The Bucs’ New Head Coach: Bruce Arians

We now know who’ll be guiding the Buccaneers’ ship next season, and it’s someone the NFL is very familiar with.

 

Bruce Arians was named the team’s new head coach on Tuesday night.  Arians coached the Arizona Cardinals for five seasons, and was successful there, making the playoffs twice.  We can only hope he’ll help Tampa Bay end an 11-year playoff drought.  After 2017, Arians “retired” (yeah, okay) and then spent the 2018 season in the broadcast booth with CBS, teaming up with Greg Gumbel and Trent Green.

 

I like this hire.  Of course, I’ve said that about a lot of hires over the years.  This guy has a proven track record – not just in Arizona, but in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Cleveland prior to that.  He’s also an offensive-minded coach.

 

Hey coach: have you seen our defense over the past few years…

 

As for the guy he’s replacing, Dirk Koetter?  He just became the Falcons’ offensive coordinator.  Oh, the drama.

 

Photo courtesy: Associated Press

 

Advertisements

Some Final Thoughts on the 2018 Bucs

 

As we say goodbye to 2018, it’s time to reflect on the Buccaneers season that ended with a last-place finish, and the firing of Dirk Koetter as head coach.

 

BEST MOMENTS: the first two games against the Saints and Eagles, both won by the Bucs.  Nobody outside of us diehard fans thought they win a shootout in the Superdome, then beat the defending champs in the home opener, both with Jameis Winston suspended for the first three games.

 

WORST MOMENT: things started going downhill with the blowout loss to the Bears in Chicago, followed by another defeat in Atlanta after the bye week.  It was only then that the Bucs decided to fire Mike Smith as defensive coordinator.  Smith should’ve been let go before the season began, much less five games in. With Smith at the helm, his defense allowed at least 30 points in four of the first five games.

 

BEST OFFSEASON ACQUISTION: Jason Pierre-Paul.  What a steal this guy was.  He had 12.5 sacks on a team that, last year, hardly got any pressure on the quarterback. 

 

BIGGEST DRAFT DISAPPOINTMENT: Ronald Jones.  The Bucs drafted him in the second round.  He gained a grand total of 44 yards rushing.  He didn’t even play in more than half of the games, and not all of those were due to injury.  The Bucs clearly were not happy with him from the start of training camp, hence the lack of playing time.

 

GOOD RIDDANCE AWARD: DeSean Jackson.  He made it clear he wants out.  I say, get out of town.  This whiner was unhappy that Winston wasn’t getting him the ball.  He pulled off similar antics when he played for Philadelphia and Washington.

 

BIGGEST QUESTION MARK GOING FORWARD: Jameis Winston.  General Manager Jason Licht has made it clear that Winston will return in 2019.  We saw a lot of good Jameis, and a lot of bad Jameis: 19 TD passes, 14 INT’s and three lost fumbles.

 

INTERESTING FACT: on December 2nd, I saw the Bucs beat the Panthers at Ray-Jay.  That was the last time Tampa Bay tasted victory. 

 

Sure, there are other good and bad moments, but these are the ones that come to mind at first.  I wish all of you a Happy New Year, and go Bucs.

 

Bucs Fire Dirk Koetter

Well, that didn’t take long.

 

Word just came out tonight that Dirk Koetter has been fired as head coach of the Buccaneers. 

 

Thank goodness.

 

He went 19-29 in three seasons in Tampa, culminating with today’s 34-32 loss to the Falcons in Ray-Jay.

 

Koetter is the second member of the coaching staff to lose his job.  Defensive coordinator Mike Smith was let go after five games.

 

These may not be the last two moves the team makes in the coming days.  Stay tuned.

Bucs Finish in Last Place….Again

I hope this was the last time we see Dirk Koetter on the Tampa Bay sidelines.  And that may not be the only change we see in the coming days.

 

The Bucs finished in last place in the NFC South yet again this year, losing 34-32 to the Falcons in the regular season finale.  The Buccaneers blew a 17-0 lead in this one.  After starting the season 2-0 (remember that?) they lost 11 of their last 14 games.

 

At the end of 2017, I was in favor of giving Koetter one more year.  Well, that year has come and gone, and there wasn’t any improvement in the win total.

 

When you go 5-11 in back-to-back seasons, change is inevitable.  A housecleaning at One Buc Place would not surprise me, starting at the top.  But, with the Glazers, who knows.

 

Photo courtesy: Atlanta Falcons

Bucs Give Cowboys Early Christmas Present

‘Tis the season for giving.  So, it seems only appropriate that the Buccaneers gift-wrapped a win for the Cowboys today.

 

There were two key plays that stood out.  First, there was Jameis Winston getting blindsided, fumbling, and Jaylon Smith running it all the way back for a touchdown in the first quarter.  Then, it was another fumble by Winston in the third quarter on a botched handoff that Dallas recovered at the Tampa Bay 4.  Two plays later, the Cowboys were up by 14.

 

But there’s more.  On the ensuing drive, the Bucs had the ball for over nine minutes, ran 17 plays, and ended up with zero points.  On the second-to-last play of the drive, Tampa Bay had fourth down on the Cowboys 2-yard line, and got hit with a delay of game penalty.  How the heck does that happen in a situation like that?

 

These are the Bucs; anything’s possible.

 

Tampa Bay had nine penalties in all.  That’s coaching.  I’ve blasted previous head coaches for lack of discipline, and I won’t hold back this time, either.  I’m looking squarely at you, Dirk Koetter.  I hope you have only one game left as head coach in Tampa, despite an NFL Network report saying the opposite may be true.  Yes, Dallas was matching the Bucs penalty-for-penalty, but that’s not what I’m getting at.

 

And don’t give me any of this baloney about how the Bucs outgained the Cowboys in total yards.  You can put up 600 yards of offense every week, but it you keep self-destructing, it makes no difference.

 

So, we have ourselves another 10-loss season.  The season finale is next Sunday at Ray-Jay against the Falcons.  One more week of this torture.  Drink heavily, Bucs fans.

 

Photo courtesy: Associated Press

Winning vs. Tanking For the Bucs

So yet again, the Buccaneers are playing out the string at the end of a season.  They will miss the playoffs for the 11th straight year.

 

This brings up the debate that I always see: should the team just keep losing to get a better draft pick, or try to (gasp) win these last two games for a sense of pride?

 

Look – it’s pretty much a given that Dirk Koetter will be fired at the end of the season.  GM Jason Licht may walk the plank with him.  Then there’s the future of Jameis Winston.  And today brought the news that DeSean Jackson sold his house in Tampa.  All of that said, will a couple of losses – and moving a couple of spots in next year’s draft – really have that much of a difference?

 

I say no.  I want to see wins.

 

I’m a diehard fan of this team.  I have been for over 30 years.  I want them to win every single week.  Nearly three weeks ago, I was at Ray-Jay to see Tampa Bay beat Carolina.  The Bucs haven’t won another game since.  They’ll be in Dallas on Sunday, then host Atlanta (another disappointing team) in the finale.  It’s a losing season no matter what.  But I’d rather have 7-9 instead of 5-11. 

 

So, my message to the Bucs is this: don’t just roll over and play dead in AT&T Stadium on Sunday.  There are fans who want you to ‘tank.’  I’m not one of them.  There will be plenty of time to talk about the future direction of this team.  That can wait.  Until then, a chance to play ‘spoiler’ against the Cowboys awaits.

 

Photo courtesy: USA Today

 

No Playoffs For the Bucs. Again.

OK, so the headline of this blog post isn’t exactly earth-shattering news.  But it didn’t become official until now.

 

With today’s loss to the Ravens in dreary Baltimore, there will be no playoffs for the Buccaneers for the eleventh consecutive year.

 

Maybe we should’ve known it wasn’t going to be a good day when, on the opening drive, Chris Godwin dropped a pass that could’ve gone the distance.

 

Maybe we should’ve known it wasn’t going to be a good day when they flubbed up the extra point on the game’s first touchdown.

 

Maybe we should’ve known it was going to be a good day when they recovered a muffed punt inside the Baltimore red zone, only to come away with three point.

 

The Bucs only scored three points in the second half.  This is a troubling trend over the past three games, starting with the Carolina game when they only scored seven points after halftime (and they won that game.)

 

Or maybe, just the thought of chasing Lamar Jackson and company all over the field was too much to comprehend.

 

No matter how you slice it, the final two games against the Cowboys and Falcons will amount to nothing more than ‘playing out the string,’ though Dallas will certainly have something to play for.

 

Dirk Koetter’s grave has been dug.  It’s only a matter of time before we put him in it.  Jason Licht may end up in the ground next to him.  We’ll see.

 

Photo Courtesy: Baltimore Ravens