Bucs GM Jason Licht - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs fans and SR’s Fab 5 readers agreed that Bucs general manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter should be given more time in Tampa Bay and that continuity is key for the team to become a winner. What does PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds have to say? Find out right here.
Welcome to another installment of SR’s Fab 5 Reaction where each week I take the time to answer your questions and respond to your comments from the previous week’s SR’s Fab 5 column. Due to time constraints from my responsibilities as publisher, I am unable to respond to every reader comment each week, but I do read every one of them.
Comments have only been edited for clarity and grammar. Now on to your comments.
Topics from last week’s SR’s Fab 5 include: Keep The Faith In Licht And Koetter; Grading Licht’s Personnel Decisions; Past Personnel Decisions Still Haunting Bucs; Bucs Are Currently Picking Eighth In 2017 Draft
Excellent Fab 5, Scott. I’m with you on the patience. This team has to have a little consistency and not make wholesale changes in coaching staff, etc. Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht deserve the time to get a deeper team by drafting more prospects and developing that talent. Adding in a key free agent or two (similar to when we picked up Vincent Jackson from San Diego) to round out various areas of need is helpful too.
Mike Smith is a good coach, too, and he deserves the time to prove himself with the right personnel. Man, when I saw Sabby Piscitelli as one of the draft busts on the list, I could see him getting burned on yet another 40-yd bomb and/or making a beautiful arm tackle. Sorry to pick on him in particular, but I still have nightmares about those defenses!
The core of this team is young and it’s important that they don’t get flushed into this losing mentality. Better days are coming with patience, time and keeping consistency. My Toronto Maple Leafs are a young, improving team that has drafted well recently, has an experienced coach and GM and are on the rise. With time and patience, the same can be said for the Bucs.
Look, in five years, Jameis will still only be 27, Kwon Alexander will be 26, Mike Evans will be 28 and your future draft picks will be even younger. Pair that with some shrewd moves and hopefully you’ve got a contending team. I’m in it for the long haul. That being said, they better beat the Bears on Sunday, homefield advantage comes with winning. Go Bucs! I want to hear lots of cannon fire! – CDNBUCSFAN
Thank you, CDNBUCSFAN. Let me start off by saying that there was a whopping 80 comments on last week’s SR’s Fab 5. There were so many excellent comments that it was difficult to choose just five or six, so I wound up selecting eight. Even that was a difficult task given the quality of all of the feedback.
What stuck out to me about your post, CDNBUCSFAN, was your statement about Jameis Winston only being 27 five years from now, while Kwon Alexander will be just 26 and Mike Evans will still be well in his prime at age 28. If Jason Licht keeps accumulating talent the way he has in his first three years I think the Bucs will turn into winners sooner rather than later, especially as Dirk Koetter gains experience as a head coach. – SR
Good read, Scott, and I pretty much agree. But face it man, Jason Licht really blew it with most of his free agent choices, Roberto Aguayo when the Buccaneers needed so much depth and his lower round picks. We have far too many undrafted free agents on this team, many of them starting.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
He has to do better in my opinion, much better. But I certainly agree he and Dirk Koetter should stay on a few more years to finish this out. There is a lot to be typed for continuity, something the Buccaneers have not had since the Glazers fired Jon Gruden.
Oh, one more thing of course, I’d like to see a president of operations in Tampa. A qualified czar type who could find the identity of the team, stick to it and hire accordingly. I suppose it won’t be necessary if Koetter and Licht succeed like we all hope they will. – Garv
Remember that the success rate for free agents is 25 percent, so if he only hit on defensive end Robert Ayers and punter Bryan Anger that’s about 25 percent of the class. If cornerback Brent Grimes continues to pick off passes you can include him in the success category and the success rate goes up.
The jury is still out on Roberto Aguayo. That’s a fair point. However, he’s made six of his last seven field goals and 11 of his last 12 extra points, as I pointed out in my most recent 2-Point Conversion post-game column. We’ll see how he finishes the rest of the season. – SR
From time to time I get to do marriage counseling. In talking to one party or the other they often ask me what the chances are that their mate still cares about them. It’s usually not hard to tell. If there is anger, yelling and finger pointing there is still passion and chances are good that the passion can be channeled in the right way. It’s only when the other party just doesn’t seem to care and has no response that there is trouble.
For many in Tampa they have reached this point. Following the Rams loss in such a winnable game it seems like the fans’ theme song became the Who’s “We Won’t Get Fooled Again.” To see so many empty seats at the Thursday night game is an indicator that the fans just don’t care anymore.
The only way that this gets turned around is with patience. Look at the Steelers and other winning organizations. They give their front office and coaches time to build. Look at perennial losers and you find a revolving door of coaches – new coaches, new philosophies, new directions for drafting. The result is a mish-mash of players that don’t fit any one system.
The other thing I tell men in counseling is that it is going to take time to gain their wife’s trust back. They screwed things up for years and can’t expect to turn things around in a couple of months. The fans in Tampa have a “show me” attitude. At this point only consistent winning at home will bring them back.
The Glazers made a huge mistake in hiking prices yet again after a season in which they had a losing record and fired their coach. My tickets went up by 41% and I had to let them go. I’m glad I did. It’s depressing to have to sit through the heat, slow service and exorbitant prices at the concession stands, only to endure loss after loss. If I have to endure losing I’d rather doing from my air-conditioned living room watching a 70-inch screen.
My wife commented that I used to always cheer for the Bucs and be an enthusiastic fan for years in spite of the losses but that now I just expect them to lose and just sit there watching them dispassionately. Like many others I’m looking for something to cheer for but I’m not seeing a progression.
Bucs, give us something, anything to cheer for and we’ll be back; only it will take time and consistency. Keep up the good work, Scott. – JayBuc52
This is one of the most different and insightful comments I’ve ever read, JayBuc52. Thanks for sharing it with us. You make some interesting points and draw some spot-on parallels. I definitely agree that there are quite a few Bucs fans and season ticket holders that are definitely in the “show me” mood and rightfully so.
The timing of the price hike didn’t help fill Raymond James Stadium, that’s for sure. That combined with a 0-8 season at home in 2014 and just four wins over the last two years hasn’t given the fans much of a reason to leave their air-conditioned house and 70-inch TVs. I get that. But watching Jameis Winston scramble backwards 20 yards and launch a 39-yard bomb to Mike Evans in person was something special and the electricity from the crowd when that happened was quite memorable. – SR
I too have lost my enthusiasm for the NFL and the Bucs. Scott, this is a great Fab 5 and I agree with everything you said. Roger Goodell has ruined the game for me with his political correctness. I feel he wants to turn the game into flag football. The passion and collisions are still in college football.
I spend most of my Saturdays watching college games because they are exciting. My Sundays are now spent elsewhere and not in front of the TV. Even though I have the very expensive NFL package from DirecTV, I no longer watch the games I started watching in the mid 1950s. I watch the re-runs of the Bucs games on NFL Game Pass, but only if they win (so I don’t watch often). The NFL needs to observe what happened with Donald Trump and Brexit. I feel a ground swell movement is developing. – 76Buc
Thank you, 76Buc. I wasn’t trying to get overly political mentioning Donald Trump or even the Brexit situation that happened in Great Britain. However, most pundits, media members and pollsters didn’t see Trump winning or the Brexit measure being approved. They had a blind spot that didn’t serve or the general public well. The same could be said of the NFL and it’s declining rating and popularity. If they don’t wake up and listen to what the fans are saying their product will continue to suffer.
I agree that the college game is more fun to watch and I find Saturdays generally more enjoyable than Sundays, although I really do enjoy covering the Buccaneers. There is something about this team, these players and the challenge of getting back to the glory days really intriguing. As for viewing other NFL teams play on Sundays, Mondays or Thursdays – I rarely watch. – SR
As usual, great Fab 5, SR. I couldn’t agree more with Fab 1. In part, I mentioned this in a previous Fab that you replied to. You can easily articulate better than me though. To be more blunt, I do think we have to be patient now, but I also think we should consider trading some of our “few” talented players for high (first- or second-) round picks if we can.
Tampa Bay DT Gerald McCoy and LB Lavonte David – Photo by: Getty Images
I love Gerald McCoy, Doug Martin and Lavonte David but if we were able to trade a first or a second of them for younger talented players (in rounds one or two) would that be so bad? In three years they will be past their prime or perhaps out of the NFL (injuries).
I look at our roster and see a JV team in terms of talent at receiver, tight end, secondary, and defensive line except for the obvious players. To rid ourselves and infuse more talent we need more premier talent in three years than what we have projected so far. I hope it becomes a consideration by the higher-ups. As much as it pains me to write this I cannot be patient in three years with mediocrity. Anyway, that is my two cents. – Dbuc63
I don’t know if trading away very good players for the chance at getting great players is a risk worth taking solely because of the time it takes to develop young talent. Great defensive tackles are hard to find and Gerald McCoy is one of the best in the game and he’s still in his prime. The same could be said of Lavonte David although he’s having a bit of a down year.
I think there is actually a decent amount of young talent on this team that needs some experience and continuity in order to really thrive. If the Bucs keep hitting the reset button this team will always be stuck at or near the starting line and far away from the finishing line. – SR
Giving Jason Licht credit for drafting Mike Evans, and Jameis Winston isn’t saying much. Had he picked Aaron Donald, and Marcus Mariota, it still would’ve been two good picks. Although it’s been done – we’ve done it – we should have a high success rate picking that high.
Truth be told, the jury is still out on all of Licht’s picks. He doesn’t have a stellar free agent record to hang his hat on either. You can point to his re-signing of Doug Martin, Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David as positives, but Scott, all those mentioned have done nothing to stop the losing. Those are our stars? No Von Millers in that group. – surferdudes
That’s a valid point of Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Doug Martin not contributing to winning. None of them have played in an NFL playoff game yet, and they are in their prime. That point can’t be argued although all three are All-Pro-caliber players.
However, I don’t think top 10 picks are necessarily slam dunks, surferdudes. I remember Mark Dominik picking Mark Barron with the seventh overall pick and passing on Luke Kuechly. Gaines Adams, the fourth overall pick in 2007, was also a miss. – SR
So far Jason Licht is three-for-three on first-round picks, and 13-of-20 on all picks. That’s much better than the league average. The only one of his top three-round picks he’s whiffed on so far is Austin Seferian-Jenkins. There are five that are keepers (Mike Evans, Jameis Winston, Ali Marpet, Vernon Hargreaves III, and Noah Spence), and three more to be determined (Roberto Aguayo, Donovan Smith, and Charles Sims as a change-of-pace running back is sort of on the bubble).
In the Day 3 picks (rounds 4-7), Licht has picked very good some winners (Kwon Alexander, Kevin Pamphile) and several that are to be determined (Ryan Smith, Caleb Benenoch, and Julian Bond). That’s actually pretty darned good for Day 3 picks.
And Licht has also done very well with undrafted free agents, including Jude Adjei-Barimah, Peyton Barber, Cameron Brate and Adam Humphries among others.
Some Bucs fans just have really unrealistic expectations of drafting success. As Scott wrote – half of all first round picks in the NFL fail. So far, Licht is three for three.
Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves III, GM Jason Licht and HC Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch
And first-rounders have by far the best success of those from any of the other rounds. Overall, the average drafted player in the NFL has only about a 25 percent chance of being successful, as proven by their still being on the roster for a second contract or even if traded to another team for a player or a draft pick.
Bill Belichick has a 10-year, 35 percent success rate on all of his draft picks – much better than average. Licht is conceivably on a path to doing similarly well if his current success continues. – Naplesfan
I think it’s been so-far, so-good for Jason Licht’s drafting. And it’s not just him, it’s also the scouts and assistant coaches that have contributed. Licht is quick to spread the credit around and he is leading a total team effort. Not hitting on first-round picks is the quickest way for general managers to get fired. The fact that Licht has hit on his first-rounders and found a franchise-caliber QB in the process is a definite plus.
I don’t think his predecessors, Bruce Allen and Mark Dominik had the success rate in the draft that Licht has experienced in his first three years. Finding Day 3 guys like Kwon Alexander and Kevin Pamphile and some undrafted free agents like Cameron Brate, Adam Humphries and Jude Adjei-Barimah speak to Licht’s scouting prowess and the talent of his scouting staff. The key will be consistency and how the Bucs fare in the 2017 NFL Draft. – SR
SR, I am honored that you thought so highly of my post that you included it in this edition of your SR’s Fab 5, which I regard as the best weekly column covering the Bucs and a must read for all Tampa Bay fans. I, too, would not say that Charles Sims is a complete bust, but I would like to see more production from him running between the tackles. He is a fine outside runner and an excellent receiver out of the backfield.
I also agree that ownership needs to give general manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter more than a two-year shot to turn things around for this franchise. It has been a coaching change carousel in Tampa Bay ever since Jon Gruden was relieved of his duties (now on their fourth head coach in the last eight seasons). This constant turnover leads to constant philosophy change, forcing players to learn new offensive and defensive systems every two or three years.
And it also results in mistakes like sending a first-round draft pick to the Jets for cornerback Darrelle Revis, only to fire the head coach one year later, and when the new head coach is hired and he brings in a new philosophy on defense, Revis is seen as not a good fit, and is ultimately released. So the Bucs essentially gave away a first round draft pick for a one-year player rental.
Give Licht, Koetter, and defensive coordinator Mike Smith some time to build the roster. The Bucs have some good young pieces in place, but more are certainly needed. – cbbucfan
Thank you for such a tremendous comment worth including in my SR’s Fab 5, cbbucfan. In hindsight, trading a first-round pick for renting Darrelle Revis for a year was as much of a mistake as it was for Jason Licht and Lovie Smith to cut him without any compensation. Although his $16 million price tag made it nearly impossible for any team to trade for Revis.
It is time for the Bucs to stick with continuity now. As I stated, not everybody bought into Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith, but the entire locker room has bought into Dirk Koetter and that’s a good sign. So was Sunday’s 36-10 home win against the Bears. – SR
Wonderfully written and very well said, Scott, and I couldn’t agree more. I look forward to reading the Fab 5 more than any publication, and historically I would take my lunch late on Fridays so I could read the post “hot” of the press. However, I have found that I enjoy the column more by saving the read until after the Bucs games (usually on Sunday night or Monday morning). It is hard to hold off, but find the points to have more meaning and relevance after the week’s game has played.
I said it last week when Mike Smith’s head was “hypothetically” on the chopping block, that the Bucs just don’t have enough good players to win. Your Fab 5 bore that out. I completely agree with patience, and also strongly agree that this organization needs consistency.
John McKay once said he had a five-year plan because he had a five-year contract just think if the Bucs had dropped him after his first two seasons? We know we need better players to be winners and to consistently win. I believe we should give both the coach and the general manager three more years (after this year), and see were the chips fall. Changing coaches, changes schemes and methods only stunts the growth of the players (even good ones), creating a learning curve for years. In watching the games and the organization I truly believe we have a good head coach and general manager. Give them time.
The Bucs looked good against the Bears. We all agree that they should have won the game, but they looked good doing it. Let’s see if that carries over to the meat grinder of their schedule (Kansas City, Seattle and San Diego). That’s against two teams leading their divisions, and a San Diego team I think is better than its record. If the Bucs can win two of these games we’ll have our glimmer of light, and something that maybe propels this team for the rest of the year. – MudManVA
I saved your comment for last, MudManVA, because you have the willpower to wait until after the game to read the SR’s Fab 5 column. I find that interesting. Hats off to you! Coaches like John McKay had longer leashes back in the day. A five-year contract meant a five-year leash. Now that’s not the case with coaches getting two and sometimes one year to make a difference or they are shown the door.
That’s happened in Tampa Bay with Raheem Morris getting a three-year term and Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith each getting a two-year terms. Now it’s time to settle in with Dirk Koetter and give him time to work with the talent that Jason Licht provides. – SR
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
An overweight Alec Baldwin? Nah! Fred Flintstone? Maybe! lol.
Scott, thank you for commenting on my post. I don’t post often but I try to add something to the conversation when I do. I also wanted to thank you, because over the years, even before this column, you have taken the time to respond to my posting from time to time. You columns are insightful and thought provoking. In addition, your Fab 5 is some of the most in depth reporting that is done on the Bucs. One thing I do miss from the printed magazine days was the centerfold with the point/counter-point column. I wish you would bring it back. It’s always fun to read differing opinions on the same topic.
I think that Licht & Koetter need time; I also think that every coach that we’ve had over the last ten years needed time as well. The worst thing that has happened to this team over that time is the constant disruption of quick firings and knee jerk schematic changes that require a revolving door of on-the-field talent that doesn’t match the current scheme. If you look at most of the winning teams in the NFL, they have one thing in common; stability. The Bucs have clearly displayed the opposite since the Superbowl. I just hope that with the Bucs’ first opportunity in forty years to have a franchise QB, that ownership doesn’t sabotage this rare moment in the team’s history to ascend out of the cellar and to allow them to be relevant again.
Stability is only good when you’re stable in picking good people. When you make bad picks, stability is bad. The problem with Morris, Schiano, and Smith isn’t that they were booted too soon. The problem was that they were ever hired in the first place – all bad picks. I thought so at the time, predicted inevitable failure for each as soon as they were hired, and each was a fiasco and failed. I was not the only one to think and predict that either.
The “original sin” of the baby Glazers was in firing Jon Gruden at the end of the 2008 season … horrendously bad move that consigned the Bucs and their fans to 7 years in Purgatory, if not Hell. Firing Tony Dungy at the end of the 2001 season was equally bad, but at least the late Malcolm Glazer had good enough sense to go out and hire a great replacement for Tony, instead of rummaging around in the bargain bin at the book store like his babies did.
Now that we finally have a quality head coach and a quality DC to go with him, along with fresh talent acquired by Jason Licht in the last three off-seasons, THIS is finally the time to focus on stability and incremental improvement, and skip throwing the babies out with the bathwater.
Like every other supposed virtue in life, taken to an extreme, “stability” can be extremely bad. Once in awhile, when you draw a really bad hand, you just have to trade some cards.
SR- I am hurt and disappointed that you never comment on my posts.
“Bucs fans agree Licht…need(s) time”
That’s not what I read….at best I read, Bucs fans disappointed with Licht so far but mixed on whether to give him more time.
I have no problem with Koetter; as far as I’m concerned; I don’t see him going anywhere.
Coach Smith with another defensive draft should be good to go so he has to prove it in 2017.
Licht has to prove it in free agency and the draft. He is on his 3rd year so he needs to prove it that he knows what he is doing going into his 4th season. Again, I hope he trades down and often to acquire more draft picks for the 2017 & 2018 season. I am not objecting in trading one of our RB’s after the end of this season in order to get more draft picks as I think that’s the only position we have plenty of players. I think there has to be some more changes in the scouting department; I’m still not convinced we have talented scouts. Go Bucs!
You didn’t want to get overtly political, but sadly you did. You said:
“If some socially-activist media members and politically correct members of the NFL front office want to ignore that concrete data because it goes against their own ideological reasons they can, and they can join the rest of the mainstream media that simply refused to see a path for Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. Presidential race until the ballots were actually cast and he actually won.”
This is such an “ideological” comment that ruined a perfectly entertaining piece. This is a false equivalent, btw. You learn about it in journalism school.
Ignore the “concrete data”? So a Yahoo survey is what you call “concrete data”, something voted on by on the internet by folks that simply “identified themselves as NFL fans” during a heated election cycle? Last I checked, Yahoo is “MSM”, so that’s an absurdly dense example to use.
Btw, what “concrete data” ever said Trump would win? Virtually every paid professional pollster, even Fox News’ polls had Trump losing before the election. I suppose you knew all along before the election the true “path for Donald Trump’s victory”. You should become a pollster, Scott, or I suppose a psychic. Maybe go work for the NFL since all those politically correct executives colluding with the “socially-activist” media just don’t have it all figured out. Just nonsense, Scott.
Also, the majority spoke and they did not want Trump. That’s “concrete data”.
It’d be nice if you could just leave your “ideological” politics out of your stories for us all.
Gruden was needed to spark the offense and secure a SB. I’ll always be grateful for that, but he couldn’t maintain what he had much less develope anything for the future. Kiffin kept him employed for way too long. Gruden was respected by the players, but he never had the love or trust that Koetter has with this team. The Bucs need more talent, more experience, and more stability in their leadership. Hopefully the Glazers recognize what they need AND what they already have. This GM/HC combination is the best this franchise has ever had. Stick with it for as long as possible.
What I’ve observed over the years is that the players most appreciate honesty in their coaching staff. They got that with McKay, Dungy and now it appears with Koetter. Morris and Schiano simply weren’t trusted.
Licht has made a few mistakes as all GM’s do. He seems to have a steady hand on the wheel. What I look for on the personnel acquisition side is a well thought out plan to build the team for the long run. Not an injured Revis signing. Do what you know will be successful, not what you hope will work out. That “No risk it, No biscuit” only works when the team is already strong enough to absorb the hit.
There are only so many high Draft choices, thus a strong coaching staff is needed to develop guys in the later rounds and undrafted college F/A’s. We have shown some success there with Panphile, Brate, Adams and others who are contributing.
I’ve seen enough this first half of the season to see that the team is no longer a rudderless ship.
So far so good, but Licht needs to not make any more ego picks, ala Aguayo. Just make good solid picks. Can you imagine how solid our pass defense would be if we had picked Cyrus Vance? He is playing well for the Patriots and I bet Licht had a high grade on him.
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