This is not a call for Dirk Koetter to be fired.

This is merely a warning.

Following a 38-33 defeat in the desert in Arizona, the Bucs are now 2-3 on the season and coming off brutal back-to-back losses.

If things don’t improve – and improve quickly – the narrative in Tampa Bay will soon become “Fire Koetter.”

That’s a campaign I do not want to be leading the charge of.

Tampa Bay should have beaten New England on Thursday Night Football in a 19-14 loss, but started slow offensively, and some questionable play-calling and clock management proved to be costly – in addition to Nick Folk’s three missed field goals. Then after having 10 days – TEN DAYS – to prepare for the Cardinals, the Bucs looked completely unprepared and out-coached as they trailed 24-0 at halftime.

“It’s disappointing and it’s embarrassing and it starts with me,” Koetter said.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Getty Images

Once again, some very questionable decisions by Koetter, such as not going for a field goal before halftime and opting for ill-advised two-point conversions instead of extra point kicks proved to be costly for the Bucs. Instead of being down a touchdown after Lavonte David’s forced fumble and fumble recovery for a score in the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay trailed by 11 points.

Instead of having the score tied at 38-38 with just over two minutes remaining, the Bucs trailed by five points. Koetter was chasing points the entire second half, and he’s done that too much in his year and a half on the job in Tampa Bay.

Would a field goal and those extra points have mattered in the long run the way the Bucs came out and trailed 31-0 early in the third quarter? Sure looked like it, but Koetter didn’t seem to think so.

“We would have still been short,” Koetter said. “We were down a long, long ways. We didn’t get three, so add three more points on there and we’re still short. You just can’t spot them like that.

“We had an opportunity to score before the half, and felt like we needed to score a touchdown at that point. It didn’t work out. It starts with a stop and a score. We were able to build on a little bit of it from there, but that’s not the story. The story is that you can’t spot an NFL team 31 points and think you are going to come back.”

Koetter’s right. A team with playoff expectations shouldn’t be trailing anybody 31-0.

That’s what the Glazers have to be thinking right now, too.

Is Koetter better than Lovie Smith was? Heavens yes.

I called for Smith to be fired and Koetter to replace him after the Collapse at the Capital when the Bucs blew a 24-0 lead during the 2015 season in a 31-30 loss at Washington. This game – the Ambush at Arizona – was the exact opposite where the Bucs didn’t blow a lead, but rather spotted the Cardinals 31 points before a second half rally that came up painfully short.

Is Koetter better than Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano were? The fact that he is the only one of two men in team history to begin his head coaching career in Tampa Bay with a winning record suggests that he is indeed better.

But is Koetter better than Jon Gruden?

You remember Chucky, don’t you? He was the guy that delivered the Bucs its first and only Super Bowl championship in his first season. Obviously, Gruden is the other guy that posted a winning record in his first season in Tampa Bay.

Gruden is also going to be the next guy going into the Bucs Ring of Honor in December after finishing as Tampa Bay’s all-time winning coach. You might have seen him on ESPN’s Monday Night Football or pitching Coronas on TV commercials.

Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden and co-chariman Joel Glazer - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden and co-chariman Joel Glazer – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Gruden has made amends with the Glazers, who welcomed him back with open arms during training camp and held a press conference for him to officially announce his induction into the Bucs Ring of Honor.

Gruden was also the guy the Glazers fired after finishing 0-4 down the stretch of the 2008 season, as a 9-7 record wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs that year. Since then Gruden hasn’t coached a down anywhere other than Carrollwood Day School in Tampa, and has turned down a plethora of college head coaching jobs and passed on a few opportunities in the NFL, too.

Is he ready to return to the NFL? As you may remember, Gruden told me that he was preparing for a comeback in my pre-training camp SR’s Fab 5 that made national news.

“Just about every year I talk about coming back to coach,” Gruden said. “I’m not in here every day at 4:30 or 4:00 in the morning watching pinball. You know? I’m preparing myself to come back. I am. Every day. I’m preparing to come back.”

Gruden’s dream job would be the Buccaneers, those closest to him tell me.

Gruden still lives in Tampa. He still roots for the Buccaneers. Gruden still considers himself part of the franchise, as he should.

Gruden, who has stayed current with the NFL and college football through his ESPN gig, has gone on record to share his desire to work with young Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and has credited general manager Jason Licht with doing a good job of collecting talent in the draft.

“I would like to develop Jameis,” Gruden said. “Who wouldn’t want to develop Matt Ryan or Jameis Winston, you know? What are we saying here? If we had taken one it would have been a lot of fun. Unfortunately, you’re drafting one in the sixth round, and you’re developing Bruce Gradkowski. You know? You’re developing Chris Simms at the end of the third round.”

ESPN’s Jon Gruden and QB Jameis Winston – Photo courtesy of ESPN

If Koetter doesn’t find a way to get this team on track and do a better job with game management, a problem that has reared its ugly head too many times dating back to the loss to the Los Angeles Rams last year in Week 3, you’re going to be hearing Gruden’s name more and more from the media and the fans as a candidate to replace Koetter if it ever came to that.

And that name might be appearing in the Glazers’ minds, too.

The Glazers have already fired their last two coaches – Schiano and Smith after just two years. Morris was canned after three seasons, and one year removed from a 10-6 record.

Would they do the same to Koetter if the Bucs underachieve and underwhelm in what is supposed to be a breakthrough, playoff year?

Some view the Glazers’ quick, trigger-finger approach as impatient.

I’ve always applauded it and viewed it as the Glazers not settling for mediocrity.

A 2-3 record is mediocrity, folks, especially as the Bucs are currently dead last in the NFC South. The Panthers lead the division with a 4-2 record and the Falcons and Saints are both tied at 3-2.

Keep in mind that the Bucs were 2-3 after five games last year and Koetter was able to right the ship and finish 9-7. But that was thanks to a sudden dominance by Tampa Bay’s defense, which doesn’t look nearly as dominant this year, especially after surrendering over 400 yards and 38 points to Arizona, which was 2-3 coming into Sunday’s game.

And that was also with a healthy Winston. Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback went down hard on his throwing shoulder in the first half and exited the game early. After the game Koetter said that x-rays were negative and that an MRI is scheduled for Monday. But Koetter may have to rely on backup Ryan Fitzpatrick next week at Buffalo – and perhaps beyond.

“He’s not the first or last quarterback that is going to have an injury,” Koetter said after the game. “Obviously there is a big injury in Green Bay as well today. Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game. Jameis is as tough as they come. This isn’t about toughness. This is about – you know, he got a shoulder injury and couldn’t throw the football. He couldn’t do his job. We’ll just have to see what happens.”

The Glazers have already shown a penchant for going back to the glory days for a head coaching hire with Smith. Could they do it again with Gruden, who would be a much better option than Smith ever was?

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

The players love Koetter, who makes sure that football is fun for his players, and haven’t showed any amount of frustration with their head coach yet. But perhaps the Bucs players are too focused on dancing to hip-hop and trap music in practice and their daily ping-pong tournaments in the locker room than they are their upcoming opponents.

Koetter needs to put the kibosh on that until this team can start coming out focused to play football in the first quarter. Real fun comes from winning football games, not ping pong matches.

For whatever reason, the Bucs are too often unprepared on Sundays and get off to too many slow starts. Playoff teams don’t act that like. That’s on the head coach.

The Bucs haven’t seen an increase in points per game in the last three seasons that Koetter has been calling plays despite an increase in talent along the offensive line and in the team’s arsenal of weapons. That’s also on Koetter.

I like Koetter and hope he can turn the Bucs around and do it quickly. This team would be better off with some stability for the long term – but only if there is progress.

If Tampa Bay is still going to go 10-6 and have a shot at the playoffs, Koetter will have to push the right buttons – and become much better at game management – to have this team go 8-3 down the stretch. The fact that the Bucs have yet to play the Panthers, the Saints or the Falcons makes it a daunting task.

If Koetter isn’t up to it, I wonder if the Glazers start thinking that Gruden, who won three division titles in Tampa Bay in addition to the Super Bowl, may be.

 

Previous articleWinston Injures Shoulder; Post-Game Status And Quotes
Next article2-Point Conversion: Bucs Ambushed In Arizona
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]

49 COMMENTS

  1. nice article – but oh so bad timing

    if the grumeister made even the tiniest overture licht and koetter would have to walk the plank

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  2. I’d be for it if Gruden stayed home during the draft, just text him the number of the draft pick so he can make the call to welcome them to the team but don’t let him make any other calls on draft weekend.

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    • Why do people always act like Gruden was the one drafting those players back then? He has gone on record as having been against almost every horrible pick they made and has also said who he wanted them to draft instead and if the Bucs had drafted who he wanted we would have gotten some studs. He certainly didn’t want a left handed QB in Simms! I say give him full control! He is also on record as saying he would want control of the draft for this very reason if he were to consider coaching again. The guy is a great talent evaluator as evidenced by him getting supposedly “over the hill” or previously underperforming players to play well here. If he gets another shot with the Bucs I hope he gets full control..

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  3. Scott, glad you and Trevor are calling like it is. Believe Gruden is not the answer. The only difference I see from last year and this year is who we acquired off season this year. I think there’s a problem in the locker room. I’m not sure if we have the right team captains either, and probably have too many of them as it is.
    I too agree I’m not ready to throw Koetter off the bus, but he better make some changes on defense for sure. He’s the head coach tell Smith to make adjustments faster because his defense sucks.

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  4. I remember when Scott Reynolds penned the Lovie Smith monologues. When Scott starts speaking of such things Old Charon warms up the ferry ride across the River Styx for which there is no return. Next time you see Dirk Koetter check to see if he has a coin in his mouth to pay for the passage. lol. (Obviously just kidding, but there’s always some truth in jest)! I do hope Koetter gets things turned around or things could go South real quick. True fact – the average tenure for a Bucs coach since Gruden is two years. Go Bucs!

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  5. Call him “Point Shaving” Koetter from now on.

    While not on your preferred site (I live in Vegas), I had money on the Bucs to cover 4 with Gronk out and Brady making an impromptu run to the locker before the game last week. Despite having a timeout, two minute warning and over two minutes to go down by two at home “Point Shaving” Koetter decides to go for the low percentage onside kick. Instead of holding the Pats and returning a punt in good field position needing a FG to win (yes, I know, but even Aguayo hit a GWer against the Panthers last year when given enough attempts), the Bucs hold on defense and STILL have to give up 3 points due to the Pats field position, requiring a TD to win it. Do you know how RARE it is to see a team recover an onside kick, fail to get a first down and go for points because there is so much time left?!

    This week “Point Shaving” Koetter literally cost the Bucs 5 points by not attempting a FG when his team is being shut out in the FIRST HALF (-3) and by making the even more audacious call to go for 2 pts on 4 TD’s but only making one conversion (-2). The team loses by 5 points. You can’t blame Folk or Aguayo on this one, he literally didn’t give his kicker a chance in this game.

    Scott, you are right that you called Lovie out for his poor game management and decision making. Despite your praise, Koetter’s decisions make Lovie’s look like downright reasonable. If I’m the Glazers or management, I can’t let this coach make these decisions and submarine a comeback again, he’s done it two straight weeks and there’s no guarantee he won’t do it next week either. They need to get someone to “handle” these calls for him, because he’s made it abundantly clear he can’t handle it himself.

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    • Just to clarify, I do not think Koetter is intentionally shaving points. But I do find his decision-making interesting when he decides to go for it on 4th and 5 at the 5 yard line at the end of the half when he has an easy field goal and no points, but decides to punt the ball when it’s 4th and 5 on the Arizona 39 yard line down 14 points.

      You’d think if you are looking at the odds, it favors the 4th down attempt more vs a low percentage FG more than it does the 4th down attempt vs the very high percentage field goal when you are being shut out. The results being that Arizona completed a 95 yard drive off the punt and the Bucs failed on the 4th and 5 on the goal line. Koetter is apparently unaware that the goal line is much easier to defend (less space to cover) than the middle of the field. You’d think his life in football or father who was a coach would have imparted some of that wisdom before he failed on 3 of his 4 2pt conversions today. But apparently not.

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  6. Gruden come on home brother!

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    • Agree just DO NOT LET Gruden draft or bring in players over the HILL.

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  7. I like Koetter, but his play calling and decision making aren’t getting it done. His teams start slow and lose games they should win. I’d like to see him hand off the play calling and manage the team. This team’s missing something, not sure what it is. I’d really like to see Koetter figure it out. Gruden wore out his welcome with some of the same issues. For those with long memories, the playoff loss to the Giants in 2008 was all JG. His coaching, play calling got old along with his inability to develop young players.

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    • Are we questions a Buccaneers coaching decisions in the playoffs? Because that is a nice problem to have, you know…being in the playoffs. And while Gruden had his warts he is still the last coach to take the team to the playoffs. I’m not holding my breath the Koetter is in line to do it anytime soon.

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      • Bucs talent when Gruden took over was quite a bit better. I sat next to one of our starting o-line on a 4 hour airplane ride after that Giants game. The o-line from that era was not a JG fan. I just don’t think you can go home again.

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    • Gruden was popular with fans he was fired for not firing Allen when he asked too. The Bucs were playing under cap floor in Grunden’s last years and were still competitive. Had the team been using most of it’s cap space I’m sure he would have done better at the end.

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      • Gruden will tell you he believes he was fired because he drafted Cadillac Williams instead of Aaron Rodgers.

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  8. I agree with this article completely but hope for the players sake it doesn’t come to this. I think Gruden is bright enough to make best use of the players we have and not gut the roster trying to find a specific type but I’ve watched that story happen over and over with terrible results. That said Koetter was terrible reaching for points when XPs would suffice, not taking the chip shot FG before the half and lastly starting the game with another deep shot knowing that Jameis has struggled with that ball. For heavens sake get the kid an easy completion and get him in a rhythm. I think this is becoming stupid at this point that no one has realized that a more uptempo, short controlled passing game would work better early. Get him some checkdowns and underneath passes to get the chains moving or even some Desean end arounds but plz switch it up. Dirk needs to give up play calling and focus his efforts on getting the TEAM better prepared to start games. He needs to sit Mike Smith down and tell him that the days of letting VHIII play off in coverage if he wants is over. He has been routinely roasted because he is giving up first down yardage in off coverage on every possession. The massive yardage he gives up has nothing to do with Grimes on the other side and everything to do with his play. If he can’t play press man coverage then sit him down and find somebody else that can. We were honest with ourselves after we blew the Agauyo kick and it’s time to teach VHIII the hard way. Definitely not saying kick him but sitting him for poor play has to happen or this will continue. Dirk man up and run this team or your might indeed be warming Chuckys seat.

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  9. Would Gruden be an improvement, without a doubt. Would he get more out of players, no question there either. Is he a better play caller, yeah you get the idea. Gruden should have never been fired and even with the Bucs playing well under the cap towards the end he wasn’t embarrassing the franchise on a weekly basis.

    It hard to say how much of this coaching but coaching is part of our problem right now as is the playbook and play calling.

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    • It’s just hard to fathom now that he was fired after a 9-7 season. We just finished a 9-7 season and the fan base was giddy about a winning season and the prospect of maybe improving to 10-6!

      I remember feeling like Gruden’s firing was justified then, but now I think back and just wonder how a franchise that had toiled in the cellar of the NFL for so many years would risk going back to that just because we had a winning season.

      Remember we got rid of Gruden to embrace the “player’s coach” fad with Raheem Morris. That era has ended and I think only Tomlin in Pittsburgh survived it.

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  10. My biggest concern with Koetter is his play design, same with Smith. These are proven football guys but I’ve watched a ton more football this season, from other teams than I ever have. Koetter is requiring Winston to make tougher reads and throws that are necessary. Most other teams with seemingly less talent create opportunities for the QB to make easy throws. Having truly wide open players and easy throws doesn’t happen until the other team is up by three scores and starts dropping into deep zones. To have the weaponry that the Bucs have and consistently not having players open in routes or not being able to utilise Doug Martin with the weapons that we have is a problem. Many people said at the start of the season this was pivotal for Winston. I disagreed. To me this is pivotal for Koetter. He has no excuses.

    I am a huge Mike Smith fan but he still lives in the world that long drives are unlikely. Our d line stunts are some of the worst in football. VHIII is playing so deep that at the sniff of pressure all the QB has to do is find that receiver.

    Secondly with Koetter, he should’ve been protecting Winston more in the public. I know the young man has immense confidence but he is human. The last head coach I saw publicly get after the young potential franchise QB like Koetter does was Jim Mora. He got fired after year three, but one could argue that Winston has thicker skin than Manning did. I have seen too much tentativeness from Winston this season. When you hammer someone over and over for mistakes eventually they will stop making plays. Winston (and this might be part of Koetter’s issue with slow starts) looks so afraid of the early turnover he isn’t playing the game. It takes a desperate situation for him to start rolling. Winston is the first opportunity the Bucs have had for a long term franchise QB since Trent Dilfer. Dilfer didn’t pan out for the Bucs either. I hope they don’t screw Winston up.

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    • Your perception of Jameis’ slow, tentativeness and fear of making a mistake is dead on! He is not playing loose. Controlling turnovers is crucial but you have to have the confidence to make a play. Good point Sir!

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  11. I’d like Gruden as our OC, but not as our HC. Koetter is a straight shooter and more level headed. Players respect that. Trust is important.

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    • The exact opposite is true. Koetter has proven he is an excellent OC, but has never made it as a head coach. Chucky has HC written all over him!

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      • I think Gruden would want control of the offense if he came back.

        The man still sits for hours breaking down film and coming up with new plays. I just don’t see him coming back to wear a headset and watch Mike Smith and Koetter call plays.

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  12. Thought it a little early for the next coach article, but my wife even said during the game, “would they fire him”? Koetter was just showing his desperation going for two. He, like me, agree the game was over at 31 nothing. The Cards, like a cat toying with a half dead mouse, lost interest after the first quarter. That’s win the game was over, that’s the sad reality.

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  13. I was actually saying this in the game chat yesterday. We know what JG did with no talent. Imagine what he could do with the talent we have. With Gru wanting to come back in the next 2 years, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Glazers have already started thinking about it. Didnt he go on the record, off the record to say they had offered him the job when DK was getting hired but the time wasn’t right? I never understood the Gruden firing (although I did without understanding it). Its getting time to right this thing and bring him back. We’ve been paying for letting him go for 9 years now, and it’s still the worst decision the teams made in my 20+ years of fandom if you ask me (sorry I’m not old enough for more haha). I’m not saying fire DK right now, but if he doesn’t fix this and soon, I’d make sure Jons on speed dial after the season. If he needs another year, then put up with this for one more year and see if they can turn it around, otherwise, back up the brinks truck like you did the first time around and bring us back the coach we should’ve never fired to begin with.

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  14. Does anyone else also think that perhaps we could also land some additional talent just for the sole fact that we would hire someone like Gruden as the HC? It’s crazy to even be talking about it this early when we are 2-3 and went 9-7 last year. I wouldn’t necessarily say that Gruden did it with no talent because we had some names down in Tampa at the time but I wonder what he could do with the likes of an offense like the one we have which is very talented on paper…..Certainly better than being shut out 24-0 in the first half to a Cardinal team that was 2-3. Defensively is where we need help and this is both scheme and personnel wise, we will make a TFL for minus 4 yards on a run and then give up an 18 yard pass on 2nd and 14 for a 1st down. Pass Rush? You might as well call that an endangered species because we lack the “beast” on that DL which translates to no pressure and that combined to the cushion folks like Hargreaves give and our suspect safety in Conte, it’s no wonder teams are just marching down the field at will…..You don’t need to join planet fitness to get in shape, just volunteer to hold the chains when we are on defense and you’ll do enough wind sprints for the week. I sincerely hope we can turn this around but with Buffalo coming up and the next 6-8 on the road….does not look very promising but I hope that I am wrong.

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  15. I like Jon Gruden more than most, he’d be a terrific head coach.

    But I really hate this ungodly early talk by Reynolds and commenters here about firing yet another head coach. He brought us our first winning season since 2010 last year, so he’s earned a full season this year to measure progress. Yes, he has made some questionable game management and play call decisions. And our players have failed to make plays. Altogether, the performance is not yet acceptable at 2-3.

    But angry calls for coach heads now, just 5 games into the season, when injuries have been horrible on the defense, and against some tough competition (which isn’t going to get any easier – the NFC South appears again to be the strongest division in the league this year), it’s just ridiculous to be talking about the next head coach. This franchise needs some room and time to learn and grow. Just because fans are impatient doesn’t make it smart to act impatient.

    Cool off, and let the coaches and players figure out how to play better. There is plenty of time to get better, but no more time to waste.

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    • It’s the nature of online media and such, everyone’s an expert. We all fall into that trap from time to time. I’m with you in thinking Koetter has earned some time to fix this , and it’s still far too early in the season. However I would really like to see him give up offensive play calling duties . I just don’t think he’s ready for both. Few coaches do both.

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    • Is this the only team in the NFL to have injuries? What team in a given year in the NFL can’t point to some injury as an excuse. It’s pro football for chrissake, you have 53 players for a reason.

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      • No – of course, all NFL teams suffer injuries. But we’ve had far more injuries on defense than the offense this season. Until Jameis Winston’s shoulder injury on Sunday, our offense had effectively no injuries causing starters to not suit up at all. Whereas on the defense, we’ve had games with as many as 6 of 11 starters not even suiting up. Two Sundays ago, we still had 4 of 11 defensive starters not suiting up. Not even counting one projected defensive starter who got cut (Jac Smith) due to his injury status.

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  16. While not calling for Koetter’s head, that was a pretty damning report you just filed. Not with the venom of the Lovie Smith articles, but with the same outcome. Another coach fired after two years? Really? But the Glazers know what they are doing? They nipped the problem of the last three Coaches early? Is there a problem with Dirk already? We running him out of town now? Gesh, I said it when they fired Lovie and I’m saying it again sick and tired of the coach carousel!!!!!!! That’s, quite frankly, the last article I expected from you guys!!!!!

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  17. Yeah, I don’t get the ping pong in the locker, that doesn’t seem very professional to me. It’s one thing having a rec room for the players where they can unwind, but the locker room isn’t that place. Koetter needs to tighten the grip on this team, that grip seems to have gotten awful lose.

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  18. My gut tells me the Buc’s were the recipient of a couple of years of pent-up anger manifested in the form of Adrian Peterson. But then it is hard to tell, we have watched the team lose so much over the last several years. My take away includes the above, poor play calling and the old “Slow Start syndrome. Say what you want but coaches don’t tackle, block, pass rush, or pass defend. Though I was disappointed with the outcome of last nights loss, I was impressed with the come-back effort in the 2nd half and for the most part the play of Fitzpatrick. It was obvious that the Cardinals were playing prevent defense which almost lost them the game at the end. I hope Jameis was paying attention to that long perfectly thrown TD pass to Evans in the end zone. This has been a strange season so far and while I am not happy with our record, I am far from discouraged about our play-off chances. We have seen a lot of good from the Buc’s under adversity. 10-6, even 11-5 is possible with no clear front runners in the NFC South. Hold on Buc fans it could be a hell of a ride.

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    • Though I love your optimism, I think you are out of your mind to think 10-6 or more so 11-5. There has been nothing to show us they are capable of pulling off multiple wins in a row and that would be necessary. Now mix in that Jameis is out for an unknown amount of time.
      I am a huge Bucs fan. I was born on MacDill AFB and have watched this Team from the beginning. I am an eternal optimist. But I have been let down by this Team way more times than I have been surprised. God, I hope I am wrong about this…..

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  19. I was 100% in favor of the Bucs promoting Dirk to HC.

    Everything seemed to be heading in the right direction last year. However, things have changed quickly.
    This Bucs team has the talent to be very formidable, but instead is on pace to be 6-10.

    Not only has the team not played up to expectations it has not been prepared in its two road games.
    The play calling has not been good, the scheme on defense looks atrocious (no press coverage) considering the players the Bucs have. Clock management has been awful(Dirk refuses to allow the QB to spike the football to conserve time). Head coach decision making has been poor(no field goal attempt at the end of the half and multiple onside kicks).

    If this coaching staff can not put a winning product on the field with this roster then they do not deserve to be coaching an NFL franchise.

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    • Seasons don’t go according to pace. By that logic, after our season opener the Bucs were “on pace” for 16-0 and a Super Bowl ring.

      Whole lotta football left to play. That’s why they play the games.

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      • In order to go 10-6 we need to go 8-3 in the next 11. What has shown you that THIS Team is capable? Especially that Jameis is out for an unknown amount of time? I get your optimism Naplesfan and I applaud it but man this just gets old feeling let down by this Franchise…..

        I have lived and died each fall Sunday afternoon. It is very hard to be a Bucs fan.

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        • I don’t necessarily have optimism. I just know that NFL teams are often streaky. Teams that start out weak often finish strong, and vice versa.

          Our best season record since 2010 started 1-3,but ended up 9-7 and just a tiebraker away from the playoffs. Under this same coach.

          I keep saying this, but that’s why they play the games.

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          • I hope you are right….

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  20. There’s no denying that this team is sloppy and unprepared. With everything invested and the pieces in place, there’s no way the Glaziers squander this window of opportunity if they don’t believe they’ve got the right guy steering the ship. I would think Koetters leash to be fairly short if this team wonders much further off the path.

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    • Its not just Koetter. Licht needs to go too. If you can’t get a kicking situation right you should not be a General Manager of an NFL team. Make Derrick Brooks the General Manager and Gruden coach. Look what Elway did. Same path. This would be great for Winston and the players. Defensive mind with Brooks, offense Gruden. Superbowl Champs back together. That is a recipe for another Superbowl run.

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  21. Maybe my memory is bad wasn’t Gruden as head coach of Tampa the guy who passed on Aaron Rodgers in 2005 Draft stating he could not play in NFL and he instead of Rodgers drafted “Carnell Cadillac Williams” who became a special teams player. And now Bucs fans want this clown back here!

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    • Cadillac lit the world on fire and then the injury bug hit. We have to remember that Rodgers slid all the way to the 24th pick and was drafted by a team with a future hall of famer already on the roster. There were 23 times that Rodgers was passed over.

      There were A LOT of head coaches kicking themselves once Rodgers took over the reins from Favre in Green Bay in 2008 and became a great quarterback, but I’ve always though that Rodgers benefited greatly from watching Favre for a few seasons. He got to do what used to happen to young quarterbacks; he got to watch and learn.

      But who knows what would have happened had Rodgers been drafted by a team with a bad O-line and taken a royal beating his first few seasons in the league. Maybe he would have turned into David Carr, getting slammed into the ground all season and then losing his nerve?

      In retrospect, Gruden picked a running back with a ton of talent, who flashed that potential, got injured and was out of the league within a few seasons. That’s just rotten luck. He could have picked Rodgers, but who’s to say that the Aaron Rodgers we see on the field would be the same guy starting right out of the gate in Tampa vs watching Favre play a few seasons?

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  22. Gruden wanting to develop a young GB?
    What a laugh.
    He has always preferred veteran CBS over youngster.
    Hell, he passed on Aaron Rogers when he wad sitting right there cause he had Brian Grease.
    He didn’t’ want Rich McKay to draft Ryan Sims.
    This article is laughable.

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    • Maybe your first clue that Gruden likes young quarterbacks is that Gruden keeps saying, over and over again, for years now that he would dearly love to develop a young quarterback with future HOF potential.

      Your second clue is, in 2005 he had a good youngish starting quarterback, Brian Griese (97.5 passer rating the 2004 season) plus a young third rounder (Simms) as backup. Most NFL teams also passed on Aaron Rodgers, as he was taken 24th.

      Your third clue is that Gruden operates his own prospective draftee quarterback camp every year, with his own TV series documenting it.

      Gruden wasn’t the GM, and even if he was, he couldn’t take a top draft pick in the years after he came to the Bucs in 2002 because of the draft picks given away in the deal Malcolm Glazer made with Al Davis. So he was stuck with mid round talents, which are much less likely to deliver top QBs (with some exceptions of course).

      I believe Jon Gruden would succeed as an NFL coach if he ever makes the move. Don’t know if he will, though.

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  23. Sorry not Ryan Sims but Chris Sims.

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  24. Not going there yet. IMO if Coach Koetter wins at least 6 gets he gets another year. The Glazers are aware of the damage done by firing coaches every two seasons. Also, the Buccaneers are in serious need of CB’s and pass rushers. That along with the suspect schemes Mike Smith has thrown out there this season has really hurt this team.

    Coach admitted the Buccaneers were not prepared for the game in Arizona. Think we ALL saw that beyond a shadow of a doubt. Well, let’s see what a wake up call and a week of practice can do. Expect a big bounce back game against the Bills this Sunday with a chance to take Carolina at home and get back over .500. Anything less and the playoffs are out of the question and as of today, they are highly doubtful anyway.

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  25. Why do so many of you believe “all the pieces were in place?” This is local homerism. They were a 9-7 team last year and won several games by the thinnest of margins. I recall only one dominant win–against Chicago, the same team we dominated this year. And they had a healthy middle linebacker, the leader of the defense, all season? Come on, be honest with yourselves. All the hype was based on the free agent signing of one wide receiver. We didn’t improve the secondary. We didn’t improve the pass rush personnel. We moved a great guard to center, where he is playing well but still learning. We didn’t improve the kicking game. This can’t all be put on the coach. Yes, we have a good offense, among the top five in the league. But we are not more talented than Minnesota or New England. The only game we’ve lost that we figured to win BEFORE the season is Arizona and that’s team that beat us by 30 points or so last year. If you want to be another Cleveland, then ok change coaches. Just remember that Gruden is very weak when it comes to personnel decisions and he came to a franchise that had a dominant defense. And he had a boatload of locker room problems in his last couple of years. Lovie was 8-24 in two years, winning six his final year. Dirk is 11-10. Now you can say that the Cardinals played passive in the second half, but the Buccaneers still showed a lot of heart and threw a scare into them. And the Patriots did not have a safe enough lead to just play passive. I’m not convinced that the team is a wreck. Don’t forget, we are 1-7 now in games with out Alexander. He is the leader of this defense. If he comes back and they still can’t stop anyone, then let’s talk.

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    • Not buying Kwon as an issue, Beckwith has played lights out. Graded out as top five in the league. Maybe it’s just his presence, but it’s not that they are lacking with Beckwith.

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  26. No doubt he made some bone-headed decisions. They look worse in hindsight. If we had lost 38 – 3 because he kicked the field goal before half, would we all be saying “why not go for it on 4th down, what do you have to lose”…maybe.

    It is not a path to glory to fire your head coach every 2 years. That’s Cleveland Browns-land and we want no part of it.

    2017 is not our year to win the Superbowl – nobody seriously thought that I hope. I know we all want steady progression, and 10 wins would be that, but sometimes progress can come outside the win column. Not that we have seen progress yet, but it can still come, especially if we find a new identity on defense and/or Winston settles down with these new toys.

    Gruden reminds me of the McRib from McDonalds. When I was a little kid, boy did I like the McRib. Then it went away. Then after maybe 10 years it came back…it just wasn’t the same. I didn’t eat at McDonalds anymore, and the thing was horrible. Maybe Gruden will find that elusive coaching karma that many before him have tried and failed to find after some time away…maybe, but it would be wrong to think we were getting the band back together…we don’t have 5 HoFers anymore.

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