Bucs “Didn’t Buy In” With Jim Bates’ Defense

April 5th, 2010

The dean of Tampa Bay sports radio, “The Big Dog,” Steve Duemig, has been pounding this drum since last fall when we all watched the horror film “Nightmare on Dale Mabry,” starring Jim Bates’ defense.

Now, Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber has confirmed what “The Big Dog” has said for months: The Bucs defenders didn’t buy into Bates’ defense, partially because it was getting slashed so bad that Freddie Krueger nodded approvingly.

That was the word from one of the greatest Bucs players in franchise history as he appeared with J.P. Peterson last week on WQYK-AM 1010.

Petersen jokingly asked Barber if he wanted to see Bates come back and force a defense onto a unit that wasn’t equipped to play said defense and Barber spilled the beans about why Bates was let go (other than the fact his defense set a franchise record for coughing up 25 or more points in five consecutive games).

“I was a fan of [Bates’ defense],” Barber said. “It had some intricacies I liked but we didn’t handle it very well. I didn’t mind it; we just needed to buy into it. By the third or fourth week, guys weren’t buying it, they weren’t used to those results, they were used to seeing the same results we were used to in the past 12 years with Monte [Kiffin].

“The general consensus outside the building [among NFL types] was, ‘This is Tampa. How could you not play at Tampa-2?’ I think originally, what Jim wanted [to employ] was a hybrid of sorts but when the bullets started to fly, the defense was what Jim wanted [as a final result] and we just weren’t very good with it.

“We were excited when we turned [the defense] back over [to a Tampa-2]. We kept some of Jim’s stuff but we went back to what we do well and the last few games of the season showed it.”

This is what Joe has always said about Bates’ defense. You just cannot shove a square peg into a round hole and expect it to be smooth. Even two-bit high school coaches know this. Good coaches adjust their schemes to best fit their personnel and get the most out of them.

Joe is not saying Bates is a bad coach. Hardly! Joe had high hopes when Bates was hired based on his body of work with the Dolphins and later, the Packers (paging Green Bay Bob). 

What Bates essentially tried to do with the Bucs was the defensive equivalent of running a wishbone offense with players groomed to play a run-and-shoot. Even Pat Kirwan of Sirius NFL Radio and CBSSports.com said time and again this wouldn’t work. There’s YouTube.com video as evidence.

Of course, Kirwan was correct.

Look, Bill Parcells was throwing the ball 40 times a game with Drew Bledsoe at New England because he had the personnel to do that and didn’t have the players pound the ball which is what the Tuna prefers.

Joe always remembers Lou Tepper taking over for John Mackovic at Illinois. At the time, the Illini were one of the top teams in the nation, built for throwing the ball. Mackovic stocked his roster specifically with offensive players to run a pass happy offense, lineman more skilled at pass blocking than run blocking, running backs more adept at catching the ball out of the backfield, not blocking and running between the tackles.

Tepper brags at his introductory news conference, “We’re going to run the ball!” Well that’s fine and good if you have the players to run the ball. Tepper didn’t and the Illini offense blew up in Tepper’s face as a result. That program has yet to recover.

Good coaches adjust to the personnel they have, not the other way around.

Had Bates slowly incorporated his schemes over time, well, that’s a totally different story. Whether Bates tried to force feed the Bucs’ defense was a directive from Mark Dominik or Raheem the Dream, or whether he was freelancing or just PO’d because Dominik didn’t stock the defense with the players Bates wanted, no one really knows for sure outside the walls of One Buc Palace.

No, the players apparently didn’t buy in to Bates’ defense. Joe will counter that Bates didn’t buy in to the Bucs defenders to begin with.

(Hat tip to Big Papi!)

43 Responses to “Bucs “Didn’t Buy In” With Jim Bates’ Defense”

  1. Eric Says:

    Ive often wondered if the Brooks release was related to the planned defensive change out of the Tampa2.

    Perhaps they thought Derrick either didn’t fit the new defense or would have questioned the change itself?

    Cause if you think about it, who better to lead the young linebackers in the Tampa2 than 55?

    If that’s true, it makes the Bates thing even more bone-headed than previously appreciated.

  2. Brad Says:

    Man Joe.. I really love your site but you give the Big Dog way way too much love. If I have one turn off it would easily be how you don’t bash him as you would others. The biggest disappointment is when he said this regime should be safe even if the bucs win only 3 games this year. What!? are you kidding me.? He should be held to task on this. He is great for bashing people the don’t give him the time a day and never says a cross word about anyone that gives him a little love. I’m not sure if he still rated number 1 and I’m sure he will tell us if he is but this type of favortism doesn’t set well with me nor should it you. He should be calling the Bucs out but he is the only one that is not.. And its just because he has an in with Dominik.

  3. Dave Says:


    What is wrong with saying the staff should be given 3 years even if they do win 3 games? If they look much better and show improvements in different areas but keep losing close ones, why shouldn’t they be given year 3? It is a rebuilding process with young players through the draft. Anyone with half a brain realizes this was not going to turn around within 1-2 years.
    They should expect around 6 wins this year and fighting for a playoff spot next year realisticly.

    I understand you don’t like him always praising Big Dawg. I like Big Dawg, to a point. I never agree with any on the radio completely. The other guy (Mark) annoys me because every 5 minutes he is busy praising himself about how good he is. When he isn’t doing that, he takes callers and you can tell that most the time he doesn’t listen to what they say. He is pretty good otherwise, but he is basically a plant from ESPN to get a foothold in the market. It is all part of ESPNs grand plan to monopolize everything to do with sports.

    Personally, I do not want to listen to either station’s hosts bash teh other one (and Big Dawg stays away from that usually). As a sports talk show fan, I flip between the two and I think most do that.

  4. mrgone Says:

    I agree with you about the Steve Duemig (play nice mrgone! — Joe) 🙂 , but logically, Joe cannot bust on the Dog because there is a working relationship between JBF and WDAE, simple as that.
    Love the site, Joe, and thanks for bringing Justins Draft coverage back for this years draft.

  5. Joe Says:


    First, this post nor thread is about Steve Duemig. But to address your point about the Bucs coaching staff, “The Big Dog” has a valid point.

    Now before you choke on your lunch or start screaming obscenities, hear Joe out.

    The Bucs really painted themselves themselves in a corner by canning (or hiring in the first place) Jeff Jagodzinski last year. Let’s say, for whatever reason, Raheem the Dream is canned after this year — which Joel Glazer has already gone on record as saying that likely will not happen, but let’s say it does. Then your multi-million dollar quarterback who is supposed to be the cornerstone of your franchise for the next dozen years will be on his third offensive coordinator and third quarterback coach in as many years.

    That’s the same thing that happened to Alex Smith in San Francisco and the same thing that happened to Jason Campbell in Washington. How well did that work out for both those quarterbacks?

    Joe has even interviewed former NFL quarterbacks and run the stories on this very site noting if the Bucs clean house with the coaching staff next year, it’s a recipe for disaster with Freeman.

  6. d-money Says:


    I think one of the reasons the Big Dog is a little soft on Dom and Rah is because he was so outspoken against Gruden and Allen. He got his wish so now if he starts bashing their replacements he will look like an even bigger a-hole after trying to get them fired for two years.

    Also he has bigger fish to fry right now he’s on the fire Brian Lawton bandwagon and he is warming up the fires for Joe Maddon.

  7. Joe Says:

    This will be the last Steve Duemig post in this thread. Hate to play Nazi but any more get deleted, sorry. This post isn’t about Steve Duemig.

    Steve has been critical of Dominik. Also, “The Big Dog” was hardly the only guy to wonder why Merlot Joe was batting B.J. Upton at leadoff when he could barely hit .200 last year. Don’t think that cost the Rays some wins?

  8. d-money Says:


    “The other guy (Mark) annoys me because every 5 minutes he is busy praising himself about how good he is. When he isn’t doing that, he takes callers and you can tell that most the time he doesn’t listen to what they say.”

    You are so right. This guy is a total douche and he always sounds like he is eating or drinking something while talking.

  9. d-money Says:


    Can’t say i disagree in regards to Merlot Joe.

    We need a JoeRaysFan.com We could go on for days on this topic.

  10. Joe Says:


    We need a JoeRaysFan.com We could go on for days on this topic.


    When Joe gets enough advertising revenue, it will come. Joe’s not there yet. Joe certainly has firm plans for a Rays site. Would love to have launched it for this season. Can’t justify the additional hours per day to maintain it without the additional revenue.

    In the meantime, Joe will be content with reading his good friend Cork Gaines’ musings over at RaysIndex.com. Make sure you guys check that out daily.

    (Albert Pujols just hit a homer in his first at-bat. Dude is from another planet.)

  11. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    The Bucs didn’t buy into Bates??

    Well , note to the Bucs players:

    We fans don’t buy into the fact that you can play worth a damn, in any system…

  12. Eric Says:

    Lets see, back to back 3-13 seasons would not be enough to fire Raheem and staff because it would “hurt” Freeman and his development to replace them.

    But, keeping the Blocking icon, Stroughter, Brown, Stovall, Bradley(if thats what they go with this year) as if they are legit NFL wide receivers is helping the young man?

    Joe, you have been super vocal about the receivers, and dumping AB, yet you would contemplate keeping the staff on if they proceed with this grave error?

    Total balderdash no matter who says it.

  13. Joe Says:


    Bad enough the Bucs have saddled Freeman with this lot of receivers. By bringing in yet another offensive coordinator and yet another quarterback coach for the third straight year on top of that, well, Joe doesn’t know if they can find any more ways to screw with the kid’s head.

  14. Eric Says:


    I see your point.

    But, if memory serves me right that was also one reason that the Bucs retained the services of one Richard Williamson. At that time it was Vinnie Testaverde whose progress we didn’t want to impede by changing the system.

    And, I can’t live through another 3-13 season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Bob Fox Says:

    Jim Bates is a hell of a coach…when he has players that not only buy into his system, but also players that FIT his system. That didn’t happen with the Bucs last year. Why? Who knows. But cutting loose two coordinators (Bates and Jags) in the very year they were hired doesn’t exactly show great leadership (or interview) skills for both Raheem and Mark Dominik.

    Bates did a great job in Miami. I also know what he did in Green Bay. The Packers won the NFC North in 2004, but the defense was torn to shred at times, especially in the passing game. The Packers were 25th in total defense that year in the NFL, as well as 25th in passing defense.

    Bates then took command of the defense in 2005, and did very well. Bates had the defense ready to play EVERY week. The defense improved to 7th overall in total defense, including being No. 1 against the pass.

    However, Bates had players in Green Bay that not only bought into what he wanted to do, but also were players that fit his system. That was not the case last year for the Bucs.

  16. Joe Says:

    And, I can’t live through another 3-13 season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Multiple Caybrews help numb the pain.

  17. Joe Says:


    Don’t forget how Bates flamed out with Mike Shanahan. His results with the Broncos were equally as horrid as was his tenure with the Bucs. Joe’s not making excuses for Raheem the Dream but if we bag on Raheem the Dream/Dominik for making a mistake with Bates, Shanahan is equally as guilty.

    Or were “modern” NFL players just tuning him out in general?

  18. Jonny Says:

    How often do you see a simultaneous hire of a rookie HC and a rookie GM for the same franchise with indifferent owners and a barely mediocre roster leading to great results? Never?

  19. Eric Says:


    We only wish we were “barely mediocre”.

  20. tampa2 Says:

    Joe, When Bates was hired he was told that he would have the players he needed to implement his system. Then the team reneged on him. He tried to implement it anyway. And Morris sat in on every meeting after a loss, without making “any” suggestions or comments. Bates even commented that Haynesworth was making more last year than his (Bates) whole defensive unit. Then he was “relieved” after game 10. So, was it Bates fault? Morris’ fault?, or the fault of whomever lied to Bates to begin with?
    Or was Domminik told that by the Glazer’s, then they reneged? Who knows! But Bates has taken a lot of heat for a sorry defense that is “not” entirely his fault. And, as I said before, how is it that Morris gets the credit for allowing the defensive players to play a defense that they have been trained to play & they play better? Defend Morris if you will! But Bates was lied to to begin with when he was promised big, nasty, 1 gap players.

  21. Eric Says:

    Bates is way more qualified than “Rah” to be head coach.

    Is he a bad coach or was he asked to do the impossible?

  22. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    Which defensive style is that shitty players buy into?? …and does it really matter??

  23. tampa2 Says:

    Eric, he was promised players to fit his defense, and was lied to. Joe needs to talk to people that were in the locker room that are not players or Morris’s minions. I wouldn’t know Bates if I met him in the street. But I heard a way different version from someone that was there. Bates got the proverbial shaft. And Morris got the glory when those “small” players played the only defense they were ever trained to play.

  24. tampa2 Says:

    You can bet on one thing. You will see Gruden’s plays on offense, and Kiffin’s plays on defense. They can spin it any way they want to, these coaches can’t come up with “original” plays. They don’t know how!

  25. Eric Says:


    That lying would not surprise me in the least.

    Ahhhhhh Monte Kiffin. Man was a pure genius.

    How many QB’s with high ratings would come into tampa and leave with about a 40?

    Now we got this mental midget running it. What a fiasco. Totally horrific.

    And your right, they also have the gall to run Gruden’s offense. Thing is, he’s not Gruden!!!!!!!!!!

  26. tampa2 Says:

    @Eric, And, (ready for this!) Morris isn’t Kiffin! But watch the plays this year and they will be classic Kiffin.

    As for those High rated QB’s, I think you are high. They’d usually leave around a 30.

    I thought that Kiffin should have been given the head coaching job after Dungy was fired. I loved Kiffin’s defense. But after he made that fateful announcement right before the Carolina game and the defense collapsed, (and never recovered) I lost a lot of respect for him. But he is still a defensive genius!

    I don’t know why the Bay area reporters are buying into an amatuer being a head coach. Used to be, when you read a reporter you found out all the dirt. With our local reporters, all you hear is the propaganda espoused by the Glazer spins. I hope that Joe doesn’t become one of them. I rather like him as a fan that allows us to vent our anger or happiness with our team.

  27. Joe Says:


    Joe will always go back to this core tenant of coaching:

    Good coaches adjust to the talent they have to work with.

    Bates didn’t.

  28. tampa2 Says:

    Joe, while you may well be right, If you were promised the players to fit your defense. Then, after you signed as DC, that promise was reneged upon, what are you supposed to do? Run a defense that you do not know?
    Bates came here to run the 1 gap with big players. The players he ended up with are primarily Tampa2 players, which is totally out of his realm. I don’t profess to know all the answers. But can You expect Bates to run Kiffin’s defense when they did not get the players for his defense? And, why didn’t Morris (as head coach) tell Bates to adapt to the tampa2? Doesn’t your “core tenant” of coaching apply to the head coach as well?

  29. Eric Says:

    In regards to the media, they were clearly out for blood on Chucky. I suspect it is because he didn’t care what they thought, and probably used them, and perhaps didn’t exactly give them the straight scoop on things. Plus, he was cocky about it. However it happened, Gruden rubbed a lot of local media folk the wrong way.

    So, were dealing with a lot of bruised egos and when the team lost those last four in 2008 the vultures circled, headed by a certain very popular local sports radio personality.

    No way they are gonna admit they were wrong. Consequently, human nature being what it is, they give Morris and co. a pass. Primarily because they simply don’t want to look stupid. That’s where this 9-7 is no good, but 3-13 is just fine comes in. Some are even preparing us for 3-13 number two as being ok! The same media who bitterly complained about one and done playoff losses folowing NFC South Titles.

    What we got here is a double standard.

    Thats my best take from the couch anyhow, as just a mere humble fan.

  30. Joe Says:


    Joe has no evidence Bates was promised anything. Regardless, it goes back to square one:

    Bates did not try to utilize the talents of his defensive players to the best of their abilities. In other words, he tried to fit a square peg into a round hole. That falls on Bates’ shoulders, no one else.

    Joe has seen high school coaches dramatically alter their coaching techniques to adjust to their players’ talents. Bates did not. It’s really that simple.

  31. BigMacAttack Says:

    It is futile to deBates this issue any further.

  32. Eric Says:


    Are you saying the Dream shoulders absolutely none of the blame? After all he coached with the bucs for years and should have been in position to know what defense they could or could not run. It was surely no mystery what type of defense Bates had and would run, it was discussed in the media.

    Do you have evidence that the dream was forced to use a certain defensive scheme?

    Doesn’t the buck always ultimately stop with the head coach? Or does that only apply if he is named Gruden?

  33. Eric Says:

    Hell of a Basketball game!

  34. tampa2 Says:

    Joe, You must be a lawyer! Because you side stepped Morris’s accountability without so much as a word. Eric is right! the ultimate responsibility for the defense, and for the team, lies with the Head Coach.
    And he allowed that defensive debacle to go on for 10 weeks before letting the defense go back to what they know. I think that if you got yourself a source within the locker room you would certainly not so readily adopt the position or opinions of any other media member. (not to mention any names) What amazes me is that Bates took the blame without a whimper.
    Then again, Gruden stayed quiet after his firing too. And we all know there was a lot more to that than has been reported. My guess is that if a disgruntled coach tells the story, he is blackballed by the system!

  35. Joe Says:

    Joe, You must be a lawyer! Because you side stepped Morris’s accountability without so much as a word.

    LOL Took some law classes but no lawyer. Joe was wiped out (not drunk) last night.

    Well, Raheem the Dream did fire Jim Bates, didn’t he? Almost too late. Damned near cost him his job.

    Joe’s guessing Raheem the Dream deferred to Bates or perhaps was intimidated by him? Thankfully he corrected his mistake.

  36. tampa2 Says:

    Speaking of law classes, here is a good analogy for those of you that put the blame squarely on the defensive coordinator instead of the Head coach. It is what it is! And by blaming the DC instead of the HC, you have turned it into the “tail that wagged the dog”! If you took law classes before, then you know this analogy applies to this situation. And if this analogy doesn’t make sense, neither does giving the head coach a pass on accountability when he is clearly the superior to the Defensive coordinator!

  37. Eric S Says:

    I think Joe and Tampa2 are both right in this dialogue. I have a feeling that Bates was given assurances that he would be given players that fit his scheme. That did not happen. Since it did not happen, Bates should have adjusted his scheme to fit the personnel. Clearly that did not happen.

    I have a friend who is good friends with John Lynch. Lynch told him that Bates is very inflexible with his defense. He does not adjust well. The Bucs should have known this if they did their homework. Heck all Dom/Rah had to do was reach out to Lynch and ask him his feelings about Bates. So if Dom knew that he was not going to supply Bates the players needed to perform this D effectively, then he should not have hired him in the first place. In the grand scheme of things, the blame has to fall on Dom/Rah for the disaster that the D was. Dom did not supply the players and Rah did nothing to stop the bleeding until there was a corpse.

    Joe-You put that certain radio host in the first 2 paragraphs, what do you expect was going to happen?? He was part of the story and you get mad when people respond to it. That makes a hell of a lot of sense.

  38. Joe Says:

    Eric S:

    “The radio host” was not the subject of the post in anyway. Immediately people tried to make it the focus.

    Yesterday, someone told Joe that, much like the defenders reverted to old habits and ways, so too did Bates. Comfort level.

  39. Eric S Says:

    Fair enough Joe on the first point.

    Bates hire was just a bad decision all around. If the D performs badly this season, they will have no one to blame but themselves.

  40. Joe Says:

    Eric S:

    The Bates hire — and likely the Jagodzinski hire — could be pinning on Team Glazer. They dragged their feet on firing Chucky for how many weeks after the season? By that time, all the strong canidates for coordinators/assistants already had jobs.

  41. Eric Says:

    Sorry, didn’t mean to drag the radio host into it.

    Ah, no one’s believing that are they?

    I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person…………………..Ill try and restrain myself in the future.

  42. Greg Says:

    See ya Joe, loved the site, but your comment defending Duemig, he of “Jim Bates has forgotten more about football then the rest of you know” fame, is too much! We have legitimate beefs with the guy and you arbitrarily delete them–not right!

  43. Joe Says:


    What was deleted?