The Morning After

November 19th, 2018

(Photo courtesy of New York Giants.)

Well, at least we have the holidays to distract us from this cesspool.

Are the Bucs Better Off Starting Jameis?

Thanksgiving is this week and what can we give thanks for? That Bucs Bit-O-Honey-snacking, Ozark-watching coach Dirk Koetter snapped out of his daze and realized that he was starting Ryan freaking Fitzpatrick these past three weeks? It was a stunt that blew up in Koetter’s face and may cost him his job.

Of course, we won’t know for sure until later this afternoon if Koetter will bench Fitz for America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston. If he doesn’t, as internationally-popular columnist Ira Kaufman wrote, it means Koetter wants to be fired.

Joe is almost siding with keeping Fitz as the starter. No, Joe is not giving up on Jameis, just looking at the big picture a lame duck coach is incapable of seeing. Barring the Bucs running the table, they won’t finish with a winning record and Koetter will be gone. So the future is what is important here, not the present.

Of course, Koetter doesn’t give two sh!ts about the future, why should he? Joe has always been a proponent of, if you are not playing for a playoff berth, you play for the draft. Thus, the Bucs are in a race for one of the top picks in the draft (hello, Nick Bosa!).

Right now, Fitz does give the Bucs a better chance to win — win a very high pick in the draft.

The Case Against Koetter

It appears only if the Bucs finish the season on a six-game winning streak will Koetter be able to save his job. Too much is stacked against him.

* Since the infamous five-game winning streak in 2016, the Bucs are 9-20. That’s a .310 winning percentage. That will get a coach run in any league.

* Since firing defensive coordinator Mike Smith (not that Koetter shouldn’t have) the Bucs are 1-4 and the defense has only slightly improved and only in home games. The big problem here was bringing Smith back in the first place.

* Despite being loaded the past two seasons with some of the best offensive weapons in the NFL, the Bucs ranked No. 24 in red zone offense in 2017 and are No. 21 this season. And Koetter is still grasping at straws to fix it.

* Inability or lack of desire to build a consistent run game.

* Benching the franchise quarterback, the guy Koetter was specifically hired to develop. By benching Jameis, Koetter publicly confessed he failed. No need to spin it as Fitz gives the Bucs a better chance to win. No one with a sober mind buys that nonsense for one instant. Since benching Jameis, the Bucs are 0-3.

*Every move Koetter has made in an effort to fix or solve a problem has gone terribly wrong. Worse, he is on record bragging how much talent the Bucs possess. So why isn’t all of this talent winning?

Simply put, barring a miracle, Koetter is out of chess moves.

The Case for Koetter

* He helped build the best offense in the NFL at moving the football.

* He somehow crafted the best passing attack in the NFL with a quarterback he benched for a quarterback that has no business being on an NFL field. That’s pretty remarkable.

Unfortunately for Koetter, as he so often likes to say, the NFL is a production business. Koetter once famously said the only thing people care about are wins. Well, his teams aren’t winning. Even with an offense for the ages.

GMC Comes Through!

The anti-Gerald McCoy crowd had to be choking on their Natty Lights yesterday when Bucs stud defensive tackle GMC sacked Eli Manning in the fourth quarter to help with the Jameis-led comeback.

His critics have often and loudly cried he doesn’t make plays when the Bucs need one, yet two years ago there were two key victories where plays by GMC in the fourth quarter helped seal wins.

With 8:22 remaining in the fourth quarter yesterday, with the Giants having a 3rd-and-8 on their own-25, GMC got to Manning for a nine-yard loss and forced a punt.

Joe suspects whoever comes here in January is going to launch a whole bunch of players and who knows, GMC could be a victim of a total purge. Yesterday, he demonstrated again he can make plays in crunch time.

Donovan Smith and Getting Paid

The Bucs offensive line played pretty well yesterday. Joe has three words to say of that. “About damn time!” Of all the changes coming to the team in the new calendar year, one could be a new left tackle.

Donovan Smith is a free agent after this season and while the Bucs like him, it stands to reason there may be some pause as to how much he is to be paid. There is just too much video evidence of Smith not finishing to the whistle if not flat out loafing (not all the time but enough to raise eyebrows) .

That shouldn’t be tolerated.

The Bucs are in a pinch. He is a good (not great) left tackle when fully motivated. But there is an offensive line crisis in the NFL. Drafting a guy isn’t always the best solution (Ereck Flowers as a No. 1 pick is Exhibit-A). And Smith always answers the bell. He has yet to miss a start in his 58-game career and has only missed one half of football, last year at New Orleans.

For every negative Smith has, he has one or two positives. Still, for him not to be hustling all the time is especially disturbing in a contract year. It even caught the wrath yesterday of former Bucs tight end Dave Moore, who is the game analyst on the Buccaneers Radio Network.

Speaking on the Bucs-Giants pregame show, Moore offered his grievances about Smith.

“Donovan Smith is very talented and he is very good when he wants to be,” Moore said. “But at times, he acts like he doesn’t want to be out there and can’t wait for a punt so he can get off the field. And that can be contagious.”


So now it isn’t just Joe and fans with free time cutting All-22 video and slapping it on Twitter that have seen Smith loaf from time to time. So too has a former NFLer who also collects checks from the Bucs.

Joe is not opposed to Smith returning and of course, the Bucs could always franchise him and tell him it’s another prove-it contract. That way. if he stinks, the Bucs can wave goodbye with no strings attached.

32 Responses to “The Morning After”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Joe has always been a proponent of, if you are not playing for a playoff berth, you play for the draft.

    And folks wonder why the Bucs have a losing culture. This statement and philosophy is a perfect example…….let’s lose for a better draft pick….the only problem with that is that it never assures a better player.

    We have continually had high draft picks only to continue to fail.

    How about lets try to win as many games as we can…

    Que all the LOSERS…..

  2. Bucsfanman Says:

    TBBF- Well said! “Play for the draft”?! Yea sure, because that’s worked out for us, hasn’t it?!

  3. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    The bucs won that bs game at the end of last year against the saints that cost them quentin nelson or possibly nick chubb…..i hope that jason licht is not around to ruin this year’s high draft pick the guy is the worst gm in pro football and stevie wonder can see and evaluate talent better than jason gump

  4. Zwak Says:

    Yes is has O.J. HOWARD??

    You can’t draft coaches!

  5. Not there yet Says:

    Geraldine is garbage and a loser so time to move one to a new generation of players. This isn’t the #1 in the nfl is they are 24th in the redzone. How is it after the announcers said bucs had the number 1 offense they cut to a segment to preview the next game of the saints and also called them the number 1 offense?

    Forget all the mistakes Koetter made in season, the type of things people hated lovie for Koetter is doing.
    The simple truth is Koetter is only going to be fired because I’m betting he was urged to make changes to his staff and refused to fire Mike Smith. Had he changed to a new d coordinator he’d probably be on a path to the playoffs with Fitz-Tragic or Winston instead of the path to the unemployment line

  6. 321Bucfan Says:

    Hire Ex-Buc Scott Frost pay whatever it takes to get him out of Nebraska. He’s a coach that will coach and develop players, instead of what we’ve had for 10yrs coaches that only like players they don’t have to coach and refuse to develop the ones that do.

  7. Bucs Fan #7423 Says:

    Improvement starts with firing Licht

  8. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    321 bucfan i like that thinking because the bucs need an innovator to get a better run game along with the passing component but the main thing the bucs need is a competent GM who knows how to build a solid winning team and knows to win in the nfl you need defense and a running game…jason gump never read that chapter in his book he reads: “Building a solid NFL franchise for DUMMIES”

  9. bradinator Says:

    The number one reason Koetter should get the axe is keeping Smith for this season as D-coordinator. If the D was just marginally better we at least be .500. I get we were down a ton of guys but golly that was bad yesterday. Adarius Taylor, Davonta Bond, and Joe Dirt are not good enough. Period. Grimes, as much as I like the guy, needs to retire. Dotson was a hot mess yesterday. Were it not for watching guys like Peyton Barber and JPP, you know guys with heart, play we would be unwatchable. Head Coaches go down for this stuff. The rest of the coaches (Monken excepted) should be jettisoned. No one on the D side should survive. Next coach needs to be a guy that hates losing with the passion of a burning sun. Mostly hates losers that are just picking up a paycheck (I’m looking at YOU Dotson and Smith).

  10. ModHairKen Says:

    Scott Frost? Play to lose for a draft pick with 6 games left? Jameis gives the team a better chance to win?

    Have you all lost your damn minds?

  11. Rayjay1122 Says:

    Football fact or lore?

    Games are won and lost in the trenches.

    Based in the Bucs seasons lately, I think they are proving it to be fact.

  12. Jim Says:

    The assumption here is that Jameis is coachable.

  13. Joe Blahak Says:

    It’s a rebuild…Bucs will have the 4th best QB in the division next year…GMC, Winston and DJAX should have no part in the 2019 Bucs…Trade and rebuild!

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m all for a youth movement with GM, Coaches and Players……give me guys with the heart to win regardless of experience…….we need an injection of “want to”…

    And, it doesn’t start by losing as many games as possible until then.

  15. Ed Says:

    I’m just not a GMC guy he doesn’t play with leverage. On many of Barkley’s big runs during replay GMC was being blocked sideways. A $15,000,000 DT should be able to maintain his gaps. Other defenses have kept Barkley at 65-75 rushing YPG. Every week this defense gives up season high numbers to opponents stars. Our defensive line lost the battle of the trenches once again.

  16. Colonel Angus Says:

    Tank the season? We are only 2 back with 7 teams to jump and 6 games to do it.
    Forget the fact we have the worst defense in league history, ignore the record setting turnover margin, look past the redzone futility. It can be done. Now let me put down my crack pipe and hit submit. I smoke rocks Joe

  17. Tvan1011 Says:

    Winston is who we thought he was a turnover machine who plays fantastic but Always loses the game for his team with infuriating poor decisions. GMC is an overpaid revolving door at DT. Sire he got a sack but how many times did he get blown off the ball in the run game? This team is toast and needs to be blown up from the lousy gm down. Vita Vea over Derwin James how is that working for us. Lmao

  18. Warrenfb12 Says:

    No reason to keep koetter

  19. Troy Says:

    Players should be playing for jobs and the team should be playing for wins. It wouldn’t matter if we drafted first or last, Licht would f it up. Alex Cappa anyone???

  20. Bucsfanman Says:

    Ed- It’s the weakness to his “get-off”. He gets sideways and becomes easy to block out of holes. We were supposed to have bolstered the run-stuffing game with guys like Allen, Vea, and Unrein. That is clearly not happening. Couple that with subpar LB play and you get 100+ rushing yards every game.
    GMC came into this season as a player who would need to be addressed replacing because of his age.

  21. 813bucboi Says:

    send dirk to @realist’s house for a U-HAUL quote…..he’s done!!!!…stick a fork in him!!!!!!


  22. Jonathan Lipnicki Says:

    GMC & “stud” used in the same sentence? Only if he’s building a house. 🙂

    One has to wonder if Koetter even wants to be back…he’s pushing 60 if not a soggy stick these days. Hanging in Idaho sounds a lot better than playing a game of checkers vs chess players.

  23. Kansas95Buc Says:

    lets not act like Winston didn’t say that we needed players that want to win at the conclusion of the 2016 season. Glazers please get a competent coach who can develop players and make adjustments

  24. Eric Says:

    some teams have a good defense so the inevitable turnovers don’t kill everything.

    Like the bears last night. Their QB threw a couple of bad picks. Defense went in and stopped em.

    But lets get rid of Winston and bring in a rookie QB, and we wont be able to use our first rounder on defense, and try and break another rook in.

    Gonna be so much fun.

  25. TOM Says:

    One of the problems is FA’s come here just to collect a paycheck. The Bucs need a GM who knows how to draft. Since the GM in most cases has the last say on picks I would say Licht don’t door hit you in the ass.

  26. Mike Johnson Says:

    NO EXCUSES fellow Buc fans. This team sucks. It sucked before the injuries and still does. Every other NFl team plugs in replacements and keeps on rollin. Koetter will not reach 8-8. Hell, he might not even reach 6-10. Fire the lot of them. And Glazers, stay out of the new HC and GM selection process. You know not what you do..not even a clue! its time to ready the plank and set sail for a different course.
    Bring the ship in for repairs and lets get her going.

  27. Tony LA Says:

    For the 1000th time…
    Start Jameis for the final six games and get rid of S Smith.
    It’s hard being right all the time about these obvious aspects of the Bucs.

  28. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    Can’t we get a story about the true miracle yesterday. A bucs kicker made every kick he attempted, if this continues through the remainder of the season we will finally have something to build on.

  29. bradinator Says:

    @Conte…you are too right, Sir!! Santos got 5 xps in a row. I wonder how long it’s been since someone did that? If only he could tackle and play CB or Safety *sigh*

  30. America's Commenter Says:

    The Bucs are surely an enigma right now, and I’m sure the Glazer Boys are trying to figure it all out. If this team had any semblance of a defense, they would be at or near the top of the standings. I think we all are curious how Winston would look if he wasn’t always playing with the knowledge that the defense can’t stop anybody.

    There seems to be plenty of blame to go around.

    * Licht has done a moderate-to-poor job in the draft and his Free Agency record is abysmal. He’s clearly a poor evaluator of talent, but at least he has kept the salary cap clean for the future.

    * The defense has been horrible. The defensive roster is thin and it has been decimated with injuries, so it’s very likely that nobody could coach that unit into respectability. It’s hard to hold Koetter personally responsible for the win/loss record when he delegated the defense to Mike Smith, other than the decision to bring Smith back for the 2018 season, which could have been a Licht and/or Glazer decision based on the big money that Smith received after the 2016 season.

    * Winston’s suspension put this team off-kilter from the opening of training camp. The suspension undoubtedly cost Winston some respect in the locker room and he wasn’t even voted a team captain. What other alleged franchise quarterback in his 4th or higher season isn’t an unquestioned team captain? While Fitzpatrick played outstanding during Winston’s suspension, that fact alone exacerbated the problems from the suspension by creating a legitimate quarterback controversy.

    In my opinion, Jason Licht definitely has to go. The root cause of every problem on this team ultimately roll up to him, and somebody has to be held responsible.

    One could make a case for Koetter coming back, if there was a bold move for an outstanding Defensive Coordinator to shore up the defense. The alternative would be to hire a defensive-minded coach and keep Monken as the OC.

    As much as I dislike Winston, both as a person and a player, I understand that the brain’s pre-frontal cortex – responsible for maturity, judgment, and wisdom – isn’t fully developed until age 25. If we give Winston the benefit of the doubt that the off-the-field troubles are already a couple of years behind him, it would make sense play out the 5th year option to see how he responds to another year of maturity and an improved defense.

    As far as this specific JBF article is concerned, two well-known football mantras come to mind.

    “If you think you have two starting quarterbacks, you really don’t have even one.” It’s very possible that neither Fitzpatrick nor Winston have the right stuff. You can include Mariota in that conversation as well. The correct choice between Winston and Mariota was clearly Todd Gurley.

    “You play to win the game.” The way to turn around a losing culture is to play to win games. Tolerating losing only reinforces a losing culture. It’s worth a couple of spots in next year’s draft order to break the cycle of losing. Do you remember when the Giants played their hearts out in a meaningless Week 17 game vs the Patriots, then went on to beat the same Patriots in the Super Bowl? Do you remember how the 1996 Dungy team rallying to win 5 games in the second half of the season setup the 1997-2003 playoff runs? Who knows, maybe the Winston drama is just Bad Karma from tanking the 2014 season in order to get the #1 overall pick.

  31. Bucsfanman Says:

    “The correct choice between Winston and Mariota was clearly Todd Gurley”

    This! Absolutely should’ve traded down and accumulated more picks. I was on record for trading out of #1 to get Leonard Williams DE and more picks. Hindsight! Lots of non-QB talent in that draft.

  32. pick6 Says:

    the case for koetter also reinforces the point that quite a few people would have success using all these offensive weapons