Dirk Koetter, Michael Johnson and Jay Hayes

March 28th, 2016
Marvin Lewis weighs in

Marvin Lewis weighs in

Joe learns a lot at the NFL Owners Meetings.

Sometimes, though, Joe learns too much.

Nausea nearly overcame Joe when chatting with Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis about Michael “Ghost” Johnson, the Bucs’ notorious one-year blunder defensive end.

Lewis had the gall to tell Joe that Johnson not only is a stellar player, he makes those around him better.

“Michael played very well for us [last year],” Lewis said. “You know, he hurt his knee early in training camp, so it probably took him a few weeks into the season to feel real comfortable on that knee. But as that came around, he did a nice job. We do a great job in defending the run and it’s a lot because of our guys up front and Michael — their discipline they play with his critical for us. Also, the cohesiveness of the whole unit, and Michael brings that. You know, he makes other guys play to a very high standard, practice and prepare at a very high standard. We really felt Michael had a very good year for us.”

This just further illustrates how much Johnson tanked it in Tampa. The Bucs even paid him $7 million not to play for them last year.

Lewis noting Johnson helped his D-line play together jibed with something Dirk Koetter said about new Bucs defensive line coach Jay Hayes, who was plucked from the Bengals’ staff this offseason after 13 years in Cincinnati.

Koetter, also at the Owners Meetings, said he long admired how Hayes did a masterful job getting his D-line groups to work as a unit.

Of course, Hayes was there working with Johnson, the Bengals third-round pick in 2009. For that, Joe considers Hayes a miracle-worker.

As far as talking about Hayes, Lewis wasn’t interested, saying he’s not on his team any longer. Koetter, a close friend of Lewis, said he sought permission from Lewis to recruit Hayes. And Koetter acknowledged the hiring of Hayes was a bit of a sensitive subject between him and Lewis.

21 Responses to “Dirk Koetter, Michael Johnson and Jay Hayes”

  1. Ray Rice Says:

    High standard???? WTF! This MF is really blowing smoke. He’s trying to get someone else to pay MJ and take them off their hands again. So he’s doing some hard selling right now. Gotta be.

  2. kraymuthaphukinglocz Says:

    the only players this guy makes better is the opposing teams o-line

  3. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    As much as I can’t stand the guy, Johnson did play well for Cincinnati last year. I can’t remember the opponent off hand, but he had a game clinching forced fumble on a prime time game last year as well. He just didn’t want to be here, and collected a fat check. I wouldn’t want him back on this team if he played for free, but at the same time I’m not going to say he wasn’t productive for Cincinnati when I know damn well he was.

  4. Pickgrin Says:

    Ghost Johnson tanked it from day 1 in Tampa Bay. He didn’t want to be here and it showed. Lesson learned hopefully. Don’t go signing an expensive free agent the 1st minute of free agency without the opportunity to bring him in and do extensive interviews to find out if he really wants to be a Buccaneer and will play his heart out for a fat contract.

  5. unbelievable Says:

    Yup. He NEVER wanted to be here. His agent even said so!

    What’s truly appalling is that the Bengals were awarded a compensatory pick (2nd rounder?) when we signed him away, Then he goes back to the team a year later and is still getting paid by the Bucs!

    F@ck that guy. Seriously. I have no sympathy if he gets injured.

    And let’s hope that ends up being the biggest blunde of Lichts career in Tanpa.

  6. unbelievable Says:


  7. Pick6 Says:

    awesome. his head coach of 7 years raves about his discipline and contributions in defending the run. but all lovie saw was his body type and signed him to be the reincarnation of fierce pass rusher\accidental run defender Simeon Rice.

  8. Kevin Says:

    Whoever the gm is for the bengals needs to find a better head coach. That team is loaded with talent and they get knocked out of the playoffs every year.

    Hayes came to tampa on a mission. He will make mike smith look good, smith will get another hc gig next season, hayes will get the dc job. Hopefully when that happens licht signs him for 5 years and denies him a hc interview. We are witnessing the building of the best bucs team of all time. Its happening go bucs!!!

  9. Owlykat Says:

    Lovie’s evaluation of players was a joke!

  10. America's Commenter Says:

    I’m curious why Hayes would want to leave Cincinnati. They have a defensive minded head coach, they have continuity on the defensive line, and he had a lot of personal success as well. It’s not every day that a well-respected assistant coach makes a lateral move from a contender to an unsettled situation.

    Did he relish the challenge of resurrecting the Buccaneer defensive line? Did he just need a change of scenery? Did he want to get out of Marvin Lewis’ shadow to raise his own coaching profile? Did the Glazers offer a lot more money? Inquiring minds want to know.

    As far as Michael Johnson goes, his performance here in Tampa is old news. He got injured, then got homesick, then decided to go in the tank to get out of here. Stuff happens, you pick up the pieces and move on.

  11. Pick6 Says:

    and truly, the MJ = Simeon Rice fiasco was just one of many cases of the prior head coach (and, to be fair, many fans also starving for the glory days) seeing similar measurables of a round-peg guy and forcing him into the square hole of an ideal of a player who was successful in his scheme 15-20 years prior. LVD and DB55 are both sideline to sideline tackle machines, but one guy lives to attack the line of scrimmage while the other thrived on a defense funneling playmaking opportunities to him. GMC and Warren are explosive pass rushing DTs, but GMC is not going to grab your defense by the throat and hold players responsible for meeting the coaches’ expectations. Barron and lynch, both hard hitting safeties, but the played in different eras and had differences along the lines of brooks and LVD. yet in each case the head coach (and most fans, to be fair) just wanted to turn them new versions of players who were one-of-a-kind. at the same time, anybody who didn’t match up with the 1996-2004 bucs yearbook (revis, mason foster) was let go as soon as Lovie could justify it

  12. BigHogHaynes Says:

    @owlykat: LOVIE gone, so who was the (GM) that gave GHOST that big fat contract!! Who?

  13. salish_seamonster Says:

    Everybody wants to take a dump on the guy’s head, but maybe he actually is a good player who was misused in a scheme that didn’t fit his abilities. This one is on Lovie. If Johnson has had a productive career in Cincy, and then a terrible year in Tampa, what do you think is really up?

  14. CrustyCrab Says:

    Why do we keep going backwards with the Bucs and keep reliving old players.

  15. Tom S. Says:

    It’s pretty bad when you cut a guy despite being locked in to paying him 7 million regardless at a position of need.

    The guy did have a high ankle sprain which limited him throughout the season in 2014, but the team likely felt like his lack of work ethic might rub off on the other players and felt like it was better to ditch him. In spite of that, even in Johnson’s worst year he is better than ‘sackless’ George Johnson whom we traded a 5th round pick for (which couldve been spent on Adrian Amos or Rashad Greene).

    So I guess the question would be would you rather have had 1 more year of an underperforming Michael Johnson getting about 5 sacks and Adrian Amos or sackless George Johnson and the cap hit. I’d prefer the former.

  16. JAB83 Says:

    I have to go with horrible coaching and miss use of resources/skill vs he just stinks…. I for one am hoping the case and point of this will be proven with a few guys we still have such as Verner and Banks….

    Of course we can’t go back in time and bring back Mike Williams or Clayton but I am willing to bet both of those guys would turn out much better with these new coaches as well….

    Sooooooo, here’s to Verner and Banks asention to stardom and Kenny Bells privilege to not having to deal with the off the field head fakes from the coaches….

    And perhaps the slightly modified NEW AND IMPROVED direction of ASJ career!!!!

  17. Mike Johnson Says:

    Not quite sure why MJ did not give it his all here in Tampa. But him collecting 7 mil not to play here is outright..bank Robbery.He..got over bigtime. Sometimes a player is just more inspired with another team and a better fit. That was the case with MJ. At least we stole one of their better coaches though!

  18. Mojiska Says:

    Didn’t he complain about lining up waaaayyyyy outside to set up the rush? If I remember, Lovie had him lining up way outside and he wasn’t comfortable doing that. I think it was part homesick and part trying to make him do something he wasn’t great at. Similar to Philly paying Murray and expecting him to be a good back in their system. Doesn’t mean Murray was terrible, just really bad in that system.

  19. Stanglassman Says:

    Cinci picked DL Marcus Hardison in round 5 the same year M Johnson returned to them as their compensatory pick.

  20. tmaxcon Says:

    Just like Lovie destroyed Banks and Verner. I blame Lovies “Friends and Family” unqualified coaching staff for not getting the best out of ALL players on defense. I am not giving MJ a free pass but ultimately it’s the coaching staff’s responsibility to get the best out of each and every player including maximizing players strengths which is a complete and utter foreign concept to the stubborn / incompetent Lovie Smith…

  21. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “Why do we keep going backwards with the Bucs and keep reliving old players.”


    two reasons:

    1. Check your calendar
    2. Check the Bucs record over the last 7 years.