Damage Control?

December 25th, 2016


Joe has just re-watched video of Bucs coach Dirk Koetter in his postgame presser last night after the playoff-choking loss to the Saints.

In explaining his call to deactivate Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, Koetter offered, “It was a coach’s decision.”

Now Joe wasn’t born yesterday. The fact is every Bucs employee Joe spoke to in New Orleans, from a suit on down to the players, parroted the phrase “coach’s decision,” including Martin. Clearly, this was coached up to everyone in the organization, which means the Bucs knew about this long before the team departed for New Orleans on Friday.

In public relations circles, this is known as damage control.

But why the need to react as if the Bucs released Walter Payton? Sure, folks will question why Martin was deactivated. Can’t someone just be honest and upfront and say it was (lack of) performance? Is Martin really that thin-skinned that the Bucs think he is going to run into a corner of the locker room, fall into a fetal position and suck his thumb?

Even Martin himself was coached up to say “coach’s decision.”

Martin is having the worst year of his career. Anyone with two reasonable working eyes and a clear, unbiased mind can see this live and on film. Why freak out as if the Russians hacked into Team Glazer’s Yahoo! e-mail account?

This just seems like over-the-top, overkill to Joe. It is so widespread in the organization, it almost makes Joe wonder if something happened behind the scenes not related to (lack of) performance?

You know, like a decoy to lure the hounds off the scent.

42 Responses to “Damage Control?”

  1. richbucsfan Says:

    of course it is a coverup…Bucs have played like it…internal problems can kill a team as bad as lack of talent (which characterizes the Bucs)…it’s a shame, but it happens…perhaps in a couple of years they will be able to compete for at least a wild card

  2. Kurt Rae Says:

    Well that worked out pretty well , eh coach ?
    Bet you feel extra smart this morning – of course I. Just a fan , what do I know

  3. PRBucFan Says:

    He was playing well before injury, but injury cannot continue to be an excuse.

  4. PRBucFan Says:

    There is more to it though, cause they deactivated Rodgers last week the same exact way. He definitely wasn’t because of lack of performance.

  5. StrangleHoldBucs Says:

    so sick of this team crumbling under pressure. cant blame the oline or the run game this time this is strictly on the defense and some on Jameis although the offense scored enough to win this game.

  6. lightningbuc Says:

    Coach’s decision? It was a chicken spit coach’s scapegoat. Dirk Koetter humiliated a long term Buc and threw him under the boss to cover for Koetter’s sputtering offense the past month or so. Martin wasn’t even worthy of suiting up? What an embarrassing joke. Koetter carried a small F**king toothpick yesterday.

  7. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Nothing new here…….same ol bucs……..as in

    * We hope for something big……and always seems to be let down
    * Puzzling info from the organization
    * Underperforming players

    ………hey, look on the bright side bucs fans…….it could be worse, like being a browns or rams fan.

  8. tmaxcon Says:


    The embarrassing joke is the ignorant fans who actually believe Doug Martin is a difference maker.. He’s only had a handful of good games his entire career… Hell Legarrett Blount almost has as many td this year that the dancing Gerbil has in his entire career. Martin is a loser bum the new bucs are fine but they need to clean house of all these holdover losers starting with Martin and mccoy. Hopefully lvd can be saved but it’s doubtful

  9. Fred E. Buc Says:

    Joe, you’re using the wrong term here. This isn’t “damage control.” There is no error here that needs to be mitigated or results that need to be smoothed over. The bottom line is this IS “coach’s decision” just as the Bucs have stated. I thought you were more saavy than this. If the person making a call on a controversial decision or one that otherwise will raise great interest wants to make sure that he is the one to answer for it, to be the one to take the pressure off others, this is a deferral that is used. Rather than have others stutter and stammer over the benching, it looks like Koetter himself said “put this on me; I will answer the question.” And he will determine and deliver the message. This is done because of all the speculation sure to occur and it is an orderly way leaders of organizations provide information to the public. Yes, the coache’s decision is clearly due to Martin’s play, and that’s obvious.

  10. lightningbuc Says:

    Bucs are 6-2 this year with Martin, 2-5 without him. But yeah, he’s a loser. Gotcha.

  11. Fred E. Buc Says:

    I’ll add that instructing players and others to stay “coach’s decision” prevents any secondary dust-ups by someone freelancing with a microphone and/or camera stuck in their face, especially Martin himself or his team mates. Again, I state no one is going to say anything to the media unless it is in the organization’s best interest to do so. We can also expect over the next few days Koetter will indeed address Martin’s play as the reason he made the decision he did, and he will probably say Quizz did well but it wasn’t enough clearly. And when he provides the obvious answer the media at One Buc is going to look stupid (and Koetter will make sure they do…like “Why are you continuing to ask me this?”) because it will be the 50th time they asked the question. As if they don’t know the answer. So Joe is smart about having known this all along, and the Bucs knew it too, of course. Now we all just sit and watch the lessor media goons in the Tampa Bay Area look stupid. How many articles will be see on this in the local paper? Four is my guess. They will all have to take their ridiculous shot over something fans (and smart guys like Joe) already knew.

  12. Fred E. Buc Says:

    One more comment on this…is “coach’s decision” was a good communications strategy on this because it doesn’t burn the bridge with using Martin. Martin’s results are likely down due to several factors…first there is Martin himself, then there is his injury, then there is the O line, and then there is coaching/play calling. On the latter, how many of us have seen time and time again they run Martin two to three times in a row and after a good first run, they most always do the same thing again and he gets stuffed? Martin has a lot to improve, and the team around him does too. So “coach’s decision” let’s Koetter answer the question and salvage their $8M to compete with Rodgers and Barber next year–no hard feelings.

  13. tmaxcon Says:


    Doug Martin was hardly the deciding factor in five of those wins. He was playing piss poor before injury.

    Until they get rid of the holdover overpaid overrated so called stars who disappear in big games and are always nursing boo boos the LOSING culture will NOT Change

    Martin is a respected leader in the losing culture

  14. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    lightningbuc Says
    “Dirk Koetter humiliated a long term Buc…”

    In the poll I chose that I disagreed with the decision. I shouldn’t have answered so quickly, because after thinking about it, I realized it may have been the right move..but I’m not saying that for the same emotional reasons that others are. Let me explain…

    First, Koetter is trying to set a higher standard with the team. While I agree that offensi e line isn’t helping the running game (or the passing game), Martin has not been producing like the best RB on the team. J Rodgers has.

    Which leads me to the second point.

    Backups need to know that if they play better than the player ahead of them on the depth chart, money won’t prevent them from being promoted. This makes the backups work harder because they want to become starters. The result? Really solid depth eventually.

    Thirdly, it sends a message to the current starters. Do your job or lose your job. A one game benching for Martin may be a wake up call if that is what he needs.

    Another possibility is that although Martin is healthy (if he is) he hasn’t yet returned to football shape. The decision may have been based on that.

    The truth is, no one here actually knows the true reason. We’re all guessing. What we do know is that Dirk Koetter isn’t being controlled by Jason Licht. Koetter doesn’t care which players make the most. He cares about winning.

  15. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Well said Fred but why are you praising Joe? He is being like the typical media in this article. Did you not read his speculation about the possibility of internal issues. Koetter isn’t pleased with Martin’s play and sat him. Seems pretty simple and I am not sure why Joe is writing about this. What is he supposed to say? “Doug Marting sucks a big mother%#¥$ing #ick!” Is that what you want him to say Joe. Seems to me saying it was a coaches decision makes it clear he thought there was a better option in his opinion.
    Every few weeks ago you take shots at Joe but keep returning to the website. Stunning. Joe’s writing about it because it’s the most interesting personnel decision the Bucs have made in weeks, as well as one Joe was confident was forthcoming in some form. –Joe

  16. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Why do the Patriots keep winning?

    Because they put the best players on the field, regardless of contract. The cut or trade players if they don’t produce. They bench players that don’t uphold a winning standard.

    Winning is the norm.

    That’s one of the reasons I feel Mike Glennon is a bust. If he were working to prove he is a better option than Winston, and was, does anyone think Koetter would refuse to make Glennon the starter? I sure don’t.

    And no, I don’t believe he is anywhere close to Winston. I’m saying if I were Winston’s backup, I would be working my tail off to develop the best traits in the guy above me. Such as the leadership. The fire.

  17. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Martin isn’t leaving unless through trade.

  18. tmaxcon Says:


    Martin has ZERO trade value unless a delusional Martin fan buys a NFL team.. Bad Contract, Bad production, inconsistent, unreliable, injury prone, does not score regularly all make the Gerbil untradeable

  19. Chromolly Says:

    See this is why I love this dude named ‘JoebucsF, lmao blaming the Russians for a Chinese problem lol. Detracting ass Liberals !

    Merry Christmas joe,we all had a great ride this year considering our not so distant past performance! Next year. Will be even better for us hardworking Capitalists!

  20. Not there yet Says:

    A coach says you won’t suit up the week then that’s a coaches decision why the hell would you the entire organization need to be coached up to say that.

  21. lightningbuc Says:

    All this nonsense about Koetter trying to “send a message” is silly. These are professionals. Anybody see how the Minnesota Vikings secondary totally ignored the coach’s game plan for the entire game yesterday against the Packers? These guys, many of whom are making more than the coach, aren’t scared or motivated by theatrics such as Koetter’s yesterday. If anything, he may have done harm to the locker room humiliating and scapegoating someone as he did yesterday.

  22. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Of course I like the site Joe but occasionally I think you sensationalize things. I think a coaches decision to deactivate a player and say it was his decision is self explanatory. Doesn’t seem like he is side stepping the issue to me.

  23. Bucsfanman Says:

    It’s Doug’s fault!!! Yep. Oh wait, he wasn’t in the game?!
    I don’t disagree with demoting the guy but there were some plays that I KNEW Quizz wasn’t going to make (and didn’t) that Doug would have. I would’ve at least dressed him.

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    This is SOP…..why put players on the spot….what would they say.

    It’s because JBF wantied more Jaquizz
    Tmaxcon thought Martin sucked
    Pablo preferred Haquizz
    Martin pulled his hamster
    Jaquizz runs better behind a weak Oline
    We wanted to rest Doug for Carolina

    I mean……come on Joe….you would have been the first to ask a player….what happened to Doug Martin?

  25. jb Says:

    It all starts up front, with better blocking by our O-line.

  26. Knucknbuc Says:

    Dougillac the 3 yard dancing gerbil sucks. Trade him hopefully they can sucker some team into giving us a 5th -7th rounder for him. Still cant believe this team had legarrate blount on this team and they got rid of him for mr.every2yearsidontsuckballs.

  27. lightningbuc Says:

    When Blount was here, the same clowns complaining about Martin said Blount sucked too.

  28. Fred E. Buc Says:

    Lots of “Bucs fans” on this blog need to forget their big-boy pants buy some plastic liners for their underpants. Had the Bucs stopped the opposing offense in the end and won as they did with ATL1, CAR, KC, SEA, SD, and NO1 you’d be congratulating yourselves this morning. Instead, they did what happened in STL, OAK, DAL, and now NO2 and lost to the better team that day. And you’re all a freakin’ wreck, degrading some great, young, up-and-coming players who already held their own this year as their rookie coach. Are you the same clowns who did this with Barber, Sapp, Giles, and Gruber when they were early in their careers? They went 8-8, have a chance to be 9-7, could have/should have been 11-5. And they may have been 4-12 had they not improved over Lovie’s/Greg’s teams that ALWAYS gave the game away in the last minute. So enjoy your NFL team in your home town, stay on their tails when they mess up, but man up and stop blowing up the team over common issues.

  29. Lamarcus Says:

    Unbiased opinion

    Martin would have been better active than Huff. No excuse for that

  30. BigHogHaynes Says:

    lightningbuc: say it ain’t so !!! I’m just of the frame of mind that if Doug is not hurt then he playes, you didn’t have to start him but you don’t pull this kind of amateur crap! First it was get rid of LOVIE and Friends & Family now it’s get rid of the so-called over paid guys if it is perceived they are not living up to the money! No such thing in this league…in this league you are paid for what what you have already done! Anyway our best available players were not on the field in a must win game! Coach’s Decision….this stinks from higher up the latter!!

  31. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Joe, you and everyone here knows “coach’s decision” means he was benched due to performance. It is a more respectful than saying “he was benched because he sucks this year”. It is the politically correct way. Koetter and the bucs don’t want some nasty sounding sound bites for the media to play over and over.

    Stop beating a dead dog. Martin was benched. You’ve been asking it for a long time. Now you’re being all dramatic and wanting to know exactly why? You know why.

  32. Shadow man Says:

    Oh big hog I have so much to say but it’s Christmas.

    Merry Christmas everybody

    Joe this is very very amateurish on your part.
    Dirk pulled a bellicheat move. I respect it. It was his decision. End of story. Simple as that! No one needs to answer to joe or anyone else and give another response. Why open a can of worms and create controversy?

    Yes it sucks we lost. We already over achieved in my opinion and have showed major improvement that has led to excitement for the next few years. Next year we can make the playoffs but I still will have tempered expectations but the following year, watch out, we will be the standard of the NFL

  33. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Merry Christmas Yuccaneers, and a No-Playoff New Year. Dirk Koetter is the DUMBEST coach in the NFL. And Jason Licht is the most PATHETIC GM in all sports. He Deactivate Jacc Rogers against the Cowboys, then he Deactivate Doug Martin against the Saints. But Peyton Barber dressed out for both games, because of Special Teams. Is Koetter a Offensive minded coach or a Special Team coach?. How many timeouts did Koetter take into the locker room at halftime ?. Incompetent Licht passed on Laremy Tunsil for Vernon ( Toast) Hargreaves. He passed on Micheal Thomas for Noah ( part time ) Spence. He traded a 3rd and 4th for a BUM kicker Roberto ( near sighted ) Aguayo. And Vonn Bell was there for the taking. SMDH

  34. RealityCheck Says:

    Martin routinely doges a tackled 5 yards behind the line immediately after getting the handoff and turns it into a no gain or slight gain instead of a loss. Everyone likes to ignore this. He’s not the problem with this team.

  35. B Coburn Says:

    Regardless of loss it was the right decision. Rodgers clearly ran a lot harder and made bigger plays. Hopefully they stick to their guns. It could be argued Huff or someone else could have been deactivated instead I suppose. Huff did help as a receiver, just sucked as a returner

  36. Buccfan37 Says:

    The Bucs just ran out of wind trying to become relevant again, stuck on a sandbar of ineptitude and downright bewilderment at crucial opportunities. Better than what most expected, yet not ready for primetime. Positive progress ahead after a promising season is what I expect.

  37. Mike Says:

    Lightning buc is spot on. Coach scapegoated Martin because he can’t be creative enough on offense. It’s a complete disgrace and he should be fired this week before the game. If I was the owner I would “deactivate” The coach permanently. “Owners decision”

  38. Mike Says:

    Maybe have a two back set and rotate all of these good backs and keep the fresh. Coach is terrible.

  39. Trubucfan22 Says:

    I think is kinda funny how the sky falling for some buc fans. Fire koetter, fire licht, the last draft was garbage, VH3 is toast, Martin should be cut, etc…

    Don’t get me wrong im extremely disappointed with the loss to the Saints. I hate having to end the season on such a sour note. Losing the final 4 games last season got lovie fired, koetter needs to get a win to end the season. Finishing 0-3 after holding a playoff spot is pretty devastating. We always talk about changing the culture. Well, losing next week is just continuing that bucs losing culture from years past, and puts a huge stain on the accomplishments the bucs had this year. Can’t take 1 step forward and 2 steps back.

  40. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Fred, how is joe one of the smart ones? He’s the one asking players and coaches about Martin being inactive. He’s one of the driving forces of it all. Lol

  41. Gencoimports Says:

    I agree with rotating the backs next year. Rodgers can’t hold up as a full time featured back.

    As I have stated before, it would be a waster to draft a RB in the first round. Primary needs are OL, WR, DT, CB and S.

  42. Patrick in VA Says:

    You were alluding to a potential trade in an earlier post. Wouldn’t framing it as an issue of having too many quality backs be a better way to sell Martin as a trade candidate rather than saying that he’s a liability?