Working Hand-In-Hand

August 9th, 2021

Winning duo.

In John Lynch’s induction speech for the Pro Football Hall of Fame last night, he mentioned a time-honored football cliché, “Your team is only as strong as your weakest link.”

That goes for the guys who pick and coach the players as well.

Though it didn’t seem obvious at the time because it was overshadowed by so much losing due to coaches who couldn’t develop a sunburn on a sunny August afternoon chasing tail on Clearwater Beach, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht knew what the hell he was doing drafting players.

It’s no coincidence that almost with a snap of the fingers, Bucs players who languished under terrible coaching staffs suddenly turned things around after about a year with Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians.

It just took that long to coach the Lovie out of them.

Perhaps no element of the Bucs demonstrates what good coaching can do than their young secondary, as Thomas Bassinger points out in the Football Outsiders 2021 Almanac.

🏈 Tampa Bay’s secondary was the league’s youngest (24.0 years old) by snap-weighted age. From 2017 to 2020, the Buccaneers drafted seven defensive backs in the first four rounds, a total matched by only the Raiders. Six of the seven played significant snaps last season and remain with the team. (Tampa Bay waived former second-round pick M.J. Stewart before the 2020 season started.)

Think about that: If you hit on six of seven draft picks on one level of the defense, that’s ridiculously sick. And as Bassinger documents, six of those guys were the very core of a Super Bowl-winning secondary that helped lock up arguably the league’s best passing attack.

Frankly, Joe is tired of people saying the Bucs took advantage of the Chiefs’ injuries. Well, no sh!t Sherlock? But don’t give Joe this noise those injuries gave the Bucs the win.

The Chiefs had nearly all the same injuries in the AFC title game when they put up 38 points on Buffalo, which had a defense better than the Bucs (statistically).

So yeah, Licht knew what he was doing all along but was nearly sunk by lousy coaches until he coaxed Arians out of retirement.

Just like a team on the field, coaches and the front office are only as good as their weakest link. And through much of The Lost Decade, that link with the coaches was pretty brutal.

23 Responses to “Working Hand-In-Hand”

  1. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Licht didn’t know what he was doing in 2016, but like the Glazers, he learned from his mistakes and when he had an opportunity to work with his people, he shined.

  2. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Too bad Licht will be remembered for using a second round pick for a kicker. If it was not the Roberto Aguayo pick, Licht would be named as the best young GM in the NFL. Personally I think he more than redeemed himself with Brady, Gronk and a slew of great first round picks the past few years.

  3. Chuckstutz Says:

    Good coaching is a joy to watch!

  4. mark2001 Says:

    Alabama…we will never know how much pressure to sign that kicker derived from the Owners or from the HC. Don’t know, but considering how much he loves O linemen, seems odd. I do think it is a hand in hand proposition. And the hands he had to work with before Arians and Bowles were pretty weak hands.

  5. D-Rome Says:

    VH3bust, Noah Spence, Roberto Aguayo, Ryan Smith, Justin Evans, Kendall Beckwith, and MJ Stewart are all players that didn’t need the Lovie coached out of them because they never played for him.

    You’re thinking of the wrong Smith. They needed Dirk Koetter and Mike Smith coached out of them because all of these players were draft busts by Jason Licht during that era which was worse than Lovie’s. That’s right. Any reasonable Bucs fan knew the Bucs were rebuilding in 2014 and 2015. Between 2016-2018 the Bucs were making moves as if they were a piece or two away from a Super Bowl.

    This is just the draft picks. Let’s not forget all the free agents Jason Licht missed on as well.

    Licht finally started getting smarter by the 2018 draft but again, most of these players needed to get the Dirk coached out of them.

  6. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Not to diminish either Licht or Arians in the least, but It is Brady who is making them look like Geniuses.
    Brady did it for Belicheat in New England, and he is doing it again, here in Tampa.
    Plain and simple, Brady is a winner, who elevates the play of everyone around him.

  7. LoveMeSumBucs Says:

    Great seeing John Lynch being inducted. Does anyone remember the hit Lynch put on his brother in law in Chicago game and KNOCKED him Out stone cold on the field? Dont remember the year. Would love to see that clip.

  8. Leighroy Says:

    Yes, it took some time and a couple coaching changes too, for Licht to settle into his role, but since then what he and the scouting department has touched has turned to gold.

    Tom Brady didn’t “make” VV, Devin White, our young secondary, nor the rest of our defense. Maybe you could argue he had an influence on Whirfs but Brady didn’t draft him. Brady did bring some FA’s with him and a HOFer we still had to trade for, but even Licht still had to execute that plan.

    The coaches during Licht’s tenure were terrible chefs in hindsight. I don’t believe all the groceries were spoiled in the kitchen (tho Aguayo went bad faster than an opened avocado). I think the man deserves his due, and it’s time to let the early failures die bc they paved the road to ultimate success.

    Or don’t let them die, and be miserable about your GM only 6 months removed from a ring!

  9. webster Says:

    Need the lovie coached out of them? Only like 5 players on this team played for Lovie ie evans, david, smith, marpet, golston. But sure, blame the black man

  10. sasquatch Says:

    webster Says:
    August 9th, 2021 at 10:26 am

    blame the black man

    Lovie sucked regardless of his skin color… Mike Smith coordinated the same soft type of defense… And Lovie is kind of a joke. He came in with huge fanfare, acted like he wasn’t accountable and rejected offhand all criticism. He was so pathetic, he was nearly fired after his first Bucs season. All that happened. And not because he’s black. If he’s a punching bag, it’s because he was a puffed up incompetent legend in his own mind.

  11. mark2001 Says:

    Smith couldn’t get the Bears a ring… in years where they had a D that was among the best in the league…Urlacher and such. Never understood why we brought him in, except for the fact he was hear during the great Defense Dungy years.

    Koetter was no better. Maybe worse. Basically a failed O coordinator in Jacksonville, that some rated as one of the worst O coordinators in the league, prior to being canned. And given the keys to our team after Jameis had basically one really good year.

    Neither was capable of developing diamond in the rough guys.

    Koetter retired, after Failing in Atlanta.. Smith has moved to the Houston Texans, who has since ejected a couple of their best players elsewhere since flaming out at U of I. Good luck with that Lovie.

    Glad we got rid of them both…never should have given them the HC jobs.

  12. sasquatch Says:

    mark2001 Says:
    August 9th, 2021 at 11:18 am

    Koetter was no better. Maybe worse. Basically a failed O coordinator in Jacksonville, that some rated as one of the worst O coordinators in the league, prior to being canned.


    Koetter was definitely not a failed offensive coordinator. He worked with less than legendary players in Jacksonville, still had a strong running game and had a good rep. Then, he coordinated successful offenses in Atlanta. And even though he couldn’t get Jameis to play consistently, he still brought above average offense to TB.

  13. Joe Says:

    But sure, blame the black man

    Interesting, since Joe had African-American players on Lovie’s defense tell Joe that Lovie “shouldn’t be allowed to coach again.”

  14. Show Me the TDs Says:

    Great article, Joe. @ webster – Should Lovie get a pass, because he’s a “black man”? Are the standards not the same? You know…results. Gimme a break.

  15. webster Says:

    At sasquatch and Joe

    Saying lovie sucked as a coach is fine. Blaming lovie for a team where he only coached 4 or 5 of the players is STUPPPIIIDDDD. Its not the black’s man fault for what MJ stewart, Justin evans, Whitehead, Carlton davis, Alex cappa, OJ howard, Vita vea, White, SMB, ROJO, Godwin, Scottie miller etc was doing incorrectly. But that is what happens. The black man gets blamed for crap without even being present at the scene of the crime. SMDH

  16. Joe Says:

    Blaming lovie for a team where he only coached 4 or 5 of the players is STUPPPIIIDDDD.

    Guess you are not factoring in how many years he set this franchise back with truly idiotic, irresponsible personnel moves (he had *full* control of the roster) and his joke of scouting players in his suburban Chicago basement.

    But, nah. Lovie was OK. Just needed a few more years, right?


  17. webster Says:

    Not once did I say he needed a few more years. And like I told you and everybody, Licht controlled his own drafts from day one. That was the agreement. Lovie had final say on the 53 meaning, just because you draft someone does not mean he makes the team. You know some gms get bonuses for their players making the team and playing time so they force the coaches hand on personnel decisions. See rich mckay. If you think Licht took his first job where his strength was scouting and he allowed Lovie to assemble all 90 players in camp then you are not as bright as I thought. Sure lovie had power over the 53 but Licht brought a lot of the groceries. This was said multiple times through out Licht and Lovie’s tenure. Sorry you missed that.

  18. Joe Says:

    Licht brought a lot of the groceries.

    Which were all approved by Lovie.

    Child, quit trying to make excuses for Lovie.

  19. webster Says:

    No excuses. There are multiple articles (google is your friend) that talks about this arrangement. I will not disrespect your site and post links to local competitors or even or espn. Licht controlled the draft and free agency, Lovie decided who stayed ie FINAL SAY OF THE 53. Licht felt he provided Lovie enough groceries to win more than 8 games in two years and that is why he was fired. I too have friends in media here and was told how disappointed licht was in the production lovie got out of the players provided. In any case, my original point stands, blaming a man who has not been here for 6 years is ludicrous!!!

  20. Joe Says:

    In any case, my original point stands, blaming a man who has not been here for 6 years is ludicrous!!!

    Again, you seem to want to dismiss the damage that man did to the franchise. That’s OK. Keep painting yourself the fool.

  21. D-Rome Says:

    Guess you are not factoring in how many years he set this franchise back with truly idiotic, irresponsible personnel moves (he had *full* control of the roster) and his joke of scouting players in his suburban Chicago basement.

    Joe, your hatred is blinding you again. The Bucs went from 6-10 in 2015 to 9-7 in 2016. You can’t blame Lovie for D-Jax, Swaggy Baker, a useless JR Sweezy, the Muscle Shamster, and the entire failed 2016 draft class (among others). In what world is a +3 game turn around and knocking on the door of a playoff berth a setback?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad all the failed coaches are long gone but there were other, more significant factors that led to the Bucs ineptitude during the lost decade. You can start with Mike Smith mailing it in as a coach and Dirk Koetter allowing it.

  22. sasquatch Says:

    Lovie is a punching bag because he deserves to be a punching bag. Probably the worst coach they’ve had since Richard Williamson. When you have a guy who puffs his chest like he’s some kind of legendary authority on defense, dismisses criticism, and makes outlandish statements, he’s earned the ongoing contempt.

  23. Brandon Says:



    That’s dumb. You named six players from three drafts that didn’t make it and two were 4th round picks. Beckwith looked like a player until the car accident. No. The picks weren’t great but he was getting players for his coaches schemes. Spence was projected much higher. VH3 went where he was supposed to even though he is slow and small. His draft record is excellent. Nobody hits on all of their picks.