Dirk Koetter & Jason Licht Want To Float

March 17th, 2017

Ira Kaufman, aka The Custodian of Canton, pens columns for JoeBucsFan.com every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award-winning podcast rolls twice per week. Kaufman spends most of his salary on Bette Midler records, tennis gear, and Dubonnet. 


The man who holds the clipboard sometimes holds the fate of a franchise in his hands.

On paper, the departure of Mike Glennon might be viewed as inconsequential because Jameis Winston’s backup didn’t attempt a single pass in 2015 and tossed only 11 footballs last fall.

With Glennon now the clear-cut starter in Chicago, the Bucs are considering their options behind Winston, who has been remarkably durable during his first two pro seasons.

Ryan Griffin, who has never taken an NFL snap, received a $1.8 million tender from Tampa Bay as a restricted free agent. Although Griffin has had two years to learn Dirk Koetter’s offensive scheme, his lack of experience makes him a dicey option if Winston is sidelined.

Winston has lived a charmed life in Tampa.

The Bucs are one of only nine teams that have used the same starting quarterback for each game since 2015. And although Winston will never be considered a running quarterback, he has taken his share of hits in and out of the pocket.

“You’re just naïve, or deluded, if you think you can get by anymore with just one guy,” says Chiefs coach Andy Reid. “It doesn’t happen that way.”

Glennon’s experience helped Koettter sleep better at night, knowing the gangly backup had 18 starts since the Bucs selected him out of North Carolina State in the third round of the 2013 draft.

Life Preserver

The consensus around the NFL is that most teams have little chance to compete for a playoff spot if their starting quarterback goes down with a significant injury.

Just ask the 2016 Minnesota Vikings, who lost Teddy Bridgewater to a dislocated knee during training camp.

But what about an in-season injury that requires a backup to play three or four games and keep a team afloat?

That’s the nagging concern in Tampa, where the Bucs are coming off a 9-7 season and expectations are high that the franchise will end a nine-year playoff drought.

Nick Foles, once known as a Buc-killer, appeared to be a nice option for Tampa Bay once he was released by Kansas City.

But the Eagles were more aggressive, bringing Foles back to Philadelphia with a 2-year deal for $11 million, with $7 million guaranteed.

“We think the backup quarterback role is an extremely important one, and we’re glad to have Nick here in our room,” says Howie Roseman, executive VP of football operations for the Eagles. “We didn’t feel we were in position to wait on this. In a matter of days, we might not have been in the position to have Nick in this role, so we felt this was the right time to improve our football team.”

Now the Bucs have to be wondering about their comfort level with Griffin. With only 16 regular-season games, a 1-3 stint with a backup quarterback could end up extinguishing Tampa Bay’s postseason hopes.

“You want some security, some peace of mind, at the No. 2 quarterback position,” says Bears coach John Fox. “It’s become a very critical position.”

If The Shoe Fitz

With his job on the line in Chicago, Fox has now tied his future to Glennon, a classy pro who never complained publicly about his backup role to Winston. The Bucs made a generous contract offer in an effort to keep Glennon from hitting the free-agent market, but he wanted his shot to start  — and it wasn’t going to happen in Tampa.

So who is out there if the Bucs want more experience behind Winston?

Not much.

A list that includes Robert Griffin III, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Case Keenum doesn’t inspire much confidence, although Fitzpatrick makes some sense. He led the Jets to a 10-6 mark in 2015 and he has 116 career starts and 166 TD passes.

And while running back is the obvious glaring need for the Bucs heading into the draft, you can be sure Koetter and Jason Licht have spent considerable time discussing the No.2 quarterback situation.

“You’d better have someone in whom you’ve got faith, that you feel very comfortable with, and that you know can go in and perform,” Reid says. “If you don’t have someone like that, then you’re playing with fire, and eventually you’re going to get burned.”

27 Responses to “Dirk Koetter & Jason Licht Want To Float”

  1. GhostofTedford Says:

    100% in agreement Mr. Kaufman. When the news on Glennons signing with Chicago came out my first thought was “What happens if Jameis gets hurt”?
    Trusting Licht to ease my worries, this problem will be fixed by the start of training camp.

  2. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Keenum or Fitz would be equivalent of a Mike Glennon basically. I’m fine with either of those guys.

  3. JAB83 Says:

    Draft day trade for a career backup???

    Interesting thought.

  4. Joehelldeloxley Says:

    my feeling on the mater is RGIII is the best option (I know I’m crazy) : he is a mobile guy (bit more than Jameis), he has his share of injuries se he can teach him to preserv himself (throw out of bounds) and I think we wouldn’t have to change the offense that much if Jameis is sidelined for some games.

    We all know how a great eam locker guy geno smith is and I don’t think Fitzpatrick will accept to be a backup behind a guy like Jameis (meaning he will never play).

  5. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Not that crazy JoeHD when you consider just how slim the pickings are.

    The coaches have had two years to look at Griffin…we’re about to find out what they think of him.

  6. D-Rome Says:

    I told you all Glennon would be a starter one day…

  7. Sunny Says:

    We made a mistake last year by not trading Glennon, even if we would have gotten 5-7 rounder , it’s better than nothing we got now , and use that pick yo get his replacement, instead of wasting one of ours this year,

    I also agree RG3 is best current option.

  8. TBBucsFan Says:

    Josh McCown is still out there. I’d rather have him as a backup than any of the others mentioned above.

  9. Joeypoppems Says:

    How on Earth is RG3 the best option. The backup QB should only play if Winston gets hurt. So you guys think the best option if Winston goes down is injury prone RG3? Give me Fitz all day

  10. martinii Says:

    I for one was sorry to see Glennon go. I think like Ira that he who holds the clipboard holds the fate of the team. But now thats all history. We live or die with Ryan Griffin, at least he has some knowledge of our system and there is simply no FA backups out there that would fit. Bottom line we are going to have to live with someone who can hand the ball off and minimize the offense to basic formations. I guess this is a teaching moment telling us how important our back-up is in the future. Only a fool makes the same mistake twice.

  11. JAB83 Says:

    RG3 would be great as a backup… He would be trade bait too for a team willing to give him another shot if they find themselves in a pinch…

    Im all for him and his skill set…

    This is what you would have to sell…. Could be a huge asset in more ways than meets the eye!!!! Could BE!!!

  12. JAB83 Says:

    Anyone want to argue his deep passing ability…. LMAO….

  13. JAB83 Says:

    Oh and if you wanted to get cute and show case your backup QB… How about Him and JW running a flee flicker of sorts… We could give that play a whole new meaning and name…

    The RGWiston Bomb… Now that is something to fear… Who wants those getting dropped on them every game???


  14. Joeypoppems Says:

    If they trade RG3 then guess what…. back to no backup QB. So whats the point?

  15. Capt.Tim Says:

    Fitzpatrick is a decent option. Keenum would also work

    RG3 has never, never learned to slide. He always runs too soo- then takes the big hit.
    Even worse- now many of his injuries are chronic. You hit his shoulder- its going out. Knees are about the same
    And like sooo many spred offense QBs- defensive Coordinators have figured out his weaknesses in the pro game-and turn him into a running back. A little, fragile running back.

    No need to panic- after the Draft, a few decent Qb’s always hit the market

  16. JAB83 Says:

    The point is you have a one or two year fix till the next best option shows up…

    You find it before than you trade him…

    Who knows he may just be an HB option too

    Its reasonable to consider I do believe…

    Perhaps MG8 will be back on the market by than?

  17. R.O. Says:

    Sorry Ira.. The Vikings were a bad example. But if are you referring to the fact they had to trade for Bradford before the start of the regular season, maybe. But they did not, not make the playoffs because Bridgewater got hurt. Didn’t they start 5-0?

  18. Donkc Says:

    Ostweiller when he’s released. Only $8M to Bucs since Browns are covering the rest.

  19. ben Says:

    Bucs have a lot of cash left ..but don’t seem to want to spend it .. I thought their would be a better effort.. I now think goal this yr is another winning season but not much else.

  20. Pickgrin Says:

    Fitz is about the only decent-good option named – and he would not come cheap – that’s for sure.

    Seems to me that the Bucs having kept Griffin on the active roster for 2 straight years in order to keep someone else from stealing him away was a pretty big investment. So they used up that extra roster spot for 30+ games just to discard Griffin now that his time to become the back-up is here? I doubt that seriously. Unless he hasn’t progressed as well as they’d hoped which is possible…

  21. Gilhealy Says:

    A couple of Harvard boy’s on the offensive side of the ball wouldn’t be a bad thing. Fitzie and JW would get along well. Both could learn from each other.

  22. Buc1987 Says:

    Ira…Joe will tell you that rarely backup QB’s are called on to save the season. Not enough that they matter anyways. He thinks any old bum will do. If Jameis goes down, so does the season. I belrive that’s his logic.

    Most of us disagree of course.

  23. Costa Rica John Says:

    I would like us to bring Aaron Murray back to Tampa. Looks like he is the Rams number 3 guy right now. Had a great career at Georgia and I think he just needs a chance.

  24. Trubucfan22 Says:

    The bucs have to have some confidence in Griffin. Why keep him on the roster all of this time if theu didnt? Why tender him if they thought he wasnt worth the time or money. As far as i know griffin isnt dating one if koetter’s daughters or anything. No griffin does not have game day experience in the NFL, but that doesnt mean he couldn’t do well when given the chance. I have to imagine the bucs see something in him to keep him here. So i will trust koetter and licht on this one. Besides it’s not like glennon could come off the bench and win a game for the bucs. Not many back ups can come in and win meaningful games. If they could, they wouldnt be back ups. Overall i am not really worried at all about our back up QB. Until griffen proves he doesnt belong in the NFL, i will assume he does. At least with griffen opposing teams will have no idea what he can do. While most other back up caliber qbs have glaring weaknesses preventing them from being starters. DCs would know those weaknesses and take advantage. Griffen is an unknown commodity and that is a good thing for the bucs when he does get on the field one day.

  25. NCFlorIdiot Says:

    Didn’t the Broncos have their backup QB in a few games when they won the SB 2 years ago? AND didn’t the Patriots have 2 different backup QB’s last year for their first 4 games, and they just won the SB? Not so rare that backup QB’s made the ultimate difference…. I love the Joe’s, but the whole “backup QB won’t save a season” argument has been disproved by the last 2 Super Bowl winners???

  26. NCFlorIdiot Says:

    That being said… both the the Broncos and Patriots had excellent teams around their backup QB’S, so my point could be easily argued against… Licht and Koetter are getting us there the right way, I have immense faith in both of them… Go Bucs!

  27. NCFlorIdiot Says:

    And IRA, I love your different perspective on the Bucs… The combination of you and the Joe’s makes JoeBucsFan THE place to come for anything Bucs… Plus all the knuckleheads (me included) reading & commenting on here (very entertaining and a lot of knowledge given out)