When Pressure Mounts

August 18th, 2019

What happened?

The more and more Joe reads about Ronald Jones, it almost sounds like former Bucs coach Dirk Koetter tried to ruin him.

The story isn’t nearly as sinister as that, from the dots Joe has connected, but it still doesn’t paint a rosy picture for Koetter in his handling of Jones.

Albert Breer of theMMQB.com twittered out some thoughts on the Bucs after he did his drive-by at One Buc Palace last week. One was about RoJo’s mentality, or to be more direct, fixing his head.

@AlbertBreer: The staff has worked hard to restore RB Ronald Jones’ confidence, and RBs coach Todd McNair — out of football since 2010 — has been key there. Jones has had a good camp as a result. The feeling is last year, once Jones lost his confidence, the whole season got away from him.

Man, that sounds awful for Koetter. It may not have been that bad.

Well, here is the story Joe has pieced together (one source was an offensive assistant under Koetter) and in the grand scheme of things, demonstrates how a young team can implode under a win-or-else fear.

When the Bucs drafted Jones, he wasn’t exactly a favorite of Koetter. Perhaps knowing his history better than anyone, Koetter’s track record of rookie running backs is, well, poor. Koetter figured he needed to win or at least chase for a playoff berth in 2018 or Team Glazer, with a rich history of demonstrating an itchy trigger finger, would wave goodbye to Koetter.

This pressure intensified when the team learned in the summer that America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, was slapped with a three-game suspension to start the season by NFL strongman Roger Goodell for Jameis’ hassle with an Uber driver.

Though no one has told Joe this, it stands to reason Koetter wanted to draft a rookie who he thought could have an immediate impact on the team. Nevermind running backs generally have the smallest learning curve of rookies.

Early on, Jones struggled and Koetter threw in the towel on him. Koetter had much more pressing concerns with trying to win games (and keep his job) than developing a rookie running back he wasn’t exactly enamored with or who may never pan out.

This win-or-else hot breath on the neck may also explain why Koetter panicked and benched Jameis after the Cincinnati debacle — Koetter and the staff needed wins to avoid cutting checks to U-Hauls in January. And for all Joe knows, that same pressure may have also seeped into Jameis’ noggin.

It was after Jameis was benched that offensive coordinator Todd Monken admitted in one of his weekly press conferences the coaching staff was trying to save jobs. Joe later heard from an assistant that everything other than trying to get wins was an afterthought. No one on the coaching staff gave a damn about the draft or developing any young player. It was all about wins and how can a player best help the team win.

(This may, in part, also explain why Noah Spence was rarely seen on the field.)

This reinforces Joe’s notion that malcontent receiver DeSean Jackson had his trade demand denied because the coaching staff thought he gave the team a better chance to win over, say, Chris Godwin or Adam Humphries, despite Jackson’s cancerous antics.

It may also explain why Koetter made Jackson a team captain for a game once just days after he got tossed out of practice for getting into a hassle with an assistant. Koetter, it seems, was trying to appease Jackson all for the sake of a valuable, needed win or two.

Other Bucs saw through this charade, Joe learned this spring via a player still on the roster.

So while Koetter and his staff were in full-blown CYA mode, RoJo languished on the bench. Likely, his confidence, or what was left of it, eroded week by week as he watched Peyton Barber play only slightly better.

Now whether or not RoJo ever snaps out of it and becomes an effective runner remains to be seen. The intense pressure to perform immediately or get out of the way that hung over the club last year did him no favors.

It might be unfairly harsh to blame Koetter for RoJo’s woes. But Koetter and his staff giving up on him so early did RoJo no favors.

As the old coaches’ saying goes, some guys need a pat on the back and others need a boot in the backside. It seems from what Joe has learned, Koetter wasn’t much interested in wasting time trying to figure out if Jones needed the hand or the boot.

36 Responses to “When Pressure Mounts”

  1. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    That water long ago past under the bridge….eyes forward !

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It is quite obvious that after the season was lost Koetter had no interest in developing his young players…..in particular, Rojo & Cappa…..

  3. DooshLaRue Says:

    Win or else fear?

    How is that different from BA’s philosophy?

  4. Nick Says:

    This was a great article!

  5. El Buco Realisto Says:

    But that is what Joe and the sheep wanted that year!!!!!!! Remember all of the no excuses and pressure the coaches!!!!!! Playoffs or your fired!!!!!! And now some want to b!t@$ that the coaching staff was not developing a rookie at a cost??????? Most said that this roster had too much talent for the team not to make a playoff run!!!!!!! I hope Joe and the sheep will stay consistent with this!!!!!!!!! If the coaching was the problem then this new coaching staff should make a playoff run or they can all hit the bricks!!!!!!!!!!!! They had plenty of options in the off season, and they signed who they wanted to sign!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It better be success or heads need to roll!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it will start from the very top and will avalanche all the way down to a full rebuild!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2019 will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Dirk was playing for his job, couldn’t take a chance on a rookie with subpar pass protection skills.

  7. Pittsshore Says:

    Jones “should be” okay but this confidence talk is a little much. Take a look at his college tape: he avoided contact and often times was sprinting towards the sidelines. He came into the NFL and was shell shocked when trying to take on LBs in practice. It then again, you can’t blame him as he was brought up in 8 years of the previous administration.

  8. D-Rome Says:

    Only trolls and the sheep were “Totally Confident” in Inept Irk Koetter.

  9. TiredBucFan Says:

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keys are sticking I think

  10. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Just read an article how awful the Atlanta running game is, especially how poor the offensive line blocking has been this preseason. Guess who is the offensive coordinator for Atlanta? Koetter.

  11. dmatt Says:

    Well…after Koetter promoted of all people, DJackson to team captain, maybe he told Koetter to bench this young 20 yr old “not that long out of high school kid”. RoJo needed support n encouragement not someone throwing him under the bus. When Koetter allowed Chris “ Quadruple Cheeseburger” Baker” to taunt n bash his own teammate Roberto Aguayo in training camp, I knew then this team lacked leadership. Koetter kissed up to DJackson which prompted him to create cancer in the locker room. Jameis nor McCoy called DJax out. Remember the days when Sapp called out Keyshon Johnson. I can c Devin White falling out playersif needed.

  12. Smashsquatch Says:

    Spot on but the jury is still out on Rojo. I need to see more out of him against the Browns. Hard to evaluate after a handful of plays. My eyes tell me his vision and anticipation need improvement if he’s going to be anything more than a one trick pony. I’d also like to see him change speeds with more fluidity. Rooting for him to be a big contributor this year, just not holding my breath. Ellington needs to be cut despite his experience and mentoring. A lot of RB depth will hit the wire in a few weeks, I’ll be surprised if the Bucs don’t swap him out.

  13. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    We’ll shame on Koetter… And just lazy. How does taking time to develop a fresh legged, explosive runner keep the team from winning? Who knows. Maybe RoJo would have found his stride by mid season and could have added home run potential to the backfield. Putting pressure on opposing defenses to defend both run and pass.
    So Koetter’s answer was to just ignore it and throw the ball 50 times a game? Putting even more pressure on his crappy defense led by his buddy Mike Smith? Man, I’m glad that staff is gone.

  14. Buczilla Says:

    When there is that much turmoil in the locker room it’s time for ownership to take the wheel and right the ship. If the players knew what was up with crybaby Jackson getting special treatment, then I’m betting Licht knew as well. Licht should have informed the Glazers and that entitled punk should have been shipped out. We would have gotten a better draft pick and spared Jameis from having to deal with that moron.

  15. WestChap Says:

    Last year was wasted… we should have fired Koetter and Smith right after the infamous “if we knew how to fix it we would” press conference. Bucs should have copied the Browns (Lord help me, did I just type that?) and fired a sinking HC and his toxic coordinator midseason… perhaps Duffner and Monken would have performed the way Kitchens and Williams stepped in for the Browns and helped the team rally. Of course, with all the blowback (see Joe’s “trigger happy”) the Glazers were highly unlikely to do this… and at least we have a quality staff now.

  16. Just Sayin’ Says:

    Biggest question I have after reading this article, would be if Koetter didn’t want or wasn’t enamored with ROJO why was he the pick? Who pulled the trigger and who was in control?

  17. Waterboy Says:

    Koetter simply wasn’t head coaching material. Good offensive coordinator but his defeated and unconfident demeanor is not what you want from someone leading a team.

  18. BetterBucFan Says:

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Koetter is not a good OC for rushing offenses. Let’s look at the stats in his coaching career when he was the OC or head coach:

    2018 Bucs: 29th rushing offense
    2017 Bucs: 27th rushing offense
    2016 Bucs: 24th rushing offense
    2015 Bucs: 5th rushing offense
    2014 Falcons: 24th rushing offense
    2013 Falcons: 32nd rushing offense
    2012 Falcons: 29th rushing offense
    2011 Jags: 12th rushing offense
    2010 Jags: 3rd rushing offense
    2009 Jags: 10th rushing offense
    2008 Jags: 18th rushing offense
    2007 Jags: 2nd rushing offense

    Compare that to Bruce Arians’s track record as a head coach or OC:

    2017 Cardinals: 30th rushing offense
    2016 Cardinals: 18th rushing offense
    2015 Cardinals: 8th rushing offense
    2014 Cardinals: 31st rushing offense
    2013 Cardinals: 23rd rushing offense
    2012 Colts: 22nd rushing offense
    2011 Steelers: 14th rushing offense
    2010 Steelers: 11th rushing offense
    2009 Steelers: 19th rushing offense
    2008 Steelers: 23rd rushing offense
    2007 Steelers: 3rd rushing offense
    2003 Browns: 20th rushing offense
    2002 Browns: 23rd rushing offense
    2001 Browns: 31st rushing offense

    Bucco Bruce doesn’t have a much better track record with running the ball than Koetter. When B.A. says the running game is fine, it’s fine because it won’t be used as much. The obvious conclusion from this, which has been gotten to already, is that this is going to be a pass-first offense. The RBs will be good because they won’t be relied on heavily in the B.A. system.

  19. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Dare I say

    The sooner we replace this bust with Kobe Faker endorsed RB Dare Ogunbowale the better

    JW3 needs the outlet receiver when the pressure and blitzing comes

    Dare them to blitz

    we will make them pay”

    Kobe Faker

  20. Race to 10 Says:

    Koetter was trash and hits offense getting all this praise but went 5-11 two years in a row. Dude was pure garbage and was way in over his head.

  21. Todd Sears Says:

    Nice article Joe- love the insider info

  22. Ptwalk Says:

    If Koetter felt so much pressure he should have fired Pressbox Smitty after the Chicago game. Good coaches have to make tough decisions, even if it means letting a close friend go.

  23. Destinjohnny Says:

    Life with the worst gm in football

  24. Gooberton Says:

    The whole D Jackson deciding when or if he was going to return punts was really odd. Koetter couldn’t stand up to him. Koetter himself stated that fiasco situation

  25. ben Says:

    Was Koetter was a bad coach or is LIcht is a terrible Gm ??.. Atlanta wasted no time in bringing Koetter back

  26. Joe Says:

    Was Koetter was a bad coach or is LIcht is a terrible Gm ??..

    Going to find out shortly. Licht gets no pass from Joe (nor the family that owns the team) for allowing the Mike Smith nonsense to fester. If Dirk Koetter was the roadblock from launching Smith after the 2017 season, then the whole staff should have gotten the heave-ho right then and there.

  27. Howard Cosell Says:

    Koetter was a man of strong points and weak points.
    At some things he was world-class at others he was less than pedestrian. Which further drives home the point that the glazers were clueless to hire him as HC because he’s not well rounded. In addition it further cements Blank as a smart owner to hire him right back as OC (where his strengths lay).

    Long story short Koetter was lame at developing running backs. A smart owner would have teamed Koetter with a strong RB coach and/or reinforced the RB staff. Howard firmly believes Jones was a neglected child last season

  28. Dapostman Says:

    Dirk Koetter = Peter Principle of NFL coaches

  29. Howard Cosell Says:

    I’m pretty sure Koetter wants to annihilate the Bucs this season and more than likely he’ll get his wish

  30. Howard Cosell Says:

    Falcons 56
    Bucs 3

    bucslife baby!

  31. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    Off topic: I know every one is interested though.

    Last week Darrell Henderson sucked big time. Rated D. This week he’s improved.

    RB Darrell Henderson: B+

    Henderson was much more explosive and decisive this weekend compared to the preseason opener. He had a great 26-yard catch on a wheel route early and ripped off a nice 8-yard run, as well. His rushing stats are nothing to get excited about but Henderson’s speed and agility have really stood out.

    According to Fansided:

    It’s still too early to say which talented runner will be the No. 2 option once the regular season rolls around, but early indications are that Henderson could be that guy.

    “The Rams have been rotating their running backs in the first two practices, giving multiple players the chance to work with the starters,” wrote Cameron DaSilva of the Rams Wire. “Henderson, however, has the greatest potential of anyone not named Gurley, and given how highly coaches have talked of him, he should have a significant impact right out of the gates as a rookie.”

    DaSilva noted that Henderson ran as the lead back in Sunday’s practice.

    Henderson was one of the most productive running backs in college football over the last two seasons, averaging a mind-boggling 8.9 yards per carry in both 2017 and 2018. He finished last year with 1,909 yards and 22 rushing touchdowns, bringing his career total to 36 scores on the ground in three seasons.

    Henderson is easily the most explosive option not named Gurley on the Rams roster. This isn’t to suggest Brown can’t be a full-time starter in the NFL; in fact, he’s probably better than at least one-third of the league’s first-teamers right now.

    Next: Bosa shining at 49ers training camp

    But it’s Henderson who has some special qualities as a big-play threat who coach Sean McVay will be dying to use once the games get underway in September.

  32. WyldKat Says:

    I can’t buy the win NOW argument with Koetter keeping Smith on as DC. The only way it makes sense is if I accept that the last HC was loyally delusional, to be polite. And/or an idiot, otherwise.

  33. westernbuc Says:

    I’m so sick of this. These guys are supposedly professionals. Our new coach is publicly calling out an injured wide receiver, but Koetter “gave up” on RoJo and we’re all supposed to nod in agreement?

    Here’s the bottom line. The Glazers chased after Gruden, who used them as leverage, DURING THE SEASON. A season in which our starting QB injured himself, missed games and played terrible, then lied about the Uber ride. The owners, knowing all of this, thought it’d be a good idea to bring in a compulsive liar.

    But Gruden scorned them, and they were forced to go with Koetter, making him a lame-duck coach.

    Keeping DJax was a mistake, but so was drafting a running back who can’t catch. So was trading up for a kicker who can’t kick. So was drafting tons of corners who can’t cover.

    This organization is a disaster, and it starts with the Glazers and Licht. Stop blaming Koetter, Lovie, Schiano, Raheem. This problem is at the top.

  34. Nathan Dayspring Says:

    Koeter and his stafff messed a lot of heads up.. R.Jones is lucky he is now learning from BA and his staff. He could have ended out like Robert Aguyou!

  35. lewis Says:

    Wow Dirt was a fraud as head coach we will see this season my guess bucs will be much improved and look out down the stretch this year

  36. Phil Says:

    Maybe it’s Koetter. Jeremy McNichols looked good for the Titans this weekend.