The Morning After

December 17th, 2018

Now the waiting commences.

We know what’s coming after yesterday’s game. Now it’s just sort of killing time until Black Monday.

So now it is fait accompli — in other words, the dye has been cast. We know what the outcome will be. Just about everyone knows the result. It is unimaginable that Team Glazer will bring Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter back for a fourth season.

Yesterday, the Bucs cemented themselves the eighth losing season since Chucky was jettisoned. And it is Koetter’s second losing season in a row after starting 9-7 in the 2016 season.

Team Glazer has only retained one coach it hired after two straight losing years, and that was Chucky, who won the team a Super Bowl. Koetter has no such resume.

Joe takes no joy in writing this, but does anyone really believe Koetter will return in 2019 after yesterday’s No. 2 dump in Baltimore? It’s bad enough Koetter waited forever to get rid of former defensive coordinator Mike Smith, whose unit was killing this team.

Yesterday’s 20-12 loss to the Crows doomed Koetter in more ways than one.

The Bucs defense, even though beat to hell at linebacker and in the secondary, is playing damn good ball under defensive coordinator Mark Duffner. This only throws gas on the fire as to why Koetter waited so long to get rid of Smith. That is, unless someone over Koetter’s head ordered him to get rid of Smith, which smells like the case to Joe.

This guy Smith never should have been brought back in the first place after having the NFL’s worst defense in 2017.

Joe doesn’t see how Koetter can survive. The guy he didn’t want as defensive coordinator has totally turned around a defense that was on hellbent on setting 99-year old records for worst defense in the history of the NFL.

And now with a strong defense, Koetter has an offense that cannot move the ball in the second half when points if not time of possession are critical. We all know Koetter got the job because of his work with America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, Jameis seems to have hit a brick wall and the offense is sputtering terribly.

Oh, but goody, goody, Jameis has reduced his turnovers — and it sure looks to Joe like Jameis has also been neutered along the way.

Hey, the offense may be more stagnant than a Midwestern pond in the middle of a drought, but by God the quarterback has cut down on his turnovers. Let’s all go throw a hot chocolate party – with scones on the campfire!

All of the important buttons Koetter has pushed in the past 10 weeks or so have been the wrong buttons (except firing Smith, which only highlighted Koetter goofed up by not pulling the trigger 10 months sooner).

Koetter also panicked when Jameis had one bad game and benched him for a guy he claimed gave the Bucs the best chance to win… and the Bucs promptly went 0-3 while his choice at quarterback, journeyman backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, embarrassed everyone in the organization not named DeSean Jackson with his play.

The disgraceful three points scored against a badly beat up Redskins squad was the cherry on top for the season.

And when the Bucs needed a lift from Jackson to return punts, Koetter appeared too scared to order him into the game, saying Jackson would let him know when he felt like returning punts. C’mon, you are either on the team or you’re not. So the coach can’t have one of the fastest guys in the NFL return punts? Why, because he doesn’t want to hurt Jackson’s feelings?

No matter how you slice it, Koetter, since the bye, has done a bad coaching job.

The Bucs are 3-9 after starting the year 2-0 without their starting quarterback against the Super Bowl champions and perhaps the best team in the NFC. Before the season, many expected the Bucs to start 0-3.

And now you have respected veteran starters saying they are going to play the next two games to save their arses and not the coach.

It’s really difficult to see a way Koetter survives. And Joe gets no joy in writing that. None whatsoever.

Flipping the Bucs

For the the better part of two years, Joe railed about how ghastly the defense was. Now it has totally flipped.

Week by week its gotten better under defensive coordinator Mark Duffner. The offense, ironically, has grown worse and worse as the weeks have gone by. How bad? Here is what the Bucs have scored in the past four games in the second half:

San Francisco 14
Carolina 7
New Orleans 0
Baltimore 3

Yesterday, the Bucs had a grand total of 62 yards of offense and three first downs in the second half from scrimmage.

And in the past three games, the defense has gotten key stops in the fourth quarter setting the table for the offense, but the offense didn’t take advantage.

Koetter is supposed to be the hotshot offensive mind. Yet his offense in crunch time has really disappeared the past month.

Have defenses figured out what was a scary offense?

In second halves through the last four games, the Bucs are averaging 6.75 first downs and 110 yards of offense from the line of scrimmage.

Unless the Bucs defense turns into the 2002 or 1999 version, the offense will need to score more than a touchdown in the second half in most games in order to win.

Joe doesn’t want to hear any damn whining from folks at One Buc Palace about turnovers when the offense can’t even move the ball in crunch time.

Duffner and defensive line coach Brentson Buckner have done a helluva job since Mike Smith was run off. Why Koetter didn’t see the need for this back in January is one reason he will be calling around the NFL looking for work in two weeks.

Internationally popular columnist Ira Kaufman always talks about how Team Glazer likes to have the arrow pointing up to end the season.

Unless something drastic happens the next two games, like the Bucs winning 40-point blowouts, the arrow very much is pointing straight to hell.

Operation Shutdown?

So now guys are playing for themselves. Demar Dotson even said so. Even the players know Koetter is toast.

So guys are going to be playing for jobs, playing for a contract, trying to put something on film that will jump out at general managers. Bucs fans are likely going to see a whole lot of freelancing going on. And what will coaches do to stop it, bench people? That’s what the players who won’t be here next year want. They don’t want to risk life and limb for a lost cause and a lost coach and perhaps a lost regime.

So basically the Bucs will have players either freelancing or trying to play it safe so they don’t get injured and potentially lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What Koetter should do is find out what players don’t want to come back (or likely involuntarily won’t come back) and give them the next two weeks off.

Play guys that either need snaps or those who have a chance of returning. What’s the point of, say, playing Jason Pierre-Paul over Noah Spence? Don’t think Alex Cappa can’t use more work? Same with Ronald Jones.

(For those screaming for Jones to get more playing time, unless something has changed with Jones in practices closed to media, Jones has done absolutely nothing to warrant more snaps, other than be on a team that should now empty the bench. Joe attended each and every practice that was open at training camp and preseason with the exception of one walk-through. If Jones wasn’t a second-round pick, he would have been cut because his preseason was so awful. But now that the final two games are meaningless except for draft positioning, why not throw him to the wolves? Maybe something might click?)

Price Keeps Escalating

Not sure if this is a pattern or not, but Chris Godwin has had two awful games in a row and the Bucs offense crumbled in the last two games in the second half.

Let’s just say Godwin, as much as Joe likes him and as much as Koetter claims he could be a No. 1 receiver, isn’t there yet.

When Godwin dropped that pass on the Bucs’ first possession yesterday, when Jameis hit him right in the hands, the asking price spiked for arguably the most consistent receiver on the team, Adam Humphries. Now Joe is not saying Humphries is the best Bucs receiver. But Humphries is reliable.

Humphries is a free agent after this season and Joe doesn’t think anyone would disagree that we have likely seen the last of DeSean Jackson on this team. If Jackson does play again, he won’t be on the roster much longer. His salary is no longer guaranteed after this season.

That means Humphries has all the leverage in the world with the Bucs, assuming whoever is in charge next season wants him here.

So long as Humphries doesn’t get hurt, he’s going to collect a fat paycheck from someone, somewhere next year. The Bucs need this guy with Jackson likely gone and Godwin not showing he can take the next step.

Now if you are Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht, would you consider franchising left tackle Donovan Smith or Humphries?

Paging Noah Spence

When is the last time you’ve seen a second-round pick vanish like Noah Spence? Unless someone told you he was on the roster, you’d never know.

How far down the roster is Spence buried? Consider that after the extra-point attempt on the Bucs’ only touchdown yesterday, where the high snap got away from holder Bryan Anger, Cyrus Jones of the Crows scooped it up and tried to return it for a safety.

It appeared kicker Cairo Santos was in on the tackle. The official scorer never (yet) handed out a tackle or an assist on the play. But if Santos got an assist, that would be one more assist than Spence has recorded all season.

Joe cannot remember a guy falling off the map like Spence has this year. Someone better issue an all-points bulletin to see if he is still with the Bucs and we are not just seeing things. The way Spence has (not) played this year, you wonder if next season under a new coaching staff Spence will instead be on some AAF roster.

Joe’s not mocking the guy – Joe likes him a lot. But this is the cold, harsh truth of the NFL.

There sure looks like there will be a lot of changes around One Buc Palace in the coming weeks. Will Spence be among them?

56 Responses to “The Morning After”

  1. Jeff Says:

    he’s not going anywhere. He’ll be back next year and we’ll be mediocre then, too. I’ve resigned myself to it.

  2. Pepsi Says:

    Don’t worry about what Jason Licht would consider doing in the offseason. He will be gone as well.. thankfully.

  3. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Bucs need to clean house with that putrid GM they have that assembled this crappy roster devoid of winning NFL talent. The bucs defense is not any good as they have played offenses under Dufner that are terrible. The Saints was the only offense they played that is any good. The bucs just let some no name gus the bus run all over them yesterday and a tim tebow clone complete 3rd down passes. The bucs as a franchise are a total mess and need a great football guy like Nick Saban to fix this pair him with rich mckay or scott pioli and start over because this is the bottom

  4. AlteredEgo Says:

    One more year the unemotional correct decision with the hand the G’Boyz are holding…as painful as it is to accept..if it does not work out we won’t recognize ANYBODY training camp 2020……hell Joe may have to change his name

  5. Destinjohnny Says:

    Jason gave this man 6-10 talent
    JAson is the problem 96%
    look Saban is a great coach but if he had to coach USF in a one off
    And u gave Strong bama for a game…..Saban Would loose 70-3
    Everyone would be Charlie is a great coach wow, who knew

  6. hizzieallen Says:

    I live in Silver Spring Md so I went to the game yesterday. Donovan Smith is a bum. Plain and simple. They ran a screen pass with him as a lead blocker. He didn’t hit anyone. They right side of the line played soft. And why on third and one do we continue to run Barber up the middle? That baffles me. The Ravens got the ball with about 7:30 left in the 4th. The proceeded to run the ball straight down our throats to end the game. Not one pass play. The defense couldn’t get off the field on 3rd down. I won’t even get into the the second half offense. Y’all saw what happened.

  7. NewTampaChris Says:

    Columns like this are why teams fire dead men walking prior to the end of the season: So we don’t have to endure two more weeks of tedious repetitiveness.

  8. ben Says:

    Good think Winston came back to playing.. He sure looks sharp ,huh??especially red zone !

  9. BurgDweller Says:

    What a mess of an organization. Went out to lunch with the family during the game yesterday and honestly didn’t care that I missed it. In previous years I would have been dying on the inside if I had to miss a Bucs game. I guess apathy has finally set in. Fan since 1988 when Mark Carrier signed my hat.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I don’t think you can get rid of Koetter without canning Jason Licht.

    As for Rojo…..I think other teams know he’s getting the ball when he is put in the game….they are ready for him.

    On the two passes yesterday.

    One was a pass on Rojo’s back shoulder and by the time he secured it he was hit for a 1 yard loss.

    The second pass was dropped but a defender was right there waiting for him.

    Other teams are keying on Rojo when he’s in the game.

    He has to be able to play multiple snaps in a row to stop that.

    It’s time to let him play…’s time for Cappa & Justin Watson…..

    This offense is sorely missing Djax & OJ.

  11. AlteredEgo Says:

    Destinjohnny…I’m thinking you are correct that Licht is most likely to walk the plank in January…a new GM with a year under his belt after NEXT season would then clean house as needed,if needed, and give the franchise a bridge rather than everything new including players at once….Licht is responsible for assembling the talent and he has missed completely too often at the top of the draft…

  12. JJV Says:

    Give it a little bit more time Bucs fans. They are still experiencing growing pains. You have to learn to crawl before you can walk then run. Some teams just take longer than others. In the good old days there were 5 year plans for most coaches. Dirk is old school. Maybe he needs just one more year to make it happen. We may regret pulling the plug too soon.

  13. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Seems like Jason Gump is good at something. Meathead cant pick his nose but the man can scheme behind the scenes.

    The lack of noise and rumours concerning his future as GM is very defining. Gump owns the keys (privileges) to 1 buc place. No condemnation of his horid body of work from all the local media outlets?

    Dogs will not bite the hands that feeds it

    Does the Glazers believe by only giving Koetters head to appease the blood thirtsy buc sheep will be enough?


    Kobe Faker

  14. Aceofaerospace Says:

    The Bucs will be 7-9. JPP is the only player that absolutely deserves to return. No other player deserves crap. Including “America’s” quarterback. I’m not calling for his dismissal, I’m just pointing out the obvious, he’s not reliable. If our new coach can make a consistent, elite franchise quarterback out of him, great, but he’s not that now.

  15. richbucsfan Says:

    Ok, Koetter gets fired and the Bucs start over. That’s at least another 2 years to get the team on track with a new system. It just never seems to end with this organization.

  16. Boogie Nightz Says:

    Why bother typing about Noah Spencer anymore? Its a waste of time. Its clear now to everyone the dude is a bust. How about writing about Carl Nasty. For once we have not one but TWO ferocious pass rushers. He along with MeJax and the rest of the garbage we be gone when the new regime takes over. Is it black Monday yet?

  17. Robert Says:

    he’ll have 1/2 dozen offers and at least 1-2 HC offers. Others know he’s a victim here having to use that qb

  18. Boogie Nightz Says:

    @Duthsty Rhothdes

    100% wrong sir. This is one the best rosters we have had in years. These past two years are just a result of bad coaching and decision making which will change in just two weeks. Anger is clearly clouding your judgement which I understand after all the losing.

  19. csidedave Says:

    It’s so awesome that we drafted Ronald Jones and Alex Cappa this year. Their impact has been immeasurable……….

    Jason needs to be on that Uber with Dirk.

  20. Buc4evr Says:

    @richbucsfan , agreed. Being a fan of this team is like watching groundhog day. As far as I’m concerned the entire team is soft and Koetter ended up with guys that were athletic but not football players. Jason sunk him with lousy drafts and pathetic players. Btw, Does anyone really think Lavante or Kwon would start on the 1979 or 2002 team? HA!

  21. DBS Says:

    Did. not watch tryed to listen but the radio station in Tallahassee sounds like a low power AM station in Cuba. And their is nothing wrong with my radio. So I keep checking in here and saw all I needed to know. It’s time to start again. But The Glazers will do the SOS andwe will go nowhere.

  22. DBS Says:


  23. DBS Says:

    done using this phone. ^tried

  24. Joe Says:

    Columns like this are why teams fire dead men walking prior to the end of the season:

    Joe can just about promise you Koetter will finish the season as Bucs coach unless he decides to punch a Glazer.

  25. Joe Says:

    done using this phone. ^tried

    It seems you may be like Joe: It’s been years since Joe had to leave a QWERTY keyboard for a flatscreen and Joe still hasn’t mastered it.

  26. Jeff Says:

    “Joe can just about promise you Koetter will finish the season as Bucs coach unless he decides to punch a Glazer.”

    I doubt even that would do it, honestly.

  27. Lubby Smith Says:

    “the dye has been cast”

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    Oh wow Joe, tell us what you REALLY think about the ‘state of the Bucs’. That’s the longest piece you’ve ever written I’d guess.

    @Joe … “The Bucs defense, even though beat to hell at linebacker and in the secondary, is playing damn good ball under defensive coordinator Mark Duffner.” No, sorry, the Bucs defense is NOT ‘playing damn good ball’ right now, BUT … Mark Duffner is doing a helluva job with what he has to work with, which isn’t much IMO (thank you Jason Licht). This ‘damn good defense’ gave up 242 yds RUSHING on 49 carries yesterday to a team that we KNEW was going to run the ball down our throats. Oh and OVER 37 mins TOP, with 10-for-17 3rd & 4th down conversions … to a team led by a rookie QB. And oh ya, we LOST the game.

    Our defense is a mess (too many ‘weak links’), but our offense is just as bad. And our special teams are anything but special. You can blame Mike Smith all you want Joe, and you can blame Dirk Koetter for not firing him earlier, BUT … until you point the finger at the Architect of this mess, Jason Licht, and the owners of this mess, the Glazer Boyz, nothing will change. The next HC & his staff will have the same mediocre group of players to work with. Sorry Joe, but this Bucs team is not NFL-quality in far too many positions. It all starts at the top.

  29. BrianBucs Says:

    This entire mess belongs to Jason Licht. He hired a crappy coach, drafted a crappy QB, built a crappy roster (except for a few) and has a crappy hit or miss record in the draft and free agency. Oh, and let’s not forget his record as Bucs GM is 27 – 51.
    The GM of a team is responsible for everything. This is Jason Licht’s mess.

  30. lewis Says:

    Jvv u give it more time I am not for a change either but Dirt is a weak coach I cant watch it anymore and I will spend my money elsewhere .Merry Christmas Glazers your so giving .

  31. VdubVW Says:

    This team is so embarrassing. The Glazers are the biggest problem!!!
    When you have garbage at the top…you will have garbage at the bottom.
    What sober person would hire Mike Smith?
    There is a reason why ATL got rid of him. His system was old and predictable.
    So now what? Fire everyone and start over? If that’s the case we have another
    5 years of rebuilding. Meanwhile the Glazers still make their money and the fans ultimately suffer watching a horrible team try to compete in a really tough division. This is BS!!! Fortunately for me I follow other NFL teams. I feel sorry for the fan that only follows the Bucs.

  32. View from 132 Says:

    Watching Philly vs the Rams was stomach turning. Those two, and Favre’s Packers and Randy’s Vikings, were the primary rivals of the “Good Bucs”… 1997-2002. Both rivals are elite again – well coached teams with solid QB play, creative offenses and a pass rush.

    And where are the Bucs? Still thinking Lavonte David is DBrooks? Or McCoy is… hell, Booger McFarland or Brad Culpepper, Esq? Or Jameis isn’t just another Dilfer – inaccurate strong arm guy that can’t read defenses?

    No one in Philly is talking Donovan McNabb. Rams fans aren’t watching Gurley missing Faulk. Bucs fans? We have one 5 year run of very good teams in a 30+ year trash fire.

  33. QUE5 Says:

    Bring in Louis Riddick as new GM and McCarthy or Harbaugh as new Head Coach and Flacco along w/ a young QB to develop behind him

  34. miken Says:

    4 picks in the top 60 picks of the draft and could there have been less of an impact from them? Rojo won’t be in the league in 2 years and V will be good but man that is a huge disappointment.Also, Godwin ! His drops cost us the pitt game and now he looks bad.

  35. Jonathan Lipnicki Says:

    Licht’s Out still locked in a tight one with his predecessor DirtStar Domink….here are the up to the minute standings:

    Five Year Folly @ GM Position:

    Dom’er 28-52
    Licht’s Out 27-51

    It’s beginning to look like The Dom’er will “win” given the next two games:
    an angry Dallas team on the road as well as an Atlanta team who owns the Bucs of late…

  36. BrianBucs Says:

    Calling Jim Schwartz…………

  37. Hodad Says:

    Joe, the defense has completely turned around? They gave up over 200 yards on the ground yesterday, and couldn’t get off the field on third down, the money down all day. The game was never really as close as the score. They were physically dominated all day, beat into submission surrendering their lunch money. What game were you watching yesterday?

  38. D-Rome Says:

    Hey, the offense may be more stagnant than a Midwestern pond in the middle of a drought, but by God the quarterback has cut down on his turnovers. Let’s all go throw a hot chocolate party – with scones on the campfire!

    What? So, are you calling for Jay-Miss to be more himself even if that means more turnovers?

    Jay-Miss has not shown enough where anyone, apart from FSU losers (which is not all FSU fans), that he is the long-term solution at QB. Heck, Lamar Jackson looked better than Jay-Miss.

  39. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    The defense and the approach of the defense is still the same as it was under smitty just playing teams with garbage offenses. Jason Licht is a piss poor personnel and scout guy period. OJ howard excellent player howeva you had dalvin cook staring at you. ROJO over darius guice what a joke, then you blow an entire draft and draft d 3 players who are d3 players in the nfl and struck out on every FA move you have made. This sucks being a bucs fans and watching teams like the Browns, eagles, rams, titans have solid teams and play meaningful january games

  40. tmaxcon Says:

    Defense Rules

    there is NO spinning this crap show. Defense is garbage period… The entire organization is garbage and has zero hope for the future.

    just wait, the Glazers are very in tune to the crap fanbase they have and understand how to manipulate it…. they will give dungy the clown a BS position to keep you low standard losers happy and it will be another 16 years before they even sniff a playoff game much less win one… the funny part all you low standard delusional optimists will buy into this bs and I’ll have to spend all offseason again keeping everyone in check and pointing out this is a basement franchise. I hate being right but once again the results prove all the hot air spewed all offseason was funny but the results are the same… garbage owners, garbage staff and garbage players. simple as that.

  41. tmaxcon Says:

    and to those who think the bucs will attract a coach worth a crap… I know it’s that silly season time of year when everyone is fake but good luck… you need help.

    bucs will get the coach without any other options simple as that.

  42. ndog Says:

    BrianBucs Says:

    December 17th, 2018 at 9:21 am

    This entire mess belongs to Jason Licht. He hired a crappy coach, drafted a crappy QB, built a crappy roster (except for a few) and has a crappy hit or miss record in the draft and free agency. Oh, and let’s not forget his record as Bucs GM is 27 – 51.
    The GM of a team is responsible for everything. This is Jason Licht’s mess.

    So if the coaching is crappy how do we know the players are crappy? Doesn’t one dictate what the other does?

  43. 813bucboi Says:


    dirk is not HC material…simple as that…..he did a horrible job last year as well….the trend will only continue if he sticks around….


    licht gave this team talent…..justin evans noah spence marpet godwin and others….and they’ve all regressed under dirk….

    this staff cant develop players and cant adjust at halftime….

    dirk is about to go 5-11 back to back years….


  44. Aceofaerospace Says:

    One could argue, Dirk went 9-7 with Lovie’s team (where have we heard that before?), and has gone down hill every since.

  45. 813bucboi Says:

    hell no to louis riddick….dude complains about anyone in the draft and would pass on a player that aint perfect…..

    i’ll always remember him for saying he wouldnt touch joey bosa with a 10ft pool because of his “issues”….


  46. 813bucboi Says:


    your right!!!!!

    if lovie coached that team in 2016 we make the playoffs…..

    i said once lovie was fired, the grass aint always greener on the other side!!!…..

    dirk has led us into a desert…..


  47. tmaxcon Says:


    would that be the same lovie smith who can coach a team to a win over a division 2 school??? the lovie smith with one of the most embarrassing coaching records in hisotry of sports…. yeah let’s rewrite history because you like that pos loser

  48. BrianBucs Says:


    You can’t tell? Have you not been watching?

  49. Bucsfanman Says:

    Team failure, again. They simply need to clean house at this point; GM, HC, everybody! Get someone in here that knows football to run the operation and hire legit football people.

  50. Cobraboy Says:

    Funny how the offense tanked when Jackson & Howard got hurt.

  51. 813bucboi Says:


    the truth hurts huh……

    we talking about the lovie smith that led the bears to the SB with rex grossman….

    yeah that lovie smith….


  52. 813bucboi Says:

    and when was the last time illinois was good in football anyways….lol….yall acting like he took over a program that made bowls every year and won at least 10games every year…….

    lovie took over illinois not ohio st……


  53. tnew Says:

    The decision not to fire Koetter in season leads to ambivalence from the fan base. He seemed to give up after the Redskins game at least publicly. The fans and players deserve better. Think it won’t matter???? look at the defense, or the Browns. This is why I argue for a president of football operations. If the Glazers are going to be this hands off, they need someone to go between them and the GM. That person should’ve been hired in the bye week when Koetter was publicly affirming Mike Smith.

  54. Captain Dan Lawrence Says:

    I hope people give Joe as much credit as Joe gives our Head Coach! I’m already Sick of your drum beat to run out another Coach, and constant blame game. Everything anyone says get twisted into some fantasy interpretation. I’ve had it!

  55. JimBuc2 Says:

    I grew up in Silver Spring, MD on 118 Hamilton Ave and attended Eastern Junior High. Nice to meet a fellow Marylander! I’ve been cheering for our Bucs since the franchise was awarded to Tampa. To me, Koetter represents the perfect example of the Peter Principal; promoted to the point of incompetence. Great OC, lousy HC. It’s a Buc life.

  56. Niko (the optimist) Says:

    Hey Dusty Rhodes, what is with your fascination with Alabama Coach Nick Saban?

    Do you k now. What happened in Miam when he coached there a few years back;but he didn’t last a season. The NFL does not recruit, and what motivitiates a 30 year old doesn’t to a 24