On the day after the Buccaneers fired third-year coach DirK Koetter, general manager Jason Licht met with the media to discuss the coaching search, but also revealed a very important piece to “the 2019 Buccaneer puzzle.” No matter who the new coach is, quarterback Jameis Winston will be brought back for next season.
The announcement was not completely unexpected, as Winston finished the season as a starter and at times played well, even though the Buccaneers lost their remaining four games. Also, with Winston only being 24 years of age and the Buccaneers still having the fifth year option on his rookie contract, it makes sense for them to give him one more season with a new coaching staff.
However, this was the first time that anyone with any authority to definitively said that Winston will be back.
GM Jason Licht is live at the podium for his press conference https://t.co/C5Kv7URegC
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) December 31, 2018
Licht conveyed the obvious, that the Glazers made their decision on a coaching change mostly based on the lack of winning over the course of the last two years. Koetter was 5 and 11 in both 2017 and in 2018. He was directly asked whether he had been concerned for his own job and about still being in charge for the Glazer family after this year’s dismal finish and responded, “I feel very fortunate to still be standing here and leading the organization.”
Licht was also asked about whether the hiring of a new head coach might be complicated, if that coach was not interested in bringing Winston back for next season? He repeated that Winston would be back at quarterback to the play for the new coach they hire for 2019.
While Winston’s contract option is for nearly 21 million dollars next season, it does by time for the Glazer family, Licht and the new coach to determine what to do long-term at the quarterback position.
Winston began the season with a three-game NFL suspension for the personal conduct policy violation in March of 2016. He came off the bench to start 3 games in the middle of the year going 1-2 before being benched, again. He replaced backup Ryan Fitzpatrick for good in the starting lineup for the Buccaneers six remaining games.
They won the first two over San Francisco and Carolina but dropped the remaining four games, including Sunday’s finale defeat to the Atlanta Falcons.
Dating back to last season Winston’s record as a starter is 6 – 16. He also has lost his last 13 road starts dating back to the end of the 2016 season.
Clearly, Winston has to deliver more wins this upcoming season or his time in Tampa Bay will be up.
And once Licht, who has had only one winning season in five years in Tampa Bay, makes the coaching hire, if the Bucs aren’t winning next season, his future may be in jeopardy as well.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
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?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
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 on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
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.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
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?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
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.