Another loss has left Bucs fans with an all to familiar sight this season: A team with lots of talent and expectations flopping, flailing, failing their way through yet another disappointing year. One with no playoffs.
Failure always leads to questions on who is responsible for the poor results. The defense is horrible, the offense is predictable, there is a total lack of in-game adjustments and the man drafted as a game breaker quarterback appears to have regressed in his third season. I think there is plenty of blame to go around to include both players and coaches but only two men inevitably bear the brunt of the responsibility for the assembling of personnel and coaching of those players: the head coach and the general manager. Jason Licht’s contract recently got renewed letting fans know where the ownership believes the blame lies; with Dirk Koetter.
Some fans believe Dirk deserves at least a third year before deciding his fate.
However, this is a league that cuts kickers who miss a few PATs, demote a QB for not scoring enough points, and cut an injured guy in hopes of improving a lineup. This league is not a charity and head coaching jobs are no different. It’s a results driven league and Koetter has underperformed as the Buccaneers head coach no matter the metric you choose to grade him. Many of his wins in two seasons have come in one score games against sub .500 teams. The most damning statistic for Dirk is the Bucs point differential (-15) in 2016 & (-54) in 2017 for a total of (-69) over two seasons. To put it in perspective look at a team like Philadelphia with an equally young QB and arguably less talented offense at the skill positions who have a +166 differential this season alone.
Average teams do not have negative point differentials, let alone good or playoff teams. The Bucs are now staring at back to back years of scoring less than their opponents. This is unacceptable. Koetter’s teams have a history of barely winning games they should and getting their doors blown off against teams that are actual contenders. There is no legitimate reason to keep Dirk other than “hoping” he miraculously becomes a premier head coach. Now with rumors are swirling around one Buc place about a potential coaching change for 2018 and nothing else to look forward to this season, we put together our top 3 wish list for the next Buccaneers head coach. Here’s hoping one of the guys on this list can finally turn all that hope & potential into actual results.
Coach Wish List
1. Jon Gruden (Former Buccaneers head coach & current Monday Night Football personality)
Pros: Offensive mastermind, meticulous game-planner, history of making average quarterbacks (Garcia, Johnson, Gannon) into pro bowlers…oh and he won that only Super Bowl in franchise history.
Cons: Poor personnel & talent evaluator, been out of the league for a while now, no history with developing young QBs
Completely made up Odds: (75%) 6 months ago these odds were 1 in a 100, as the “Gruden” wants to come back rumors have been there every year since he left Tampa. However, recently Gruden’s made it known through various media channels that he intends to return to coaching. His recent induction into the Bucs ring of honor shows he is on good terms again with the organization. Add in that he still maintains his primary residence in the Tampa Bay Area and this is no longer a far-fetched idea. I think if the Bucs fire Dirk, their first call will be to Gruden. If he truly wants to come back to coaching, I think the job is his. If the Bucs can get him a legit defensive coordinator & continue to have Licht handle the personnel decision, this could end up a home run.
2. Frank Reich (Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator)
Pros: Groomed a young franchise QB, built a system around his talent, seasoned assistant with player/coach experience with super bowl teams & HOF QBs.
Cons: Is there a legit reason he hasn’t gotten a shot until now at 56 years old? Can he handle the added responsibility of as a head coach? Can he adjust to Bucs personnel, who does not mirror Philly’s?
Completely made up Odds: (25%) I think Reich is the dark horse candidate but one the franchise should absolutely take a look at if they are trying to find the next Sean McVay. Reich is not as young as McVay but he’s shown similar results with a young offense & QB. He has the Philadelphia looking super bowl ready. He could immediately relate to Jameis as a former QB and a guy whose coached Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner, Philip Rivers, and now Carson Wentz. If Gruden passes on the Bucs job, I hope the Bucs take a strong look at Reich.
3. Josh McDaniels (New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator)
Pros: Young aggressive offensive coordinator, groomed and trusted under Bill Belichick, Super Bowl experience
Cons: Failed head coach, only has had success when he’s coaching Tom Brady, rumors of players not liking his personality or style
Completely made up Odds: (35%) I really don’t like retread coaching hires, which is funny because I make the case for another retread above in Jon Gruden. However, I think Gruden and McDaniels are very different cases. Gruden has had success as a head coach, McDaniels has not. The Patriots coaching tree has many failed coaches once they leave the safety of Belichick and Tom Brady, so that is a major red flag. Now maybe McDaniels has learned a lesson from his failure in Denver and he’s now ready to become a top-tier head coach, but I’m super skeptical if this is the direction the Bucs decide to go this route.
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