Improving Defense Helps Licht

December 5th, 2018

“Jason, I have to admit, for a few weeks there I was beginning to think you had the same taste in defensive linemen as you do sport coats.”

The resurgence of the Bucs defense is raising eyebrows. It also may be saving jobs.

Could the Bucs defense, which has risen from the dead under defensive coordinator Mark Duffner, save the job of Bucs Bit-O-Honey-snacking, Ozark-watching, yams-eating coach Dirk Koetter? Perhaps, but that’s still an uphill climb. (Of course, the powers that be at One Buc Palace might also ask Koetter why he waited so long to pull the trigger on ousted defensive coordinator Mike Smith?)

For Duffner, the awakening of the defense also could build him some job security, or at least pad his resume for a gig elsewhere.

Then there is Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht. When the defense was beyond woeful, once hellbent on setting a 99-year record for the most points allowed in NFL history, it was looking bad for Licht. Per, Licht had sunk some $49 million into the defensive line. That’s walking-around cash and a cheap yacht shy of the Jags, which are on the hook for $50 million with their defensive line.

And outside of Jason Pierre-Paul for a few weeks there, the Bucs were getting nothing in return for the major investment.

Licht burned a lot of draft capital on the secondary in recent years, and it was a complete and total sieve. That’s starting to look better now, even though the Bucs are dealing with an injury wave that might make Brother of Chucky in Washington wince.

The rise of the defensive line, which is second in the NFL in sacks since Duffner took over with 26, not only makes Duffner and defensive line coach Brentson Buckner look good, it makes Licht look good.

With the exception of stud defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Licht built the entire defensive line.

When the Bucs were losing, not only did Koetter and his staff looking like absolute goners, it sure looked bad for Licht. Now that the Bucs are playing better and have seemingly turned things around led by a dominant defensive line, the chances of Licht returning next year have increased.

42 Responses to “Improving Defense Helps Licht”

  1. Clarence Says:

    New theory: Koetter benching Winston for Fitz wasn’t dumb; it was genius — it’s the only thing that has gotten through to Winston and made him focus on protecting the football.

    Koetter should be richly rewarded for this gambit, pivotal in developing our franchise qb

  2. Eric Says:

    Clarence you may be right. Benching Jameis may very well have helped him.

    You can tell he is protecting the football, he is holding it with both hands like Larrry Csonka in the open field.

    I can see where a kid who won the Heisman in his first year as starter in college, and then number one pick, might think he is invincible.

    As for firing, lets see if they can get to 8-8 or 9-7. If so i say stay the course.

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “With the exception of stud defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Licht built the entire defensive line.” Uhhh, for the most part, Licht BOUGHT the Defensive Line Joe (JPP, Allen, Curry, Unrein plus re-signed Gholston). He drafted Vea & Spence, and ‘found’ Nassib (after the Browns did what the Browns always do).

    Joe, I know that Smitty-bashing is your version of sport, and that heaping praise on Duff is your way trying to keep Bucs’ fans ‘excited’ (ya, we’ll go with that), BUT … these next 4 games will tell us much more about who this Bucs’ defense REALLY is than the last 4 games did. Carolina laid 42 points on us in the 1st game this year (when Cam was healthy?), but dropped to 17 points in this last game (it was obvious Cam had no business being on that field because he was basically lobbing the ball). San Fran prior to that was obviously no ‘powerhouse’ (an understatement?). The ‘lowly’ Giants laid 38 points & over 500 yds of offense on us (and still turned the ball over 4 times). Interestingly, so did the Redskins prior to that, but they just insisted on turning the ball over 4 times at the most inopportune times (for them, not us).

    As I said, it’ll be interesting to see how this defense does against the Saints, Ravens, Cowboys and Falcons to end the season. If our healthy DLine can keep playing aggressively, AND if our offense can put up some decent points, control the clock and minimize turnovers, we’ve got a chance. But to give Licht credit for this defensive ‘resurgence’ is comical IMO.

  4. AlteredEgo Says:

    Clarence….indeed….”the Most NFL Ready QB” may have learned something from the bench…both in and out of the court room

  5. gbobucsfan Says:

    Clarence, you may be on to something there!

    Let’s just see how the rest of the season plays out before we start saving jobs. I’m not too worried about the W-L column, I just want to see a competitive team that plays hard EVERY play.

  6. DK Says:

    This sucks for us… he can’t even hit first round picks… OJ fell to him and mike Evans was one of the cleanest prospects. These two 2nd round corners are starting off rough.. packers Alexander and josh Jackson are doing good.. Derwin James is taking the league by storm… I love the JPP trade but cmon Jason hit easy picks. This most recent draft class is looking comical as well. Ronald Jones cricket. MJ Stewart and Carlton Davis were the 2 corners starting on our defense on pace to be the best ever(lol). Being out played by people off the streets now apparently. Whitehead was nice…. but one good pick a year won’t get it done.

  7. Dlavid Says:

    Benching JW was just what he needed . You could see the aching in his eyes while he was on the sidelines during games . Koetter has to up his game as well … poor coaching has hurt this team as much as anything else .

  8. Dapostman Says:


    New theory? lol. Notice the date…………………….

    Dapostman Says:
    November 4th, 2018 at 9:03 pm
    IMHO, Koetter is giving Winston exactly what he needs, tough love. He doesn’t need to anoint Winston as his starter. What Winston needs is a coach who is not just going to give him the keys to the franchise anymore. These guy threw Winston in on a 2-14 team with no QB mentor and expected an immature kid to lead them to the promise land. Well ladies and gentlemen this is a MENS football league. To be a successful NFL QB you have to be poised and mature. Winston is learning that this year by sitting. The book on Winston is an unfinished novel and I think we will see a better player once Koetter puts him back in. I expect Winston to start the last 6 games. I don’t think the Glazers have signed off on Winston. I think they’ve signed off on Koetter turning Winston into a mature poised NFL QB. I could be wrong since I have been one or twice in the past but that’s my gut feeling.

  9. Doctor_berto Says:

    He still passed on Derwin and drafted ROJO early second

  10. 813bucboi Says:

    hearing that benching winston was the best thing for him is flat out stupid!!!!!…..dirk shouldve continued to play winston so he could fight thru it…..we mightve won the redskins and giants game…..he gives us the best chance to win!!!!!

    was winstons injury the best thing for him last year?….because he surely came back and played better after his injury…..

    benching winston was a stupid thing to do and once again, winston is here to save dirks a$$ by winning 2 games….just like he did vs the saints last year when he ignored dirk and called his own play…..

    regarding the players on defense, once again i told folks the issue has always been coaching and scheme NOT talent and players…..

    the coaches have screwed licht over by not developing players and not putting them in position to be successful……

    thats an indictment on dirk and smitty…..thats just the latest example of why dirk needs to go… an HC, you should know all 3 phases of the game and be able to develop players(that arent only pass catchers)….


  11. Dapostman Says:

    If you can’t tell the difference between getting benched and not playing because you are injured their is no hope for you. I understand that it doesn’t fit the narrative of the get rid of Koetter people because Koetter may save his job by making Winston a better player. Isn’t that what he is supposed to do? Stating Winston should have been left to play through it is an option. Does anybody really think the light was going to come on for Winston while playing? The only way Winston was going to change was to take away the one thing he cherishes PLAYING NFL QB.

  12. Bucsfanman Says:

    3 words: BODY OF WORK. When discussing sports, football in this case, it boils down to wins and losses. Right now we are being blinded by the shiny object that is a two-game win streak.
    Winning two games does not mean we have solved any problems. We can only speculate that Jameis has “turned the corner”, or that the d-line is now coming together, or that the secondary has been saved by the “genius” of our GM.
    If at the end of the season we have 8 or 9 wins, then and only then can we discuss retaining Licht or Koetter. Right now that combo is below .500 with more question marks than answers. 2 wins does not erase seasons’ worth of hot garbage.

  13. Robert Says:

    I agree benching crabman was the best thing

    bringing him back is the worst thing for the team long term

    as to the defense. could they get any worse????????

    justr about any athletic scrub in the NFL,CFL or college could have come in and played better because of their fire then the clowns who were parading around collecting a check blaming everyone but themselves

  14. pelbuc Says:

    Licht is a buffoon. His record speaks for itself and he’s clueless at addressing needs until its at a critical stage. Even if Bucs go 8-8, I would fire him first!

  15. BUCS BAGIJ Says:

    DK do you think the rooks are being outplayed or do you think its possible that the defense as a whole is just starting to gel into Duffner’s simplified defense?

  16. 813bucboi Says:


    he shouldnt have been benched in the first place…..when fitz was turning the ball over and couldnt score vs WAS folks were saying winston couldve done better….now they want to say it was best for him….GTFOH!!!!

    he played better the last month of the season last year….did you forget that…..

    Kobe Faker Says:
    December 4th, 2018 at 9:32 am
    Totally agree. Im glad there was someone that watched those 5 games end of last year. JW was playing top 5 elite level even though his shoulder wasnt completely healed. The only game during that stretch where he had turnover issue was the last game when our klueless turtle gameplan to throw to mike Evans to get him over 1000 yards. JW forced throws to ME to get the 1k yards. JW still played very well and threw the last second bomb to Godwin to win the game and save Klueless job

    and i do think the light wouldve came on for winston eventually…..dirk is in charge of getting winston to play at a high level the entire season not just the month of december…..that is what he’s suppose to do…..better coaching is what winston and this team needs…not a benching…..


  17. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Defense Rules Says
    “Licht BOUGHT the Defensive Line Joe”

    lol…that’s silly. Teams are built through draft, free agency and trades. Three ways to build a team.

    To say he bought the line makes it seem like it isn’t still building. It is.

  18. Bucs fans short memories Says:

    This defense reminds me of the 2016 team. They play good for last few games and save peoples jobs and some of their own jobs. Then suck it up the following year when they feel safe again. That’s self preservation not good coaching. Don’t be blind and a low IQ fan. But, every bucs fan is and they have short memories. This article is about defense you read it the immediatly forget the article and write about Jameis. I feel bad for you guys. The thing that will drive me away from this team isn’t the crappy team it’s the crappy fans.

  19. Dapostman Says:


    Just because FOLKS were saying Winston could have done better against Washington doesn’t make it so. That’s an opinion. What’s not an opinion is Winston’s last 2.5 games have been a world better than his previous 2.5 games. That is called a FACT.

    So you think the light would have come on for Winston eventually? When? Eventually is a long time plus once again you offer no substance just hyperbole. I do agree Koetter is responsible for getting Winston to play better the entire season. The suspension wasn’t Koetter’s fault. So now Koetter is starting to get through to an immature kid. I will gladly sacrifice the 2018 season for a shot at the 2021 Tampa Super Bowl. The only way that happens is if Winston ‘gets it’.

  20. DBS Says:

    @ 813
    If your trying to use Kobe as your backup,that alone is a joke. And if you want to look at it and say the benching did not work and Jameis only wants to play turnover free in December? Well that alone is kind of stupid now isn’t it?

  21. Eric Says:

    Well if Jameis continues to improve, it will help in the new coach search, if it is needed.

    I feel confident that authentic NFL head coaching candidates recognize his skill set and upside, unlike the local ignoramuses.

    Goober town USA.

  22. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    The defense has played the worst team in pro football and a team with a hurting cam that offensively is ok aside from mcaffery, lets pump the brakes on the defense until 5pm sunday……..licht needs to go

  23. Ryan Says:

    Jason Licht has to go! Dirk has to go! As a season ticket member for the last 4 years, I’m not renewing because of them. For me, it’s not making the tough moves that give them credit, it’s the obvious misses. Jason: not drafting James for favoring a nose tackle to play 4-3 is not smart, the time it’s going to take, if at all, for vea to Dev is not worth it and it doesn’t fit or need (fa signing weren’t good enough?) The 2 corners and rb are not nfl ready and if they are not fast enough to go up with Julio or Michael wtf are we drafting them? That’s just this past year. Clear obvious everyone can see, except Bucs bozos!
    Dirk: I liked Dirk, until this past off-season when he didnt fire Smitty. The league worst d coordinate gets a pass Bc he’s your buddy? It’s going to cost Dirk his job. Then, the QB carousel, if any of you think he benched jw to teach him a lesson, you’re stupid. That was a pure panic move to try to win aka keep his job. Which seemed to backfire. This reminds me of a saying “one tends to meet his destiny on the road one takes to avoid it.

  24. Troy Says:

    I want to see how this team performs on Sunday against a team coming off a bad loss that wants revenge. If we play well (notice I’m not saying win), but if we play well, there’s hope.

  25. Ryan Says:

    Jason Licht has to go! Dirk has to go! As a season ticket member for the last 4 years, I’m not renewing because of them. For me, it’s not making the tough moves that give them credit, it’s the obvious misses.
    Jason: not drafting James for favoring a nose tackle to play 4-3 is not smart, the time it’s going to take, if at all, for vea to Dev is not worth it and it doesn’t fit our need or scheme (fa signing weren’t good enough?) James played the exact scheme in FSU. The 2 corners and rb are not nfl ready and if they are not fast enough to go up with Julio or Michael wtf are we drafting them? That’s just this past year. Clear obvious everyone can see, except Bucs bozos!

    Dirk: I liked Dirk, until this past off-season when he didnt fire Smitty. The league worst d coordinate gets a pass Bc he’s your buddy? It’s going to cost Dirk his job. Then, the QB carousel, if any of you think he benched jw to teach him a lesson, you’re stupid. That was a pure panic move to try to win aka keep his job. Which seemed to backfire. This reminds me of a saying “one tends to meet his destiny on the road one takes to avoid it.” Also, we have no use for him anymore. He was calling the plays in the only game we didn’t score a TD in? Glad he made that public so he can show case his skills and Jw can’t learn anything more from him. Lastly, what gets me the most because my good friends works for Tom Shaw, the lack of conditioning to get this team football ready before the season displays so many problem the team had throughout the year, early season injury, empty tanks in the fourth, lack of speed, super obvious to me and something Smitty called out after his first season with us.

    These guys are out of date and not champ level. You think 3rd worse in attendance is bad? See what happens if you don’t get rid of these guys.

  26. 813bucboi Says:


    winston did the same thing last year….lol….his last 3 games were better than his first 3 games…..and its not because of his injury or benching……

    speaking of opinion, you thinking the benching helped winston is an opinion not a fact…..he beat a team that is missing their starting qb and a team that has an qb who isnt 100% and that lost 3straight…..

    imo, the light wouldve came on vs WAS… wasnt like we needed to win a shootout with them…..winston needed 2 TD’s……

    you say he’s starting to “get thru to the kid” but he was promoted to get thru to him in 2016….then again in 2017……then again in 2018…..

    we already scarified 2017… you want to sacrifice 2018 because you think dirk couldnt get thru to winston because of his 3game suspension even though dirk has been with winston since 2015 and his suspension ended back in september……GTFOH!!!!… making excuses for dirk…..

    the only way we have a shoot at playoffs in 2021 is if dirk “GETS IT”…as in his walking papers……


  27. gilhealy Says:

    Altered Ego, you feel better? Good boy.

  28. 813bucboi Says:


    winston played some of his best ball in December last year……and kobe and others confirmed that….that is a fact…..

    the benching did not help winston…..sure didnt help the team either because we went 0-2 without him….never said he “only” wants to play good ball in December…..

    you suggesting that he only wants to play good ball in December is pretty stupid…..

    bottom line is, this is nothing new or anything to get excited about….winston played some of his best ball last year in December….

    dirk needs him to play well the entire season not just in December….


  29. Anonymous Says:

    813bucboi — You not agreeing with peoples opinions doesn’t make them stupid… As a matter of fact Winston’s benching seems to have worked completely so I had to stop reading the rest of your rant because of 1. You started by calling other opinions stupid and 2. You completely ignore the facts. Winston has played better since his benching. He is taking care of the football and getting wins which is what we have been waiting for.

  30. DaPostman Says:


    Boy are you obtuse. Winston played some of his best football the last 5 games of 2017? Yes with 10 turnovers in 5 games. Now in the last 2.5 games Winston is playing his BEST football with 1 turnover on a Hail Mary. The only difference is Koetter benched Winston. Everyone can see you won’t admit it because it doesn’t fit your fire Koetter narrative. Too easy.

  31. Brandon Says:

    You guys can say what you want about that Redskins game… it was absolutely awful… it was also one of those one in a million games…. all the freakish turnovers… the Rodgers fumble… the unlucky bounces… 500+ yards of offense, the terrible field goal kicking. We’ve lost four one score games but the Redskins game was the flukiest loss of them all.

  32. RustyRhinos Says:

    Yeah let us all just pretend that the 10 turnovers did not happen, and that the QB was not responsible for them leading to his second benching. Sure he might have pushed thru it, he also might have found that the NFL is a Not For Long league if you are not successful at the position you play and get paid to play. We can go back and forth to what degree the benching helped Jameis “get it” the results of the second benching are showing in the results Jamise is providing. Wins and ZERO turnovers in his last two games. I do hope that the benching has led Jameis to understand this is not the ACC anymore where turnovers are not as difficult to overcome. This is the NFL were nearly everyone is good or better at their positions and they get paid to win games for their team. I for one am glad he appears to have learned that Bad QB play will result in not playing the game Jamise loves to play.
    Bring on the aints let them be upset and angry we beat them the last two times we played, I can not wait until we make it 3 in a row. Hit and punish the saints on every play. Bury Brees when we get to him and this Dline looks like it can and will now that their coach is attacking not sitting back. Excited to watch these players come together in the last Quarter of the season. Good job Licht.
    Go Bucs!!!

  33. Cobraboy Says:

    Sitting America’s Turnover Machine was the best coaching move of Koetters tenure.

    The act clearly humbled Winston. He was shown he was no longer bullet-proof and his s#!t does, indeed, stink.

    The Winston of the last two games is a completely different…and greatly improved…version of the old Winston.

    Protect the ball, don’t turn it over, don’t force passes, don’t stare down receivers, work your progressions and take what a D gives you > just gunslinging the ball because you think you can make every pass.

    I like this new Winston. My patience was exhausted with the old Winston.

    The Big Question: can he continue this path? Or will he regress to America’s Turnover Machine once again.

  34. Bucsfanman Says:

    I seriously question whether some of you really watch the games.
    What is Koetter’s record over his 3-year head coaching tenure with this football team? What is our record with kickers? How has the defense played? Has the run-game come to fruition? Has our QB improved overall definitively?
    These are 3 years worth of questions that, for some of you have been answered playing the lowly 49er’s and the Cam-injured Panthers?! Huh?!
    TWO GAMES of complete football is all it takes?! NO!
    Lets see them do it for 4 more games before we go lauding the HC, GM, and organization.

  35. Erik w/ Clean Athletics Says:

    I agree with Clarence (1st comment) 100%. Koetter did what NEEDED to be done by benching Jameis. Apparently, Jameis needed some time for reflection…

  36. Erik w/ Clean Athletics Says:

    Cobraboy, EXACTLY.

  37. 813bucboi Says:


    we still have 4 games to go…..lots can happen between now and then….im sure dirk will be dirk and folks will be on here talking about another poor/dumb coaching decision…..its 1 game in december…..

    and how did dirk benching winston play out for the rest of the team?…..didnt we go 0-2?… did the benching help dirks job security?how did the benching help our chance for the playoffs?…..

    it didnt…everyone can see that but you……


  38. aj Says:

    I do think benching him, helped. He was able to see a long timer prepare, and was able to see the game from a different perspective.

    When the Magic went Tragic he got to see what the interceptions did to the team, how deflating. Everyone says just brush it off and play the next play, but it just doesn’t work like that for most players.

  39. DaPostman Says:


    Your hatred for Koetter is apparent in virtually every post. So much so that when Koetter does the obvious correct decision you blast him anyway. In doing so you lose credibility when there are plenty of issues to talk about with Koetter. I will agree that there are 4 games to go and 3 of them are against good teams so anything can happen. If Winston keeps progressing that in itself will prove the benching was the correct decision. It’s hard for me to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent but I tried. Out.

  40. 813bucboi Says:


    my hatred?…lol….no hatred here….i call em like i see em…lol…

    you want me to give dirk credit for benching winston and “supposedly” getting him to play better….lol….first, its too small of a sample size….so, what has dirk been doing since 2016, fixing the defense?….lol…..oh no, dirk doesnt do defense…..

    developing winston?….nawl, he still has a long way to go in that department…..

    so you want to jump on dirks bandwagon after 2 games where winston performed well……what about the 1st 3months of the year?…..i guess we should just sweep those under the rug and continue to make excuses for dirk…..

    everything that glitters aint gold……even a dead clock is right twice a day…..


  41. 813bucboi Says:


    i didnt say his opinion was stupid, i said his statement about me suggesting winston only playing good ball in december is stupid…..


  42. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Jason Licht is the #1 problem of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Get those damn bargain players off my team.