FAB 2. Bayless Is Clueless About Koetter And The Bucs

If there is one thing about today’s world of sports reporting and news reporting in general that I detest is the supposed need for hot takes – the more controversial and attention grabbing the better.

Sensationalism has won out over substance in 2017 (and it’s actually been that way for several years) on TV, and click-bait rules the Internet. Eventually, the pendulum will swing back the other way, as society will tire of look-at-me attention whores like Jason Whitlock, Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless spewing nothing but meaningless hot air.

At least I hope so before society gets stupider listening to such clueless and ridiculous blather.

As if ESPN’s Trey Wingo’s moronic tweet about former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo wasn’t embarrassing enough, Bayless opened his mouth on Wednesday’s FS1’s Undisputed show and inserted both of his feet.

As a Bucs beat writer, I have tunnel vision on the Bucs and to a lesser degree the happenings in the NFC South. I know very little about other NFL teams, especially in the AFC, and will readily admit that.

National football reporters like Adam Schefter, Albert Breer, Chris Mortensen, Ian Rapoport and Peter King are constantly working their phones and talking to representatives with all NFL teams so they know the lay of the land league-wide. From what comes out of their mouths, it certainly doesn’t seem like pundits like Bayless do that and only go off their own opinions.

An uninformed opinion matters little to me, and Bayless shared his uninformed opinion on Undisputed following Tuesday night’s episode of Hard Knocks on HBO. Bayless is a fan of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, and admitted to liking him and preferring him over quarterback Marcus Mariota, the second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft after Tampa Bay selected Winston.

“Huge personality, contagious charisma, natural-born leader, so much fun to watch, obviously a star on the verge. He hasn’t quite backed it up yet,” said Bayless of Winston. “I think people are starting to think this team is positioned to maybe win this division this year. I love everything about Jameis.”

So far, so good, but what Bayless said next is where any credibility he had fell off a cliff.

“I don’t love this coaching staff,” Bayless said. “Forgive me for saying this. Sometimes you get the bird’s eye view and you get to see too much. Maybe they’re mugging for the cameras. Maybe they’re acting out of character, but the whole staff seems a little high schoolish to me. They all seem a little in over their heads.

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

“Dirk Koetter has bounced around, in college football and pro football, got fired at Arizona State, then was a coordinator at Jacksonville, then in Atlanta, finally at Tampa Bay, sort of inherited the job, rose into the job when Lovie Smith got fired.”

If Bayless were a character on HBO’s Game of Throne’s he would be called Lord Bayless The Clueless.

The Bucs’ coaching staff is high schoolish and mugging for the cameras?

That’s not only stupid, that’s insulting.

I’ve seen some lousy coaching staffs before in my 24 years of covering Tampa Bay. Outside of offensive coordinator Greg Olson, defensive line coach Todd Wash and defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake, I wasn’t at all impressed with Raheem Morris’ coaching staff, especially the in-fighting that took place between smarmy offensive line coach Pate Mangurian, who wasn’t liked by anyone, and Olson when it came to game-planning.

Aside from running backs coach Earnest Byner, wide receivers coach P.J. Fleck (in 2012) and special teams coordinator Dave Wannstedt, I thought Greg Schiano’s staff, which featured some of his former Rutgers coaches, was woefully unequipped for the NFL.

Lovie Smith’s 2014 staff had plenty of holes on it, too. Offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford and quarterbacks coach turned play-caller Marcus Arroyo came from college and were in way over their heads, as was wide receivers coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker. Yet, offensive line coach George Warhop, running backs coach Tim Spencer and tight ends coach Jon Embree were great additions with Warhop and Spencer remaining on Koetter’s staff.

Defensively, Joe Cullen was a great defensive line coach on Smith’s staff, and Hardy Nickerson showed promise as a new linebackers coach. But the secondary was a mess under Smith as cornerbacks coach Gill Byrd wasn’t very good, and safeties coach Mikal Smith, Lovie’s son, proved that he is not an NFL-caliber coach.

Bucs LBs coach Mark Duffner - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs LBs coach Mark Duffner – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Lovie Smith’s idea of having the nickel position coached separately by Larry Marmie only added confusion to secondary that struggled with communication, and that move backfired, as did Smith’s decision to kneecap defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and take over the play-calling duty in 2015, which proved to be a disaster.

Koetter’s staff is certainly more than competent and is as solid a group as I’ve seen since Jon Gruden’s staff in the early and mid 2000s. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith was not only Atlanta’s all-time winningest head coach, but he was a tremendous defensive coordinator in Jacksonville and a linebacker coach in Baltimore’s Super Bowl-winning team before that.

Linebackers coach Mark Duffner is so well thought of that he will likely take over the defensive coordinator role if Smith moves on to another head coaching job in the future. Jay Hayes is one of the league’s most respected defensive line coaches, and his assistant, Paul Spicer, will be a defensive line coach somewhere in the league sooner rather than later. Jon Hoke and Brett Maxie instantly improved the Bucs’ secondary upon their arrival and are NFL veteran coaches.

Offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Todd Monken often speaks colorfully with words that flow out of Profanity River, so he’s hardly mugging for the camera. Tight ends coach Ben Steele is in his first year as a position coach, but has an NFL background playing tight end and has received rave reviews from his fellow coaches and the Bucs’ tight ends.

Bayless wouldn’t know guys Steele, Duffner and Warhop unless they all walked up, slapped the Fox Sports loudmouth across his face and then introduced themselves.

As if calling Koetter’s assistant coaches high schoolish wasn’t bad enough, Bayless didn’t think Koetter was genuine.

“He’s not convincing,” Bayless said. “As convincing as Jameis is, this guy is unconvincing. He’s very hard on Jameis in practice … I don’t like a head coach who’s constantly all over his quarterback in practice. It’s too hard of a position to play. Do that behind closed doors. Don’t mug for the cameras. I don’t love it. Remember he spoke out against Jameis last year and was concerned about his growth.”

First of all, Koetter is known around One Buc Place as a straight shooter. He’s incredibly candid in front of his team and the media and doesn’t mince words.

I’ve been around the guy for three years now and Koetter hardly mugs for the camera. To suggest that Koetter does is disingenuous.

What you see on Hard Knocks is how Koetter is every day. In fact, I think he’s done such a good job of telling his players to act natural and not play to the NFL Films cameras that I haven’t seen anyone on the Buccaneers act unusual or try to steal the spotlight.

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher and QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Getty Images

Second of all, Koetter is hard on Winston because that’s in his nature and the young quarterback likes to be coached hard. It was also that way at Florida State under Jimbo Fisher.

So the fact that Winston won a national championship and a Heisman Trophy while only losing one game at Florida State with Fisher breathing down his neck totally negates Bayless’ claim that being too hard on a young quarterback can be a bad thing. Winston actually thrives with that type of coaching, and that makes he and Koetter a perfect match.

Finally, Bayless even goes so far to suggest that Koetter is insecure as a head coach that he has to use Winston as a scapegoat when things don’t go well offensively.

“It feels like Dirk Koetter is insecure enough as the head coach that he’s trying to point the finger constantly at Jameis, like planting excuses in case of: ‘Don’t blame me. He still makes these dumb throws.’ Dirk Koetter isn’t good enough to do that,” Bayless said. “My final take from last night was much as I like this team on the verge, I think the coaching staff is going to present a ceiling for this team. That’s just my gut feeling: They might limit how far this team can go.”

It’s exactly the opposite in Tampa Bay. With the Bucs being a relatively young team, it will in fact be up to the coaching staff to continue to rapidly develop the young players as they have over the past year or two as Tampa Bay has gone from a 2-14 record to a 6-10 mark to last year’s 9-7 record.

Koetter’s coaching staff is actually the catalyst to the Bucs being a playoff contender this year – not a detriment – but Bayless wouldn’t know that. Unless he’s talking about his beloved Dallas Cowboys, Bayless doesn’t seem to have a clue.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

32 COMMENTS

  1. Bayless is a Cowboy hack that literally says things to mug for the camera and create controversy. One of the most important things I saw this preseason was that the team came out of it without any major injuries. I’m still stunned to see different sites having the Bucs finish fourth in the NFC South. I know it’s a damn tough division, but fourth? I think that as much that Jameis has improved, I also think that resigning Smitty was the best move of the offseason. I think that the D is going to surprise some people and this team should be sending PR into their “playoff scenarios” mode by December.

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    Rating: +12. From 14 votes.
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    • No free-agent pickup or draft pick was as important as retaining Mike Smith. We desperately needed continuity in the coaching staff and front office (which we’ve only had one other time since Gruden was let go) after finishing 2016 on an upward trajectory. Thank goodness for Dean Spanos being a idiot and going through with the Chargers’ move to Los Angeles… if they do the smart thing and stay in San Diego, I don’t think we would’ve kept Smith. The timing on the decision-making on both sides was not a coincidence, IMO.

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  2. Skip Bayless is a pompous ass who knows nothing, absolutely nothing about the Buccaneers other than what he’s seen on Hard Knocks. No credibility whatsoever. I’d rather not spend a second thinking about him or his bogus opinions but here I am. Five minutes I’ll never get back.

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  3. Brian Anger is a WEAPON! A punter as a weapon? In Anger’s case, absolutely. He gives the Buccaneers great control of field position time and again.

    Good stuff Scott. Incidentally, it might be a good idea to allow comments after each individual Fab of the Five? Each one deserves individual comment and I really believe you’d get more if you took my suggestion.

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  4. We still need to bring in another QB and put Griffin on IR and let’s see where he is and several weeks. I still don’t see backup offensive tackle, the same for defensive ends. As of today I only see 8-9 wins if Winston stays healthy. Maybe we’ll get lucky and get those 10 to 11 wins, but that’s areach as of right now.

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  5. If Greeny ‘s on board with Winston and the Bucs then I’m not holding much hope for the season. Dude is the kiss of death if there ever was one.

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  6. Random thought, but isn’t time we revise the “downed inside the 20” stat considering teams now get the ball at the 25 after a touchback? And where did that term come from anyway? Why not “downed inside the 10” which is much more impressive and effective? Just a thought….

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    • Getting the ball at the 25 is only on kickoffs, punts and turnover touchbacks are still at the 20.

      And I think it’s the stat because most punters can kick it 60-75 yards into the endzone for a touchback, whenever they want to, the skill comes from hangtime, ball placement, and putting the correct spin on the ball to give your ST a chance to down it.

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  7. One thing I have noticed about Jameis in the preseason is that he starts to the game faster, or better. The last two seasons, and even in college, he started off slow. That is one of the benefits of him being more accurate this year. Great stuff on Jameis!

    I am proud to say I have never watched a show Bayless has been on. I wonder if him, and Tom Jones, have any self respect as men, to even try to get it right.

    Anger is everything we hoped Aguayo would be. It looks like it’s a lot of fun to be a gunner when he is punting!

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  8. Seahawkers podcast has a whole segment at better at life than Skip Bayless, one of the funnier segments out there. There Prisco World segment is absolutely x10 better at life than Skip Bayless though.

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  9. Could’ve stopped the headline at, “Bayless is clueless”

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  10. SR………”If there is one thing about today’s world of sports reporting and news reporting in general that I detest is the supposed need for hot takes – the more controversial and attention grabbing the better.”

    SR……..Gruden will be returning to coaching!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  11. If Skip doesn’t like Dirk who cares, keep winning games and he will get on board. Feel the Bucs should’ve taken the gamble on Cameron Irving due to his ties with Jameis and talent coming out of college. Hopefully our line stays healthy but we can never have too many talented big guys used to playing in the FL heat.

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  12. The less said about Skip Bayless the better. May his name never pass our lips and keyboards again.

    I love our coaches,as well as our players. Don’t give a rat’s rear end for pre-season games as anything more than scrimmages designed mostly to figure out who makes the cut to 53. Other than that, they’re irrelevant to regular season expectations.

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  13. Scott, I’m not sure why you guys have been pushing the re-signing of Evans all off season as if they are running out of time. I am not surprised at all. When the bucs re-signed McCoy and David, they both had one year left on their contract and not two like Evans does. That is why the contract talks have not picked up steam. Neither side is in any rush. Why should they be? Evans option year is going to pay him $15 million. Last time I checked, that is still top 5-6 in the league at his position. Evans will get paid his worth in due time. No need to rush.

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    • The rush isn’t to get him signed, The rush, although there obviously isn’t one, would be to sign him for less. Because obj is going to get signed too. So we either let obj set the market and end up paying more or we set the market with Evans and probably pay less. Well almost certainly. That’s the incentive.

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      • Look, you are talking about pennies at this point. Antonio brown makes about 17 mil a year. Hopkins just signed a contract that put him in that ball park. Evans and obj will be in that ball park. Its not like the bucs are going to save 30 mil by signing evans now. The market is already set. Again, evans option year next year pays 15 mil.

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        • I think we’re basically both agreeing that there is no rush. But all the intel I’ve heard leading up to now was that they preferred to set the market. I agree though nickels and dimes at this point.

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  14. If Skip Bayless predictions held any salt Tim tebow would have multiple Super Bowl rings, RG3 would be starting QB for the Dallas cowboys, and… I probably don’t have to say more. You can youtube compilation videos of everything he’s gotten wrong, it’s pretty great.

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  15. Koetter is the best thing that has happened to this team in a long time. So is Smith. When we make it to the playoffs, there will be a lot Crow to go around for skeptics. The Defensive line is a little sketchy, but if we are lucky and keep healthy, good things are going to happen.

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  16. Right now I’m picturing Skippy bleeding out on a cold castle floor. Lord Skip Balesh, not bad Scott.
    Basically Bayless is a dickhead. Always has been. Excuse my potty mouth Scott but sometimes you got let it fly.
    8 more days and we shall see if the BUCS are for real.
    I haven’t been this juiced at a start of the BUCS season for awhile.
    GO BUCS
    GO RAYS
    GO LIGHTNIG
    HELL, GO TAMPA

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  17. I’m often amused and frequently just baffled at what I overhear fans in the stands blurt out loud enough so those around them can, in their minds, be educated by their utter nonsense and ill-informed rhetoric. This past game (?), the idiot behind me, who obviously received the tickets as a gesture of sympathy from the true season pass holder, actually found fault with punter Bryan Anger when the cesspool (field) of players was filled with a collection of turds floating around until today’s scheduled cuts.

    That fan might well have taken his cue from Skip Brainless who always tries to portray himself as a bit of an intellect when in reality we all know he’s just another pompous Cowboy fan still living in the past.

    As the host of Iron Chef says, “Let the battle begin!” Thankfully, our favorite team came out of these meaningless games(?) relatively unscathed. The goal was to evaluate the players and improve the roster from a year ago. I believe that was accomplished. Other than the questionable back-up QB, I think the team has better talent at each position group than at the start of the 2016 season.

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  18. Regarding Bayless–The national medial largely ignores the Bucs, which means they do little homework and there is usually not much depth behind the statements they make. Bayless has followed Jameis a little closer, but is off base with his assessment of Koetter, imo. He is correct with his facts, but wrong with his conclusion.

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  19. JW has indeed looked more controlled and accurate so far. If he can maintain that in the regular season it would be huge. Cutting down his total turnovers to something below the 20+ he has averaged could alone be enough for two more wins. Fingers crossed…

    The most telling line in the FF came from one of our own starters on offense:

    “If he has time in the pocket he can deliver a good ball every time,” Bucs wide receiver Adam Humphries said.

    If, indeed. He certainly has the weapons. Will he have the time…? It’s all guesswork at this stage. Again, fingers crossed

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  20. Bayless along with most ESPN talking heads is the result of the failed Disney?ESPN upper management brain trust, and their PC SJW warrior mentality is turning off viewers every where. It seems they have little understanding of why most America watches sports especially football. They need no lessons in “group think” from those idiots.

    Their NEW World order of programming leaves much to be desired.

    I seldom watch any of them anymore. Their schtick has grown tiresome. They have completely lost touch with most Fans.

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  21. Runole, thanks for amusing us with your inner Donald Trump. Political correctness used to be called being polite and civil until the uber right made such civil behavior a dirty word.
    ESPN is having a tough time not because of what you perceive to be their political leanings, but because they sunk huge amounts of money into the NBA and it isn’t paying off.
    Now for some football.
    Scubog. as usual, you nailed it.
    Skip Bayliss knows very little about anything except for his beloved Cowboys.
    I would love to see Bayliss step into an elevator with Troy Aikmen and see what he looks like when he comes out.
    If you remember Bayliss was the one who was spreading unfounded rumors around about Aikmen possibly being gay.
    Aikmen almost quit Fox when he found out they hired him.
    The guys is just a complete no talent jerk with a big mouth which is what keeps his name in print. See Howard Stern,

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    • Drd. At least Howard is somewhat funny. Satire and dumbass not equatable.
      GO BUCS

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    • Drdneast

      He probably got that idea from ron and jp who always spew that slant on reality. The fact that many stream their tv now has nothing to do with espn numbers i guess. Its all about politics according to them as why viewership is down. I love how they constantly bash espn about their “left” leaning views and how they do not tune into sports for politcs but yet all they do is spew their right leaning views. Very hypocritical.

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  22. Trey Wingo’s comment wasn’t moronic. It was right on the money. Taking Roberto Aguayo in the second round was the worst draft pick ever. Aguayo was the only kicker drafted the year he was drafted. If one of Conner Barth’s misses in 2015 would have been a make, his field goal percentage for the season would have been better than his career percentage. I find it hilarious that the Bucs waived Barth when Aguayo was drafted, but the Bears decided to keep Barth instead of Aguayo. Kicking the most extra points is as indicative if not more of making the playoffs than FG accuracy or making the most 50-yd FGs (reasons why the Bucs drafted Aguayo in the first place). There is a large percentage of teams that have undrafted players as their starting kickers. At the time, more weapons for Winston were needed more than a better kicker.

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  23. Calvin Boaz, can you say Ryan Leaf, Bo Jackson that big steroid tackle Green Bay took years ago, Booker Reese etc, etc. Any first or second round pick that doesn’t make the team is a mistake, it doesn’t matter what position he plays and the draft is littered with wasted first and second round picks.
    Did you know I believe it is 50 percent of the players chosen in the first round aren’t in the league after four years. What makes those better picks.
    If Aguayo had kicked in the pros like he did in college he would have been a weapon.
    BTW, I didn’t like the kick either but I have moved on. I suggest you do the same.
    Give it a rest.

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    • Tony Mandrich. That’s the big steroid using tackle you refer to.
      He actually had a some what decent career with Indy.
      Hands down Bo Jackson is the worst ever. At least all those other bums show up to camp.
      Go Bucs

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  24. Skippy is like a hemroid that needs to be removed!

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