Where’s The Toughness?

December 12th, 2017

Offensive line coach George Warhop

Before Joe dives into one of the biggest early red flags of the Bucs season, here’s a Chucky quote to chew on:

You have to coach toughness, the effort and discipline it takes to be excellent, every bit as much, if not more so than x’s and o’s or strategy.” – Jon Gruden

Yes, Chucky will be enshrined in the Buccaneers Ring of Honor Monday, as rumors swirl that he’ll return to coach the Bucs next season. (Man, Joe had a great laugh when Chucky said Friday that he can’t control the rumors about his coaching return. What a con artist.)

Anyway, the quote is found in former college basketball player Jay Bilas’ book. Now an ESPN hoops analyst, Bilas played for great Duke basketball teams of the 1980s. He apparently talked to Chucky for his book, which specifically is about toughness in sports. Chucky, per the book, was a ball boy for loose-cannon legendary coach Bobby Knight at the University of Indiana and Knight made quite an impression on him.

Regardless, it’s an intriguing concept from Chucky above, coaching toughness in the NFL.

Look at the Jacksonville Jaguars. Last January, in walked tough guy head coach Doug Marrone and taskmaster team personnel guru Tom Coughlin as the new team leaders, and they demanded toughness with a brutal training camp.

Marrone was mocked in some NFL circles for deciding to push his players to physical exhaustion, an old school approach. Now they’re thanking him for it. Consider this from defensive end Malik Jackson last week, via Alex Marvez of Sporting News.

“When you have a lot of young guys on the team, I think discipline is needed,” said the 27-year-old Jackson, who joined the Jaguars in 2016 after a Super Bowl-winning season with the Broncos. “As an older guy, maybe not as much as they’re giving, but I see why we need it and I see where we’re going, so I’m not complaining.”

Jackson, though, does admit having to bite his tongue after enduring a grueling training camp practice schedule.

“I was actually having a conversation with (Marrone) last week about how tough it was, but then I have to give him some praise because I’m doing very well right now in the season,” said Jackson, who is a half-sack away from matching his career high of six with four games remaining. “At the moment, you’re like, ‘Aww, this is BS.’ But he has a greater goal in mind and he can see the future. I’m glad we stuck with him and I’m glad I followed him.”

(Let the record show Joe told Ira Kaufman, on the Ira Kaufman Podcast, way back in January that Marrone would be a strong Coach of the Year candidate when the dust settled on this season.)

And that brings Joe to the Bucs. Does Dirk Koetter coach toughness?

Koetter has said repeatedly that he believes in keeping players fresh and healthy at all costs, and he learned that lesson upon entering the NFL from then-Jags head coach Jack Del Rio, who played 11 seasons as an NFL linebacker. So Koetter’s camps have had a far softer approach than what went on this year in Jacksonville.

However, Bucs officials talked a lot this offseason about what guard J.R. Sweezy would bring to the offensive line in his return from back surgery. Sweezy’s nasty, tough-guy edge, they said, would rub off and replace some of the toughness factor the entire line lost when Logan Mankins retired.

That never sat well with Joe and was written about here. Why not just coach more nastiness into the Bucs’ O-line? Why would they need an outsider with a questionable back to raise the badass factor?

The story ends with Sweezy in the midst of a rough year and nobody accusing the Bucs’ O-line of being nasty.

Koetter, or whoever coaches the Bucs next season, needs to set a much tougher tone from Day 1.

38 Responses to “Where’s The Toughness?”

  1. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    Keep disparaging Gruden Joe’s. You two will be the last ones standing when the music ends. Gruden doesn’t need to con his way into a job like you guys do here. This is funny. First, Joe’s not playing pattycake for anyone and is just calling it straight. Second, Joe built this thing from the ground up and will be here — and a Bucs fan — far long than any coach or GM. Joe’s not conning anyone. Everyone is free to come and go as they please. –Joe

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    The last Bucs coach that tried to bring toughness had billboards about him just after 20 games, The players complained and the local media ate it up!!!!!!!! And lets not forget the most unforgivable act of all!!! He threw the local media out of practice because they were being disruptive!!!!!!!!

    Tampa Bay can not handle toughness!!!!!!!!

  3. Reverse johnson Says:

    Didnt Greg schiano try this before and failed? This is approach doesn’t always work

  4. darin Says:

    Completely agree with the jags approach. I’m one who feels this whole thing was set up for failure with a lack of training camp. We need a coach who practices physically and demands more. And no realist, it doesnt have to be a schiano type, one who also treats men like children. Theres a way to treat men like men and have them go all out in practice. That way is working in jax. I expect marrone to be coach of the year. Love how that team is constructed and plays. Reminds me of the bucs of the old days. We dont need a new qb, we need a better defense and better coaches, and asap

  5. TonyC Says:

    The Buc teams of the late 90’s and early 00’s were pretty “tough” on both sides of the ball but I think it has to be a combination of player types and coaching philosophy. My question is; do we have players on this team that would respond to a Marrone “tough guy” approach? We need to rebuild the trenches with the “right” kind of players that might fit that “tough’ mold. On the O-line I think we have one in Ali Marpet but who else? On the D-line there’s really no one to compare to Sapp, Selmon, Culpepper, etc.

  6. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    No worries

    Gruden will hire his right hand man Bill Callahan.
    Hopefully they’ll call up Cameron Norcross – for the Offensive Line Asst coach gig.

    Bill Callahan was instrumental in the development of:
    • 2011 – (LT) Tyron Smith
    • 2013 – (C) Travis Frederick
    • 2014 – (RG) Zack Martin

    He literally built the WALL in Dallas.

    Note: Both Frederick & Martin were drafted under his watch

  7. Bucnjim Says:

    Hardest job in the world is motivating employees in every profession! Fear of losing the job or money seem to work best but these days the attitude is you owe me. They can’t get it through their head that the paycheck is what they are owed nothing more. This plus the fact they are also coddled from Jr. High through college no wonder they are so entitled. Toughness is no longer self taught it has to be instilled at the highest level.

  8. Hodad Says:

    Joe you were laughing at Gruden for saying he can’t control the rumors, then your first article of the day is a Chucky quote. So aren’t you now part of the rumor spreading? Umm, in case you missed it, Gruden is being enshrined in the Ring of Honor on Monday. It’s a hardly a stretch to quote the guy this week. –Joe Did Gruden call you last night and say hey Joe how about mentioning me yet again tomorrow to keep my name out there that I’ll be coaching the Bucs next year?

  9. mike10 Says:

    I still don’t want to fire Koetter. I can give you about 10 reasons why he should go, but I just do not want this whole thing reset again in hopes to be a flash in the pan next year. I really want to build something here and maybe we just have to take 2017 to the chin..

  10. tmaxcon Says:

    Realist Nailed it perfectly above…

    Bucs players led by the soft, fragile crying ice cream men can’t handle discipline or being held accountable thus a career in the basement void of a single meaningful win

  11. AceofAerospace Says:

    Still don’t understand the con man term. What’s Gruden supposed to say? He doesn’t want to coach again? That’s probably a lie. That he wants to return to coaching? So MNF can start interviewing his replacement? That he’d love to coach the Bucs again but they need to fire dirk first? You’d certainly blast him for saying that. He didn’t create this fiasco. If I were him, I’d be doing exactly the same thing, if I wanted to return to coaching.

  12. 911bucs Says:

    Realist definetly is spot on. As much as I hate the Steelers, their toughness and perseverance gets them through game after game after game. It would be nice to see guys getting pissed off on the sidelines occasionally to keep them focused.

  13. Jim Says:

    So now we’re back to hiring a coach because we have no discipline and toughness? So basically we are looking for Schiano again?

  14. C eh N eh D eh Says:

    If there is one thing done this off season, I hope it is McCoy changing teams. Interesting to see if we get any WORSE without the smily, comics man….

  15. Bucsfanman Says:

    “Toughness” is not a word that you can use to describe any part of this football team. We don’t intimidate anyone. We are the “automatic ‘W'” on EVERY opposing team’s schedule right now.

  16. Guzzie Says:

    Fix Bucs plan, replace Koetter the Klown with one of the Patriots coordinators McDaniels or Patricia, trade McCoy while he still has value, release Chris, I don’t practice so why should anyone else, wasted money Baker, trade Evans while he still has value, depending on Lichts relationship with new coach give him a 2 year extension, draft 2 DL, 2 OL, 2CB, no tiny school types, stop trying to be the smartest guy in the room, and draft talent from top schools, you are better off not always looking for the diamond in rough, majority of the time the backup at a top school has more talent than top player at a tiny school, and pray the football gods will stop hating our team

  17. Guzzie Says:

    Also the bridge player approach isn’t working, you can’t develop your talent if you constantly play over the hill guys, I’m sure Ayers, Gholston, Baker, and McDaniel production can be replicated or exceeded by younger guys, provided Licht starts drafting young linemen instead of trying to buy a line, developing your players seems to have gotten lost in translation, you can’t play younger guys if you don’t draft any, 4 years the only defensive lineman is a linebacker sized DE Spence and a little used nose tackle Steve T, the rest are UDFA types, ridiculous, that alone should get Licht fired, but I think he should get a sort extension cause when he hits he usually hits well but his misses are really bad too

  18. Guzzie Says:

    Short extension not sort

  19. SB Says:

    (Let the record show Joe told Ira Kaufman, on the Ira Kaufman Podcast, way back in January that Marrone would be a strong Coach of the Year candidate when the dust settled on this season.)
    Lol, this reminds me of a “Realist Repost’

  20. tmaxcon Says:


    I hate to point out the obvious but a 30 year old, career losing, soft, often injured, currently injured pathetic excuse for a man HAS ZERO TRADE VALUE! Please tell me when a broken down overrated 30 year old DT has fetched anything other than a 6 or 7th round pick…

    Now Kleenix might throw in a case of the cheap kleenex’s (unscented / generic) for the crybaby but that’s your only hope of getting anything for the bum.

  21. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Guzzie- Though not as eloquent as tmax, I have to disagree as well. We’ve got NOTHING outside of GMC on the d-line, NOTHING. What you’re talking about is a complete rebuild, one that would take years to accomplish without “bridge” players. Hitting ‘reset’ is kind of what got us in this mess to begin with. We ran serviceable players out in favor of FA mercenaries who turned out to be bums.
    A plan needs to be in place to replace aging players. The plan also needs to include a vision of what this team should be, its personality. Once in place we need to stick with the plan and draft accordingly.
    Actual REAL coaching will go a long way in developing football players and instilling attitude.

  22. 813bucboi Says:

    The reason why schianos tough guy approach didn’t work down here is because he came in with “0” creditability….all he had was rutgers resume and bill bilichet vouching for him(while his son was on the team)…..

    with that being said, I thought he deserved one more but we had too many soft players on the team at that time….

    I doubt that would be a problem with hungry young players like mike evans, kwon, Winston, LVD, marpet…..I think they would accept a “hard a$$” coach…..GO BUCS!!!!!

  23. tmaxcon Says:


    if all you have is GMC you have less than nothing

  24. tmaxcon Says:


    the reason schiano failed is because dominick gave him a bunch of cancerous choirboys who are soft and weak…. cancer93 has ran off more coaches and coordinators than any buc in history simple as that. kill the cancer fix the losing culture.

  25. Bucsfanman Says:

    I never said it was a perfect world T!
    No GMC, no McDonald, this is going to be interesting! I wonder if there’s a record for time in pocket for a QB?!

  26. tmaxcon Says:


    even with those two qb’s have had time for lunch and a lap dance… it might get freaky now

  27. Bucsfanman Says:

    Tmax- I’m not sure of this, but I think I saw Dr. Coco Eaton, the orthopedist working on Stafford’s hand on one play last Sunday!

  28. Mike Johnson Says:

    We had a tough Defense..once upon a time who demanded respect. But I don’t see that toughness now in the players or coaching staff. For those GMC haters/ Wait until you see us without GMC on Sunday. It will get ugly. You shall see!
    As for Sweezy..I knew after that Back injury he would not do very well. A severe bavk injury at the NFl level won’t cut it. I give him Maybee one or 2 more yrs of..average play before he hangs it up.Its Tough watching a Bucs game…already knowing..you are going to lose. TOUGH! I’ve already selected Sundays Libations to..ease the pain!

  29. tmaxcon Says:

    a healthy stafford would have hung 40 on captain blowouts pansy arse defense

  30. Doctor Stroud Says:

    If Coach Koetter is fired for Gruden, be on guard for the “con artist” to leave the Bucs at the altar. It has happened to Team Glazer before.

  31. passthebuc Says:

    That automatic W you speak of stands for WASTE

  32. ClwJB Says:

    I will admit this, I see a lot more physicality when Barber runs the ball than when the others do

    The OLine gets fired up watching a back help them, not try to one cut to the open hole every single run when it wasn’t drawn up that way….follow your blocks and make yards just like Barber does every time he gets the ball -he reminds me of Eric Rhett with a little more control of his limbs…

  33. Rod Munch Says:

    I really hated Gruden for what he did with Dungy’s team – the fact Gruden wins a SuperBowl with Dungy’s team and then is such an over sensitive piece of trash about that, he destroys the team to PROVE he can win it on his own, with his offensive brilliance – thus he cuts Lynch and let’s Sapp walk so he can sign a bunch of mid-30s offensive linemen and pay big money to an injured RB.

    However, even with that said, the situation has become so dire over the years even I would welcome a return of Gruden at this point. Now don’t get me wrong, there is zero chance Gruden coaches again so long as he has a job offer which includes his face on TV each week, but things are so awful with the series of incompetent coaches, ugh, it makes me feel dirty to say it, but yeah, I’d welcome him back. I mean the team would get to like 10-6 every year and lose in the first round of the playoffs, but at least they’d be in the conversation.

  34. Bucsfanman Says:

    @passthebuc- You can call it whatever you want as long as you don’t stick your fingers in your mouth!!! 🙂

  35. Stevbobucsfan Says:

    I do think the bucs need more toughness more discipline but where do we go for this. Should we go Gruden if he wants to coach… Wilks the guy leading the Panthers defense…keep Koetter and demand toughness from his team or where should we go buc fans? I thought we might of taken a look at Harbaugh for this but look like he’s staying at Michigan after what happened the weekend with a top rated QB transferring to Michigan

  36. Cobraboy Says:

    One thing for sure, this is not a tough team. They are butter soft.

  37. go for the face30 Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    December 12th, 2017 at 1:19 pm
    I really hated Gruden for what he did with Dungy’s team

    When is this group of people ever gonna go away. This is not the correct take, and it never will be. Number one – Dungy didn’t win the Superbowl with “Dungy’s team” in Tampa. Number 2 – consider the free agents Gruden brought in: Keenan McCardell, Ken Dilger, Michael Pittman (Who rushed for 130yds in Superbowl) and some guy by the name of Joe god damn Jurevicius with the epic catch and run in the NFC Title game. Gruden brought the remaining pieces and identity to take Tampa to the top. Stop with the BS narrative that he took Dungys team to superbowl.

  38. BuccLuck Says:

    Gruden won the SB with a defense that, let’s face it, Monte Kiffin built. Gruden built and orchestrated the offense that finally got us over the top and to a championship. Also, a team starting to decay after a super bowl is pretty normal unless you’re the Patriots or Steelers. No team can afford to pay a team full of players with championship level egos.