Coaching Or Personnel?

December 4th, 2019

New developments with the Panthers have Joe pondering what feels like a generation-old Bucs question.

What’s been the biggest problem in Tampa, coaching or the personnel department?

Joe loves that the Bucs have won three out of their last four games. What a relief! But Joe isn’t living in a Candy Land lollipop forest. Those three wins came against crap teams, two of which are imploding franchises.

All fans really know about this Bucs team is that it is 5-7, wildly inconsistent and improved from the absolute trash it was in the first half of this season.

Who gets the credit/the blame?

The Panthers made a firm call. They fired head coach Ron Rivera yesterday but Carolina owner David Tepper put his foot down publicly and said he thinks his general manager is among the best in the game and wants to retain him.

“[GM] Marty Hurney is one of the best recognizers of college talent in the nation. Period, OK,” Tepper told his team website, transcribed by “I don’t want to lose that. And he’s also not a bad manager.”

So there was an owner making a clear call saying he approves of the talent acquisition and subpar coaching was the greater force in getting the Panthers to 5-7, the same record as the Bucs. Carolina was 7-9 last year and earned a Wild Card berth at 11-5 in 2017.

That brings Joe back to Tampa. The Bucs are loaded with talent on the defensive line and at linebacker. They’ve got an undeniably potent offense and a solid kicking game. The weakness is the secondary, where the talent remains highly questionable and unproven.

And yet the Bucs sit at 5-7.

A season is 16 games and nobody knows where this one will land. Midseason evaluations of coaches and general managers are fun but ultimately they’re woefully incomplete.

The head coach and general manager failed miserably in 2017 and 2018. But who deserves the majority of blame/credit now if you strip away the baggage of the past?

Hopefully, the Bucs find their way to a rousing finish at 8-8 or better, which will restore a lot of fan faith in coaching and personnel. The Bruce Arians regime will be viewed as one that took a solid first step. And it will let Arians and Jason Licht talk all offseason about how the team was one missed kick from 9-7.  That spin-drenched line, if it comes, will drive Joe insane.

Are the Bucs on the right track with their management team? Joe would love to believe that wholeheartedly by this time next month.

30 Responses to “Coaching Or Personnel?”

  1. Mitch Says:

    Didn’t Tepper say he ran out of patience and “wanted to make his own mark” in football as owner. Im sure I read that and believe it’s why he pulled the trigger on Coach Rivera.

  2. Kobe Faker Says:

    “The past 4 years the majority of the JBF posters wanted these players in the past drafts

    2016- Sheldon Rankins
    2017-Dalvin Cook
    2018- Derwin James
    2019 – Josh Allen

    If Forrest Gump followed the JBF posters picks

    with the above players in the roster we would have been in the playoffs

    To the JBF posters

    give yourselves a pat on the back”

    Kobe Faker

  3. Pugs&Bucs Says:

    One thing is for sure….Arians thought it was coaching and he hasn’t wavered on personnel. He has stuck to the plan of coaching up the players and didn’t go crazy at the trade deadline or even in the summer. I’ll give him credit for making an evaluation and then governing based on that evaluation.

  4. H8JWLVEBUCS Says:

    So for the Bucs to make it to the playoff we have to beat bad teams?

  5. fernando diaz Says:

    Kobe Faker we should’ve pick Brady too, draft is a mystery, you represent the fan base here very well.
    “with those players in the playoffs” look at Dallas
    Continuity is the issue 3 coaches in 5 yrs etc. Mc Coy, Hargreaves were here too long.
    Time will tell if the young players pan out.
    Accountability by coach has made a difference.
    Don’t discredit that. If they end up 8-8 that’s a huge turn around.
    How many teams have not won more than 4 games.
    Time will tell

  6. Chris K Says:

    @Kobe faker, why pat themselves on the back? 2016 we needed a corner and Hargreaves was a bust, so I’ll give you that one. D.Cook is playing his first full season this year, so 2016 and 2017 would of been a miss. James is just returning from his injury while Vea is a force at DT (all about the trenches) and while J.Allen is good, I would much rather have the better player in White, especially considering if we drafted Allen we would’ve have Barrett. Barrett/White>Allen/Minter. That’s not even up for debate. So don’t pat yourselves on the back to hard to hard there buddy.

  7. Wesley Says:

    Personnel without a doubt.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Your last question Joe is really the bottom line to me … ‘Are we on the right track with this management team?’ Guess I’m old school because I still believe that MANAGEMENT in the NFL is really a TEAM concept, consisting of the GM, his scouting organization, the HC & his coaching staff, and of course ownership.

    In the case of our 2019 draft, I’m convinced that BA & Todd Bowles drove the draft … and primarily Todd Bowles. TB knew exactly what type of players he needed to make his 3-4 hybrid defense work. A decent nucleus (LVD, Vea, JPP, Nassib, Gholston, Allen, Whitehead, Davis, etc) was already onboard, but then they brought in Barrett & Suh as FAs and drafted the rest (White, SMB, Davis, Edwards, Nelson). Those draft selections have TB’s fingerprints all over them IMO. Surely both BA & TB knew it was going to take TIME to get all of them up-to-speed & functioning as a unit. But they’re improving rapidly now & getting much closer to being a very good defense. I’m also convinced that they (like myself) thought that our offense could score enough to keep us in ballgames. And in fact we did; just never figured there’d be so many turnovers in the process which our young, inexperienced defense couldn’t effectively deal with IMO.

    What happens during this off-season is critical I think. As long as guys continue to play at a high level AND don’t break the bank in terms of their next contract, I’m totally in favor of keeping the defensive ‘band’ together. We’ve got enough other things that need fixing. I’d prefer that we add a veteran CB & a veteran Safety, as well as draft a DT and/or a DE/OLB to start the ‘replacement process’ for when guys like JPP & Suh retire. THEN focus on ‘reloading’ the offense via free agency & the draft.

    HOPEFULLY ownership lets BA & his staff drive that train in 2020. They seem to have a much better handle on what it’ll take to build a winning TEAM than Jason & past coaches ever did. If they do, I’m convinced that with the right moves this TEAM could be a playoff contender in 2020 & 2021 as a minimum.

  9. K2 Says:

    General managers largely have to give the coach the players they want. Yes, they try to influence the decision but in the end most GMs will put huge weight on the coaches selection wants. I think that explains a lot about overall good selections on the offensive side and poor choices on the defensive side, in the past. This year was a defensive draft and it looks like the Bucs did ok. Again, Arians and Bowles got the players they wanted…no surprise.

  10. Bucaroni&Cheese Says:

    Probably a little column A, a little column B. I think the personnel certainly hasn’t been elite over the last decade. I mean other than 2012, the drafting has been cringey to look at prior to Licht. We all know Licht has made some bonehead moves, but all things considered a lot of his picks are either still on the team or in the league. Could be in even better shape without the misfortune of the Evans & Beckwith injuries. Those two looked like promising starters that could contribute in the league for a while.

  11. Sport Says:

    I find it interesting when people say Licht sticks with his picks too long out of fear of being wrong. Here are a few examples off the top –


    I am sure there are others…

    After bringing these guys in via the draft or FA, he moved on from them. If he stuck with them, they’d still be here.

    And Joe, you can torch the secondary for the first half of the season. It looks like the Band of Brothers is starting to gel. New system and a backfield full of 2nd and 1st yr players. They will become a strength. Without a veteran FA.

    In BA I Trust!

  12. ManzielMadness Says:

    Or the third option… incompetent ownership. Like what I’ve seen from the team so far… let’s see how we measure up against Indy and Houston.

  13. DI Says:

    Maybe I should have JBF posters pick my lottery numbers too with that crystal ball they have.

  14. 813bucboi Says:


    this same offense couldnt score a lick under dirk and we’re now top10 in scoring, yards, 3rd&long…..

    defense couldnt stop a nose bleed under smitty…..defense under TB looks like they belong in the NFL…..

    sure licht whiffed on some picks but dont coaches like to “shop are the groceries”?…….

    this team lacked development and leadership….its getting better now…

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  15. Bucsfanman Says:


    In THAT order. Questions?!
    ALWAYS starts at the top.

  16. ben Says:

    Light should have been gone a long time ago

  17. D-Rome Says:

    Interesting point Kobe Faker. You’re not wrong with regards to the majority of the JBF posters.

    Backstabbin’ Jason Licht is most responsible for one of the worst five years stretches in professional sports history.

  18. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Hey D

    Whats up with the scrooges here

    Gump continuously over thinks himself. The #1 reason why Gump is a terrible GM is because he has no idea what Best player available means and always drafts for need. Most times doing the obvious is the best choice and our majority draft picks are far superior than Forrest.

    Its the season of giving and Kobe stated we all should have a pat on the back

    but these haters is telling Kobe to grope himself”

    Kobe Faker

  19. Marlow1976 Says:

    personnel department

  20. LordCornelius Says:

    2016- Sheldon Rankins
    2017-Dalvin Cook
    2018- Derwin James
    2019 – Josh Allen

    other honorable mentions for the JBF comments section for the high round picks:

    2014 R3 – EVERYONE here wanted an OG specifically in that round and multiple pro bowl OGs went that round or later. Was a great range for OG. I don’t recall anyone being super happy about Charles Sims being the pick.

    2016 R2 – NO ONE wanted Roberto Aguayo. Names I remember being hyped here were Von Bell / Ngokue but anything would have been better than a K

    2017 R2 – many wanted Kareem Hunt or to move up for Cook. I personally was super high on Chris Godwin and we were lucky as hell he fell to the 3rd round and people like John Elway decided to take other scrub WRs like the guy from LA Tech. No one was banging the table for Justin Evans although I think he may have panned out without injuries.

    2018 R2 – everyone was banging the table for corners like JOshua Jackson or Donte Jackson and when we took MJ Stewart even the biggest of homers like myself struggled making sense of it as a good value at all. Pretty sure we all would have taken Donte over MJ.

    Pats on the back indeed IMO. A poll based draft would have likely produced better draft classes. Or just LUVMYBUCS.

  21. Buczilla Says:

    Licht and every single scout have proven to be below average at their jobs. Time to move on. I’m willing to give Arians the benefit of the doubt as long as we keep winning. The Colts are a solid team and should give us a better picture of how far our team has come. It could be 1996 all over again, or same old Bucs. I’m excited as hell to see Vita go against Quenton Nelson. In a moderately close struggle, I think Vea takes his lunch money. 😮

  22. MadMax Says:

    Well, BA just held a press conference and the last question was what would he say about #3 right now if he were to sit down with the owners for a final team valuation, and he said he’s gonna pass on that…been a lot of good and a lot of bad.

  23. whats the bucs plan 2020 Says:

    joe the answer to both those questions ….. YES

  24. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Hey LC

    people here forget 2013-2015

    Saints and Brees was annually 7-9 and 8-8

    from 2016 till present, Saints have hit on their drafts

    and are now Superbowl favorites every year

    *Gump has picked in front of the Saints in every round in the last 5 drafts

    Kobe didnt realize the amount of non touchy feely posters here”

    Kobe Faker

  25. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    In 2016 I wanted Sheldon Rankin, DT or Laremy Tunsil, OT.

    In 2017 I was looking at first for Jonathan Allen, DT or Taco Charlton, DE.  I had no thought or expectation about O.J. Howard.  I was elated when he fell to us.

    In 2018 I was hoping the we would trade up for Quenton Nelson, OG.  I wanted Vita Vea, DT all of the way otherwise.

    In 2019 I did not have a preference between Devin White, LB or Josh Allen, DE/OLB so I was happy with the pick. (I had no clue about  Shaquil Barrett before the off season program began and we began to get a little more information about him.) 

  26. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    D R, I think Jason Licht has made most of his personnel decisions in consultation with the various coaches he has worked with here. I am talking about free agency and trades as well as his draft decisions.

    I am not especially down on him as a GM because I think this. I don’t see him as working in a vacuum or just with his staff alone.

    I see him in the middle of the pack in comparison with other GMs. Maybe if he had been “stronger” or more stubborn he would have done better in the past. Alternatively might just as well have made even worse decisions if he had gone his own way. I can’t even guess on that one.

    The 2019 draft is looking extremely good based on my assumption of a solid collaboration between Arians and Licht in my opinion.

  27. Pickgrin Says:

    Jason Licht is drafting a good bit better than the average NFL GM and that is fairly easy to prove.

    Just a handful of % points under HALF of all 1st rd picks turn into “busts”.
    2nd rd picks are considered “good picks” at a rate between 45-50%
    3rd round picks “bust” at close to a 60% rate.
    Less than 1/3 of all 4th rd picks “make it” in this league…

    Those are league averages

    Now check Jason Licht’s picks vs those #s.

    He’s well ahead of the curve in every important round except 2nd – and even in his worst round – he’s hitting above 50%.

    Free Agency has been quite the mixed bag obviously – but I’d certainly say that JL has gotten better at it over the course of 5 years – again – easy to prove.

    Jason Licht was never “the problem”.

    This team was talented enough the last 2 years to win more games than were lost.

    Coaching was the “problem” – Defensive coaching to be specific.

    Smitty sucked. His assistants aside from Duffner sucked. In retrospect – Dirk never should have hired Mike Smith. That decision alone likely cost coach Koetter his only shot at being a successful NFL head coach.

    BA knows what he’s doing. Todd Bowles knows what he’s doing. We have good assistant coaches now – a lot of them.

    We have talented young players – a lot of them.

    The young players are being coached up. That much is obvious as this season unfolds.

    The ‘losing culture’ and a decade’s worth of “Bucs beating Bucs” was obviously a bit harder to shake than Arians had expected the first half of his first season in Tampa Bay.

    But the Buccaneers certainly seem to be on the right track the last few weeks. Fewer mistakes. Young players stepping up and making impact plays. Got a win, took a very good Seattle team to OT in their house and then 2 solid wins in a row….

    The Defense in particular looks night and day better than it did just 6-8 weeks ago. Part of that is getting rid of Hargreaves. Part of it is JPPs return (a big part IMO) – and part of it is ALL the players getting more comfortable within a new system and with their teammates.

    Fans were obviously hoping for a quick turnaround this year – some were expecting it. But it appears “patience” is the operative word for Bucs fans in 2019. Lets just hope that “patience” finally leads to good things this time around.

    Recent signs are encouraging…..

  28. #1bucfan Says:

    So we are sitting here at 5-7 last 2 years we were 5-11 so if we do get above 500 then I’m ok with that because it’s better than last year so we’re on the right track. This team has bin basement dwellers for over a decade sorry people but it’s going to take longer than one offseason an season to get this team to compete we’ve had a losing culture it’s a mentality football is just as mental as it is physical that’s why I think BA is the man for the job an having players like JPP AN SUH help change that culture. NOW BA did say this was a reload an not a rebuild that’s on him for giving us false hope maybe he really thought he could do it in 1 offseason an change the culture but to me it looks like we are improving if this secondary keeps playing like they have bin them we will be a scary good team

  29. #1bucfan Says:

    I know we’ve beating some bad teams lately but the falcons have a potent offense an our young secondary showed out against them so that’s progress real progress the jags on the other hand lol they have a good defense their offense isn’t bad the best but we still played good an are improving arrow is pointing up finish strong boys

  30. Jackpc1 Says:

    When you start off with a 90-player roster, you are going to have your share of misses. Let’s take the can’t never do anything wrong New England Patriots. Their recent 1st and 2nd round draft busts include Dominique Easley, Brandon Tate, Cyrus Jones, Jordan Richards and Laurence Maroney. They traded a #1 pick for Kony Ealy. Their F/A misses include Donta Hightower, Stephon Gilmaore and Alan Branch (should we add Antonio Brown?). Good teams know how to maximize available talent to success. Bad teams still debate if Jameis Winston the answer 5 years down the road.