Brent Grimes: “You Can’t Have A Bunch Of Independent Contractors Running Around”

January 9th, 2017

iradecember

Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter pens columns for JoeBucsFan.com Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday, and churns out his popular podcasts Tuesdays and Thursdays. Enjoy as Ira goes deep inside the locker room in today’s offering.

BY IRA KAUFMAN

The Bucs developed mental toughness in 2016, but as Clint Eastwood said to Hillary Swank in Million Dollar Baby, “girlie, tough ain’t enough.”

This franchise is now a $1.5 billion baby, according to Forbes, and let’s not forget Tampa Bay also made strides on the soft side en route to a 9-7 record.

After their first winning season since 2010, Buc players were quick to credit team camaraderie as a vital ingredient in their success.

“It’s a tighter room and a tighter building to be honest with you,” said veteran tight end Brandon Myers. “Our quarterback brings everyone along. We’ve got a quarterback here who is going to win championships.”

Demar Dotson, the longest-tenured Buc, said he’s never experienced this degree of team chemistry.

“This is a close-knit team, the closest I’ve seen in my eight years here,” Dotson said. “A lot of it comes from our head coach and the character of the man. Dirk Koetter is a guy who says what he means. I love a coach like that. I think he’s the man for the job.”

Brent Grimes, who turned in a very solid year as a veteran free agent corner, compared the Bucs favorably to other organizations he has played for.

“This is a tight group and it was fun playing with these guys,” Grimes said. “That’s what this league is all about. You can’t have a bunch of independent contractors running around. Guys have to be playing for each other — and we embrace that concept.”

Several players credited Koetter for fostering a family atmosphere at One Buc Place.

“You can see the upward trend,” tight end Luke Stocker said after his first winning season in the NFL. “We took a couple of steps back in December but finished on a high note. We all believed in Coach Koetter. We took the field each week believing we were going to win. That hasn’t always been the case around here. Even when we were 3-5, coach believed in the process. He believed in what we were doing and there was 100 percent buy-in.”

Hoop Happiness

It’s no secret that a team-first mentality is a trademark of clubs that win on a consistent basis. Lone rangers must be weeded out as leaders emerge to police the locker room.

That is starting to happen in Tampa, at Koetter’s insistence.

“Coach put it on the players,” said Gerald McCoy. “He’d do his motivational talks and then tell us to stick together. The players stepped up big time, especially the vets.”

Speaking of vets, the Bucs benefited from abandoning their long-standing policy of avoiding free agents who were at least 30 years old.

Vets like Grimes, Robert Ayers and Daryl Smith added experience and leadership to each layer of a defense that improved significantly in some key areas.

Koetter was smart enough to listen to his players when it came to team-building concepts. McCoy singled out Koetter’s willingness to put up a basketball goal in the locker room.

No big deal, right?

Guess again.

“What does every player in the NFL want to be, or think they are?” McCoy asked. “A basketball player. This gives guys an outlet to just let it all hang out. Guys who didn’t talk before, once that goal went up, everybody’s personality began to come out. Little things definitely help.”

As the Bucs move forward, GM Jason Licht is seeking to add talent and toughness to the roster through free agency and the draft.

But Licht also knows “tough ain’t enough” when it comes to building a winning locker room.

“There’s a lot of young talent here and this is a committed group of players,” said Ali Marpet. “There’s obviously a very bright future here. I’d invest in the Bucs.”

12 Responses to “Brent Grimes: “You Can’t Have A Bunch Of Independent Contractors Running Around””

  1. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    And so I now am left wondering if we are strong enough in the locker room to take some risks like the NE Pats.

    Is Terrelle Pryor too big a risk to our vastly improved team chemistry?

    If not….SIGN THE GUY!!!

    I do think our locker room has grown immensely stronger and Licht and DK have figured who with any off field issues is worth it, were the issues corrected, and most importantly how will they handle themselves going forward.

    Anything can happen of course but as of this 9-7 season…#3 perhaps the largest gamble in terms of off field questions has proven Licht and DK right for taking that gamble. They did their due diligence and came up with the right answer..

    Same could be said for Noah Spence on the D who I believe is a future star.

    This team is easy to like and to cheer.

  2. GhostofTedford Says:

    Yes, let’s invest some of that great big Glazer loot (salary cap space) and get Winston some very good protection and a weapon or two. PLEASE!

  3. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    Jags just hired doug marone

  4. ARGH_M8E Says:

    We dodge a bullet there!!!

  5. The Buc Realist Says:

    YES!!!!!!! now we just need the Chargers to fire another coach not named Coach Smitty!!!!!

    Huge news!!!!

    GO BUCS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Rashad Says:

    Now we wait on word from San Diego.. If Smith stays, I truly believe that the bucs will win the division and go deep in the playoffs.

  7. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    It seems the chargers like Matt Patricia DC from the patriots

  8. Kevin Says:

    Love this read!

  9. 813bucboi Says:

    smitty aint going anywhere….the dallas game hurt his case….GO BUCS!!!!

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I love the Bucs, but I would not pay more than 1.2 billion.

  11. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Rashad Says
    “Now we wait on word from San Diego.. If Smith stays, I truly believe that the bucs will win the division and go deep in the playoffs.”

    Which is why I think Mike Smith is better off waiting until next year. Or later.

    If we win a superbowl, he can write his own check with any team.

  12. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    I don’t think Smitty wants to leave, I just think he’s testing the market for his worth..he knows he’s closer than ever to get that ring in one to two years..

    Go Bucs!!

    And I also think he turned down the Jax job, that’s my opinion..

 

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