The New Word For The 2018 Bucs

December 20th, 2017


The good teams in this league make stops. The Bucs make waves.

Whether it’s Dirk Koetter, Jon Gruden or Matt Patricia calling the shots next fall, Tampa Bay’s offseason priorities remain the same.

Defense, defense, defense.

The Bucs don’t win the close games because their defense gets tight when the games get tight. And if Brent Grimes decides 11 years of pro football is enough, Tampa Bay’s defensive needs go up another notch.

After Monday night’s narrow loss to Atlanta, I spotted a Tampa Bay assistant coach in the locker room. When I said the Bucs have to learn how to win, he corrected me.

“First, Ira, we have to learn how not to lose.”

That’s sage wisdom and puzzling for Buc fans who remember that this franchise went 3-0 last season in games decided by three points or less. That’s how you get to 9-7, generating big expectations.

This year’s mark is 1-3. That’s how you get to 4-10, generating uncertainty about the head coach’s future.

“In our one-score games, we’ve lost all but one of them,” Koetter said. “You’ve got to win those one-score games … I think that is the nature of the NFL. I have the number upstairs, but it’s a higher number than you would think and that’s how they want it. They want them all like that. That’s what’s exciting, but we’ve just got to come out on the other end of it.”

Free agency and the draft can’t come soon enough for Buc fans who can’t look at this defense any longer. Let us measure the extent of Tampa Bay’s hospitality:

* Average yards allowed per snap (6.1) — last.

* Third-down percentage (49) — last.

* Passing yards — last

* Sacks — last

* Total yards — 31st, one yard per game ahead of the Giants.

The defensive issues start up front, especially off the edges. Noah Spence can’t stay healthy, Robert Ayers is past his prime and Will Gholston is no factor on the pass rush.

The Bucs are 0-4 within the NFC South, posting only two sacks against elite quarterbacks in the division.

Welcome Signs & Dollar Signs

If you’re a decent defensive end considering free agency, the Bucs have a job for you. C’mon down.

Because the Bucs can’t muster enough pressure with their four-man front, Mike Smith has been forced to blitz more than he would like, leaving the rest of the defense exposed.

Grimes is particularly valuable going forward because Vernon Hargreaves hasn’t emerged as a No. 1 corner. In fact, Hargreaves played with more confidence when he was moved into the slot.

Whether or not Grimes re-signs with the Bucs, cornerback looms as the No. 2 priority behind edge rusher before Tampa Bay addresses its offensive needs.

The word from One Buc Place entering the 2017 season was “explosiveness.”

Koetter pined for more yards after the catch, but that hasn’t panned out for a variety of reasons.

When this season mercifully concludes, the word should be “physicality.” The Bucs simply aren’t tough enough in the trenches, and that deficiency is very difficult to overcome.

In the NFL, close isn’t nearly good enough. You win or you lose, and these Bucs keep finding themselves on the wrong side of the equation.

Defense, defense, defense.

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also see Ira every football Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on FOX-13, Scott Smith’s Tailgate Sunday.

26 Responses to “The New Word For The 2018 Bucs”

  1. Tom Edrington Says:

    Takes me back to the Doug Dickey era at the University of Florida when their mantra was “avoid losing”……talk about teams packed with talent that never did much……

    It’s all about scoring one more point than the other guy…..

    Yes, it’s defense, defense, defense but don’t forget that touchdowns count 6 points.

  2. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Defense Wins Championships (see 2002 Buccaneers or 2000 Ravens)

  3. Ray Rice Says:

    I have been saying for months. Gruden HC, Rex Ryan DC

  4. DBS Says:

    More like a phrase. Here we go again.

  5. 813bucboi Says:

    send dirk packing…..simple as that!!!!….GO BUCS!!!

  6. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Matt Patricia?! Tom Brady sure does make a lot of people look like geniuses, including our own GM.

  7. Phil Says:

    I like what Ray Rice is saying.

  8. Bucsfanman Says:

    Free agents have to WANT to come here. We’ve seen enough of the “check-cashers”! Somebody better do a heck of a sell job if we want good players to come here.

    Build the trenches!

  9. lightningbuc Says:


    Glazers needs some explosives to blow this sucker up and start over.

  10. mark2001 Says:

    Ira…you passed over the biggest priority too quickly. The first priority is to improve the coaching…hence get Jameis properly coached up so he can play like he did Monday most games, and have someone install schemes and call the Offensive and Defensive “plays” to better put us into a position to win. The Second priority is “defense defense defense”, and to weed out the players that won’t fit into this scheme/ team in a way that gives us the greatest chance of winning.

  11. Jim Says:

    Uh, who was coaching Jameis last Monday? Maybe Jameis has to be more consistent…

  12. not there yet Says:

    Idiot if you hadn’t punted at the 50 at the end of the game putting your depleted defense on the field instead of going for it on 4th when your offense was rolling maybe you have enough time to go down and score a touchdown even if you didn’t get the first down, not like it would have mattered and we would all have understood why you would go for it. The coach needs to learn how to win close games until then how can he teach his players. Can’t wait for this meaningless season to be over with so we can fix this mess they created by hiring mediocre coaches for a decade.

  13. miken Says:

    @rayrice… gruden won’t be taking the bucs job and rex wont be taking a dc job. Honestly, wouldn’t be surprised if no one is fired. Not sure why everyone is mad with Mike Smith… we went into the last 5 seasons with no pass rush and have done little to improve it. Gave baker a nice contract who had 3.5 sacks in 16 and did nothing for the end postion. No proven coach or hot assistant would take this job. I doubt McDaniels would even interview. I think the Glazers have put feelers out and have realized there is no interest.

  14. NFLNut Says:

    Let Swaggy, Sweezy and Doug go … and SPEND LIKE CRAZY on the defensive side of the ball … DeMarcus Lawrence, Ziggy Ansah, Sheldon Richadson, Kony Ealy, Trumaine Johnson, Malcolm Butler, Vontae Davis, Prince Amukamara … and quite possibly more than one of the following Seahawks (Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Bobby Wagner) will all be free agents … I expect us to sign at least one stud DE and CB … and then to draft another DE and CB, along with a G, RB and SS …

    As for coaching … if Koetter gets fired this will be the hottest job in the NFL … Jameis is a major draw, Florida is a major draw, no state taxes is a major draw, the amount of offensive talent is a major draw … the defense just needs a complete over-haul and if the Glazers will spend and Licht will go defense heavy in the draft, this team can be a worst to first story next year

  15. Mike Johnson Says:

    If Koetter is blown out in any one of these 2 remaining games..He’s Fired. And the panthers look like they have kicked their play up a notch. It felt sad watching my Bucs onthe Fox feed as they kept saying, Where is the Bucs pass Rush? Where is there Defense? I really want Koetter gone But something tells me the scapegoat will be Smitty and backstabber Licht stays along with K. I say..start over with a Defensive minded coach. And Let Koetter stay on as OC if he wants to. Better yet..Fire him!

  16. miken Says:

    @nfl nut this job is not a hot comodity. Most other vacancies will be more attractive. Coaches here get fired every 2 years and lose a lot. Gruden and Dungy were both fired. The qb may be hurt, he has been erratic and he may face a bs suspension. Ny is open, dallas and denver may be open, houston that has a complete team and a qb may be open. Even cincinatti is open and they rarely fire a coach. We do have nice weather, especially when we are on the couch watching other teams in the nfl playoffs.

  17. Bucnjim Says:

    Having played defense I must say there is a very important point few have brought up. Common knowledge that the offense struggles to do much of anything before the 4th quarter. For every three and out, every turnover, every mistake filled offensive possession, you are taking so much energy out of the D that it is out of gas by the end of the game. Cannot tell you how bad it sucks to hold a team then before you get to sit down the offense gives it right back. Too much for an average D! Not enough from an offense that has this many weapons!

  18. darin Says:

    Yes Ira exactly. Instead lf having a patty cake training camp they should have been practicing tackle football. Dirk was more interested in keeping his starters healthy and oohing and aaahing the fans with bombs to djax rather than being physical. Its a mind set thats set early. All on the head coach. N as we have seen its easy to complete bombs on our defense as winston did in camp. Too bad he hasnt gotten one against anyone else. Cant wait to find out the new coach. Have a feeling the glazers have learned their lesson finally. Gona do their homework and get the right guy. I hope.

  19. miken Says:

    bucjim… bingo.

  20. stevbobucfan Says:

    mark2001 you said a mouth full exactly what I have been saying for the last 2 months. Improve the coaching staff, one that will match schemes and play calling to the talent we have. high five mark2001 go bucs

  21. No_Bucs_Given Says:

    Richard. Sherman.

  22. TampaTown Says:

    We have to keep Brent Grimes. Resigning him will also save us a pick in the draft. His age doesn’t matter he’s in great shape and eats great. Plus this town is better with Miko in it. I’m sure she’s smiling because they definitely have the upper hand in this deal. The team needs him, the fans love him, show them the money$!

  23. Perimeter Blocker Says:

    No better option than Gruden! He is a proven commodity. He is the perfect fit here. I’ve coached football a long time and know an exceptional coach when I see one. It’ll be funny to read the haters say in the future how Gruden took “Koetter’s team” to the Super Bowl”…

  24. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Agree!!!!!! @ Perimeter Blocker!!!!

  25. NFLNut Says:

    Miken … I don’t see it that way, but then again, I wasn’t thinking Dallas or the Texans would be an opening as I don’t see Garrett or O’Brien being fired.

    Bucs: Great offensive talent, weather and no taxes
    Giants: Incoming rookie QB, horrible weather and taxes
    Bengals: Garbage team, city and owner
    Cardinals: Rookie QB coming in, not much offensive talent
    Browns: Garbage
    Broncos: Rookie QB coming in … and the last coach got fired after 1 year (if there’s an opening this year)

  26. teacherman777 Says:

    Ziggy Ansah, Donatari Poe, and DeMarcus Lawrence.

    Sign all 3!!!