott himself wrote of Belichick’s two senior assistants being great candidates a month and a half ago. There are others too. Even Belichick himself might be in play.

        In any case, the baby Glazers committed the Original Sin of stupidly and insanely firing Jon Gruden in 2008 .. and that simply initialted the long assed string of sorry coaching and GM hires we’ve been stuck with ever since. Each hire has gotten progressively stupider and more pathetic.

        It all starts with good owners who attract and hire great GMs and head coache, and keep them happy by properly managing their franchises. Those who over-manage, like Jerry Jones, the old Al Davis, Dan Snyder, and Jimmy Haslam, totally screw up a franchise. Those who only interfere in order to occasionally make very bad hires include the baby Glazers.

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    • Can you connect how the owners translate to… well… anything on the field? Afaik, the “good” owners just hire a coach and collect cash.

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      • Good owners hire good GMs and head coaches. Bad owners fire good head coaches and GMs, and then turn around and replace them with bad head coaches and GMs .. that would be the baby Glazers. Bad coaches and bad GMs deliver bad results. It all starts at the top and, just like bullshit, rolls downhill from there. The good or the bad.

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  33. No staff changes is crazy! So no one is held accountable. Should have brought back Gruden.

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    • Lol no, not at that price. Best of luck to the Raiders.

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      • I wouldn’t have hesitated at the price one bit. The Glazers are billionaires. The Bucs haven’t made the playoffs in a decade and have gone thru 4 coaches since firing Gruden. The price doesn’t scare me one bit.

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        • Funny how folks want to spend someone’s money. It would sure be a concern to me. It’s a one way deal. Gruden’s compensation is guaranteed, but he can’t guarantee his own performance and a Superbowl win at some point of his 10 years or even a winning season.

          I like Jon Gruden. My concern, like it is with some players who “cash in”, would be if Chucky, who already has a big ego, gets even more full of himself. Got to get a championship within three years or I suspect Mark Davis will wish the deal had some sort of exit clause.

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      • Is your last name Glazer? Seriously, you are such an apologist for this sad ownership team…

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  34. I hope the Bucs take Quenton Nelson from Notre Dame if he’s available at 7. Nelson is seen as a once in a decade type of player and the Bucs O-line needs to toughen up. The Bucs need help on defense too, but I just don’t think you can pass on a player like Nelson.

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    • I’d like to note how tired and cliche the term “once in a lifetime/decade/generation” has become as it’s thrown around every year. But yeah, Nelson would be a fine pick either way 😛

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  35. Instead of “POUND THE ROCK” let’s go with this theme for 2018: “FIX THE TRENCHES!!!” FIX THE TRENCHES !!! FIX THE TRENCHES !!!!

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  36. I enjoyed reading your breakdown as to why there likely won’t be any coaching changes in 2018. Particularly, I could see Koetter being concerned about Del Rio.

    I really don’t see a path for Koetter returning for a fourth year. I also hope Licht sails off on that same boat.

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  37. There’s more to the Gruden signing then winning championships. For the Raiders at this time playing out the next two seasons waiting to be moved, having Gruden keeps them relevant. They needed Jonny Vegas. Gruden will win games with that offensive talent, but they ‘ll be happier having his star power to carry over into opening night in Vegas. Just as well our native son went for the bright lights. We didn’t need Gruden coming back this time, but we might need to find the next Gruden in the future.

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    • Mercy! Bucs are still paying on contracts of two ex-coaches. 0 years at $10M/per is outrageous for someone not named Nick Saban.

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  38. I feel it makes total sense for Coach Koetter to keep the coordinators and assistants he wants. It’s up to him and not message board posters and “experts.” It’s Dirk’s job on the line!

    Apparently I’ll just have to keep posting it from time to time until it sinks in. It is almost impossible to win football games in the NFL without a pass rush or running game! The Buccaneers CLEARLY gambled on Doug Martin, Sweezy, Noah Spence and Jack Smith and LOST! Without the horses you can’t pull the wagon.

    It’s all about the offseason now, about Jason Licht finding the right players in FA and the draft to address these serious weaknesses. They can start by addition by subtraction on the first day of FA in March. This is not about coaching but clearly about player personnel at some key positions. Fortunately not needing a QB means in effect the Bucs are drafting at 5, maybe 4, so opportunities will be there in the draft. Something to smile about?

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    • Bucs are drafting 7th but I would be OK in moving up to draft an impact player

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  39. I think if taking an OL in the first three rounds, it should be a LT. We need to move Donovan Smith from there, whether thru draft or FA. That is bigger for me in terms of fixing O lIne. Move him to LG or RT to replace Dotson.

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  40. You are right about Bucs’ defensive failings. There is no excuse. I respect Mike Smith’s lengthy coaching experience – and past friendship with Dirk – but they must know that Mike and his staff did not get the job done and not repeat the same mistakes.

    What ever happened to the idea discussed last off-season of a modified 3-4 defense to better match with opponent’s offense? We now have an ideal potential speedy linebacker corp (present crew + Noah Spence who is more of an ideal stand up rusher) and should use their speed and ability to tackle to run more 3-4 LB blitz defense. Gerald McCoy is still one of the best in the business but is getting older and may not be the right technique player in a modified 3-4 system. Don’t yell at me but I would begin to explore his trade potential to get younger and more dynamic on the defensive line with a Aaron Donald-type game changing younger tackle prospect.

    Despite losing the game the Buffalo Bills defense and linebacker crew, ironically coached by ex- Bucs DC Leslie Frazier, was running totally disruptive schemes that shut down Jax Jaguars offense for much of the game.

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