Rich McKay Talks To Joe

February 5th, 2017

Last week at “Super Bowl Opening Night,” Joe had a chance to chat with former Bucs general manager and current Falcons president Rich McKay. His ties to the Bucs are ingrained in the DNA of the team. His father was, of course, John McKay, the team’s first coach. And naturally, Rich McKay built the Bucs into the eventual Super Bowl champion they became. McKay talked to Joe about the NFC South. Tonight, McKay very well could oversee his second franchise winning a Super Bowl.

JoeBucsFan: It seems like there is no way there is a better quarterback division than the NFC South.

Rich McKay: No, I thought coming into the season that’s one of the things I said about the division and people thought Carolina would be in a kind of a class of its own. The division has four quarterbacks that are really good players. All of them have their own pelts on the wall. They have all won. Cam coming off a year where they are 15-1, you have Drew Brees who has a Super Bowl and you have Matt [Ryan] who has been in the playoffs five times and you have Jameisl; all he did at Florida State is win. It is really a good division and should be a good division for a long time because one thing that matters is coaching matters and quarterbacks matter.

Joe: How much does it help your defense that a minimum of six games a year, you are facing quality quarterbacks and in one case, a guy who will be in the Hall of Fame? Is that one reason why the NFC South has had a team in back-to-back Super Bowls?

McKay: I think, for us, I don’t know if it was just our division this year or who we faced but we definitely got better as the year went on. We got better because we played a lot of young guys early and they got comfortable with the scheme. In the end, we played a hard schedule, a difficult schedule. So, good for us, good learning. Lost some games early, lost to Tampa early at home. Our guys got better.

Joe: It seems like you are kind of suggesting what Joe has been saying: A team in August is different than it will be in September and then in October, and on down the line. It grows, it learns, it adjusts, it changes with injuries. Is that true?

McKay: I have always thought that teams year-to-year are completely different. Well, we will carry on from last year – no, it’s a completely different football team. Every year you get at least 20 [players] turnover. In your case, what you bring up is true too. Teams, and that’s where Coach Belichick is a master, teams that end up in January don’t look much like what they did in September. I think that is true. Good coaching typically does that because your schemes have to evolve. Teams get better through the year. You have to deal with injuries [too] which will make your team different. If you were a team that used to like to run right, what do you do if your right tackle is a really good player, and now he is hurt? So now you are not going to run right. So what are you going to do? You have to adjust and I think that’s what good teams and good coaching will do.

14 Responses to “Rich McKay Talks To Joe”

  1. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    I like the part about adjusting. Koetter seems to get this. Lovie not so much and Schiano….whewie. He was a wiz. He accidentally adjusted once in Seattle to a hurry up offense and the Bucs went up and down the field with MG8. He called off the dogs with his excuse being…we hadn’t practiced the hurry up. Schiano’s inflexibility as much as anything spelled his downfall.

  2. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I like these interviews with opponents about Jameis and the Bucs, but it’s not like they will say anything bad about a player on another team. The good stuff is great to hear, but behind closed doors I’m sure the comments would be a tad different. Still good stuff, though. Keep it up, Joes.

  3. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    A great follow up question would be what they think Winston still needs to improve upon. You might get a more revealing answer, even though it would still be vanilla. Go Joes!

  4. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Our coaching staff needed this off season and it will all come together. We went 9-7 and most of the games we played were sloppy. We learned to fight and stay in games. For example the Cowboys dominated us and it seemed like the score was 30-3 but we still had a chance to win. We must add wide receivers so we can keep up with offenses like the Saints and Falcons.

  5. LakeLandBuc Says:

    The Bottom Line: The Atlanta Falcons addressed their many holes to fill through the Draft and Free Agency (During the past 2 seasons). The Draft: DE.Vic Beasley. CB. Jalen Collins. RB. Tevin Coleman. WR. Justin Hardy. DT. Grady Jarrett. SS. Keanu Neal. LB Deion Jones. TE. Austin Hooper. LB. De’ Vandre Campbell. UDFA. CB.Brian Poole. 2015 Free Agency: TE. Jacob Tamme. DE. Adrian Clayborn. OG. Chris Chester. LB. Brooks Reed. 2016 Free Agency signings. DE. Derrick Shelby. WR. Mohamed Sanu. WR. Aldrick Robinson. DL. Courtney Upshaw. Center. Alex Mack. Waivers. WR Taylor Gabriel. Those are 20 players that the Falcons added during the past 2 seasons, who are starters or impact players. It didn’t take them long to regroup and reload after firing Mike Smith and Dirk Koetter. The credit goes to the Front Office and HC Dan Quinn.

  6. Joe Says:

    You might get a more revealing answer, even though it would still be vanilla.

    Not sure how a vanilla answer can be revealing.

  7. The Buc Realist Says:

    I wish McKay was still head of their personal and Jim mora Jr was the head coach!!! They were easy pickings for those years!!!!!!

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Excellent interview Joe. Rich McKay obviously gets one thing that so many fans don’t seem to realize: “… teams year-to-year are completely different. Every year you get at least 20 [players] turnover.” Not only is that a truism, but it puts a premium on 2 things in my opinion: (1) the GM & his capability to improve the team year-to-year through FA, trades & the draft; and (2) the coaching staff & how well it can help players grow during the course of the year, in addition to how well they manage players & game strategy during the course of the season. Bucs changing lead horses every couple of years was the kiss of death. I’m convinced that the Glazers have finally learned that and will stick with Licht & Koetter this time.

  9. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    I know Joe was very nervous about losing Mike Smith this year. We probably owe a big thank you to to McKay and Quin. Smith was there several years and never really accomplished much. This new guy is there now and they are playing for rings today. I would guess that some of the franchises considering him took note of the Falcons performance this season. That may have played a part in him getting passed over. If that is the case….Go Falcons!

  10. Joe Says:

    Excellent interview Joe.

    Thank you. Koetter always says on average, a third of a roster is changed each year.

  11. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Joe, by “vanilla”, I meant that the opponent wouldn’t openly rip Winston, but by telling us what they think he needs to improve upon might shed some light on how they really view him, positive and negative. I still love the interviews! Keep them coming.

  12. JonBuc Says:

    A better politician than personel guy…I finally forgive him for playing footsie with the Falcons while he was still the Bucs GM.

  13. BuccaneerByBirth Says:

    ah, good to see ol Benedict is doing well

  14. Rod Munch Says:

    By far the dumbest thing the Bucs ever did was let Jon Gruden fire McKay. Gruden threw a hissy fit because McKay said no to signing Andre Rison who couldn’t break a 5.0 40. So Gruden gets McKay fired and then brings in his stooge Bruce Allen to run things, and by run things I mean run things right into the ground. What do they do? They cut Lynch, they don’t resign Sapp and they use all that money they saved to build an offense so Gruden can win WITHOUT Dungy’s defense – so that money goes to a bunch of 30+ players including injured OL’s and big money to an injured Charlie Garner. Had McKay still been there, that wouldn’t have happened, Sapp had stayed, Lynch would not have been cut, they would have found money by mortgaging the future and making the most of the window they still had open.

    McKay is THE man, who isn’t Dungy, that did the most to build that SB winning team.