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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A Wrap on the 2018 Buccaneers! – Now What?

Roy Cummings

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Dec 30, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) reacts after being sacked during the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

And now we wait.

For how long, only the Glazers know. Or do they?

The Buccaneers owners have waited beyond the NFL’s infamous “Black Monday” to make a call regarding the future of their head coach before. They did it with Jon Gruden and Lovie Smith. Could they do it with Dirk Koetter as well?

It seems unlikely given Koetter’s record the past two seasons. At 10-22,  Koetter seems to fit best as an offensive coordinator, not a head coach, so his run as the latter, at least with the Bucs, is likely over.

But, given even the list of candidates the Bucs will have to wade through to find a replacement, it might make some sense to wait a while before making a call on Koetter. After all, it’s possible they could do much worse.

The general consensus around the NFL is that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh are the top candidates to fill head coaching vacancies in the NFL.

Sorry, but the feeling here is that this is not a very impressive group, and here’s why:

McDaniels has failed as a head coach before, and while that was years ago in Denver where he was forced to play Tim Tebow at quarterback, he seems a lot like Koetter, meaning he’s probably best suited to be a coordinator.

Fangio has never been a head coach and has never really been in the running for such a job until now, and the only reason he’s hot now is because the Bears defense just wrapped up its best season in years.

That alone tells you how weak the head coaching candidate pool really is. One good season for a career-long and seldom celebrated coordinator makes him a head coach candidate? Sorry, but I’ll pass.

Riley is 35 and on the rise in the college rankings, but he’s never coached in the NFL, which he says not interested in jumping to right now. Again, the fact his name is even on the list suggests this is a shallow pool.

McCarthy is an option because he’s available and he’s got the experience the Bucs need, but if you can’t make it work in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers, how are you going to make it work in Tampa Bay with Jameis Winston?

And then there’s Harbaugh, who has already said he plans to stay at Michigan for now. Now, it’s possible he could change his mind for the right job, but does anyone really think the Bucs are the right job?

There are other names out there, to be sure, and it’s possible the Bucs could pull off some miracle maneuver the way they did with Gruden and somehow pull Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame or Bill Cowher out retirement.

But barring just such a miracle, you get the feeling the Bucs would be firing Koetter just to fire Koetter and move on, which may not be the best reason to fire Koetter at all.

Dec 30, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter looks on during the first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 30, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter looks on during the first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Granted, he’s failed as a head coach. He has at least since starting off his head coaching career with a 9-7 finish three years ago. But he is the architect of the franchise’s two most potent offenses (2015 and 2018).

Given where the NFL appears to be headed, it might make a lot of sense to hold on to a guy who seems capable of producing a playoff-caliber offense and simply arm him with the pieces to build a playoff-caliber defense.

And a kicker. Let’s not forget that much of the Bucs struggles this year stem from their confounding inability to find a kicker who can consistently make extra points and even routine field goals.

It may seem like a lot to some, but shoring up the defense, finding a competent kicker and bolstering the offensive line can all happen in an offseason, and if the Bucs do that 2019 could look a lot different than 2018.

It can if Koetter’s around. It could if someone else in charge, too, but a newcomer would likely seek to make even more changes, which could actually set the franchise back a year or two.

The bottom line here is this. There is no easy answer to the Koetter question. A good argument can be made for him to go and a good argument can be made for him to stay. Which will it be?

We can only wait and see.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.

Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?

Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.

Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,

Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:

“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”

“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option? 

The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.

After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”

While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.

Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.

The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020

Florida Football Insiders

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?

First, the team released another video with clues about them intending to change their uniform and potentially alter their logo:

The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:

“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”

As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.

This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,

The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.

NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.

It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.

The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.

Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.

So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.

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