“Like Turning Around An Ocean Liner”

February 25th, 2019


The Bucs have spent the past dozen years looking for the right dance partner. It’s high time we end this waltz into obscurity.

Coaches come and go at One Buc Place with alarming regularity. Some last two years, some get a third season, but in the end, they are all gone with the wind.

Bucco Bruce Arians

Now Bruce Arians gets his turn in the Tampa Bay vortex, vowing not merely to survive but to flourish. Others set the same goal, only to be jettisoned before the ink had dried on their contracts.

Arians is the organization’s sixth head coach since the 2008 season, Jon Gruden’s final year in Tampa. This franchise hasn’t been the same since the December debacle that cost Gruden his job and ushered in a youth movement.

If this Arians hire doesn’t work out, it should send a strong signal to ownership that the Glazers need to change the way they do business. Why should anyone “trust the process” when the process itself has been an abject failure?

Beyond an attempt to elevate Jameis Winston’s game, the selection of Arians should be viewed as a final referendum on the method the Bucs use to select head coaches.

Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith and Dirk Koetter weren’t deemed to be the answers, begging the question: why can’t the Glazers get this right?

“Stability is as important today as it ever was and you want stability,” Joel Glazer told me once upon a time. “It’s the ultimate recipe for success, but you can’t be stubborn in your ways. You have to look everything over and make decisions. And if you feel something is not working, you feel compelled on behalf of your fans to do what you think is right.”

Patience hasn’t exactly been a virtue around these parts when it comes to sticking with the man at the tip of the franchise spear.

Ira Kaufman digs up some wisdom from Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer

Sean Payton survived three consecutive 7-9 seasons in New Orleans, and those flops came on top of a one-year suspension for his role in Bountygate.

The Panthers stuck with Ron Rivera through a 13-19 start. New owner David Tepper has decided to retain Rivera, despite his 24-24 record in the past three seasons.

“There is generally a correlation between winning and stability,” says Glazer. “You want them both and we strive for that.”

I recently spoke to a former Bucs executive who lauded the selection of Arians. But in the next breath he said the main problem in Tampa is that “the owners don’t know what they’re doing.”

If Arians ends this woeful playoff drought, all will be forgiven by Buc Nation. He will get to pick his successor and this story has a chance to have a happy ending — and I don’t mean in the Robert Kraft sense of the term.

But if the Bucs continue to dwell in the NFC South basement, that should be the end of business as usual. That should be the start of choosing an astute GM, who will then in turn choose an astute head coach.

End of story.

“The key to any sports team we believe is stability, especially in the NFL,” Glazer says. “When you make changes, it’s like turning around an ocean liner.”

Ship ahoy!

Ira Kaufman began covering the NFL as a New York Giants beat writer in 1979. He arrived on the Buccaneers beat in 1985. The corporate leash was removed from his neck when he joined JoeBucsFan.com in July 2016. The award-winning Ira Kaufman Podcast fires twice per week, and Ira’s columns appear thrice weekly, except when Ira is on special assignment. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter also is a popular guest on various national radio and on local TV.

26 Responses to ““Like Turning Around An Ocean Liner””

  1. D-Rome Says:

    I have no reason to believe things will be different with Arians, but it won’t be his fault.

  2. slimricky Says:

    Tactless as always ira

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    @Ira … “But in the next breath he said the main problem in Tampa is that “the owners don’t know what they’re doing.” Wow Ira! Shiver me timbers! I never thought I’d read that on JBF. I agree, just never thought I’d read it on JBF.

    If a highly experienced & respected coach like Bruce Arians can’t right this ship, no one can. That’s assuming of course that the Glazers were smart enough to give BA complete authority to do what’s necessary to ‘fix this mess’. I believe that he can work with Jason Licht as his GM … as long as Jason just does what BA tells him to do.

  4. Alanbucsfan Says:

    That was funny, Ira
    Arians has a track record of success, the others didn’t, although I think Schiano was torpedoed a bit by airhead qb and MRSA

  5. Winepeddler Says:

    Ira- Is it going to be possible for us to see a game or two from this cast of coaches before we start pitching people over board? I expect this kind of attitude from some of the posters on this site, but I expected you to give Arians and his crew a chance to succeed.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Arians is a proven winner….a HC that has a reputation and track record of success.
    If he doesn’t succeed at Tampa, how can the Owners be blamed for his failure unless they handicap & strangle his authority.
    The key here is the Licht/Arians relationship and who actually has the authority.

    The answer is certainly Arians…….Jason Licht will be going along for the ride. He has no choice in the matter……he bailed himself out by hiring Arians and will be happy to turn over his future to him.

  7. Pickgrin Says:

    “this story has a chance to have a happy ending — and I don’t mean in the Robert Kraft sense of the term.” Zing- Pow!

    That’s beaut of a one-liner Irv….

    Another masterpiece of sports writing.

    Don’t worry – BA will get this pirate ship headed in the right direction.

    Winning cures all ills.

    The Glazers finally got a HC hire right. So let us no longer dwell on the sorry past….

  8. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    I am very pumped for this next season. I think the Glazers just let their executives run their team and chime in every once in a while, like when they like a kicker in the draft.
    That’s puts the success or failure of the franchise on our GM, gulp. We haven’t exactly had any Bill Polians running around OBP.
    What Arians brings is an attitude and a confidence to this team. He will bring experience and his voice will not be tuned out. He WILL control the team and have command of his locker room.
    This season does not come without concerns though. Will his impact on JW be diluted because he is not calling the plays? Is his assistants much better than the last crop? We need assistant coaches that can DEVELOP and get the most out of our young talent, and I don’t know, time will tell if we have those coaches.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There is really no way the Glazers can be held responsible for an Arians failure as HC.
    Unless they micromanage him and I don’t think they do that with any coach. Maybe they should have with some of them but they didn’t.

    Arians will probably succeed but it will probably take two or three years….those expecting it to happen in a year will likely be disappointed.

    Now….as far as Jason Licht is concerned. I suspect he is well aware that he saved his job by hiring Arians and he will gladly turn over the final decision to him….because to do otherwise will cost him going forward.

    The Bucs failure over the past decade is due to it’s extraordinarily poor drafts……coupled with semi-incompetent coaching staffs.

  10. Jim Says:

    Win or lose, Arians is expected to be a quick and short-term fix, so the HC carousel will continue…

  11. 813bucboi Says:

    lets talk draft!!!!!!1


  12. sunshine Says:

    LIcht needs to take a lot of the blame and should have been fired !!

  13. Loyaltotheend Says:


    What’s to be excited about?

    A qb whisperer who is delegating play calling to a neophyte?

    A GM who is awful at Free Agency and overspends on underperforming units (see the left side of the o line)

    Retaining over paid players who only know losing?

    Arians would’ve been a good hire a few years ago not now when it seems he’s only interested in delegating to others and cashing a check

  14. Blind Melon Says:

    The guy who is the head coach sets the tone and holds everyone (players and coaches) accountable to the one goal and each other.

    Leading an organization requires a firm and consistent application of that belief (along with many examples between the people involved) to create a culture of success.

    As we all know, the Glazers have tried multiple culture changes using a variety of different methods and not got the optimum results. Great Leaders are rare.

    I think they’re on to something with BA.

  15. smallaxe Says:

    Stability with a 2-3 year coach?

  16. Darin Says:

    Whew those Kraft jokes are gona be going on a long time. And I thought the Glazers should have turned it over to a GM with complete say before Klueless. I too think they may have gotten this one right tho. Which makes me think it was strictly a Licht hire. Either way lets taste the playoffs Bruce!! We believe

  17. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    This will not be an easy fix for Arians. There is a lack of talent on this team and ultimately that is necessary for any coach to succeed. You can’t whiff on almost all of your 2nd round picks and nearly every pick from the 4th round and be a winning franchise. Even good coaches like Arians have limits when the don’t have enough good players to be competitive. As of today the team needs RB, RT, RG, LT (IMO), DE, LB (2), S, CB. Coaches cant win with that many holes.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    TDTB … Throw in a new kicker & LS, a DT, another DE, a backup QB, plus re-signing Hump, Taylor, Barber, Wester & Adams and I’m with ya. That’s 19 ‘holes’ altogether that we NEED to fill by the time the draft ends. If BA pulls this off in 2019 we need to rename him ‘David Copperfield’.

  19. Destinjohnny Says:

    Draft good players and With an average coach u win
    It’s that simple

  20. BucEmUp Says:

    I agree with everything except the idea that something needs to change if Arians doesn’t work. Only reason I say that is because this seems like the hire that they did change things up. Rather than trying to find the next hidden gem success story (morris, schiano, hotter) or going with loyalty and trying to revive an outdated defense (Lovie, smitty) they went with a guy who has had success everywhere he has been. They hired a third party to help with the coaching search rather than hand selecting. They let Jason Licht hire this head coach, which although he technically hired Koetter on paper, Kotter was basically the known choice from the day love was fired.

    Everything about this approach has been different with the hiring of Arians. As long as the defense has their back, Bruce and Jameis are going to licht it up like NFL blitz BEEEOOOTTTTCCCCHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Good Kraft shot Ira. Going to be interesting to see how the Owners handle the Kraft mess. On one hand they mostly hate him but he is STILL a member of the protected class.

    If JW got a three game suspension for a seconds long irresponsible fondling of a stranger what is Kraft going to receive for “alleged” solicitation.

    I’m pretty libertarian when it comes to “consensual” sex whether the guy pays for it or not. And who really knows what Kraft did or what he knew about who he did it with.

    But underneath all of this is a horrible problem (again I’m not accusing Kraft because I do not know that particular situation).

    But sex trafficking has become a major problem in our nation and Florida is a real hotbed. Imagine poor young women who are virtually sex slaves. We are not talking about older ladies who have made a conscious decision.

    Bottom line guys…if you pay to dip your wick at least make sure it’s a mature and WILLING woman not some young girl who has been tricked into coming to Florida and has to perform or face the consequence from her captors.

  22. D1 Says:


    The kicker draft disaster is all on licht. The Glazer’s have made a boat load of wrong decisions
    and accumulated a wretched track record all on their own. There’s no need or reason to throw Roberto in their pile. Licht owns that one …..

  23. Buc1987 Says:

    “But in the next breath he said the main problem in Tampa is that “the owners don’t know what they’re doing.”

    I’ve been saying this on JBF for about 3 years now….

    The scoops been right here Ira. lol smh

    The owners once dad passed are now…… clueless.

  24. Frank Pillow Says:

    Arians is a boom or bust hire- in as much as there’s a ton to be excited about right now, if things go south, we’ll likely look back and wonder why Licht remained in place and the biggest qualification for being on this coaching staff was either playing for Bruce at Temple or at one of his many NFL stops.
    Honestly, after all of the hoopla of Lovie’s hiring and the ‘Tennesee Ready’ results, coupled with Dirk being Dirk, it’s hard for me to shake my skepticism. I want to believe—I really do. We deserve to be relevant.

  25. Gobucs Says:

    It might appear clueless but they absolutely made a tremendous change at Mann U. Great change of coaches and it proving out.

  26. Phred Says:

    Hardest thing about changing an organization is changing the culture. That takes leadership + time. The Bucs don’t need Vince Lombardi. They need a good GM and good head coach. And stick with them for six years.

    Remember the days when every Bucs 1st-round QB was going to be the answer? That approach doesn’t work with coaches either.

    Give a solid leadership time to build a team from the trenches, out.

    Then we’ll have a perennial winning franchise.